"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Goings. Most of Michigan's players have signed their contracts so far, and there's also been at least one player sign on with an independent league. A breakdown:
- Tyler Burgoon: Everett Aquasox (Short Season Class-A Northwest League)
- Alan Oaks: Gulf Coast League Marlins (Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Jupiter, FL)
- Chris Berset: Billings Mustangs (Rookie-level Pioneer League, Billings, MT)
- Matt Miller: Helena Brewers (Rookie-level Pioneer League, Helena, MT)
- Ryan LaMarre: Dayton Dragons (Class A Midwest League, Dayton, OH)
- Mike Dufek: Normal CornBelters (Independent Frontier League, Normal, IL)
To my understanding, all of the MLB draft picks are now currently signed and on their respective rosters (even if Burgoon may not show up on MiLB just yet). Dufek will also try to extend his playing days, by playing in the independent league. He may get lucky and get a free agent type deal to go to the MiLB, he may not. May he be lucky enough to get his wish.
I imagine this is probably it as far as players with a baseball future. Katzman may show up on some independent league roster, but the rest of the seniors might just be done.
In another note, Miller may have a chance to face Berset as early as next week as Helena hosts Billings for a three game set starting Monday June 28. For those of you in exotic Montana, perhaps a trip could be in store for you? I mean, what else are you going to do in Montana? Fight grizzly bears (I'm reminded of a long-lost haloscan thread on the merits of the grizzly bear population in Montana and the political risk of pissing them off.)? No, I thought not.
Comings. With the somewhat unexpected early departure of Matt Miller, and with all of the other juniors that were drafted leaving, Michigan had at least one athlete worth giving a scholarship to, so HELLO Jake Engels. Engels comes to Michigan from Portage Northern High School, where he had quite the career:
Engels went 24-7 while earning three varsity letters at Portage Northern. During his senior campaign, he went 11-3 with a sparkling 0.89 earned-run average and 68 strikeouts to lead the Huskies to a district title. As a sophomore, he went 6-3 and earned All-SMAC honorable mention. In his first season as a letterwinner, Engels went 7-1 with a 2.66 ERA and was tabbed to the All-SMAC Central Division team. Engels also excelled in the classroom, earning honor roll each year and high honors during his senior year.
I have to imagine that Engels has had a scholarship offer in the bag for quite a while now. The Big Ten doesn't allow over signing, which means Engels wasn't allowed to be offered a scholarship until one of the early exiting juniors signed their pro contract. Now that all of them are out, Engels is in. The above picture is Jake and the District Trophy, partially won on his arm.
In terms of Jake's role next season, I wouldn't be surprised to see him redshirt. Pitching is a premium, and with him not being a drafted player, I think it's reasonable to think he won't bolt after three years.
Comings, with more awards. Also on the baseball recruiting front is the recent release of the All-Michigan teams. Michigan baseball recruits Alex Lakatos (previous post here) was the biggest winner, making the All-Michigan Dream team and Division 1 First Team. Lakatos was generally ridiculous on the mound this season, including a no-hitter where he struck out 19. Michigan was also represented with the previously mentioned Jake Engels on the Division 1 First Team and outfielder Zach Fish on the Division 2 First Team.
Fish batted .473 with 12 home runs, nine doubles and four triples. The junior shortstop, committed to the University of Michigan, totaled 61 hits, 60 runs and 57 RBIs, and was walked 31 times (11 intentionally). He also was 27-for-29 in stolen-base attempts, and as a right-handed pitcher finished 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA and six saves.
"I think a lot of (the run-producing stats) don't really fall on me. I think they fall on the guys that were ahead of me (in the order), and at the end of the order, too," said Fish, who was coming off a monster weekend with the Cincinnati-based Midland Redskins, going 12-for-18 with one homer, a triple, three doubles and 10 RBIs.
I'm liking those numbers. He's very likely to make a push into the order next season with LaMarre and Nick Urban both graduating. If he can put up numbers like that, Michigan will be in great shape.
Summer Ball. The summer seasons all kicked off over the last two weeks. Many of Michigan's players are doing pretty well. Garrett Stephens, Patrick Biondi, and Kevin Krantz (back from his broken thumb) have lit up my RSS feed with good news. I'll have a list of everyone's location as soon as I track everyone down.