I did not make this headline up
You are looking live at a post by some guy that used to be here all the time, but since has disappeared into the wilderness and thus returned only to probably disappear again!
Anyway, UM's baseball season is nigh upon us! In just one week, Coach Bakich continues his crusade "to catch that softball program" and return Michigan to the NCAA tournament. This year's edition of the team is very similar to that of last year's, but now with more experience!
Eric Sorenson, my former idol and still current holder of my most coveted job I will never try to get, has posted his "Top 302 Teams of 2014" post for this year, and yes, he does rank and blurb each of the 302 teams in Division 1, and he has Michigan at #71:
71- MICHIGAN (29-27, 14-10)
2013 ISR: 138
Starters Returning: 7
Weekend Starters: 3
Mid-Week Starters: 1
Key Relievers (15+inns.): 4
Coach Erik Bakich was right, “a bunch of pissed-off Wolverines” turned the program around last year. Could be even more this year as 55 of the 56 starts on the mound come back, as does two-way talent Jacob Cronenworth (.320, 12SBs & 0-3, 1.93, 7svs). Plus, the future is sparkling for the Maize & Blue as the 20th-ranked recruiting class comes to campus.
For those interested, his B1G teams are ranked as such:
48. Nebraska (*fixed after comment)
75. Michigan State
105. Ohio State
226. Penn State
Indiana is the clear favorite after making it all the way to the College World Series Last year. They return plenty and their coach is fantastic. After that, it gets all B1G Baseball-y with any team from Illinois to probably Ohio State having a decent shot at being pretty good, but no one is really sure because this is 1) college baseball and 2) mid-major college baseball.
As for this year's schedule, it looks to have quite a few solid names on the docket. The team starts with a Texas tour starting with a tournament in San Marcos with games against 2 of Sorenson's top 100 in Texas State and Washington. Then it's a 3 game set at my current graduate school, the University of Houston. Needless to say I will be attending at least one game in my Michigan jersey. Not that I'll be in UH jerseys for the other three, but my mother and wife have the audacity to both have birthdays that weekend, so I won't have much time to enjoy the old ball field.
From there is't a tournament hosted by Notre Dame in Cary, N.C. Which... yeah, sure. But top 5 North Carolina State and top 20 UCLA will both be there, along with a double header with Appalachian State and Notre Dame sandwiched between the big two. After that its a swing through Florida for our nearly annual FGCU match up, a game at UCF, and a 4 game set against a probably hapless Princeton.
We finish the southern tour in Charleston to take on Appalachain State again, followed by two against College of Charleston ad Kent State.
That's a pretty solid opening stanza. Of those teams, only Air Force and Princeton are terrible. The rest are at least top 120-ish teams.
As for the B1G season, we start it in the hardest way possible, a 3 game set at Indiana. Then its home against Iowa and Minnestoa, away to Illinois and Purdue, home against Nebraska, away to Northwestern, and then finish the season home against Ohio State. Lastly, we have a bye week with a pair of games against Kansas, who projects to be a meh Big12 team.
B1G tournament is in Omaha this year, probably as a favor to Indiana. Give them an extra couple practice games on their CWS warm up tour.
I have no particular idea myself on how the season will go down. I somewhat gave up following the team 3-4 years ago with school and work and wife and globe-trotting recently, so that's probably all I'll have on the team for a while. I may post a summary of the game from Houston if I do make it out there. Maybe I'll even catch you out there.
In a pretty good game, Nebraska beat (upset?) Minnesota 82-78. Nebraska remains unbeaten at home except for its loss to Michigan. In the only other Big Ten game today, Indiana beat Illinois 56-46 in a not-so-pretty game. Arizona also leads Utah 31-26 at the half.
The commits-occurring-in-pairs tradition migrates to the diamond as Erik Bakich & Co. pick up another verbal pledge today, two days after that of Dominic Clementi. Committing today was Jack Weisenburger, who I mentioned in Clementi's Hello thread as a Michigan target. Weisenburger is a 6-2, 190-pound right-handed pitcher/outfielder out of Rockford H.S. in Rockford, Michigan. The Wolverines third commitment for 2016, Weisenburger is ranked #6 in Michigan and #40 overall by Prep Baseball Report.
