How could you not like the Drake?
Baseball Recruiting: Hello Will Drake
Michigan baseball received, to my knowledge, their second commitment from the freshman class of 2011-12 in Fairfield, OH centerfielder Will Drake. Drake picked Michigan over Cincinnati and UNC-Asheville.
Drake, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound speedy center fielder, verbally committed to the University of Michigan on Monday, June 28, a day after he visited the campus […]
“When I got to Michigan it was a no-brainer for me,” Drake said. “They’re the fourth winningest program in college baseball history. I was surrounded by great coaches and a great facility. I really loved it up there.”
Drake called Michigan coach Rich Maloney on Monday and accepted a 50 percent scholarship offer. […]
Drake was a first-team, All-Greater Miami Conference selection as a junior after hitting .379 with a home run and 23 RBIs. He also had 13 stolen bases.
Drake is another speed outfielder, and may be looking to take over for current Michigan centerfielder Patrick Biondi if Biondi is a 3-and-done, a reasonable assumption based on his freshman year.
Drake is the second commitment in this class that I've seen, and he's also the second outfielder of the class with Zach Fish. Michigan is VERY light in outfielders right now, with only Biondi being a true outfielder returning from last year's team. The remaining two outfield slots next year are up for grabs between Kevin Krantz (former short stop), Garrett Stephens (former first baseman and likely DH/1B next season), Tyler Mills (pitcher), and two true freshmen in Adam Robinson and Michael O'Neill.
Drake will add immediate depth his freshman year, but at this point, I'm not sure he'll be a contributor until at least his red shirt freshman season. His overall numbers appear behind Zach Fish, but Drake still has time to grow and develop.
(HT: TomVH for the tip)
Ach, beat me to it. That was immediately where my mind went after seeing the headline!
Stephens will man LF next year while Luther will get a shot at 1b. Biondi will stick in CF as long as he's here. Coming into next year, O'Neil will be the person to beat for RF.
That's been my impression as well. I haven't seen Stephens arm to judge LF or RF, but I had to figure he'd be one of the first options out there. I've heard it would be between Krantz and O'Neill for the other slot, but I've yet to see O'Neill or hear much else about him.
i'd say his arm is average, nothing special. The serious lack of power the team is showing (on paper) is what will get Stephens playing time.
RF is a total crap shoot, Mills, O'Neil, Krantz (also #1 backup IF), Robinson, + who ever is hitting and not starting (hell even Crank had some OF time last year).
Thanks for the updates, glad to see baseball covered with great detail.
Thanks for the recruiting update...following college baseball as a sport is hard enough as it is, let alone the recruiting that comes along with it.
Kind of OT, but how is our pitching recruiting shaping up (FA, or anyone else)? We've really got to upgrade in that department big time to get back to where we want to be (i.e., a NCAA tourney berth at the bare minimum).
We've gotten a few big names from in state (Alex Lakatos and Jake Engels), but I'm skeptical about any of them until I see them play consistently. It's a big jump from high school to college, and not everyone makes that leap easily. The other pitcher I have my eye on is Brett Winger, a signee out of Florida. He throws in the upper 80s/lower 90s already and has a decent slider. The last pitcher on the current list is Jonathon Perry out of University of Detroit Jesuit. His UM profile mentions a lot about upside and potential. He may be one that develops after a few years.
In terms of underclassmen, Ballantine and Clark both came pretty highly recruited, hence seeing them as true freshmen already. Logan McAnallen also has sounded promising as a 6'3" lefty. I imagine we'll see him this season. The other pitcher in this class was Michael Kershner. His profile is pretty barren when compared to most other pitchers Michigan recruits. I'm not sure what to make of him or how long he'll be around.
Brosnahan, Sinnery, and Vanghelwue were big pieces of the year before, but only Brosnahan and Sinnery have panned out well thus far (Vanghelwue had Tommy John before arriving on campus). Mills and Broder are also in that same junior/redshirt sophomore class. Broder seems poised to follow in the steps of Katzman as the wildly effective lefty. Mills has been used more as a 5th string outfielder than a pitcher.
So as it seems, the team has at least two quality arms per year coming up. We definitely have a lack of starting pitching at the top however. The returning seniors are Matt Gerbe, Travis Smith, and Kolby Wood. Gerbe and Wood have been invaluable out of the pen the last few years. Wood could end up being the closer or possibly move into the rotation. Gerbe may continue his set up role, or he may move to the rotation as well. I'm not sure of Maloney's plan there. Smith, on the other hand, has struggled plenty as a starter. It's going to take a good leap for him to earn a starting spot, which is a shame because he had such great potential coming in.
Vanghelwue didn't have tommy john. He had a surgery that was in his arm, but nothing muscle/tendon/ligament wise.
Smith has great stuff (see: freshman year) but his consistency must get better, that being said; I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up a weekend starter (if he really puts it together could be the friday night guy).
Wood and Gerbe would form a mean bullpen tandem, but they will fight for rotation spots as well.
I feel that Ballantine/Clark/Winger will be the weekday starters, with one of Clark and Ballantine (or both) being a important pieces to the weekend bullpen.
Broder came in as the soft tossing lefty, but he has increased his velocity a considerable amount. He, more than likely, will be the 1st lefty out of the pen.
Mills has a great arm, but I'm not sure they see him as a pitcher anymore.
With the new pitching coach, Matt White, the pitching staff will not look like it has in previous years. This guy really really knows his stuff.