gambling establishment etc
The early signing period came and went without Michigan issuing a press release on the signees; they perhaps will do so following the regular signing period in the spring. In any event, it appears that the new staff signed about a dozen prospects and did a great job of hanging onto several players who had committed under Rich Maloney, as well as getting LOIs from several others in the short time they had to work with. The focus here is on 2013, but Erik Bakich and company have already also secured several 2014 commits and one from 2015. Their success on the recruiting trail has led to talk about a faster-than-expected turnaround for the program. In a Q&A posted in November, B1G Baseball blogger Chris Webb got this response from Jordan Banfield, a Texas Rangers scout and coach of an Ann Arbor travel team:
CW: Under Bakich, Michigan has been extremely aggressive and in those early classes [meaning 2014 and 2015] they surged to the front of the conference. Being in that region, what have you noticed first-hand with the approach Michigan has led by recruiting coordinator Sean Kenny?
JB: Aggressive is certainly the right term. They locked up the top 2013 in Michigan within a couple weeks of being hired and haven’t stopped getting commits since. Having only been on campus for a few months now and with the sheer number of guys they’re getting it’s obvious those guys are really hitting the road.
I think the biggest difference I see with this staff is that they have three coaches who are always out seeing guys. When your entire staff recruits it makes an incredible difference in terms of how much ground you can cover. With the number of kids they’re bringing in from across the country and some 2012 guys who look like early contributors I think there’s the potential for a quick turnaround in Ann Arbor.
This post covers just the seven in-state signees as it proved unwieldy to include the entire class. The signees from outside Michigan will be covered in a separate post. Following the intro below are additional (mostly recent) links and quotes relating to the signees.
The In-State Signees and Their Rankings
Last month, Prep Baseball Report posted a nice summary of Michigan's in-state signees that includes a brief scouting report on each player and links to their PBR profile pages where further information is often available. Below is their list of the seven recruits with their PBR rankings. Michigan signed four of PBR's top 10 in-state prospects, including Jackson Lamb, who is ranked #9 overall by PBR (overall meaning the eight-state region that the site covers).
Brett Adcock LHP-6-1-190 (Bay City Western HS)
PBR State Rank: 3
Overall Rank: 31
Carmen Benedetti 1B/LHP- (Grosse Point South HS)
PBR State Rank: 20
Overall Rank: 150
Hector Gutierrez SS/RHP-6-0-165 (Detroit Western International HS)
PBR State Rank: 9
Overall Rank: 93
Jackson Lamb RHP/OF-6-6-196 (Temperance-Bedford, Mich. / Bedford HS)
PBR State Rank: 1
Overall Rank: 9
TJ Shook RHP-6-3-190 (University of Detroit Jesuit HS)
PBR State Rank: 5
Overall Rank: 38
Johnny Slater OF-6-1-170 (Southfield Lathrup HS)
PBR State Rank: 33
Harrison Wenson C-6-3-225 (University of Detroit Jesuit HS)
PBR State Rank: 17
Overall Rank: 192
Three of Michigan's signees figure in the top 10 of Michigan Baseball Prospects' 2013 rankings:
From MLive: Bay City Western's Brett Adcock signs with Michigan—includes a brief video; here's a quote from his coach:
Coach Tim McDonald: “It doesn’t take a baseball genius to figure out he’s very talented and very gifted in terms of natural ability. He’s dominating when things are right, and I’m sure that’s why Michigan is taking a chance on him. He has a huge upside.”
I couldn't find anything recent for Gutierrez, so instead here's a video of him pitching, from the Detroit Arsenal RBI site.
Mick McCabe wrote a nice feature on Lamb for the Free Press, focusing in part on his choosing baseball over basketball. Also, as the article mentions, Lamb is likely to be selected in the 2013 draft, so there's a possibility he won't end up playing for Michigan—maybe a good possibility given his choice of words when asked about it:
His shot at baseball is so good, he will likely be chosen in the baseball draft, but he might not be a high pick since signing to attend U-M.
"You can't really tell until it actually happens," Lamb said. "You don't want to get your hopes up too much and then you're disappointed. Worse case scenario, I go to Michigan, which is a great opportunity."
