"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
Coach Rich Maloney did an interview with Brian Foley of College Baseball Daily a few days ago revealing some answers to many of this off season's pressing questions, including the starting rotation and left field, as well as the closer situation (Tyler Mills in the lead), the tough schedule, and the new bat standards for this season. Some great stuff and worth a read to get your mind off other things.
As far as the rotation,
Kolby Wood will be interesting to see. I haven’t decided yet on who the Friday night guy will be yet. Bobby Brosnahan had a really nice year in 2010 and we are expecting big things from Bobby, no question. On the flip side, Kolby Wood has been outstanding, had a great fall and has become one of our leaders. It’s going to be significant for our team to be successful that Kolby comes into his own this season. He is very capable and has a Major League arm. He needs to have that consistency.
He also mentions Travis Smith as a "wildcard," which seems an apt description of a guy who started so promising, yet fell apart last season as well as both summers. Sinnery just gets a short mention in the end, which somewhat concerns me. He, along with Brosnahan, was held back from some more competitive summer leagues in order to stay in Ann Arbor to focus on strength and conditioning. One really had to think there was a lot banking on him with Matt Miller's early departure.
As far as left field, Mike O'Neill gets the first mention with his electric bat. O'Neill is a nephew of former Yankee great Paul and comes in as one of Michigan's most heralded freshmen. Kevin Krantz is also in the mix, having almost having a breakout in place of Ryan LaMarre, a breakout cut short by a broken finger of his own.
Baseball season doesn't end with the College World Series. For most players, it continues all summer long. It's here, and the weight room in the fall, that players make their big jumps for next year. So with that in mind, we'll keep an eye on some Michigan players over the course of the summer.
With games starting over the last week, here's an overview of the destinations of Michigan players.
- Wareham Gatemen (Cape Cod) - Derek Dennis and Anthony Toth
- Butler Blue Sox (Prospect) - Ben Ballantine and Matt Broder
- Quincy Gems (Prospect) - John Lorenz
- Richmond RiverRats (Prospect) - Kevin Krantz and Garrett Stephens
- Anchorage Bucs (Alaska) - Coley Crank
- Lake Erie Monarchs (Great Lakes)- Travis Smith
- Lima Locos (Great Lakes) – Logan McAnallen, Cam Luther, and Tyler Mills
- Alexandria Beetles (Northwoods) - Patrick Biondi, Kevin Vangheluwe and Kolby Wood
- Winchester Royals (Valley League) - Kyle Clark
- Michigan Rams (AAABA) - Brandon Sinnery (really?), John DiLaura, and Sam Cleary (incoming freshman)
Not a lot of super interesting notes here. The one that really stands out is Brandon Sinnery pitching for the Rams. Nothing against the Rams, but Brandon seems like he'd be a bigger pick up for ANY other league. The Rams have been home to many of our freshmen who haven't seen playing time, not a guy who is poised to be Michigan's #2. This is a pretty large step down for Sinnery from his stint last summer with the Winchester Royals of the Valley League.
Lima, Alexandria, and Richmond continue to have multiple Wolverines. Coley Crank and John Lorenz both are sticking it out with their clubs from last year. Travis Smith moved from the Texas Collegiate League to the Great Lakes, and hopefully it serves him better. Last summer with the Brazos Valley Bombers was forgettable.
In the marquee division, Michigan sends two to the Cape, both with Wareham (Ryan LaMarre's club last season). Toth and Dennis appear to be working on their double play combos as regular players. Neither has hit very well, both around .285, but sometimes it takes time to get used to the wood bats.
Looking over the returning roster, a few guys I couldn't find.
- Ricky Samuel (P, So)
- Matt Gerbe (P, Sr)
- Bobby Brosnahan (P, Rs So) – Once was listed on Lima Locos roster, no longer.
- Michael Kershner (P, Rs Fr)
- Zach Johnson (C, Rs Fr)
- Ben Paskus (2B, Rs Fr)
Gerbe was in the Valley League last season, but he doesn't appear on any active roster I've been able to find. Brosnahan is also a strange one to be missing. He was with Lima last year. It could be that they're in summer school and will join a team later. As for now, it's unknown.
The other players on that list have yet to make an appearance in a game. Ricky Samuel is supposed to be a major part of the bullpen next season, so I'm somewhat surprised he's not on a roster somewhere.
I'll probably post an update on how seasons are going closer to the start of school, or if I hear about players joining teams late.
Saturday 3:35pm ET
Notes: Michigan is 102-45 all time.
Iowa is 2-1 in the tourney, 0-1 vs UM.
Michigan lost to Minnesota 4-3 in 11 innings in one of the most thrilling Big Ten Baseball games in this writer's recent memory. The loss was pretty tough to take, but at the same time, Michigan doesn't seem to be stunned. The Wolverines will face Iowa in the loser's bracket for a chance to face Minnesota again in the Championship rounds.
Follow the jump for extremely abbreviated preview.
Michigan took two of three games at Penn State this weekend to claim a #2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. While all three games had many great positives, the ending to game two is how this series will be remembered. Michigan held a 4 run lead going into the bottom of the 9th, and the bull pen collapsed.
Weekend recap, series thoughts, and a look at the Big Ten bracket after the jump
Michigan beat Ohio State on Friday and Sunday to secure one of the more exciting series wins in Ann Arbor in quite some times. This series saw surprises abound: a first round draft pick get scratched from the starting lineup with an injury, nearly every pitcher in this series pitched to or beyond their potential, great defense, and most importantly, the good guys coming out on top.
For full recap, follow the jump:
About being back… not so much. (image from MGoBlue)
If you would have asked me what the worst case scenario would be walking into the Iowa series, my answer would have been Jarred Hippen throws a complete game in the first half of the double header, and that momentum would carry Iowa through game two for Michigan to be swept on Friday. I would have then said that rain would cancel Saturday's game for the first Iowa sweep of Michigan in Ann Arbor in recent memory. Unfortunately, the first half of that prediction came true.
Luckily, Saturday had only overcast skies and Michigan was able to redeem themselves (somewhat) by salvaging a 1-2 weekend. Michigan exits the series half a game back of the Big Ten leading Buckeyes, who visit Ann Arbor next week. That's right people, it's HATE WEEK for the baseball team.
But before we get to that, we look at the Iowa series. Recaps after the jump: