Two Michigan juniors and three Michigan signees were selected on day three of the MLB draft. Junior right-hander James Bourque was the first picked, going in the 14th round (#424 overall) to the Washington Nationals. Erik Bakich had gone into the draft expecting Bourque to be drafted and to sign, and he indicated that again in an MLive article today.
"He is a hard-thrower," Bakich said, in a phone interview Saturday. "He got his fastball up to 96 miles per hour by the end of the season, and he has stuff with his fastball and curveball that from a professional standpoint is really good."
. . .
"Any where a player gets drafted on day three of the draft gives them a good opportunity to start a professional career," Bakich said.
Bakich expects Bourque to sign with the Nationals.
But in a Freep article, Bourque sounded more uncertain:
Bourque has no idea of his plans, whether he’ll sign or return for his senior year at Michigan, but the uncertain part is over.
“I’m definitely more relieved,” he said. “The whole draft process gets old and you don’t really get any news until you see your name on the draft board... I’m just more relieved and glad it’s done and I can focus on what I’m doing now and talk to them.”
The Tigers drafted junior southpaw Trent Szkutnik in the 20th round (#610 overall). As with Bourque, Bakich had been anticipating that Szkutnik would go pro. That still seems to be the case given that he's a local product, who went to high school at Temperance Bedford and is a Tigers fans. Here's a quote from an MLive article:
"It is great to see the team from our state take Trent," Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich said. "Everyone is extremely excited about him getting a chance to play professional baseball here in Michigan."
The first Michigan signee drafted was Drew Lugbauer, a 6-4 catcher out of Arlington H.S. in New York, selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in round 21 (#624 overall). A local news article indicates he's still planning on coming to Ann Arbor:
"We spoke to the Blue Jays before the draft and they knew I was going to school. I'm really thankful they selected me,'' Lugbauer said.
"I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing and try to develop as a player to the best of my ability (at Michigan).''
With Cole Martin graduating this year, Lugbauer could be a key member of the 2014 class.
Taken in round 26 (#786 overall) by the Texas Rangers was another signee, Jayce Vancena, a right-handed pitcher out of Lake H.S. in Millbury, Ohio. The Rangers had expressed serious interest in Vancena heading into the draft, even summoning him down to Texas for a pre-draft workout and forcing him to miss a playoff game in the process (according to this article).
The Tigers drafted a second Michigan signee in round 31 (#940 overall)—Grant Reuss, a left-handed pitcher from Cranbrook Kingswood H.S.
Note that July 18 is the deadline for drafted players and teams to reach deals.
With recruiting news beginning to pick up as prospects make official and unofficial visits during football season and as the early signing period for the 2014 class (Nov. 13–20) nears, this seemed like a good time for a baseball recruiting update, especially one focusing on 2014. Since I first posted the chart showing the 2014 commits in April, there have been two changes:
Michael Hendrickson: committed to the Wolverines in July (see Hello post).
Brandon Hughes: decommitted from Michigan and then committed to Michigan State in August. Hughes was the last of the Michigan commits who had originally pledged to former coach Rich Maloney, so this wasn't that surprising a development.
In the revised 2014 chart (posted in a reply for technical reasons), Hendrickson takes the place of Hughes, and the class remains nine-strong. I've updated the rankings as much as possible (lacking access to the pay-walled Perfect Game rankings, the only ones listed for that site are a couple that were reported at the time of the player's commitment). Michigan has three commits in PBR's overall top 50, covering a ten-state region:
- #18 Grant Reuss (#1 in Michigan)
- #46 Jayce Vancena (#7 in Ohio)
- #48 Rahman Williams (#11 in Illinois)
The chart includes a few new scouting reports (viewable by cursoring over the underlined text in the rightmost column), including this one for Williams, posted by Perfect Game in July:
Medium build with good strength in his lower half. Switch hitter, natural right hander, short rotational swing right handed, pull line drive contact, has some strength and bat speed. Open stance left handed, stays on his back side, short swing, contact approach. Sound infield actions, feet work well through the ball, light on his feet, shows good body control and range to the ball, good arm strength.
At least two of Michigan's commits appear to be in the conversation as potential 2014 MLB draft picks. Reuss is one, as PBR indicated in a June article on ten 2014 players "creating buzz on summer circuit":
Reuss continues to climb on Major league boards. . . . Really high ceiling. Arm works well. Up to 89mph for us. Command needs to improve to really be considered elite. Still feeling out his mechanics. Breaking ball spins well (71mph). Potential to be swing and miss pitch. Should be a high follow for major league scouts this coming spring.
