In the final game of a four game series Michigan dismantled Canisius 9-3.
The bats were red hot today tallying 16 hits and they opened this one up early with a 2-run first with Bivens scoring on yet another balk, then Ramsey stealing third and scoring on a throwing error.
Catcher Harrison Wenson has been swinging the bat well this weekend and he cranked a 2-run shot in the second inning, then later after Bivens and Bruder both notched RBI singles in the 5th Wenson sac flied another in the 7th.
On the mound Oliver Jaskie had a solid outing hurling 6 innings, allowing three hits and fanning nine before Lehmann entered in relief striking out two-of-three batters faced. Freshman Jack Bredeson entered the game in the 8th and walked his first two batters before getting out of the jam with two runs allowed, both unearned on an error.
Benedetti closed, striking out two batters and getting the final out on a pop-up.
The Wolverines improved to 4-0 on the year, up next they're headed to California for a long stretch that will last until March 5th.
Former Detroit Tigers utility man Tony Phillips passed away at 56 years old. He was a very, uh, "passionate" player, but Phillips was a fun one to watch. There was rarely a dull moment when he was playing. Mostly an infielder, he hit .266 with 160 home runs and 177 stolen bases during his career.
If you're a seam-head like myself then today marks the beginning of spring as pitchers and catchers report today in Lakeland.
I'd like to hear some predictions not only for the Tigers but for the rest of the league as well. I'm gonna put the Tigers at 90-72 and getting a WC birth, as KC takes the division.
2016 World Series: San Francisco GIants (it's an even numbered year) vs the KC Royals in a rematch of the '14 series.
With 25 days until the 2016 season opener, more Michigan baseball previews were posted today to go along with the nice one recently posted here by Out of Left Field. First, the baseball program itself put out a preview.
So far this preseason, the Wolverines have earned recognition in multiple preseason polls, and numerous baseball organizations across the nation have predicted Michigan to finish atop the competitive Big Ten Conference. Individually, junior utility/pitcher Carmen Benedetti has also earned multiple preseason honors, including two Pre-Season All-America selections and a selection to Baseball America's Top 100 Draft Picks list.
Baseball America, which has the Wolverines ranked #15 in their preseason top 25, posted a Michigan preview today that includes a projected lineup. In addition to freshman outfielder Jonathan Engelmann, other newcomers to look out for include juco transfer shortshop Michael Brdar and fifth-year grad transfer Matt Ramsay, penciled in as the DH but also likely to see time in the outfield.
Benedetti will draw much of the attention from opposing pitchers, but the Wolverines’ offense will not be a one-man show. Jake Bivens was named Big Ten freshman of the year last season after hitting .319/.435/.352 and manning shortstop. He will move to second base this spring to accommodate junior-college transfer Michael Brdar, who stands out most for his defense. Catcher Harrison Wenson and outfielder Johnny Slater were both drafted coming out of high school and will now be counted on to take on larger roles as juniors.
Michigan also welcomes freshman Jonathan Engelmann, the highest ranked player on the BA 500 to make it to a Big Ten school this year, and senior Matt Ramsay, a graduate transfer from Wofford. Engelmann is an athletic, toolsy outfielder with plus raw power who fits the right field profile. Ramsay hit .359/.459/.483 and led the Southern Conference in on-base percentage and hits (84).
On a recent appearance on WTKA (podcast), Erik Bakich referred to Ramsay as the baseball team's version of Jake Rudock.
Michigan kicks off the season in Port St. Lucie, Florida, with a four-game series against Canisius, with the opener on Friday, February 19, 2pm ET. Full schedule.
A quick recruiting detour here from football to baseball. Michigan received four verbal commitments in November and December. I'm late in posting this, but here's a summary: three new commits for 2017 bring Michigan's total for that class to ten, and Bakich and company also picked up commit #3 for 2018. Details:
Dillon Nowicki (2018): 6-1, 180-lb. RHP/OF/1B, Stoughton HS (WI). Prep Baseball Report (PBR) ranking: #4 in WI, #104 overall in the 2018 class. PBR post-commit Q&A. D1Baseball ranking: #4 in WI, #247 overall. Perfect Game grade: 8.5. Here's PG's scouting report (Aug. 2015):
Medium frame, athletic build, room to fill as he continues to put on additional muscle. Primary right-handed pitcher, throws from a 3/4 arm slot, long arm action, high energy delivery, works quickly. Fastball is straight with occasional cut to it. Curveball has 12/6 shape, big depth. From the outfield, long lose actions, fields the ball in front, uses legs well to drive toward target, long over the top arm action, has raw arm strength with carry to bases. Arm projects as he continues to develop. Very good student.
Nowicki is a travel ball teammate of Michigan freshman Jack Bredeson.
Angelo Smith (2017): 5-10, 160-lb. LHP/OF, Richards HS (Oak Lawn, IL). PBR ranking: #21 in IL, #232 overall in the 2017 class. Scouting report (Sept. 2014):
. . . impresses with legitimate two-way ability. Worked at 79-81 mph off the mound from quick, loose, high ¾ arm slot. Flashes 67 mph slurvy breaking ball, and 70-73 mph change. Repeats delivery well, athleticism evident throughout. Hits from a tall, narrow setup, slightly open, pull tendencies, above average bat speed.
Cameron Tomaiko (2017): 5-11, 175-lb. OF, St. Anthony's HS (Long Island, NY). PBR and Perfect Game have little info on him. Video is available on this profile page. A Long Island–based scouting service offers this brief eval:
Smooth LH hitting prospect with all the tools. Has + bat speed with power. Runs well. Covers a lot of ground defensively. Well above average arm.
Danny Zimmerman (2017): 6-5, 245-lb. RHP/OF, Redondo Beach HS (Redondo Beach, CA). Perfect Game grade: 10. First Michigan recruit I've come across with a PG 10 (which means "potential very high draft pick and/or elite-level college prospect"). Scouting report (Aug. 2015):
Extra big and strong build. Works from the stretch, well paced deliberate delivery, gets downhill well from a 3/4's arm slot, maintains arm slot and arm speed well on all pitches. Upper 80's fastball, topped out at 89 mph, has been seen in the low 90's, heavy fastball with good sink and consistently down in the zone. Very good curveball, has power and some will call a slider, tight spin with late bite but gets over it out front, created bad swings by good hitters with his curveball. Very interesting raw stuff, especially his breaking ball, but cannot afford to get any bigger. Good student.
PG lists other colleges interested as Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Nebraska, and Oregon—a pretty solid list. The Daily Breeze ran an article on Zimmerman in June of last year.
CA to AA pipeline: Michigan's 2016 roster includes seven players from California. With Zimmerman's commit, there are four Californians in the 2017 class.
Per Cardinals GM Jon Mozeliak, there is an increasing (if not certain) sense that the DH could be coming to the National league as soon as 2017. Personally, I am for it. I would rather see professional hitters do the hitting and pitchers do the pitching.
I have never understood the argument that having a pitcher bat adds strategy; it would be like the NFL requiring QBs to also play linebacker or something. Makes zero sense to me. I would rather have uniform leagues, uniform rules, and have players do what they are the best at.