Baseball Recruiting: Pre-Draft Edition

Baseball Recruiting: Pre-Draft Edition

Submitted by Raoul on June 8th, 2016 at 5:04 PM

Since my last update in January, Michigan has picked up three more commits (that I know of): commit #11 for 2017 and two juco transfers for 2016, bringing the total for that class to 10.

Blake Beers (2017): 6-5, 210-lb. RHP/1B, Loyola HS (Los Angeles, CA). Couldn't find a recent scouting report on him, but Perfect Game has his fastball topping out at 91. Video. Out of the 11 commits for 2017, 5 are from California.

Brock Keener (2016): 6-0, 190-lb. C/IF, Alvin CC (TX); Foster HS (Richmond, TX). A switch-hitter, who originally signed with Louisiana-Lafayette but left after the fall 2014 semester because of a coaching change. His NJCAA page shows him batting .348 for Alvin in 2015, with 1 HR, 21 RBI, and 25 runs scored, and .226 in 2016, with 1 HR, 11 RBI, and 15 runs.

Chris Prescott (2016): 6-1, 180-lb. OF, Orange Coast College (CA); Canyon HS (Anaheim Hills, CA). Left-handed hitter out of the same junior college Cody Bruder attended. 2016 stats at Orange Coast: batted .350, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 23 runs, 5 SB.

MLB Draft (June 9-11): Two Michigan juniors are listed in Baseball America's top 500 for the 2016 draft: Brett Adcock (#224) and Carmen Benedetti (#275). They also have Michigan signee Karl Kauffmann (6-2 RHP, Brother Rice HS) at #330.

Kauffmann is also the only Michigan signee in Prep Baseball Report's Draft 100 (at #76), which includes only high school seniors. They had once pegged him as a possible early-round pick, but a less-than-stellar senior season appears to have deflated his draft stock. Two other U-M signees are among their "others to watch" for the draft: Christian Bullock (6-0 1B/LHP/OF, Morgan Park HS, Chicago) and Tommy Henry (6-4 LHP, Portage Northern HS [MI]).

Back in April, D1Baseball listed Michigan junior catcher Harrison Wenson as one of their top 100 college prospects for the 2016 draft. Not sure what they had to say about him specifically as that article is pay-walled.

One thing to note is that since becoming Michigan's coach, Erik Bakich has had several of his signees drafted, but none of them elected to go pro at that time.

Baseball Recruiting: Commits from Coast to Coast

Baseball Recruiting: Commits from Coast to Coast

Submitted by Raoul on January 25th, 2016 at 8:08 PM

A quick recruiting detour here from football to baseball. Michigan received four verbal commitments in November and December. I'm late in posting this, but here's a summary: three new commits for 2017 bring Michigan's total for that class to ten, and Bakich and company also picked up commit #3 for 2018. Details:

Dillon Nowicki (2018): 6-1, 180-lb. RHP/OF/1B, Stoughton HS (WI). Prep Baseball Report (PBR) ranking: #4 in WI, #104 overall in the 2018 class. PBR post-commit Q&A. D1Baseball ranking: #4 in WI, #247 overall. Perfect Game grade: 8.5. Here's PG's scouting report (Aug. 2015):

Medium frame, athletic build, room to fill as he continues to put on additional muscle. Primary right-handed pitcher, throws from a 3/4 arm slot, long arm action, high energy delivery, works quickly. Fastball is straight with occasional cut to it. Curveball has 12/6 shape, big depth. From the outfield, long lose actions, fields the ball in front, uses legs well to drive toward target, long over the top arm action, has raw arm strength with carry to bases. Arm projects as he continues to develop. Very good student.

Nowicki is a travel ball teammate of Michigan freshman Jack Bredeson.

Angelo Smith (2017): 5-10, 160-lb. LHP/OF, Richards HS (Oak Lawn, IL). PBR ranking: #21 in IL, #232 overall in the 2017 class. Scouting report (Sept. 2014):

. . .  impresses with legitimate two-way ability. Worked at 79-81 mph off the mound from quick, loose, high ¾ arm slot. Flashes 67 mph slurvy breaking ball, and 70-73 mph change. Repeats delivery well, athleticism evident throughout. Hits from a tall, narrow setup, slightly open, pull tendencies, above average bat speed.

Cameron Tomaiko (2017): 5-11, 175-lb. OF, St. Anthony's HS (Long Island, NY). PBR and Perfect Game have little info on him. Video is available on this profile page. A Long Island–based scouting service offers this brief eval:

Smooth LH hitting prospect with all the tools. Has + bat speed with power. Runs well. Covers a lot of ground defensively. Well above average arm. 

Danny Zimmerman (2017): 6-5, 245-lb. RHP/OF, Redondo Beach HS (Redondo Beach, CA). Perfect Game grade: 10. First Michigan recruit I've come across with a PG 10 (which means "potential very high draft pick and/or elite-level college prospect"). Scouting report (Aug. 2015):

Extra big and strong build. Works from the stretch, well paced deliberate delivery, gets downhill well from a 3/4's arm slot, maintains arm slot and arm speed well on all pitches. Upper 80's fastball, topped out at 89 mph, has been seen in the low 90's, heavy fastball with good sink and consistently down in the zone. Very good curveball, has power and some will call a slider, tight spin with late bite but gets over it out front, created bad swings by good hitters with his curveball. Very interesting raw stuff, especially his breaking ball, but cannot afford to get any bigger. Good student.

PG lists other colleges interested as Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Nebraska, and Oregon—a pretty solid list. The Daily Breeze ran an article on Zimmerman in June of last year.

CA to AA pipeline: Michigan's 2016 roster includes seven players from California. With Zimmerman's commit, there are four Californians in the 2017 class.

Baseball Recruiting: Three More Hellos

Baseball Recruiting: Three More Hellos

Submitted by Raoul on November 3rd, 2015 at 9:12 PM

The latest Michigan baseball commitments (which happened over the last three weeks) increase the 2016 class to eight and the 2017 class to seven.

Marcus Chavez: 5-10 C, Grand Street Campus HS (Brooklyn, NY). Prep Baseball Report is not particularly high on him, ranking him #27 in the state of New York in the 2016 class. They say his bat "is not advanced" and call him "pull happy," but they were impressed by his "big arm behind the plate." According to a local news article on his commitment, he's a "tremendous leader," and he picked Michigan over Oregon, Seton Hall, Villanova, Maine, and Boston College.

Ben Dragani: 6-4 LHP, Catholic Memorial HS (Waukesha, WI). PBR has him ranked #4 in Wisconsin and #203 overall in the 2017 class: "Dragani has one of the easier arm actions you’ll see producing an 80-83 mph fastball, touching 84 mph. He couples that with a hard darting slider at 75-77 mph, which we’ve previously seen up to 79 mph, so the hand speed is clearly there." PBR also has post-commit Q&A with Dragani.

Cody Bolton: 6-3 RHP, Tracy HS (CA), class of 2017. Not much out there on the latest product of the strong California-to-Michigan pipeline. Perfect Game has his fastball topping out at 88, while in his NSCA profile, Bolton listed it at 89.

On a related note: Michigan has now posted their 2016 roster, and they noted the team's 13 newcomers (3 transfers and 10 freshmen) in this press release. They've also posted a "meet the newcomers" feature in three parts, with part three including links to the first two. The biggest roster surprise was no Charlie Donovan, arguably the highest-rated player in Michigan's 2015 class (although a case could be made for Jonathan Engelmann). I have heard nothing about why he's not on the roster.

Baseball Recruiting: Quadruple Hello

Baseball Recruiting: Quadruple Hello

Submitted by Raoul on September 22nd, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Pretty good recruiting run for Erik Bakich and his Michigan baseball staff over the last 10 days, picking up their first two commits in the 2018 class and two more 2017 commits, bringing the total for that class up to five. It may seem a bit early to be talking about 2018 recruits, who won't play for Michigan until the 2019 season, but (1) early commitments have become the norm in baseball and (2) I can think of only two players who committed to Michigan during the Bakich era and then decommitted, so any worries about players not sticking with their pledge seem overblown.

Here's a quick rundown of the four players who committed:

Riley Bertram: 5-11, 165-lb. SS/3B, Zionsville HS (IN). Prep Baseball Report (PBR) has him ranked #5 in Indiana and #41 overall in the 2018 class.

Jack Van Remortel: 6-2, 205-lb. 3B/1B, Carmel HS (IN). Not currently ranked by PBR in the 2018 class, but their page on him has some scouting reports.

Jeff Criswell: 6-2, 175-lb. RHP/3B, Portage Central HS (MI). Ranked #5 in Michigan and #151 overall in the 2017 class by PBR. Perfect Game has him ranked #213 nationally for 2017 (relevant tweet embedded below).

Isaiah Paige: 6-2, 170-lb. RHP/OF, Damien HS (La Verne, CA). Perfect Game page (PBR doesn't yet cover California). A brief Prep Sports Bulletin item reports that he also visited UCLA, UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount, San Diego, and the University of the Pacific, with his finalists being Michigan and UC Irvine. Also says that he grew up a Michigan fan, which is never a bad thing.

Baseball Hellos: Logan Pollack and Jason Pineda

Baseball Hellos: Logan Pollack and Jason Pineda

Submitted by Raoul on August 19th, 2015 at 10:44 PM

Over the last week, Erik Bakich and his staff have picked up two commits for the 2017 class (who, just to be clear, would arrive in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2017 and then be freshmen during the 2018 baseball season).

Logan Pollack

The latest in a string of players heading to Ann Arbor from California, Logan Pollack is a 6-2, 180-lb. SS/3B/2B out of Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks (the same high school as incoming freshman MIF Joe Pace). He committed to Michigan last week. I don't have any rankings info on him, but Perfect Game a couple months ago gave him a score of 9 (meaning "potential top 10 round pick and/or highest-level college prospect") and offered this scouting report:

Large frame with long, lean and projectable physical build. Switch hitter, shows solid feel for barrel from both sides. Similar slightly open stance and narrow setup from either side. Aggressive shift into contact, at times out in front and early with front hip, more fluidity and bat speed from the right side. Peppers field with line drives and uses whole field, more present power and carry when hitting right handed. Moves pretty well to either side while playing infield, soft hands with good funnel. Could shorten release a bit, but has solid arm strength, shows good ability to get on top of the ball, and will work through and follow throws. Good student.

Jason Pineda

On the other coast, New York hasn't been tapped by the Michigan staff as often as California for prospects, but they did recruit Drew Lugbauer from that state, and they have 3B/MIF George Hewitt coming in this fall from Brooklyn. Committing to Michigan today was Jason Pineda, a 6-0, 215-lb. 3B/1B/RHP out of Metropolitan HS in the Bronx. Prep Baseball Report has him ranked #9 in the state of New York for 2017 and posted this scouting report last month:

Solid frame, very athletic looking 6-foot-0, 215-pounds. Shows great instincts as a fielder, good range with quick footwork at position, hands and glove work well together when receiving and transferring to throw, excellent arm action that is clean and loose to the target along with plus arm strength. At the plate hitter is relaxed and balanced at setup, has a smooth load and short stride to the pitch, hands are compact and strong through the zone, gets full extension while maintaining balance during his finish, makes solid contact with power potential. Very projectable hitter who has a lot of upside in the future.

It seems like Michigan is off to a great start on the 2017 class, which has now grown to three. Joe Donovan, a C/3B from Westmont HS (IL), committed last November. Prep Baseball Report currently has him ranked #6 in Illinois and #52 overall in their 2017 rankings. He's the younger brother of MIF Charlie Donovan, another member of Michigan's incoming 2015 class.

Michigan Baseball: Preview of 2015 MLB Draft

Michigan Baseball: Preview of 2015 MLB Draft

Submitted by Raoul on June 7th, 2015 at 11:08 PM

The 2015 MLB Draft will be held Monday (rounds 1 & 2), Tuesday (3-10), and Wednesday (11-40). Here's a preview from a Michigan perspective, covering both current players and members of the 2015 recruiting class.

Three of Michigan's top juniors—Jacob Cronenworth, Evan Hill, and Travis Maezes—are expected to be drafted. On his appearance last week on WTKA, Wolverine head coach Erik Bakich said that it's looking like Cronenworth and Maezes will be drafted on day 2 and Hill on day 3, and he's anticipating that all three will sign. Baseball America's top 500 for the draft has Cronenworth at #194, Maezes at #376, and Hill at #381. The only senior that Bakich mentioned as a possible draftee was Jackson Glines. He might go late on day 2 or on day 3. (Note on Cronenworth, a two-way player at Michigan: he's likely to be drafted as a pitcher.)

With the first two recruiting classes he put together at Michigan, Bakich had the fortune to not lose any of his recruits to the draft. This year, two players in particular have been garnering draft buzz. First, here are the 11 Michigan signees or commits that I'm aware of.

Jack Bredeson — 6-6 RHP/3B, Arrowhead HS (Hartland, WI)

Andrew David — 5-10 SS/2B, Massillon Washington HS (OH)

Charlie Donovan — 5-11 SS/2B, Westmont HS (IL)

Jonathan Engelmann — 6-4 OF, Burlingame HS (CA)

George Hewitt — 6-3 3B/MIF, Salisbury School (CT); hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Ricky Karcher — 6-4 RHP, Saline HS (MI)

Ben Keizer — 6-2 LHP, Portage Northern HS (MI)

Troy Miller — 6-3 RHP, Soquel HS (CA)

Joe Pace — 6-0 OF/2B, Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)

Ako Thomas — 5-9 2B/SS, Mount Carmel HS (Chicago, IL)

Will Tribucher — 6-2 LHP, San Clemente HS (CA)

Note that Bakich said last week on WTKA that the class actually includes 13 players—5 pitchers and 8 fielders—so there are 2 I'm unaware of. It's clear that the California pipeline continues to be tapped, and in fact Bakich said that 5 of the 13 are from that state. (It wouldn't be surprising if the missing California commit is a juco, following in the footsteps of Glines and Cody Bruder.)

Back to the draft: Jonathan Engelmann seems to be the member of the class most likely to be drafted and sign with an MLB club. Baseball America has him at #253. He also appears in MLB's Draft Tracker, with this comment:

A former infielder who outgrew the dirt and moved to a corner outfield spot, Engelmann is a strong athletic high school hitter with some tools you can dream on. The University of Michigan commit is still growing and getting stronger, learning to use his 6-foot-4 frame to its fullest potential. An aggressive hitter at the plate, there is still work to be done on Engelmann's mechanics and timing. But he is able to make loud contact and there is plenty of raw power for the right-handed hitter to tap into. Engelmann is an average runner with enough arm to be an athletic right fielder in the future, though he might play center field should he go on to play for the Wolverines. Engelmann is very much potential over performance right now, but his high upside is bound to draw interest.

Charlie Donovan is the other one with significant draft buzz, coming in at #405 on Perfect Game's draft ranking. Prep Baseball Report (see under "Comments"), which has him ranked #16 in the 2015 class in their overall rankings (covering about two dozen states), is more bullish on him, calling him (see under "Comments") a "top three–round talent" and that he's a "likely early round pick in next month’s MLB Draft, signability put aside." According to Big Ten blogger Chris Webb, Donovan recently worked out for the White Sox, but Webb thinks Donovan will end up at Michigan.

Troy Miller is another one to keep an eye on. He's listed in the MLB Draft Tracker, although less prominently than Engelmann and Donovan. Overall, it should be an interesting few days of draft watching.

Baseball: Michigan with top Big Ten recruiting class for 2nd-straight year (per CB)

Baseball: Michigan with top Big Ten recruiting class for 2nd-straight year (per CB)

Submitted by Raoul on September 22nd, 2014 at 3:32 PM

In their ranking of 2014 classesCollegiate Baseball newspaper puts Michigan's class #30 in the country. No other Big Ten teams appear in their top 40, making this the second-straight year that this newspaper has ranked Michigan's class tops in the conference (last year's class came in at #20). The Wolverines appear poised for a return to the top of the conference on the diamond.

Here's a quote from the press release on this news:

"Coach (Nick) Schnabel, Coach (Sean) Kenny and our entire staff did another outstanding job putting together one of the nation's elite recruiting classes," head coach Erik Bakich said at the time of the recruiting class announcement. "This group of newcomers is extremely talented on the field as well as in the classroom and we are looking forward to helping them develop to their maximum potential as students, athletes and men."

For more details on the 2014 class, see this thread.

Meanwhile, Michigan's 2015 class is shaping up to be another strong one. I discovered recently that Michigan commit Troy Miller is ranked #275 in the nation by Perfect Game. Miller is a right-handed pitcher from Soquel, California, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 91 mph. If he doesn't end up getting drafted and sign next summer, he could be the highest-ranked player yet of the Bakich era at Michigan. For more info on Miller, see this thread; the most recent full rundown of the 2015 class can be found here.

Baseball: U-M release on 2014 class; Hello: Michael McNicholl

Baseball: U-M release on 2014 class; Hello: Michael McNicholl

Submitted by Raoul on September 2nd, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Michigan baseball issued a release today on their 2014 recruiting class, which includes nine freshman and two junior college transfers. All except one of the juco transfers were reported here previously as commitments via Hello posts. Here's what the release has on Michael McNicholl (EDIT: his last name is misspelled in the press release—s/b two ls):

Michael McNichol - OF - Alta Loma, Calif./Barstow C.C.
Was named to the All-Foothill Conference first team his sophomore season at Barstow Community College in Barstow, Calif. ... Hit .340 for Barstow in 2014 with 29 RBI and 22 stolen bases ... Went to high school at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. ... Hit .424 and had a .486 on-base percentage as a senior at Los Osos.

In a reply, I'll post a chart with some more info on the nine freshmen, including some rankings data.

Baseball Hello: Jonathan Engelmann

Baseball Hello: Jonathan Engelmann

Submitted by Raoul on August 12th, 2014 at 7:29 PM

The Michigan coaching staff continues to successfully tap into the strong California baseball pipeline, picking up their third West Coast commit in the last couple of weeks. Joining the 2015 class today was Jonathan Engelmann, a 6-4, 195-lb. outfielder from Burlingame H.S. (near San Mateo). Like the previous two California commits, Troy Miller and Will Tribucher (as well another Michigan commit from the Chicago area, Charlie Donovan), Engelmann participated in the prestigious Area Code Games, held last week in Long Beach with about 240 invitees from around the country.

Perfect Game's profile page for Engelmann includes this scouting report on him from June:

Jonathan Engelmann is a 2015 OF/ with a 6-4 200 lb. frame from San Mateo, CA who attends Burlingame HS. Big strong well proportioned athletic build, lots of physical projection. 6.75 runner, outstanding base running instincts and aggression. High level defensive tools, covers ground with his speed, very strong and accurate on line throws, speed for centerfield, arm strength for right field. Right handed hitter, exaggerated inside approach, leaks his front side very early to get his hands through, tends to hit from under the ball, has hand speed and obvious strength but approach is holding him back, has the tools to improve with adjustments. High ceiling athlete if the bat comes around.

They gave him a grade of 9.5 (out of 10), meaning they see him as a potential top 10 round draft pick (possibly going in an early round) and/or as a highest- to elite-level college prospect. Under "colleges interested in" are Arizona State, UC–Santa Barbara, USC, and Washington—an impressive list.

Engelmann would seem to be an important addition to the 2015 class given the decommitment of Nick Plummer earlier this summer, who had been the only outfielder in the class.

Baseball Hello: Will Tribucher

Baseball Hello: Will Tribucher

Submitted by Raoul on August 8th, 2014 at 12:38 AM

Not to be left out of the commit frenzy, the Michigan baseball staff scored again on Thursday, landing another West Coast 2015 prospect: Will Tribucher, a 6-3, 190-lb. left-handed pitcher attending San Clemente H.S. He's the second player from California to commit to the Wolverines in as many weeks, following in the footsteps of Troy Miller (see Hello post), a right-handed pitcher out of Soquel H.S. in Soquel, California. Both Tribucher and Miller were invited to participate in the prestigious Area Code Games, being held this week in Long Beach with about 240 invitees from around the country. A third 2015 commit for U-M, Charlie Donovan, a shortstop from the Chicago area, was also selected to participate.

Unfortunately, there's little scouting info out there on Tribucher. Perhaps something will come up this week based on his play at the Area Code Games. I did find some vidoes, and I'll post one of them in a reply.