somehow we're only 124th
Michigan improves to 3-8-1 on the season in this murderers row nonconference schedule with a win in Fort Meyers. Tomorrow Michigan plays UCF.
Unfortunate setback given this year's expectations, although he was probably the most dispensable of any starter (even though he was platooning with Davis). Hopefully speedy recovery.
I was down in Lakeland for the past few days and caught a few of the Tigers games, so I thought I'd share some observations and pics from my time there. First, some observations:
- I saw JV throw a live BP session on a practice field (which was awesome btw...there were only a few other people who knew he was throwing, so I was close enough that I could hear him interacting with the hitters and coaches). I posted a few pics below, but I also have some vids. If you're interested in seeing them, I'll post them - but they're like 2-3 minutes long, and are pretty much just him throwing pitches.
- Joba Chamberlain looked to be in pretty good shape. From what I remembered of him, he was borderline obese not too long ago. He's still a bit chunky, but not overly so. If I remember correctly, we saw one appearance of him, and he pitched well.
- Rick Porcello is in great shape. You can kind of see it from one of the pics below, but he was leading the group of pitchers in their pole runs (running foul pole to foul pole along the warning track).
- JV is also in great shape and is working hard. I didn't post the pic below, but he was running his poles really hard, and he was running them by himself.
- Steven Moya is huge. He looks young and raw, but he was one of the better looking minor league athletes out there. He also threw a guy out at the plate from right field - threw an absolute rope, right on the money to get the guy.
- Devon Travis was impressive...and small. I didn't realize he got the fan vote for Minor League Offensive POY last year, but he was the prospect that probably caught our attention the most.
- Definitely a lot more speed on the team. We knew Rajai Davis was fast, but Steve Lombardozzi stole third, and there was a noticeable difference in overall team speed.
- We saw Porcello, Scherzer, Sanchez, and Lobstein start. They all did pretty well. I think Scherzer was the only one who gave up a run (off a homer...that was the only hit he gave up). I think they all went two innings, except for Lobstein, who I think went three.
- The weather was beautiful. Coming back to Cleveland yesterday with single-digit temperatures and snow was a bit depressing.
That's all that comes to mind right now. I'll try to answer if you have any questions about anybody specific. Here are some pics:
(L-R: Sanchez, Porcello, Below, Nathan, Putkonen)
(Sanchez and Porcello)
(Ground-rule double that Cabrera hit during BP. I caught it on the left field berm)
(Joba saying "Hi" to some of his New York buddies...he and Phil Coke were two of the friendliest guys there)
Deadspin has an interesting article this morning. Essentially, Oregon State player gets drafted, is offered a 400K signing bonus, forgoes it and decides to stay at OSU. In the course of the negotations, he retained an agent to help guide him through the process. Allegedly, the Phillies are upset at him for not signing (despite getting a compensatory pick) and told the NCAA about the agent.
Here's what I don't get (and not that I expect the NCAA to do ANYTHING) that makes sense: you allow the player to get drafted and return to college...why should a teenager/young man not have representation in a contract negotation? Ultimately, he didn't sign the contract so why is he being punished when he presumably returned to OSU to improve his game? It's absolutely ridiculous that the NCAA thinks young men should be entering into 6 and 7 figure contract negotiations without representation. It's completely illogical.
Also, fuck the Phillies if they actually did turn him in. Allegedly, they attempted to do the same with another one of their draft picks but he was cleared by the NCAA so hopefully Wetzler's case is resolved soon. Who actually does this? Apparently turning in players is really rare.
One of the youngest head coaches in college baseball, Erik Bakich picked up the 100th win of his career last night as Michigan beat Air Force 8-2 in the third game of their four-game Texas State Tournament opener in San Marcos, Texas. Fifth-year senior Ben Ballantine made an outstanding return from the gruesome ankle injury that ended his senior year prematurely, giving up just one hit and no earned runs in seven innings of work—and earning the win. (See also mgoblue.com recap.)
The victory followed a disappointing opening day that saw the Wolverines drop two games, both in 10 innings, 8-7 to Texas State and 8-6 to Washington. In both contests, Michigan went into the late innings with a decent lead—7-3 after six in the opener, 6-3 after seven in the nightcap—but the bullpen was unable to hold the advantages and the Wolverines batters failed to tack on any insurance runs.
Some hitting highlights from the first three games:
- Junior DH Kyle Jusick is hitting .455 (5-for-11), with 3 runs and 2 RBI
- Senior catcher Cole Martin's solid start includes a 3-run homer
- Juco transfer Jackson Glines has done well stepping into the large void left by Pat Biondi's graduation; batting leadoff, Glines is hitting .400 (6-for-15), with 3 runs, 3 RBI, and 1 stolen base
- Freshman Jackson Lamb is living up to the hype so far, going 4-for-6, with 3 doubles and 4 RBI
Michigan plays Washington again today at 1pm ET in their final game in this tournament. The Wolverines will send sophomore Evan Hill to the mound as they try to even their season and tourney record at 2-2.
Once again venturing into the fertile recruiting grounds of the Chicago metro area, the Michigan baseball staff has secured its fourth commitment for 2016: Christian Bullock, a 6-0, 173-lb. first basemen/left-handed pitcher/outfielder out of Chicago's Morgan Park H.S. That's the same high school that Rahman Williams, a 2014 Michigan signee, originally attended (he's now at Montverde Academy in Orlando, FL). Other Chicagoland players that Bakich & Co. have brought to Ann Arbor, signed, or gotten commitments from are Keith Lehmann (current freshman), Ryan Nutof (2014), Brian Pall (2014), Charlie Donovan (2015), and Ako Thomas (2015).
Prep Baseball Report doesn't have a very recent scouting report on Bullock, but lacking anything else, here's what they said about him in January 2013:
Lanky build, 5-foot-9, 155-pound two way player. Left handed first baseman, advanced footwork, soft hands, plays athletically, quick exchange. Left handed hitter, open stance, dives at stride, finds the barrel consistently, line drive gap to gap style hitter. Projectable on the mound, deception in delivery, rotational delivery. Arm works cleanly and loosely, long ¾ arm slot. Fastball sits 73-76 mph, shows slight run, control. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, early action, flashed occasional sweeping action. Changeup shows run, consistently down out of the zone, 67-68 mph.
Note that Perfect Game appears to have seen Bullock more recently, and they list him at 6-0, 173 and have his fastball topping out at 78. They also list his "colleges interested" as Louisiana-Lafayette, Michigan, Missouri, and Notre Dame. PBR currently has Bullock ranked #91 in the state of Illinois for the 2016 class.
photo of Bullock from PBR profile page
Here's a summary of the 2016 class to date, with PBR rankings indicated: