Baseball Recruiting: Belated Hello: Martin & Perry

Baseball Recruiting: Belated Hello: Martin & Perry

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on April 12th, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Michigan had two recruits sign about a month ago, but being in the middle of the season, I hadn't had a ton of time to do the research and otherwise on the guys. But over the last few weeks, a couple of local paper articles brought the two players back into the forefront.

Cole Martin

cole martin Catcher, Bay City's John Glenn High School

Cole Martin has been a lifelong Wolverine fan, and a pretty solid athlete to boot. At John Glenn, he's caught, pitched, and played short stop.

"When I was 10 years old, we were walking around (Ray Fisher Stadium, Michigan's baseball field) and I told my dad, 'One day you will watch me play on this field,'" said Martin.

Martin plans to major in chemical engineering and go on to medical school to become a surgeon.

Last spring, Martin batted .414 as he led the Bobcats to a 32-8 record, and into the Division 2 regional final, where they lost to Mount Pleasant 4-3. With Berryhill last summer, Martin was named Great Lakes Region Most Valuable Player before the team went on to win the American Legion World Series.

The picture above, by Michael K Photography, was taken 2 years ago, but does hint that Martin is in fact a switch hitting catcher. Martin is probably an immediate redshirt at just 5'11" 160lb, plus he's highly unlikely to take Crank's spot unless his defense is spectacular.

Also worth noting is Cole's involvement in his school's hockey team. Maloney has had some success with former hockey players including current star Ryan LaMarre. Maloney's take:

"Cole Martin is a really good athlete. He's got a good arm and could potentially fill in as a utility player, but he's a catcher with a decent bat. Just the makings of a good all-around athlete, and we want to have as many athletes in our program as possible. We think if you're really athletic you have a chance to find your niche," said Maloney. "He's also a hockey goalie, and I like that toughness. We've had success with guys who have been multi-sport guys, especially hockey players at both Ball State and at Michigan. Cole will fit into that really well."

Jonathon Perry

Pitcher, Royal Oak/University of Detroit Jesuit

Perry is a right hander from the Detroit area who's put up some impressive numbers at a solid program. From MGoBlue and Rich Maloney:

Perry, a prep standout from the University of Detroit Jesuit, led his team in earned run average, innings pitched, wins and strikeouts as a junior last spring. He is a big game pitcher, owning a one-hitter in the 2008 regional semifinal and a two-hit complete game to clinch a 2009 regional championship.

"We think [Perry] is very projectable, has a nice loose arm, the makings of a good breaking pitch and comes from an outstanding school and a good baseball program. We are really excited about his upside and him participating in our program,"

Not bad for a guy they just happened across:

“[A Michigan scout] was there (at the CABA nationals) to see another team, but I said: ‘You ought to stick around and see this kid who will be pitching for us. His name is Jay Perry,'” Meisner recalled.

“It wasn't his best game, but it was a very, very good game and his stuff was electric. From that day on, Michigan had an interest in him and saw him pitch a bunch of times.”

The Michigan coaches liked what they saw in Perry […] So much so they offered the 6-foot-1, 165-pound right-hander a scholarship to pitch for the Wolverines next year.

From that same article, we see we've got a flame thrower:

“One of the U-M coaches told me I don't have any stop in my motion; it's a nice, smooth motion,” Perry said. “It's loose, not herky-jerky. I guess that's the key to longevity and throwing well.”

Perry said he likes to throw hard, adding it was instilled in him at a young age.

“I always thought that puts you a step ahead,” he said. “If you're not hitting the spots perfectly, there's a little less time for hitters to react. I like to throw hard; I think it looks cool.”

That's cool. So too, supposedly, is his change up, giving him two plus pitches. Something tells me we won't see Perry for at least two years as he redshirts and works on creating another plus pitch.

Recruiting Outlook

Michigan now has a class with 7 members thus far. I don't think we see much in the way of scholarship additions from this point out, but we could see a couple of preferred walk-ons pop up over the next month and a half. Michigan has signed 4 right handed pitchers, two outfielders, one infielder, and one catcher in this class, addressing their two biggest needs (outfield and pitching).

With Nick Urban graduating and Ryan LaMarre probably leaving, the two outfielders have an outside shot of both starting next year. As we've seen during LaMarre's injury, we're a bit thin on outfielders with Kittle, Krantz, and Stephens all sliding from the infield to the outfield this season. The only current underclassmen on the roster listed as potential outfielders is only Biondi, Mills (a pitcher, but has played a few innings in left this season), and Ben Ballantine, a potential starting pitcher next year.

Michigan should be full at catcher for the time being. Crank and Safara will both be back next year, as well as preferred walk-on John DiLaura who is red shirting this season. That depth is probably why Martin is considered a potential utility player a la Tim Kalczynski in 2008.

If there are any other preferred walk-ons coming, I have to think there might be an outfielder or two, as well as a second baseman. Michigan has 2 more years with Lorenz at third and Dennis at short (I'm not holding my breath on 3 more), and 2-3 years of Stephens and Luther at first. Of course, pitching is always and option as a team can never have enough of it.

Oversigning in NCAA Baseball

Oversigning in NCAA Baseball

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on April 8th, 2010 at 9:43 PM

The BuckeyeNine interviewed Indiana's Tracy Smith in build up to their series this weekend. The last question had to do with the oversigning problem that Rich Maloney also laments about constantly, and the response is definitely worth a link.

Now, I do believe the Big Ten recognized this as a huge disadvantage for our league and instituted a rule change this year that allows schools to over sign up to one scholarship spread over two players.

It does help, but when other schools are over signing by 6-8 scholarships, the playing field is not even close to being even. The part that drives me nuts is nobody talks about this issue. Everyone wants to talk about weather, and huge stadiums, etc., as being the things the hold our conference back, but it’s not. The issue of over-signing is the real problem.

My friends who coach at southern schools laugh when I tell them that we can’t over-sign kids until our underclassmen physically sign a contact. They are like, “how in the heck do you guys recruit?” I have my response down to a science now, I put my hands behind my back and say, “like this.”

Big Ten coaches in baseball haven't been able to sign players until their players who leave early for the draft actually sign their pro contracts in June-August. That leaves them potentially 2 months before school starts to find talent to replace their draft picks. So pretty much, they're left with no options as nearly everyone signs either in the fall or spring. What kid with talent is going to wait until after their summer season is over to decide to go to a school? Yeah, no one.

Couple other good questions, including Smith recruiting his own son to graduate early and play an immediate role in the IU baseball team. Pretty interesting if you can put up with reading white and red text on a black background. I just typed this whole post while still blind.

Baseball Commit: Adam Robinson

Baseball Commit: Adam Robinson

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on January 18th, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Adam is a very gritty player with great speed and some pop in his bat […] He is a very competitive athlete and we are excited to have him join our family and compete with us.

That's Michigan coach Rich Maloney informing us of a new baseball recruit, Adam Robinson; let the never ending comparisons to David Eckstein begin. GRRIIIITTT.

robinson pbr Jokes aside, Robinson, a left fielder and leadoff hitter for Glenbrook North in GlenNorthbrook, IL is a very solid pick up for the Wolverines. He's entering his 3rd year on the varsity team on a very good program in the state of Illinois. Last season, his team made it all the way to the 4A Regional Championship.

As far as the scouts are concerned, Prep Baseball Report does it best in Illinois, listing him first in their 2010 top prospects from the state:

A top-level athlete, Robinson is clearly one of the quickest prospects in the Class of 2010. Physically strong and compact, Robinson ran an event-best 6.76 60 and a 4.32 home-to-first time from the right side. At the plate, Robinson has gap-to-gap power, extremely quick hands and a compact swing. His athleticism translates well in the outfield as well, as he moves fluidly and takes excellent routs to the baseball.

Adam has approximately 40 steals in two seasons, which translates to about 1 per game. That's more impressive than it sounds. That speed and athleticism have him as a two sport athlete as he also is the starting running back for the football team, pictured below.

robinson footballRobinson also has a solid summer league pedigree. This last summer was spent with Top Tier's 17 and under squad that won the CABA World Series. Their coach on the team and program:

"We've had 25 kids get drafted over the past six years, and we pride ourselves on giving kids an opportunity to play at the next level," said Top Tier 17-U American coach Todd Fine. "But from a team standpoint, the CABA World Series title was the biggest win in the history of the program."

That sounds promising. As far as early playing time, I don't think Robinson makes the starting lineup too quickly. We'll first have to see how much longer Ryan LaMarre is still on campus before we can start projecting the outfield two years down the road.

This makes 5 in the recruiting class already for Coach Maloney. I reviewed the other four early signings previously. The class has two outfielders, so I doubt we see too many more. By the time we get the full list of enrollees, I imagine we'll see a couple more pitchers and another corner infielder.

Baseball Early Signings

Baseball Early Signings

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on November 20th, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Ed. – First time since the early signing date that I've had open time to make a post. Sorry it's about a week and a half late. Now with 2 different updates.

Last week saw the early signing period for most of the Olympic sports including baseball. Michigan signed 4, which is a bit smaller than some of the recent classes, which are generally around 6. This class has some name recognition with it, but it's too early to start projecting major league draft status for these kids.

This is only a portion of the eventual recruiting class, but this appears to be a solid start with two solid pitchers in it, and some added outfield depth, both something Michigan is in the need of (you always need more pitching).

Michael O'Neill (OF, Ohio)

The name that will ring a bell for most of you baseball fans is Michael O'Neill, nephew to famed Yankee Paul O'Neill. From mgoblue:

[A] two-year varsity letterwinner at Olentangy Liberty High School, […] O'Neill earned all-conference and all-district first team honors as well as honorable mention all-state following his junior campaign. He was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year after hitting .447 with a .500 on-base percentage and eight triples. He also stole a team-high 21 bases.

O'Neill was also recruited by Ohio State and Miami (OH). I haven't found much else on him. More will come when I do.

UPDATE I: TheBuckeyeNine/BuckeyeStateBaseball writer Chris Webb shot me a link to a signings article from the Olentangy Local News:

O'Neill (.447) has dizzying speed and he's not afraid to use it, stealing a school-record 21 bases in 2009 and regularly flashing the leather as the defensive anchor in center field.

Incoming freshman Patrick Biondi had the best chance of taking over center field in the near future, but O'Neill may give him a run for his money.

Mark Bass (SS, Florida)

Coach Maloney hasn't done much recruiting in Florida in the past, but it appears he has been making the rounds their this summer. He's even convinced some players down there into "buying some parkas":

Despite seeing little playing time with the Patriots in 2009 following a shoulder injury, Bass participated at the Perfect Game Showcase in Fort Myers in May where he caught the eye of Michigan head coach Rich Maloney.

It was their relationship that led Bass to the Wolverines over the University of Central Florida.

"I honestly never thought I was really going to go to a D-I school," said Bass, who will move from second base to shortstop at the next level. "But this summer, I was in the right place at the right time and met the right people.

"The deciding factor for me was the coach. He made a big impact on me and really liked what he was doing with the program."

Getting a kid to come play here over a competitive team from the South is almost a coup for Maloney. Central Florida isn't a powerhouse in Conference USA, but they are generally around the .500 mark. This is a great pick up to provide some long term depth in the middle infield. Right now, it looks like incoming freshman Derek Dennis will probably hold down a middle infield position with Anthony Toth over the next two seasons, and Bass should be in the mix by his redshirt junior year.

Plus, it sounds like he needs some strength and conditioning work. Maloney says:

"Mark is a 6-2 middle-infielder who brings great confidence, a good bat and good glove to our program," Maloney said. "I think as his body matures, with the help of our strength and conditioning program, he will have some very bright days ahead."

UPDATE II: Stories are popping up today, this time with pictures! Someone get that kid a real Michigan hat. Picture by awesomely named Bill Gamblin of the Santa Rosa Press Gazette.

mark bass The Santa Rosa Press Gazette reported on Mark Bass's signing not three hours from me posting my post. Apparently, the decision to go to Michigan over UCF was really close:

Mark Bass is looking for all the coats he can find as he is headed to Ann Arbor to play for Michigan.

For Bass, it is a time to get jackets and coats to prepare for the cold, but that doesn’t matter after he got to meet the coaches at Michigan.

“I wanted to go to the school on academics, but the coach saw me in Ft. Myers and asked me to think about Michigan,” said Bass. “I was about two days away from committing to UCF, but the coach (Rich Maloney) was a big decision over the others.”

Bass selected Michigan over UCF, Jacksonville, Sanford, Alabama Southern, Pensacola Junior College, and the University of West Florida.

Sounds like a little bit of snake oil right there.

Brett Winger (RHP, Florida)

Maloney snagged not one, but two Florida players over the summer, the second is right hander Brett Winger of Orlando's Olympia High School. From his summer ball team that finished 3rd in an elite national tournament:

Brett Winger, a strong bodied right handed pitcher from Olympia High School, has recently committed to play baseball at the University of Michigan.  Brett is one of the most competitive players the Scorpions have had, and can always be counted on in big situations.  He throws a heavy fastball in the upper 80s/lower 90s and compliments this will a late breaking slider and quality change.  Brett also excels in the classroom, and Michigan's prestigous [sic] academic pedigree certainly appealed to him.  Brett will look to make an immediate impact for the Wolverines and add to a rich history of success at the institution.

Perfectgame.org has similar praise in their Central Florida All-Junior team, and mentions of a new pitch he has been working on for his senior year as well:

He throws an effective slider for strikes that is still developing and a splitter/palm ball type changeup that dives down and out of the zone late.  Winger's pitchability has increased over the last year and he is the ultimate competitor.  If Winger continues to improve, there is no reason to think he won't be living in the 90s and be a dominant guy at the next level.

Depending on how his senior season goes, I think Winger is the most likely to be drafted out of all our players, but I don't think his junior year stats really indicate that he'd be drafted outside one of the late rounds, where it probably wouldn't affect his coming to Michigan.

Alex Lakatos (RHP, Grand Rapids, MI)

The only in-state player picked up in the early signing period is right hander Alex Lakatos out of Forest Hills Central High School in Grand Rapids, the same high school as current incoming freshman Derek Dennis.

From mgoblue:

Lakatos is a three-time varsity letterwinner […] two-time all-conference, all-district and all-area honoree, Lakatos added preseason Perfect Game All-America honors to his list of accolades prior to his junior campaign. He helped lead the Rangers to conference and district championships as a junior while posting an 8-2 record on the mound and hitting .450 with seven home runs. Lakatos has also spent the last four summers playing for the prestigious Diamonds/Maroons program, under the direction of Bill Peterson.

"Alex has good size (6-3, 200) and possesses a fastball that hovers at 90 miles per hour with an excellent slider," commented Maloney. "What I really like about Alex is his competitiveness. He has great presence on the mound and is also a great student, which fits our mode of what we look for in a balanced student-athlete. I believe Alex can be a difference-maker early in his career at Michigan."

But pitching isn't the only thing Alex is looking to do:

"More than anything, pitching got me to college. But I didn't want them looking at me only as a pitcher."

Lakatos, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-hander, might find it difficult to do both at the Division I level, but he had an outstanding junior season this spring on the mound and as a hitter.

He was 8-2 in 12 games as pitcher, posting a 1.65 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 55 innings. As a batter, Lakatos hit .414 with 18 extra-base hits, including seven home runs. He drove in 36 runs and stole 13 bases in 34 games.

Lakatos said he also considered Michigan State, Central Michigan, Louisville, South Carolina, Northwestern and Coastal Carolina.

Lakatos wants to swing the bat, and that's why he's coming to Michigan. I'm not sure I see him cracking the outfield rotation any time soon, but he's definitely got an arm. He's already been clocked at 92 miles per hour on his fastball, and that was as a junior.

That list of schools is also pretty interesting. Louisville, South Carolina, and Coastal are all major players in college baseball. It's good to know Michigan does a good job of roping in talent.

Baseball Roster Updates

Baseball Roster Updates

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on October 14th, 2009 at 5:31 PM

The roster was released for fall ball last week with all of this year's current changes. The four lost still had eligibility left, but I'm not sure where they are, whether finishing at Michigan or transferring to find playing time. That's not uncommon in baseball. There will probably be a couple more tweaks to the roster before the actual season starts, and those will be dealt with closer to the season.

Lost:

  • Adam Arbour – Not a big loss as only saw very limited playing time. Stuck behind Chris Berset and Coley Crank in the depth chart.
  • Bryce Aspinwall – Loss is pretty meh. Aspinwall had 10 at bats last season but made the most of them. I thought he had a pretty good shot of taking over for a graduated Fellows. Apparently not.
  • Jim Bircher – No real loss. Had one pinch runner appearance all last season.
  • Jake McLouth (yes, younger brother to the major leaguer Nate McLouth) – Definitely the biggest name lost from last year. There had been rumors that he wasn't going to stick around, and it appears that rumor stuck. McLouth was the DH for Michigan last year, hitting .272 in 151 at bats (6th on team). That's a big hole to fill.

    My intital thought is that Garrett Stephens will take over the DH role, with some support by Coley Crank. Stephens was our top bench player last year, filling in at first base when Mike Dufek would close out games. Stephens also tore it up all summer in his wood bat league, earning all Prospect League honors.

    Graduated:

  • cislo Kevin Cislo – Loss is huge. My guess has Toth moving to second base to fill his hole defensively, opening up short stop for freshman Derek Dennis. We also lose Cislo as our lead off hitter. That's a bigger loss. (Pictured to the right by MGoBlue.com)
  • Kenny Fellows – Loss is pretty big here as we also lose our #2 hole hitter. I wouldn't be surprised to see Biondi to move into his outfield position, especially with the loss of Aspinwall.
  • Chris Fetter – Again with the huge losses. There goes one of the top starting pitchers Michigan has ever had. He ate up innings (even if it sacrificed his quality down the stretch) and saved us from using the super weak bullpen last year.
  • Ben Jenzen – Not much of a loss based on last season. Jenzen was injured the previous year and didn't make it back to play. He would have been a key part of the bullpen or even starting rotation last year had he been healthy.
  • Tim Kalczynski – Loss is medium. As a team captain last year, he was the super utility player. He filled in for an injured Chris Berset and shared third base duties with John Lorenz. Timmy Kal's bat won't be too badly missed. He only hit .234 last year in 107 at bats, with only 8 extra base hits.
  • Mike Wilson – Wilson's loss isn't a killer. In 2007, he had the conference in his hand, earning All-Region for his efforts on the mound. In 2008, he lost his touch. In 2009, well, he only made it into 13 games, including 4 starts. In the end, he finished with a 5.07 ERA in 27 innings. The 24 walks to 23 K's ration was also a killer, not to mention the .328 opponent batting average.

Number Changes:

  • Anthony Toth from 16 to 5 (previously McLouth's number)

New Additions:

  • John DiLaura, C – I did a brief write up on DiLaura when still at VarsityBlue. He is a solid hitting catcher, earning Division 1/Dream Team All State  honors, who has experience at third and second base. With two catchers in the recruiting class ahead of him, including Coley Crank, if he makes an impact this season, it will be because Chris Berset misses time again and Crank struggles.
  • Kyle Clark, RHP – Clark was a four year starter at Portage Central HS of Michigan as a pitcher and first basemen. He's been brought on to pitch in Ann Arbor. He was runner up for his team's pitcher of the year in 2009, and finished with All Conference honors (he was All Conference and All District as a junior) despite having a season ending knee injury. The injury was a strange one. While playing third base, he went to field a slow roller and the knee just buckled. He finished the year 4-1 with 25.2 innings pitched and a 2.18 ERA. Clark has since recovered, and pitched in a summer league team (A. Green, along with Biondi and Michigan signee gone pro Daniel Fields), so he is good to go.
  • A1-DEREK_WE_C_^_WEDIQ Derek Dennis, SS – One of our two draft picks not to go pro, Dennis was an 8th round pick with the Devil Rays. He was considered either the top or second best position player in the state of Michigan this last year (Division 1/Dream Team All State), and he projects to make an impact early. I'm thinking we see Toth move to second base to open the door for 4 years of Derek Dennis at short stop.  (Pictured to right by Grand Rapids Press)
  • Zach Johnson, DH – Johnson is a big guy at 6'3", and he's also really versatile. During his senior season at Grandville HS, he was their top pitcher, their top catcher, and according to his high school coach, he "could've been [their] best infielder, too." Johnson hit .438 and held a on base percentage of .541. On the mound, he was extremely dominant with an ERA of 1.81, record of 4-2, and a 9 strike outs per 9 innings pitched ratio. So while he's listed as a DH now, he could end up playing just about anywhere to get his bat into the line up. 
  • Patrick Biondi, OF – The second of our two non-signing draft picks, Biondi was a very late round pick of the Tigers. He's played center field primarily, which makes him a prime candidate to come in and start. Ryan LaMarre isn't a pure centerfielder, and I definitely can see him moving to left field (vacated by Fellows). In 2009, Biondi earned Louisville Slugger All American status as an outfielder, which speaks volumes of his talent. He was also All State Division II/Dream Team.
  • Michael Kershner, RHP – Kershner comes from Oakland, CA where he won a North Coast Section Division IV title in his senior season. Kershner threw a complete game in the championship game to win it all.  At 6'3", 160, he'll probably spend a year building up strength, but he could potentially see time in his first year. PerfectGame.Org describes him as:

Lean and lanky build with projection. Works from ¾ arm slot with a long and extended arm action. He ran his fastball up to 86 in San Diego and it showed good life. He throws with lower effort and shows poise on the mound, changing speeds with his 11-5 breaking ball.

  • Ben Ballantine,  RHP – I did a write up on Ballantine at VarsityBlue as well during his recruitment. Ben is a 6'8" pitcher out of California, and he chose Michigan because of the work Rich Maloney and his staff has done with other tall pitchers, namely Chris Fetter. Ballantine decided to pick the jersey sure to fit him, Chris Fetter's #41 jersey. That's some awfully big shoes to fill. I don't see him cracking the rotation this year, but he'll probably start seeing playing time early and often this season as Maloney turns him into the next big starter for Michigan.
  • Cameron Luther, 1B – Luther is another one of the Michigan All State players at the Division II level, but his is for power. "Cam" hit a home run in nearly all news articles I have found on him. That said, I can't find any specific stats on his season. MGoBlue.com described him thusly (before his senior season):

Luther, a three-time all-district performer for coach Eric Dunapilis at St. Joseph, has 19 home runs in three varsity seasons and hit .431 as a junior. A powerful first baseman, Luther had a breakout summer of 2008 with the Kalamazoo Maroons, hitting .429 while slugging 1.021 with 19 home runs.

  • Bennett Howard, IF – He shows up on the roster at fall ball. A thorough google search comes up with nothing. He's from New Jersey. That's all I got.
  • Samuel Cleary, RHP/IF/OF – Cleary comes from Ann Arbor's Huron HS. I haven't found much about him as I believe he is a walk-on at fall try-outs. He had a few academic honors in 2008. I believe he was a middle infielder at Huron, but he has the ultimate utility listing of pitcher/infielder/outfielder on the current roster. If anything he is an academic walk-on that provides depth.

EDIT: I looked over Rickey Samuel, which is definitely a poor choice to skip. Thanks go to wolverinebandit for pointing out the error.

Ricky Samuel, OF – Samuel is another All State Dream teamer from last year. He is listed as an outfielder on our roster, but the lefty also was a solid pitcher in high school. Samuel has 3 main pitches, a fastball (touches upper 80s), a sharp breaking ball, and a changeup. That said, he's only considered an above average prospect as a left handed pitcher.

His swing, however, is considered his main selling point. The best summary of his senior season I could find came from this Detroit News article written right before the district playoffs:

Going into […] Division 1 pre-district game against Walled Lake Northern at Walled Lake Central, Samuel was batting .510 with 35 RBIs, 41 runs, nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 23 walks and 22 stolen bases. He has a .608 on-base percentage and a .840 slugging percentage. As a pitcher he's 6-2 with one save. In 48 innings he's struck out 87 with an ERA of 2.90. Opposing batters are hitting .169.

That's spectacular. Depending on how we use Alan Oaks this year, Samuel has a chance at making it in the outfield as well. Oaks is high risk/high reward in the outfield. His defense isn't great (it isn't poor either), he has major power, but Alan just strikes out way too much. If he gets converted to a starting pitcher, which seems likely based on the end of last season and his summer league numbers, Samuel could see a lot of time in right field.

Baseball Recruiting - MLB Signing Deadline

Baseball Recruiting - MLB Signing Deadline

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on August 17th, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Due to real time updating, we're doing it via diary tonight. Also, I've noticed how crappy the diary editor is, so sorry for frequent updates as it keeps screwing up the html.
 

Tonight at midnight is the signing deadline for all drafted MLB prospects. If they don't sign tonight, they either go to college for 3 years or sit out (play in independent or foreign leagues) until next year's draft. Michigan has three recruits drafted, Daniel Fields (Tigers - 6th), Derek Dennis (Rays - 10th), and Patrick Biondi (Tigers 35th).

Fields, son of career minor leaguer and one time Tigers hitting coach Bruce Fields, did indeed sign with the Tigers around 10:30pm tonight. Fields was widely considered the top prospect out of Michigan this year (he or Dennis depending who you asked). He is expected to receive a 7-figure bonus for signing and attend the next few weeks in Lakeland, FL as the minor league season ends at the end of this month.

From the Jason Beck Tigers Blog:

"It was a very tough decision," Fields said Monday night, "because I'd fallen in love with Michigan ever since I went on my visit. It was a very tough decision. It was actually pretty hard calling coach [Rich] Maloney and telling him I wasn't coming."

The 7-figure bonus was way above the normal compensation for a 6th round pick, but his commitment to UM was the main culprit to his fall from the first 3 rounds to the 6th. The Tigers will probably get a slap on the wrist from Commissioner Bud Selig for the salary inflation but probably nothing more.

This is a pretty big loss for Michigan as Fields could have been a starting middle infielder this upcoming season. With Kevin Cislo graduating, the second base job is up for grabs and his to take.

In other signing news, Derek Dennis may be having a couple extra suitors at his door tonight. The Rays' top two prospects, LeVon Washington (2B) and Kenny Diekroeger (SS) both chose college over the pros. This leaves the Rays with Dennis as their top remaining unsigned middle infielder.

Dennis sounded like a Michigan lock only two months ago, but he was also invited to take batting practice with All Star third baseman Evan Longoria. Nothing's been heard since that June quote, so Dennis could still be mulling over his options.

If we hear anything about his signing tonight or tomorrow, I'll update you here.

Midnight Update:

Everything I've continued to read still has Dennis as a 100% Michigan lock.

The Freep also ran their article on Fields, where he described coach Maloney as "the main reason why I chose Michigan. I love him to death." 

Tigers or Wolverines (Daniel Fields must decide by tonight)

Tigers or Wolverines (Daniel Fields must decide by tonight)

Submitted by Seth on August 17th, 2009 at 12:21 PM

From Jason Beck:

Then there's the case of Fields, who likely would've been selected in the first couple of rounds if not for expectations that he'll follow through on his commitment to the University of Michigan. Now, he's seriously considering a contract offer from the Tigers to turn pro and join the organization with which his father worked for years, first as a player and then as a coach in Toledo and Detroit.

More from his blog last Friday.

The Tigers have until midnight tonight to sign him. From the blog, and from the e-buzz, it seems like this is a total toss-up at the moment. The Tigers offered him a contract and he was supposed to have talked to Dombrowski and made a decision over the weekend. Well, the weekend ended, and still no announced decision. Does that bode well for M?

The general consensus: Fields was a steal in the 6th round because people felt he was going to Michigan. I think the Tigers felt the opportunity to play near home might pry him away.

Michigan Baseball Prospects MLB Draft

Michigan Baseball Prospects MLB Draft

Submitted by MGoAndy on June 11th, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Just to update Brian's earlier post about baseball recruits and the draft:

Dan Fields went 180 overall to the Tigers. His 6th round selection would have nearly guaranteed a decision to attend Michigan, but the Tigers will get extra consideration as the hometown team. I've personally seen Dan play numerous times this season, and the guy is a stud. Beautiful swing, good power, plus speed, a rocket arm, and a good glove on this kid. He's also huge, like break my bones with his bear hands huge. I'm sure it will be a tough decision between the Tigers system and Michigan.

Derek Dennis went 319 overall to Tampa. His statement about probably going to play for Michigan might have scared teams away - he intended to do this - because he was projected much higher than the 10th round. However, don't count out Tampa. He said they're talking second-round money, and he was looking for around $1.5 million as a signing bonus. Interesting to see how this plays out too.

Pat Biondi went 1050 overall to the Tigers. I'd assume this is far too low for him to consider signing, but again, you can't count out the hometown Tigers. That said, I think it's pretty safe he goes to Michigan. I've seen Pat play too this year and he has good pop, great speed, and an absolute cannon of an arm in the outfield.