Not a single update on UM alum and current Chicago Cub, Jake Fox? That's weak! Although Jake's had a rough spell the last week or two, he's energized the Cubs offense over the past 4-6 weeks.
8/9 Baseball Notes
- Clayton Richard was traded from the White Sox to the Padres in the Jake Peavy deal (sorry to hear about that Tigers fans). Richard had just come off back-to-back 8 inning gems (again, sorry Tiger fans) with the White Sox allowing just one run in each game. Now with the Padres, he's started 2 games, going 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. He also collected his first RBI as a batter this week.
- Also related to that trade, recent graduate Chris Fetter of the Padres minor league system was moved back down from Single A Fort Wayne TinCaps back to the Short Season A-Ball Eugene Emeralds to make room for another one of the pitching prospects from the trade. Fetter is 2-1 in 8 starts and one long relief appearance (a 4-inning save?) with a 2.57 ERA. His 47 Ks in 42 innings is impressive, but his numbers at Eugene definitely weighted the totals down.
- Bobby Korecky of the Diamondback's Reno Rattlers Triple A team had been dominating this year as their closer (13 saves by the all star break), but his season was ended due to Tommy John surgery this last week. The injury caused him to miss the Triple A All Star game.
- Rich Hill also is out for the season with shoulder surgery on his labram. He's expected back for spring training.
- Mike Cervenak (pictured to the right by Joe Gill of Express-Times Photo) continues to do great in Triple A for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the Phillies. Cervenak is hitting .294 with 57 RBIs and a .765 OPS. I'm still surprised he hasn't been traded by the Phillies. He's getting to the age where the Phillies probably won't be able to use him, especially behind Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz in the depth chart. He's a two time Triple A All Star as it is, some other team could use him.
- No new updates on the drafted recruits (previous update here). The last I've heard on each recruit is that they plan on being enrolled at Michigan in the fall. Supposedly, not even batting practice with Evan Longoria could sway Dennis from his commitment. The recruits could leave at any time until the season starts, much like Derek Jeter did back in the day. I'll keep my eye on transaction lists until the season starts.
Current Team/Player News
- Tyler Burgoon is also listed as the 18th best player this summer by Church Of Baseball.
- Michigan backstop Chris Berset has been named a finalist for the Great Britain baseball world cup team. What the hell this means? I have no idea, but it sounds awesome. I'll be investigating this further if he makes the 25 man roster which seems unlikely given the other catchers on the 40-man roster includes minor league guys for the most part.
- Yahoo! college baseball writer Kendall Rogers wrote this last week a report card for the BigTen teams last season. Perhaps it was his opening statement's stupidity (he seems to think the BigTen hasn't had very good success the last five or so years), but his grade of Michigan seemed a little off base.
Season analysis: The Wolverines entered the season with high hopes, but had much trouble establishing consistency in conference play. Michigan compiled a 9-15 conference record and actually still finished the season with an overall record of 30-25. If not for winning overall record, the Wolverines would’ve finished the season with an F. It was a season to forget for coach Rich Maloney and his players.
Michigan lost its top pitcher, top two hitters, and its entire infield over the off season. It lost it's closer and catcher for nearly half of the season. We didn't get our every day right fielder back until a month into the season. We lost our second baseman and on field leader for the last 2 weeks of the season. It's no surprise Michigan wasn't competing for the conference crown. I'm not saying we deserved higher than a C+, but to say the .500 record saved us from an F is a bit over the top.
Summer ball updates after the jump due to length
- Ryan LaMarre's season came to a close in the Cape Cod League playoffs. The Wareham Gatemen fell in the play-in game against Cotuit. Ryan ended the season batting .236, second on his team with enough at-bats to qualify for rankings (118). LaMarre started as the leadoff hitter for the Gatemen, but was moved to 6th later in the season. His team was the least productive at the plate, but still managed to make the playoffs.
- Tyler Burgoon's season is still going as the Y-D Red Sox secured a bye to the East Division finals. They are being played this weekend in a best 2-out-of-3 format. Tyler is the league save leader with 12. He threw in 17 games for 21.2 innings and held a 0.00 ERA until just last week. He was touched up for a run in a save and then three runs in a non-save situation (last game of the season). He still boasts a 1.69 ERA and 34 Ks (as many as most starters).
- Despite a 12 game winning streak, the Lima Locos trio season ended in the round-robin portion of the Great Lakes League playoffs. Anthony Toth was an offensive catalyst down the stretch getting his batting average up to .311, almost a hundred points higher than it was at the midpoint of the season. Kolby Wood really got into the closer role which may or (more likely) may not have implications on his future at Michigan.
The 6-foot-6 Wood compiled a 1.45 ERA with four saves. This was Wood’s first go-around as a closer.
“I pitched a little in the bullpen at school and I’ve started, but I never closed games. I really enjoy it,” Wood said. “This the first time I’ve done it and it’s a lot of fun. […]
Wood uses a 90-plus mph fastball and a nasty, nose-diving split-finger pitch.
“It’s still not as consistent as I would like (the split finger), but I’ve been able to get some swings and misses with it so hopefully I’ll be able to get it more consistent with practice,’’ Wood said.
With Burgoon and Dufek already potential closers, I would guess Wood will continue to work at being a starter. I think the best thing out of Lima was probably the emergence of Bobby Brosnahan (pictured on the right by LimaOhio.com) as a middle reliever. Michigan really needs to find more consistent set up men, and Bobby will get a chance at it as a redshirt freshman next year.
At Leesburg, Wolverines Mike Dufek, Alan Oaks (pictured to the right by Laura Kubitz), Eric Katzman, and Chris Berset finished on a high note. They winning their league championship at Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays). Chris Berset was involved in the first and go-ahead runs of the game, scoring the former and sacrificing over the latter. Chris really took on the leadership role with Leesburg I was hoping to see him do this season before he was injured. His coach put it this way:
“Chris is an amazing defensive player; anything you get from him offensively is a plus,” Leesburg Head Coach Frank Viola noted. “He knows how to work a staff, and he dominates a game from behind the plate defensively, and not many people can say that.”
Mike Dufek also was a big part of Leesburg's championship team. Down the stretch, his power at the plate (2 home runs and a RBI single) was enough to beat heavy favorite Sanford in the final game of the season, clinching a playoff seed. Dufek finished the season with a .283 batting average and a team leading 4 home runs as well as 6 saves and a 0.93 ERA as the Lightning closer. Alan Oaks also pitched very well as a starter, continuing his excellent work down the stretch in Ann Arbor. He finished the season with a 2-1 record in 8 starts with a 3.86 ERA. Katzman was the disappointing member of this team, but he also spent a good portion of the season in Ann Arbor taking classes and then saw limited action on the field (only 2 appearances).
Brandon Sinnery (pictured to the right by Dennis Grundman) started the playoffs in style going 6.2 innings of shut out ball for the Winchester Royals as they somewhat upset (#5 over #4) Woodstock. This followed up his last start that garnered him honorable mention for pitcher of the night going 6.2 with only one earned run. Sinnery is currently 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 8 starts. His teammate Matt Gerbe hasn't been nearly as productive out of the bullpen. In 12 appearances (1 start), Gerbe is 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA. Ouch. I don't think he's made an appearance in almost 3 weeks. The Royals ended up losing out in the semis and are done for the year.
The Front Royal Cardinals also fell out of the playoffs, but they did it in the first round. Redshirted freshman Kevin Krantz finished the year hitting only .215 in his reserve role. His defense was particularly porous with 7 errors for a .877 fielding percentage. Jeff DeCarlo didn't see too much use since the last update, ending his summer 0-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 12 appearances. If he could pitch half this good against hitters with metal bats, he could become useful in close games. His previous runs at Michigan have hardly seen his ERA drop below 4.75.
Coley Crank's Anchorage Bucs fell just short of forcing a one game playoff for the Alaska League championship, but Coley did his best to get his team in. During the last game, he hit a solo home run on a 2/4 day with 2 runs and an RBI. Coley finished the season hitting only .211, his highest level of the season. While his offense might be concerning, his pitching staff did very well with him behind the plate.
In Alexandria, another handful of Wolverine pitchers have had mixed results. Set up man Matt Miller has collected 9 saves on the season, which ends today Sunday. Miller is 2-2 with a 3.29 ERA over 21 innings, which is pretty good. On the other end of the spectrum, Kevin Vangheluwe and Tyler Mills have struggled a plenty on the mound. Kevin is 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA to go with a .387 opponent batting average in 23 innings of work. Mills, well, Mills got in only a few games at the very end and gave up 3 home runs at a time. I'll leave out his stats as he only threw 3 innings. At the plate, Mills did hit .274 with a home run and 2 doubles in 56 at bats.
Matt Broder made another great outing for the Michigan Rams of the Livonia Summer League. He went 4 innings of shut out ball to seal the Rams a trip to the National Amateur Baseball Federation tournament being played this weekend in Toledo.
Garrett Stephens doesn't particularly care that his Richmond RiverRats are in last place in their league. He scoffs at the naysayers and knocks grand slams, hits multiple doubles in a game, and goes perfect at the plate. The RiverRats have currently climbed up the standings to third (out of five). The push is just a little too late to win the division. If they win the (as I write this) in-progress game with Chillote, they will end the season no better than one game back of Chillote. Not including that last game, Stephens was batting .267 with 4 HR, 30 RBI (6th in the Prospect League), and a .430 slugging percentage (14th in league). Update: The RiverRats did win thanks to a big Stephens 3-run homer to tie the game.
Also in the Prospect League is John Lorenz who began to see more playing time down the stretch, hitting .254 with 24 runs scored and 11 RBIs. Lorenz also got to pitch 3 innings giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, and one unearned run. I don't see him pitching much next season.
I tried to keep most of the alumni stuff as "news only" in order to start a precedence on reporting how their regular season is going. I'll report more on the current players happenings than the alumni. That's why Putnam was also left off the list. He's doing great, but not a whole lot of news.
Cervenak was an exception here because I'm personally surprised he wasn't traded at the deadline.
As for Fox, he has done great overall, sticking it to my Astros a couple times right after the All Star Break. Hopefully he'll be up with the Cubs for a few years, or possibly to a team where he'll play more regularly.
K.Rogers is no one to pay attention to anyway. I've read him for many years and yet to be impressed. He tends to echo the thoughts of his posters on Rival. I guess he wants to keep readership rather than having a legit opinion.
As far as I see it, the Wolverine summer is looking pretty good. I like the way the pitching has shaped up.. I do wish Travis Smith had performed better (understatement). Miller, Wood, Brosnahan, Burgoon and Dufek have looked very, very good. Sinnery is hard to judge, my guess is good and then a tough inning. He just gives up too many HR's. Oaks, well...I don't see anything but middle relief. Let's face it..out of all starting pitchers in Florida, he was 15th out of 15th. Not what I would call encouraging. Katzman had a stress fracture and was shut down...let's hope he'll be back strong next year.
With Dufek playing the field, he'll be available only as spot closer so they'll need another. I don't think it will be Burgoon. My guess is Woods in a closer role in 2010 as he developed a nasty split finger and has been spot on in accuracy. With limited starters, I see Burgoon in a starting position with a solid Saturday spot. The Friday night spot will be up for grabs by Miller, Katz, Woods and Smith(hoping)... in that order. The others will battle for Sunday. Sinnery & Brosnahan mid-week starts and spot relief. I think we look pretty solid. Bring in the "fantastic" freshman class coach keeps talking about and we should have a shot at the title.
On the offensive side...Berset looked very good, LaMarre will take a run for the top position player, Dufek has power but needs to cut down on K's and DP's. Mills looked good at the plate with limited appearances and Stephens has stepped up his game. Oaks again looks to be on the outside.
Time will tell..... Go Blue!
I should make this a seperate post it's so long but here we go...