MLB Prospect Guide has Lamb ranked #223 on its list of the top 300 prospects for the 2013 draft. (Side note: Michigan junior outfielder Michael O'Neill is listed at #56.)
One last item on Lamb: In the B1G Baseball Q&A mentioned above, Banfield selected Lamb as one of the top Big Ten commits in the 2013 class:
CW: Not every standout participates in fall ball, Michigan commit Jackson Lamb, for example, was not in Jupiter. With all prospects on the table, as the fall concludes how would you rank the top five or so Big Ten commits out of the Great Lake states that you’ve seen?
JB: Assuming we’re talking strictly about the 2013 class, Farmer and Lamb to me are in a league of their own as prospects.
I talked quite a bit about Farmer earlier, Jackson Lamb is a guy that isn’t all that well known nationally because so much of his time has been spent playing basketball and not traveling the country attending showcases/tournaments. We’re talking about a talent that doesn’t come through the state of Michigan very often.
First off, he’s 6’7 and extremely athletic, a legitimate 2-way player in college, people don’t think guys that tall can hit, well I’m here to tell you he can. His swing is incredibly short for being as big as he is and he’ll be an above average defender in right. As a pro prospect he’s obviously a pitcher who is extremely raw right now but throws strikes and I have no problem projecting him to throw 95-98 with low effort. Everyone knows about Trey Ball who’s way more polished than Jackson but the tools really aren’t that far off. Presently Farmer is way closer to being a B1G contributor on the mound, but in the long run I can’t pass on Lamb.
Here's a quote from a U of D Jesuit signing day press release:
Shook did not disappoint in 2012 either. The number 5 ranked player in the state of Michigan according to Prep Baseball Report, Shook was named to the All League and All District teams in 2012.“I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. It has always been a dream of mine to play at a high level Division I university. I am really looking forward to playing under Coach Bakich and the rest of his staff.” Shook adds, “Go Blue!”
A MIPrepZone signing day article features a brief video and this:
“I’m very excited to become a Michigan Wolverine,” said Slater after penning his letter of intent. “I focused on improving my skills every year since I was a freshman and that focus paid off. I’ve made a big jump in my play and I intend to keep making further jumps over the next year, prior to getting up to Ann Arbor.”
Slaters’ versatility might be his most appealing attribute. A smooth and savvy lefty, Slater is a specimen, terrorizing opponents whether pitching, hitting, running the base paths or on defense in centerfield.
Last season, he sported a whopping .576 batting average.
Darren Mosley, the Chargers’ skipper, can’t say enough about his star player.
“Johnny is a great kid, a great baseball player and a great student, what more can you ask for?,” he said. “He’s incredibly humble and he leads by example. We’ve put a lot of pressure on him these past couple of seasons and he’s always delivered.”
Wenson, a teammate of Shook at U of D Jesuit, also figured in the press release linked above:
Wenson is coming off an All-State season, as well as being named to the Dream Team in 2012, after hitting over .400 during the spring.“I chose the University of Michigan because I have grown up in a Michigan house. My father played baseball there and I am proud to carry on that tradition,” Wenson said. “I feel honored to play at such an elite university and am excited to learn under Coach Bakich and his staff.”
Wenson's father, Paul Wenson, played baseball at Michigan in 1985–86 before spending three years in the Detroit Tigers minor-league system, including playing for the Mud Hens for part of the 1989 season (see his Baseball-Reference.com page).
Since putting together this baseball recruiting update, I discovered another Michigan baseball commit, and this prospect may be the most highly ranked in the 2013 class, other than perhaps Jackson Lamb. Ethan Cohen is a 5-11, 180-pounder from Thousand Oaks, California, attending Keystone Academy. He verbally committed to Michigan in August.
Cohen is a speedy outfielder with impressive rankings from Perfect Game: #448 nationally, #80 in California, and #86 at his position on the national level. His Perfect Game profile includes this scouting report from June 2012:
Report: Ethan Cohen is a 2013 OF with a 5-11 180 lb. frame from Thousand Oaks, CA who attends Keystone Academy. Long lean athletic build, room to get stronger. 6.65 runner, aggressive in the outfield, shows his athleticism, long loose arm action, very good arm strength. Left handed hitter, smooth easy swing, has present bat speed with more to come with added strength, shows gap power, stays inside and drives the ball to left centerfield. Toolsy player with lots of projection, should continue to improve. Good student.
PG Grade: 9.5
The 9.5 grade (out of 10) is impressive, as PG's rating system has a 9 as a "potential top 10 round pick and/or highest level college prospect" and a 10 as a "potential very high draft pick and/or elite level college prospect." The downside, of course, is the possibility that Cohen does end up being a high 2013 draft pick and goes pro right out of high school.
Hello: Jayce Vancena
Prep Baseball Repot (PBR) reported in mid-October the verbal commitment for the 2014 class of Jayce Vancena, a 6-4, 210-lb. right-handed pitcher out of Lake H.S. (near Millbury, Ohio, southeast of Toledo). His PBR profile has this scouting report:
Vancena is a big, projectable right-handed pitcher and definite follow over the next two years. On the mound, he uses an over the top arm slot and short arm action. With his delivery, he hides the ball well. His fastball sits between 79-82 mph. When throwing his 59-62 mph curveball, he tends to slow down his arm speed. His changeup, which sits between 69-72 mph, shows some fading action. At the plate, the right-handed hitter shows pull tendencies has he creates solid contact with power potential.
Hello: Oliver Jaskie
Also in mid-October, another 2014 prospect committed to Michigan: Oliver Jaskie, a 6-4 southpaw pitcher from Forest Hills H.S. (Ada Twp., near Grand Rapids). In addition his profile, PBR has this brief scouting report from a September scouting notes item:
Jaskie continues to show that he knows how to pitch and pitch effectively. His breaking ball was tighter than what he have seen in the past and his change up again was a really effective pitch. His change is advanced for such a young age.
An earlier rundown indicates that PBR had Jaskie ranked #12 in the state:
Jaskie continues to improve this summer. A Midwest Futures Games invitee, Jaskie is an intriguing lefty that is only going to get better. His velo might not jump off the page right now but he knows how to pitch. His changeup is his best pitch and he uses his height, 6-foot-4, to create good tilt. Jaskie is currently ranked No. 12 in his class.
Hello: Grant Reuss
Apparently the most highly ranked of this trio of 2014 commits is Grant Reuss, another left-handed pitcher, who's 6-5, 210 lbs., out of Cranbrook Kingswood in Bloomfield Hills. Reuss verbally committed to the Wolverines earlier today. PBR has Reuss as their #3 prospect in Michigan for 2014 and offered the following scouting report in this July rundown:
Reuss is one of the best lefties in his class and currently checks in at No. 4 [now #3] ] in the class of 2014. He has been up to 89 mph in the past and he was 86-88 mph on this day. Reuss continues to raise his stock. Standing at 6-foot-6 Reuss is long and loose. He also has the makings of a good breaking ball. Consistency in his delivery will be the key to Reuss' development.
MBP ranks Reuss #2 in the state, and they also have a profile page for him with several videos.
With the addition of these three commits, Erik Bakich now has six commits for the class of 2014, with the others being Jake Bivens, Brandon Hughes, and Drew Lugbauer (see the previous recruiting update for details).
Michigan's 2013 baseball class includes about a dozen commits, including Ethan Cohen.
When Erik Bakich made an appearance on WTKA a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned having a total of 12 commits for 2013. Here's a link to the podcast and an embed:
These 12 include several who have been noted here with Hello posts, including Jackson Lamb, Johnny Slater, Nick Kowalczuk, Keith Lehmann, Hector Gutierrez, and Trey Miller, as well as some earlier committed prospects such as Brett Adcock, T.J. Shook, and Harrison Wenson (listed in Michigan Baseball Prospects' 2013 rankings). (Adcock was the subject of this recent Prep Baseball Report interview.) Another 2013 Michigan commit is Carmen Benedetti, although he's not listed as such in his Perfect Game profile.
Here's one of the other 2013 verbals, who committed in mid-September:
Hello: Ramsey Romano
Romano is a 6-3, 185-lb shortstop out of Valhalla H.S. (El Cajon, CA). Here's his Perfect Game profile. Romano is also the QB on his school's football team, and there's now some speculation about him possibly switching to football at the college level:
Today, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior is the section’s leading passer, having thrown for 1,571 yards in five games, nearly 400 yards more than the No. 2 quarterback.....
He has already committed to play shortstop for the University of Michigan’s baseball team. That may change, though, as colleges study tape of his breakout football season.
“If something for football were to come up, I would obviously have to consider it, talk to my parents and make the best decision,” he said.
In addion to the long-committed Brandon Hughes (PG profile; Hughes is ranked #5 in the state of Michigan by both PBR and MBP), two more 2014 commitments have since come to light:
Hello: Drew Lugbauer
Lugbauer, according to his PG profile, is a 6-3, 190-lb. catcher from Arlington H.S. in Pleasant Valley, New York. Couldn't find much else about him.
Hello: Jake Bivens
Bivens, who just committed yesterday, is a 6-0, 175-lb. middle infielder from Battle Creek Lakeview H.S. He's ranked #7 in the state by PBR and #9 by MBP. Here's his PG profile and his PBR profile. PBR has this scouting report:
Battle Creek Lakeview HS, SS/2B, Class of 2014: Bivens is one of the top players in the Class of 2014 who has the ability to pick it in the middle infield. The 6-foot, 175-pound agile athlete displays smooth hands, superior glove actions and demonstrates the ability to turn two on either side of the bag. Bivens lateral ability is a plus which assists to define him as one of the top middle infielders in his class. At the plate, Bivens swings it from the left side. He has a balanced neutral stance and takes quality approaches allowing him to spray the field. Running home to first on a bunt Bivens is a speedy 3.8 and averages 4.1.
This PBR item also indicated the other schools he considered:
Bivens was a Midwest Futures Games participant and has seen his stock continue to rise. After taking visits to Michigan, Michigan State, and Wake Forrest, Bivens decided to stay close to home and attend Michigan.
Bivens is another strong middle infielder in the state of Michigan. He has flown under the radar but Bivens has good upside. Bivens is one of the premier middle infielders in his class. He runs well (6.73 60-yard dash) and uses his athleticism at short to display some smooth footwork. He was 78 MPH across the diamond but that is sure to improve over time. At the plate, Bivens has excellent balance with gap to gap power. He consistently displayed pop to the opposite field and showed a "get-on-base" approach.
Just a final note: Bakich is also off to a good start on the 2015 class with the previously noted commitment of Charlie Donovan, ranked #2 in Illinois according to PBR.
Update on Donovan: PBR released new rankings for the Illinois class of 2015 and have bumped Donovan up to the #1 position.
Erik Bakich keeps reeling 'em in. And he has his first 2015 commit: Charlie Donovan, ranked #2 in the state of Illinois' 2015 class according to Prep Baseball Report:
IL: The first 2015 prospect is off the board, as SS Charlie Donovan (Westmont HS) commits to Michigan. Donovan is ranked No. 2 in Illinois.— Prep Baseball Report (@prepbaseball) August 30, 2012
Westmont is a western suburb of Chicago.
Here's about all the scouting-type info I could find on Donovan (from a PBR item from April 2012):
Charlie Donovan, Westmont HS, Class of 2015 came in for relief and might be one of the best freshmen in the state. The 6-fooot, 160-pound RHP/SS ran his fastball up to 83 mph and features a 69 mph breaking ball with tight spin and sharp break.
His travel team, Gravel Baseball, recently won the 15u Perfect Game World Series, with Donovan leading his team with 10 RBI during the tournament.
Original caption: Westmont's Charlie Donovan shifts from shortstop to pitch in relief in the Sentinels home game with Lisle on Monday, April 23, 2012 (photo source).
Hector Gutierrez has committed to play baseball at Michigan, according to Prep Baseball Report:
MI: No. 9 Hector Gutierrez, RHP/SS, Detroit Western International, 2013 commits to play at the University of Michigan.— Prep Baseball Report (@prepbaseball) August 17, 2012
Google led me to little information about Gutierrez. But in addition to being PBR's #9 player in the state of Michigan for 2013, Michigan Baseball Prospects has Gutierrez ranked #7 in their 2013 rankings. So along with Jackson Lamb, this is the second top-10 in-state player that Erik Bakich has landed in the short time since his hiring.
Original caption: Detroit Western Cowboys sophomore pitcher Hector Gutierrez tries to close out the 5th inning during the quarterfinal MHSAA baseball championship game in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. Photo source.