Another is Drew Lugbauer. At the Nine Baseball site, Jeff Sullivan placed Lugbauer at #38 in his top 100 high school prospects for the 2014 MLB draft. Kiley McDaniel, a national baseball analyst for Scout, ranked Lugbauer #13 in his list of high school MLB draft prospects from the Northeast, projecting him as a potential 5th-rounder. Lugbauer was also included in Jonathan Mayo's rundown of top performers at a recent showcase hosted by the Mets at Citi Field:
Left-handed hitting catcher with power. Big and strong, good arm strength, other parts of his defense are developing.
Finalist for Ockimey
Michigan apparently still has scholarship money left for the 2014 class as they are in the final three for a top uncommitted prospect from Philadelphia, Josh Ockimey. A 6-4, 220-pound first baseman out of Neumann-Goretti H.S., Ockimey had originally committed to Arkansas but decommitted in August when the Razorbacks' associate head coach, Todd Butler, left to become the head coach at Wichita State. Not coincidentally, Wichita State is one of Ockimey's finalists, and he'll take an official visit there this coming weekend. He officially visited Michigan this past weekend and Indiana the weekend before. According to what he told Chris Webb in this blog post, Ockimey will choose from those three by October 5.
PBR has Ockimey ranked #6 in Pennsylvania and #53 overall, and they offered this assessment in a hot list posted earlier this month:
Ockimey is a physical beast in the box, standing at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He has some holes in his swing, but shows raw power and is athletic. He has capable actions at first base with the potential to put it all together and be a run producing, middle-of-the-order hitter at next level.
He's also slotted at #98 in that Nine Baseball list of top high school prospects for the 2014 MLB draft.
That post from Webb mentions some 2016 prospects who have visited Michigan recently, including Dion Henderson (see PBR profile), a left-hand pitcher out of Dearborn Divine Child ranked #4 in the state by PBR. He's planning to make his college choice by the end of 2013. He holds a Michigan offer, with other possible destinations including Kentucky, LSU, and Vanderbilt. Another prospect recently offered by Michigan is Henderson's high school teammate Collin Goslin (PBR profile), also a lefty but in the class of 2015. PBR has Goslin ranked #3 in the state and #41 overall.
Note on title: The usual "Baseball Recruiting Update" for the main title seemed boring, so I tried to come up with something different. Also considered "Fishin'"—any thoughts, other ideas?
Hello: Jayce Vancena
Prep Baseball Repot (PBR) reported in mid-October the verbal commitment for the 2014 class of Jayce Vancena, a 6-4, 210-lb. right-handed pitcher out of Lake H.S. (near Millbury, Ohio, southeast of Toledo). His PBR profile has this scouting report:
Vancena is a big, projectable right-handed pitcher and definite follow over the next two years. On the mound, he uses an over the top arm slot and short arm action. With his delivery, he hides the ball well. His fastball sits between 79-82 mph. When throwing his 59-62 mph curveball, he tends to slow down his arm speed. His changeup, which sits between 69-72 mph, shows some fading action. At the plate, the right-handed hitter shows pull tendencies has he creates solid contact with power potential.
Hello: Oliver Jaskie
Also in mid-October, another 2014 prospect committed to Michigan: Oliver Jaskie, a 6-4 southpaw pitcher from Forest Hills H.S. (Ada Twp., near Grand Rapids). In addition his profile, PBR has this brief scouting report from a September scouting notes item:
Jaskie continues to show that he knows how to pitch and pitch effectively. His breaking ball was tighter than what he have seen in the past and his change up again was a really effective pitch. His change is advanced for such a young age.
An earlier rundown indicates that PBR had Jaskie ranked #12 in the state:
Jaskie continues to improve this summer. A Midwest Futures Games invitee, Jaskie is an intriguing lefty that is only going to get better. His velo might not jump off the page right now but he knows how to pitch. His changeup is his best pitch and he uses his height, 6-foot-4, to create good tilt. Jaskie is currently ranked No. 12 in his class.
Hello: Grant Reuss
Apparently the most highly ranked of this trio of 2014 commits is Grant Reuss, another left-handed pitcher, who's 6-5, 210 lbs., out of Cranbrook Kingswood in Bloomfield Hills. Reuss verbally committed to the Wolverines earlier today. PBR has Reuss as their #3 prospect in Michigan for 2014 and offered the following scouting report in this July rundown:
Reuss is one of the best lefties in his class and currently checks in at No. 4 [now #3] ] in the class of 2014. He has been up to 89 mph in the past and he was 86-88 mph on this day. Reuss continues to raise his stock. Standing at 6-foot-6 Reuss is long and loose. He also has the makings of a good breaking ball. Consistency in his delivery will be the key to Reuss' development.
MBP ranks Reuss #2 in the state, and they also have a profile page for him with several videos.
With the addition of these three commits, Erik Bakich now has six commits for the class of 2014, with the others being Jake Bivens, Brandon Hughes, and Drew Lugbauer (see the previous recruiting update for details).
Michigan's 2013 baseball class includes about a dozen commits, including Ethan Cohen.