Thanks for the note on Katzman Quag; I hadn't heard that.
I agree with your thoughts on Rogers. If I want national coverage, I stick with Sorenson as he tends to give more love out to the underrepresented.
I forgot to mention Travis Smith in this post, but you hit the nail on the head. He started out with no runs support, but as the season went along, he just fell apart. I thought for certain going into last season he'd solidify the back end of the rotation, but he just struggled.
As for the rotation, I wouldn't be surprised to see Oaks stay in the rotation with Katzman and a rotating cast of Burgoon, Wood, Smith, and Sinnery. Like you said, Oaks is on the outside looking in, and can focus on pitching. He's at least shown he can go deeper into games on occasion, something that hurt a lot down the season as our soft middle relief couldn't keep us in games.
Brosnahan will probably mix in a bit at long relief and mid week starting. Wood, Smith, Sinnery, and Brosnahan have a lot to prove against metal bats before I'll be willing to put too much stock in them. Even Burgoon has to prove he can start consistently, although I thought he did a good job starting his freshman year.
I think we'll see Matt Miller and Gerbe try out at the closer role (agree that it would be to support Dufek), but neither particularly excel. There are just too many questions in the bullpen. I was talking with Chris at the BuckeyeNine earlier today, and feel like our team is still designed for the 4 game weekend sets. To many long relief pitchers and not enough starters who can go deep into games. Our bullpen just became overtaxed, especially when some left with injury.
Now if we can just figure out how to replace Cislo and Fellows at the top of the order. That and cutting down on the Ks, and I don't mean just Dufek - although he is a big contributor.
When I was around 10 or 11, I was fortunate enough to get to know Mike Cervenak when he played baseball for the Yankees/Giants AA affiliates in Norwich, Connecticut
He truly is a class act and very nice individual who deserves a chance to play in the Bigs
More news from the Cape...
Burgoon was named the Cape Cod Baseball League's most outstanding relief pitcher yesterday...final regular season stats: 1.69 ERA, 21.1 IP, 12 saves, 4 ER, 34 K, 6 BB.
Not shabby at all. His team will play in game three of a best-of-three playoff series tomorrow.
Also, to give some context on LaMarre...his team REALLY couldn't hit. Like, at all. LaMarre had a rough start to the season, but he pulled his average up a lot in the month of July. I'm actually going to do a feature on his summer ball experience for the Daily in the fall...
Thanks Nicole, all good points.
Hope the internship is wrapping up nicely.
Good stuff FA. Looks like your column has gotten even better since moving over here. Love hearing about the baseball stuff since most places seem to overlook it.
My kid reads it and hope that someday you'll be talking about him.
Richard is a great fit for Petco and its cavernous dimensions. He was very inconsistent for the Sox, but I think between Petco and getting to pitch to the pitcher, he'll throw with more confidence in San Diego and I think this trade gives him a nice career as a starter. In Chicago it would have been a lot tougher -- he was holding his own in a park he was ill-suited to as a fly-ball guy, but before those two great starts for the Sox he had a pretty substantial string of crappy starts. Backed into a corner (he was about to be yanked from the rotation) he came up big twice -- he's obviously got the tools to be a successful starter if he can harness that more often.
Burgoon's team was ousted from the playoffs today. I'm not sure if Burgoon even saw time in the series as there wasn't a save opportunity.
Echoing the caller above...
My "girl" friend from high school dated Cervenak off and on for a while, and he was always a super nice guy. Good to see him doing well.
Richard will prosper in San Diego, with Fetter hopefully joining him in a few years.
Any more news on Katzman's injury? I cannot seem to find anything of importance on his team's website and was wondering how serious it might be. I saw him pitch last season and witnessed flashes of brilliance, yet inconsistent.
I live near Broder's hometown and my son played against him in high school, he seems like a great kid, the last few posts have had short notes about him, have you heard anything more? I checked out his team's website and his stats were impressive. Any chance to play next year?
Also, anything on Nick Urban? Have not heard much about his summer.