Pretty good recruiting run for Erik Bakich and his Michigan baseball staff over the last 10 days, picking up their first two commits in the 2018 class and two more 2017 commits, bringing the total for that class up to five. It may seem a bit early to be talking about 2018 recruits, who won't play for Michigan until the 2019 season, but (1) early commitments have become the norm in baseball and (2) I can think of only two players who committed to Michigan during the Bakich era and then decommitted, so any worries about players not sticking with their pledge seem overblown.
Here's a quick rundown of the four players who committed:
Riley Bertram: 5-11, 165-lb. SS/3B, Zionsville HS (IN). Prep Baseball Report (PBR) has him ranked #5 in Indiana and #41 overall in the 2018 class.
Jack Van Remortel: 6-2, 205-lb. 3B/1B, Carmel HS (IN). Not currently ranked by PBR in the 2018 class, but their page on him has some scouting reports.
Jeff Criswell: 6-2, 175-lb. RHP/3B, Portage Central HS (MI). Ranked #5 in Michigan and #151 overall in the 2017 class by PBR. Perfect Game has him ranked #213 nationally for 2017 (relevant tweet embedded below).
Isaiah Paige: 6-2, 170-lb. RHP/OF, Damien HS (La Verne, CA). Perfect Game page (PBR doesn't yet cover California). A brief Prep Sports Bulletin item reports that he also visited UCLA, UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount, San Diego, and the University of the Pacific, with his finalists being Michigan and UC Irvine. Also says that he grew up a Michigan fan, which is never a bad thing.
Bernie is reporting as breaking news that a team official has confirmed that Avila and Illitch want a new manager and Ausmus will be fired at the end of the season.
I would have been more surprised if he stayed.
The USA isrepresented by the team from Pennsylvania and Japan in representing the international half of the bracket. It's currently airing on ABC and in the bottom half of the first inning with Penn taking an impressive early lead 7-2 with 2 outs. Almost 50k in attendance!
Over the last week, Erik Bakich and his staff have picked up two commits for the 2017 class (who, just to be clear, would arrive in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2017 and then be freshmen during the 2018 baseball season).
The latest in a string of players heading to Ann Arbor from California, Logan Pollack is a 6-2, 180-lb. SS/3B/2B out of Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks (the same high school as incoming freshman MIF Joe Pace). He committed to Michigan last week. I don't have any rankings info on him, but Perfect Game a couple months ago gave him a score of 9 (meaning "potential top 10 round pick and/or highest-level college prospect") and offered this scouting report:
Large frame with long, lean and projectable physical build. Switch hitter, shows solid feel for barrel from both sides. Similar slightly open stance and narrow setup from either side. Aggressive shift into contact, at times out in front and early with front hip, more fluidity and bat speed from the right side. Peppers field with line drives and uses whole field, more present power and carry when hitting right handed. Moves pretty well to either side while playing infield, soft hands with good funnel. Could shorten release a bit, but has solid arm strength, shows good ability to get on top of the ball, and will work through and follow throws. Good student.
On the other coast, New York hasn't been tapped by the Michigan staff as often as California for prospects, but they did recruit Drew Lugbauer from that state, and they have 3B/MIF George Hewitt coming in this fall from Brooklyn. Committing to Michigan today was Jason Pineda, a 6-0, 215-lb. 3B/1B/RHP out of Metropolitan HS in the Bronx. Prep Baseball Report has him ranked #9 in the state of New York for 2017 and posted this scouting report last month:
Solid frame, very athletic looking 6-foot-0, 215-pounds. Shows great instincts as a fielder, good range with quick footwork at position, hands and glove work well together when receiving and transferring to throw, excellent arm action that is clean and loose to the target along with plus arm strength. At the plate hitter is relaxed and balanced at setup, has a smooth load and short stride to the pitch, hands are compact and strong through the zone, gets full extension while maintaining balance during his finish, makes solid contact with power potential. Very projectable hitter who has a lot of upside in the future.
It seems like Michigan is off to a great start on the 2017 class, which has now grown to three. Joe Donovan, a C/3B from Westmont HS (IL), committed last November. Prep Baseball Report currently has him ranked #6 in Illinois and #52 overall in their 2017 rankings. He's the younger brother of MIF Charlie Donovan, another member of Michigan's incoming 2015 class.
We got about 15 minutes until FOOTBALL! starts so I thought I would squeeze in an informal baseball survey. Informal because I’m going to offer my opinions before asking yours.
I started watching MLB Tonight and Quick Pitch (MLB Network) recently and found that I like it better than Baseball Tonight and SportCenter (ESPN). I haven’t watched the Fox Sports alternative.
I’m a fan of Harold Reynolds (MLB) and I like his approach – it’s more like a bunch of old ball players commenting while having a beer. It just appears more relaxed and spontaneous. They are frequently cutting into live or ‘just happened’ highlights and their comments are genuine. Quick Pitch shows this highlights along with the local play-by-play announcers accounts (which I like) along with highlights plus studio personality giving their descriptions.
I also like Karl Ravech (ESPN) as he is very polished. By contrast to MLB, he appears to be reading from cue cards (not: que cards). The ball players in the booth with Karl are very good, but don’t appear to have the fun like MLB does. And SC highlights have degraded to a bunch of young guys reading cue cards trying to be the next Chris Berman.
So, all that and now the ask…
- Are you a baseball highlights junkie, watch occasionally, or nada?
- Preference: MLB, ESPN, Fox, or other?
- Every survey has a comments box; add yours
Figured I'd throw an open thread up to consolidate the inevitable moves that will be made today. From the Tigers' perspective, I wouldn't be surprised to see Cespedes and probably Davis moved. There's also speculation around Avila and Simon, but I don't see anyone being interested in those guys.
Other moves/news from around the league today:
- Baltimore got Gerardo Parra from the Brewers. Not a sexy move, but he's having a career year and may be able to help them in a playoff push.
- Lots of chatter around Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel. I would be surprised to see the Reds give up Chapman, but I expect Kimbrel will be moved (probably to the Yankees).
- Jay Bruce is looking to be heading to the Mets in exchange for Zach Wheeler. If that comes to fruition, I think the Reds come out on top in that deal.
- The Indians are probably going to trade Carlos Carrasco.
It's an interesting time, that's for sure. Cespedes is definitely Detroit's biggest trade chip right now. I expect Detroit would get 2-3 prospects in return. My hope is that they would somehow also bolster their bullpen in that deal.