Via the Kalamazoo Gazette:
In April, the Gull Lake all-state baseball player accepted a scholarship offer to the University of Michigan. Weeks later, he re-opened his recruitment.
Recently, Fish was invited to be the lone Michigan representative and labeled among the top 60 from the U.S. to partake in the Power Showcase International High School Home Run Derby Dec. 27-30 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
This afternoon in the main conference room at Gull Lake High School, Fish will sign a national letter-of-intent with Oklahoma State University.
It goes on to say they offered 70% scholarship, and that he was sold on the Big XII's ability to produce more pro players and the Big XII's 16-4 record against the Big Ten last year.
Today was early signing day for quite a few Michigan sports. Baseball is yet to publish the list of early signees, but I expect it out in the next few days.
Bad news on the baseball recruiting front this weekend as outfield prospect Zach Fish of Gull Lake High School (Richland, MI) has stepped back from his verbal commitment to the University of Michigan. Fish had previously committed to UM coach Rich Maloney in May to accept a 50% scholarship to the school he had been a fan of since he was a small kid.
Things have changed over the course of the summer. Fish now holds offers from Oklahoma State and Florida Gulf Coast, two solid baseball schools in more baseball-friendly weather states. On top of that, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Louisville are also showing interest. If they get involved with decent scholarship offers, any of those three would probably hold a huge upper hand on Michigan.
U-M is “still in the mix,” Fish noted. He admitted, however, some doubts crept in when a Wolverines coach was talking to the Cincinnati-based Midland Redskins organization for which Fish plays in the summer and did not mention that Fish was a U-M commit.
“You’d think that you would want it reflected on (the Redskins) roster that Zach has committed to your school,” Fish’s father, Duane Fish, said about the U-M coach. “You would think the first thing you would say is, ‘Zach Fish is ours, keep your hands off him.’”
Duane Fish said his son also had second thoughts about playing in a northern climate and concerns about not getting the exposure he might at a southern program.
Zach Fish said the phone call to U-M head coach Rich Maloney was “probably one of the most nerve-racking conversations I’ve had, just because I gave the man my word that I was going to be a Wolverine and I gave him my commitment and he gave me his.”
I'm not sure what to make of a coach not mentioning his commitment. Fish can't sign his letter of intent until the early signing period in November, and therefore, the program isn't allowed to discuss commitments. I'm missing the context here, so maybe there is something deeper to this.
As far as losing exposure, I think that's just talk. Michigan did just have an outfielder go in the first round after being listed as a preseason All-American. I'm sure Fish and his father are well aware of that, but it's definitely something the other schools are trying to sell.
If Michigan isn't able to re-secure the commitment from Fish, it's a pretty big loss for the program. Fish is one of the better position players to come out of Michigan in a few years, and Maloney unloaded the kitchen sink (50% scholarship is reserved for the best of the best).
Fish seemed like a lock to start as a freshman along side Biondi and O'Neill. If Michigan can't re-secure a commit, they do have a few other outfield options, but they'll probably try to secure another commit in this class.
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.
Image by Erik Holladay (Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette)
Already looking toward next year's recruiting class, Michigan has gotten it's first publically known commit from the class of 2011 in Gull Lake's Zach Fish.
Fish was a Gazette first-team all-area infielder as a sophomore, when he hit .423 with six homers, 31 RBIs and an .880 slugging percentage for the Maroon Giants. He posted a 5-0 pitching record.
As a Blue Devil, he's picked up where he left off. Fish is hitting at a .470 clip with a .909 slugging percentage, 35 runs, 33 RBIs, six doubles and four triples. He's 16-for-17 in stolen bases, and has a 1-0 pitching record and 0.66 ERA.
He's a short stop for Gull Lake, but he's also played outfield for his summer league teams. I wouldn't be surprised if that's where he was slated. The interesting other tidbit:
The junior recently accepted a significant scholarship offer from the University of Michigan, with whom he plans to sign in November.
"It's a lot of money," Fish said without revealing the specifics. "They have an All-American right now, his name is Ryan LaMarre, and he has the highest in-state offer. They said they'd match that in-state offer. For an in-state offer, it just shows a lot of respect coach (U-M's Rich Maloney) has and it's very, very, very, very nice."
North Carolina, Clemson, Louisville, Oregon, Mississippi and Tennessee were other heavy hitters with a close eye on Fish, a 6-foot, 185-pound utility player with good foot speed and a cannon-like arm.
Judging by his numbers, Fish has a pretty solid chance of being drafted, especially if he continues at that pace in his senior year. It's great to see Michigan lock down a local talent over the likes of any of those other power teams also recruiting Fish.