...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Former Michigan baseball ace Irving "Pro" Boim passed away a few days ago at age 92. He led the Wolverines to the 1942 Big Ten Championship, and after the war spent several years in the pros (though I think mostly the minor leagues). He even struck out Ted Williams twice in one game at a service game in Pensacola while he was still attending U-M (which got Williams to refer to him as "Joe College Fucking Rookie" after the game, lol)
His biggest accomplishment, IMO, was what he achieved in the classroom. Pro spent 40+ years as a gym teacher in Chicago and Ann Arbor. I was one of the fortunate ones to have him. Imagine having Red Berenson as your gym teacher. He was so passionate about sports, brought a wealth of knowledge and stories to tell from his own career, and would teach kids right, too. I remember a game of kickball where a girl ran up to kick the ball and it hit the bottom of her heel and the ball just trickled and kids were whining it was a bunt (no bunting), but he said fair ball. Some kids were whining back to class about it, so he took the time to come to our class and explained to them why it wasn't a bunt and set it straight. He was the best teacher a kid could ask for.
If anyone else on the board grew up in the A2 or Chicago areas, I hope you were lucky enough at some point to have him, too. RIP, Mr. Boim. You will be missed.
YouTube interview: Pro Boim on Babe Ruth called shot, striking out Ted Williams, playing in the minors. Definitely worth the 30 minutes if you got it. The aforementioned Ted Williams story is about halfway through. If someone could embed this, that'd be great!
Cuba has announced that athletes from all sports soon will be able to sign contracts with foreign leagues. This is huge news, a move that will change the landscape of baseball.
Thought I would open a thread as the Tigers finish the season with a three-game series in Miami tonight.
- The Tigers are within one game of the A's for home-field advantage in the ALDS
- Martinez will probably be catching
- Will Cabrera start?
Not sure what happened to the other open thread, but I didn't see anything in the mod action sticky.
Tigers up 1-0, bottom of the second. Scherzer on the mound for us.
Cleveland up 4-1 on the White Sox in the 5th.
With recruiting news beginning to pick up as prospects make official and unofficial visits during football season and as the early signing period for the 2014 class (Nov. 13–20) nears, this seemed like a good time for a baseball recruiting update, especially one focusing on 2014. Since I first posted the chart showing the 2014 commits in April, there have been two changes:
Michael Hendrickson: committed to the Wolverines in July (see Hello post).
Brandon Hughes: decommitted from Michigan and then committed to Michigan State in August. Hughes was the last of the Michigan commits who had originally pledged to former coach Rich Maloney, so this wasn't that surprising a development.
In the revised 2014 chart (posted in a reply for technical reasons), Hendrickson takes the place of Hughes, and the class remains nine-strong. I've updated the rankings as much as possible (lacking access to the pay-walled Perfect Game rankings, the only ones listed for that site are a couple that were reported at the time of the player's commitment). Michigan has three commits in PBR's overall top 50, covering a ten-state region:
- #18 Grant Reuss (#1 in Michigan)
- #46 Jayce Vancena (#7 in Ohio)
- #48 Rahman Williams (#11 in Illinois)
The chart includes a few new scouting reports (viewable by cursoring over the underlined text in the rightmost column), including this one for Williams, posted by Perfect Game in July:
Medium build with good strength in his lower half. Switch hitter, natural right hander, short rotational swing right handed, pull line drive contact, has some strength and bat speed. Open stance left handed, stays on his back side, short swing, contact approach. Sound infield actions, feet work well through the ball, light on his feet, shows good body control and range to the ball, good arm strength.
At least two of Michigan's commits appear to be in the conversation as potential 2014 MLB draft picks. Reuss is one, as PBR indicated in a June article on ten 2014 players "creating buzz on summer circuit":
Reuss continues to climb on Major league boards. . . . Really high ceiling. Arm works well. Up to 89mph for us. Command needs to improve to really be considered elite. Still feeling out his mechanics. Breaking ball spins well (71mph). Potential to be swing and miss pitch. Should be a high follow for major league scouts this coming spring.
Another is Drew Lugbauer. At the Nine Baseball site, Jeff Sullivan placed Lugbauer at #38 in his top 100 high school prospects for the 2014 MLB draft. Kiley McDaniel, a national baseball analyst for Scout, ranked Lugbauer #13 in his list of high school MLB draft prospects from the Northeast, projecting him as a potential 5th-rounder. Lugbauer was also included in Jonathan Mayo's rundown of top performers at a recent showcase hosted by the Mets at Citi Field:
Left-handed hitting catcher with power. Big and strong, good arm strength, other parts of his defense are developing.
Finalist for Ockimey
Michigan apparently still has scholarship money left for the 2014 class as they are in the final three for a top uncommitted prospect from Philadelphia, Josh Ockimey. A 6-4, 220-pound first baseman out of Neumann-Goretti H.S., Ockimey had originally committed to Arkansas but decommitted in August when the Razorbacks' associate head coach, Todd Butler, left to become the head coach at Wichita State. Not coincidentally, Wichita State is one of Ockimey's finalists, and he'll take an official visit there this coming weekend. He officially visited Michigan this past weekend and Indiana the weekend before. According to what he told Chris Webb in this blog post, Ockimey will choose from those three by October 5.
PBR has Ockimey ranked #6 in Pennsylvania and #53 overall, and they offered this assessment in a hot list posted earlier this month:
Ockimey is a physical beast in the box, standing at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He has some holes in his swing, but shows raw power and is athletic. He has capable actions at first base with the potential to put it all together and be a run producing, middle-of-the-order hitter at next level.
He's also slotted at #98 in that Nine Baseball list of top high school prospects for the 2014 MLB draft.
That post from Webb mentions some 2016 prospects who have visited Michigan recently, including Dion Henderson (see PBR profile), a left-hand pitcher out of Dearborn Divine Child ranked #4 in the state by PBR. He's planning to make his college choice by the end of 2013. He holds a Michigan offer, with other possible destinations including Kentucky, LSU, and Vanderbilt. Another prospect recently offered by Michigan is Henderson's high school teammate Collin Goslin (PBR profile), also a lefty but in the class of 2015. PBR has Goslin ranked #3 in the state and #41 overall.
Note on title: The usual "Baseball Recruiting Update" for the main title seemed boring, so I tried to come up with something different. Also considered "Fishin'"—any thoughts, other ideas?