PBR ran this eval on him in the fall of 2013:
Weisenberger proved why he is one of the most talented players in the Class of 2016. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound RHP/OF has more room to grow and is by no means filled out. Ran 7.29 and was 88mph from the outfield. Ball has good carry and life. Advanced plus arm for his age. At the plate has simple no load approach but lighting quick hands. Had consistent contact. Had a impressive 92mph exit velocity. On the mound he has big potential as well. 84-86mph. Fastballs were consistently down at the knees. Slider was 70-72mph and short in nature. Well above average feel for the change at his age. Smooth arm action and quick arm. Will be one of the most highly sought after recruits in Michigan.
To repeat what I said in the Clementi thread, I've been told Weiserburger has a family tie to Michigan, although I haven't been able to confirm exactly what. The obvious guess is that he's related to—perhaps a grandson of—LongLiveBo confirms that Weisenburger is indeed a grandson of the legendary Jack Weisenburger who played both baseball and football at Michigan in the 1940s and was the starting fullback for the 1947 Mad Magicians team. He was the MVP of the 1948 Rose Bowl. He was also the captain of the 1948 baseball team. Seth published a terrific profile of/interview with Weisenburger last August.
Weisenburger played baseball at U-M under long-time head coach Ray Fisher. So the younger Jack Weisenburger will play in the stadium named for his grandfather's coach at Michigan.
One other note, according to the U-M baseball record book, it appears that the younger Jack's father was a member of Michigan's baseball team in 1976.
Michigan now has commits from the #6 (Karl Kauffmann—Hello post), #40 (Weisenburger), and #49 (Clementi) prospects in PBR's 2016 rankings for their ten-state coverage area.
photo from PBR
In for a unofficial visit today on Michigan baseball's first day of practice for the 2014 season, Dominic Clementi has given a verbal commitment to the Maize and Blue, becoming the second player to pledge to the 2016 class. He's a 6-1, 170-lb. outfielder out of Arrowhead H.S. in Hartland, Wisconsin (in the western suburbs of Milwaukee). He reportedly had also considered Illinois and Iowa.
Prep Baseball Report, which has Clementi ranked #6 in the state of Wisconsin for the 2016 class and #49 overall in their 10-state coverage area, posted this scouting report following the Class of 2016 Top Prospect Games in July 2013:
Athletic build, lanky frame, 6-foot-1, 170-pounds, projectable frame. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, short stride. Active lower half, solid balance. Advanced bat speed, creates bat lag, whip through the zone. Short path, slightly uphill, occasional gap to gap approach. High level defender in the outfield, plays through the ball aggressively, clean exchange. Plus arm from the outfield, loose arm action, over the top slot, carries well, 88 mph from the outfield. Clementi is one of the top outfield defenders in his class, showed excellent range. High level bat speed, showed the ability to hit at a consistent rate.
Clementi joins Michigan's first 2016 commit, right-handed pitcher Karl Kauffmann (Hello post), who's ranked #1 in Michigan and #6 overall by PBR.
I'm not sure when Michigan last had a player from Wisconsin on its roster (there are none currently), but seeing the coaching staff successfully delve into that territory is interesting given that the University of Wisconsin no longer fields a D-I baseball team (they do have a club team).
Dominic Clementi (source)
Baseball America has been releasing their top 10 prospects for each organization and today was all about the Tigers. If this is too far off the beaten path then so be it, but for stitch-heads pitchers and catchers report in just over a month so I thought maybe this could get some traction.
- Nick Castellanos
- Devon Travis
- Bruce Rondon
- Robbie Ray
- Jake Thompson
- Jonathon Crawford
- Corey Knebel
- Eugenio Suarez
- Domingo Leyba (? Who?)
Link for those inclinded to read some of Ben Badler's thoughts.
Home to the West Michigan Whitecaps, in Grand Rapids. Fire apparently started on the executive suite level. The first baseline section of the suite level has collapsed down on to lower stadium seating.
Edit: Sorry was on iphone and couldn't update title