I did not make this headline up
According to ESPN, Matt Miller, younger brother of current Wolverine Jack Miller, has committed to Wisconsin. He had interest from UM but never gained an offer. Best of luck to Matt except for when we play him.
Link ($) - behind paywall but they give his name and enough info in the snippet.
If there's one piece to next year's Michigan baseball team that I will miss most, it won't be Ryan LaMarre or Tyler Burgoon. Those guys were likely to be 3-and-done from the time they set foot on campus. What I will miss most is Matt Miller.
Miller was drafted by the Brewers in the 5th round of this year's draft, surprisingly high considering his college career hadn't lived up to his billing, at least not until the last three weeks of the season. On Saturday, he did this:
The 2010 fifth-round pick allowed one hit -- a fifth-inning double by Oliver Santos -- over seven shutout frames as the Brewers edged the Billings Mustangs, 3-2, in 1 hour and 58 minutes. "This is definitely a first for me, throwing 61 pitches in seven innings," Miller said.
"My defense really stepped up for me when I needed them to," Miller said.
The Indiana native retired the final six batters he faced to improve to 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA. In addition to winning with grounders and popouts, Miller has the ability to miss bats. The 6-foot-6 righty has 31 strikeouts in eight starts and fanned eight over five innings in a June 29 win over the Mustangs.
"I go for the strikeout when I have the opportunity," he said.
The article also mentions that one of the 3 batters he hit was Michigan Alum Chris Berset.
Miller was likely poised to be the Friday night starter next season, rounding out the rotation with Sinnery and Brosnahan. Now Michigan is spending this off season finding a third weekend starter.
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.
Indy Star is reporting that Matt Miller has indeed signed with the Brewers. The 5th round draft pick will head to Helena, Montana to start at rookie ball.
Miller said his bonus was in the low six figures, and that he will report to Milwaukee's rookie league affiliate in Helena, Mont., on Sunday (the season starts June 21).
"It was the right opportunity for me and my family," said Miller, who plans on returning to school after the season. "Michigan's a great place, but this doesn't come around often, something like this."
This is a huge blow to Michigan's pitching staff as Miller figured prominently into the ace or #2 slot as a senior. He finished the season in dominant fashion, earning the #3 starting role with a few tremendous long relief appearances. He's been a high rated prospect for a few years, but he had struggled to put things together as a starter his first few years, well, at least until the last few weeks of this season.
This leaves Michigan with just Bobby Brosnahan from the weekend rotation that finished the season and Brandon Sinnery of the regular starters to return next year. Kolby Wood and Matt Gerbe will both return, but neither has much success as a starter. Ben Ballantine is the other returner who could likely earn a spot, but there's too little data on him as a starter to be certain right now.
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