in town for free camps
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?
Daily has an article out on the 2013 Michigan baseball recruiting class. They claim the class is 16-strong, with two signees not previously mentioned on mgoblog—both junior college transfers from California:
- Jason Deitrich: 6-7 right-handed pitcher. Junior college transfer from Golden West College. His profile page there says he went 5-4 with a 4.57 ERA in 2013. He started out at Long Beach State, before his one year at Golden West.
- Jackson Glines: 6-0, 185-pound outfielder. Junior college transfer from Fresno City College. In 2013 Glines batted .373 with 4 HR and 29 RBI. This article on his commitment to Michigan has more details on his two years at Fresno City.
The Daily article also says Michigan has 30 players returning from last season, plus the 16 newcomers, which would put them well above the 35-man roster limit (which needs to be reached by the day before the first scheduled game). Anyone know if this is unusual? It's possible that several of the returning players are walk-ons, so it may be that the number of players on some type of scholarship is well below 46.
6-2, 175-lb. left-handed pitcher Michael Hendrickson announced on Twitter last night his commitment to Michigan. He's a rising senior at Saline High and is (to my knowledge) the 10th commit for Michigan baseball in the 2014 class (this thread has a chart listing the other nine).
Hendrickson is a good looking 2014 prospect. Standing at 6-foot-2 already he seems like he may have more to grow. From the mound Hendrickson was up to 83 MPH with his fastball and his breaking ball had some late tilt. He threw that pitch between 68-69 MPH. He threw his changeup for strikes as well, a pitch that he kept down nicely. Hendrickson also plays for Saline a perennial state title contender so he is sure to know the game.
In a May 2013 rundown, they had this to say:
Hendrickson struck out 13 hitters last night against Dexter. He sat between 82-84 mph early on with three pitches for strikes. Hendrickson, a Midwest Futures Games participant last summer, has been rounding into form recently.
I don't know where PBR has him ranked, but Michigan Baseball Prospects has Hendrickson at #21 in the 2014 class.
The latest Michigan baseball commit is Nick Plummer, a 5-10, 185-lb., left-hand-hitting outfielder out of Birmingham Brother Rice, class of 2015. Plummer attended last week's Top Prospect Games, an invite-only showcase held at Ray Fisher Stadium. Presumably, his performance there led to a Michigan scholarship offer and then to his commitment today.
Last month, PBR included Plummer among four in-state "impact prospects" for 2015:
Nick Plummer, OF, Brother Rice HS, 2015 - Plummer has been impressive thus far this spring and arguably has one of the most advanced approaches in the Class of 2015. Most noticeably, Plummer has been extremely aggressive on the basepaths. The patient Plummer is hitting .323 on the year with 31 walks and only 17 strikeouts. He has swiped 18 bags and only been caught 3 times at an 85% success rate. Plummer's approach allows him to carry a quiet and calm confidence about him. He, too, will be attending Top Prospect Games and Midwest Futures this summer.
And here's a bit of hyperbolic prose from Scott Burnstein in a MI Prep Zone profile titled Nick the Quick:
The best way to describe Plummer's talent is 5-TOOL!!!
My boy Nick the Quick has speed, strength, athleticism, a killer clutch bat and a sick arm from the outfield.
Plummer earned a spot as a starter on the state powerhouse Warriors varsity roster as only a ninth-grader and Brother Rice skipper Bob Riker has shown nothing but confidence in his talented young star, throwing him into the fire right off the bat, so to speak, hitting him at the top of his order.
Plummer helped lead Brother Rice to the state Division 1 title game this season, where they lost to Bay City Western (featuring 2013 Michigan signee Brett Adcock). Plummer also plays quarterback for Brother Rice, and his gridiron skills are featured in this highlight video.
EDIT: Forgot to note that Plummer is a high school teammate of Ty Kiafoulis, a 2014 Brother Rice outfielder who committed to Michigan in April.
EDIT2: Prep Baseball Report currently has Plummer ranked #7 in the state of Michigan in the 2015 class.
Last Monday (June 3), the Michigan baseball program secured its second commit in the 2015 class, Nick Azar, a 6-3, 205-lb. shortstop out of Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett High School. He joins Charlie Donovan (Hello post) in that class.
Info on Azar is limited. Prep Baseball Report, which doesn't currently have him in their top 10 for the state of Michigan in 2015, posted this brief bit in a recruiting rundown:
Nick Azar, SS, Univ. Liggett HS, 2015- Azar is an outstanding hockey player in addition to his baseball abilities. Azar becomes the fourth commitment in the state from the Class of 2015. He still has a ways to go in terms of polish but he stands at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds and has solid tools. Azar committed to Michigan on Monday.
Liggett is playing Concord tomorrow in an MHSAA Division 4 state tournament quarterfinal. The bracket for that division can found here.
In Division 1 (bracket here), four of the eight teams remaining feature Michigan signees or commits on their rosters. Bay City Western (Brett Adcock) faces Rockford, Temperance Bedford (Jackson Lamb) plays Howell, and U-D Jesuit (T.J. Shook and Harrison Wenson) is matched up against Sterling Heights Stevenson (Brandon Hughes).
2014 Michigan commit Drew Lugbauer helped lead Arlington to the New York state semifinals. MSG Varsity has a rundown and highlights of the team's loss in the semis, including an interview with Lugbauer.
Last month, a local Toledo-area newspaper called The Press published a nice feature article on another 2014 commit, Jayce Vancena—Michigan-bound Vancena: "Work hard, stay humble." Here's an excerpt:
“Michigan was always my No. 1 the whole time, and once they did that, I knew I didn’t want to wait, I knew I wanted to be a Michigan Wolverine,” continues Jayce. “I’ve been up to Ann Arbor a couple of times now to meet the coaches and players, and they’ve been awesome. The baseball field is just beautiful up there, the locker room is awesome, and they have an academic hall that has tutors in every subject…just for the athletes. That is what is so great about it. It’s all academics first, and baseball second.
“Out of all the players I’ve met, the one that stands out the most is fifth-year senior Ben Ballentine,” offers Vancena. “He’s just another one of those guys who loves the game of baseball and just plays it with so much heart and passion. That’s the way I try to be. I’m still the same guy who goes out to the mound every game, and plays with all of my heart and passion. I work hard to give my best effort every time I’m out there. I haven’t changed at all.
“I’ve been a Michigan fan my whole life, I’ve bled maize and blue since the day I was born, and that day Michigan offered me a scholarship…it showed me that all of my hard work over the years had really paid off to help me achieve my lifelong dream of playing college baseball,” he concludes.
Finally, I'm throwing this item in as well, even though it's not strictly about recruiting. Chris Webb of the B1G Baseball blog spoke to Erik Bakich earlier today and got some good insight into future Michigan baseball scheduling, specifically some big-name additions for 2014 and beyond.
The 2014 schedule is highlighted by a three-game set against the Houston Cougars during the second weekend of the season. After playing in the Lone Star State Michigan heads to the Irish Classic hosted by Notre Dame where such elite programs as UCLA and NC State, both participants in the 2013 College World Series, have committed to play. Michigan’s Big Ten bye week will flip in 2014, instead of occurring at the beginning of the conference schedule the Wolverines end the regular season with a bye which features a visit from Kansas.
2015 tentatively features a return visit to Kansas, a series against Oklahoma State in Ann Arbor, a season opener at Pepperdine, and a trip to Gainesville for a series versus Florida. Tentative plans for 2016 include a season-opening series at North Carolina and a return visit to Oklahoma State.
The spring signing period begins tomorrow for baseball and many other sports, and perhaps the Michigan program will be issuing an official release on their 2013 signees later this week or soon thereafter. In the meantime, late last month, Erik Bakich and his staff secured their ninth 2014 commit, Ty Kiafoulis.
Hello: Ty Kiafoulis
OF, Birmingham Brother Rice (MI) — 6-5, 230 lbs.
Committed: March 2013
- Perfect Game: grade of 8 ("potential draft pick and/or excellent college prospect")
- Prep Baseball Report: not known
- Michigan Baseball Prospects: ranked #14 in the state
Scouting Report: from his PBR profile, posted Feb. 2013:
Kiafoulis is a hulking presence, checking in at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds. He showed extremely well overall in the outfield. His throws were accurate and showed some carry. But Kiafoulis excels at the plate. He is athletic and has a swagger in the box. And for a big man, he has a very short compact stroke. Kiafoulis also showed that he can run well for his size (7.03).
And here's a bit more on Kiafoulis and his commitment from a MIPrepZone article:
“Getting the decision taken care of this early is exciting and takes a lot of pressure off for the next two years,” said Kiafoulis of accepting his offer from the Wolverines. “Michigan is a great school with a great tradition and the baseball team is on the way up, so to be a part of all that is an awesome feeling and something I’m extremely looking forward to.”
In Brother Rice’s season-opening doubleheader sweep of Grosse Pointe North on Tuesday, Kiafoulis showed off his power and quick bat, clubbing three hits and four RBI in the set of wins, highlighted by a towering three-run homer in the first game of the day.
His head coach Bob Riker is fast to compliment his rising batsmen and his college selection.
“Ty has big-time potential, we’re talking a very high ceiling with the kind of player he could end up becoming,” Riker said. “He’s a natural hitter with pop in his bat and a good eye at the plate. I think it’s a great fit for both of them. They’re (Michigan) fortunate to get his commitment.”
2014 and 2015 Commits
Below are charts listing the known Michigan baseball commits for 2014 and 2015. There are a number of links in the PG and PBR columns to profile pages at those sites. Cursoring over the underlined text in the rightmost column will cause boxes to pop up with a scouting report on the player (taken from one of the sites linked).
EDIT: The charts wouldn't display properly here, so I've inserted them as replies below.