Baseball: Fall Ball Box Scoring

Baseball: Fall Ball Box Scoring

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on September 23rd, 2010 at 8:48 AM

Michigan's baseball team is in the midst of fall practice this week, and like spring ball for football, there are some vague outlooks of next season hinted at even in meaningless exhibitions against Canadian teams. Yesterday, for the second year in a row, Michigan took on the Ontario Blue Jays, a high-level summer ball squad from north of the border. For the second year in a row, Michigan crushed the Jays.

Pitching

While the 24-1 score over the 14 inning scrimmage means nothing, how innings were allotted to pitchers is something of quite a bit more interest. Heading into next season, Michigan will be replacing two weekend starters. Lefty Bobby Brosnahan seems to be a lock to return to the rotation, and junior Brandon Sinnery is poised to be the second after spending the summer in Ann Arbor bulking up for the workload, but the third spot has been somewhat vague. Enter the exhibition;

pitchers

kolby woodJudging by the innings, it looks like the early front runner for the last spot is Kolby  Wood (right, by MGoBlue). Wood has been a jack of all trades on the pitching staff for quite some time now. Early on, there were several experiments to move him to the rotation, but between his own struggles starting, and his value as a late inning reliever, Wood never could secure a starting spot. Kolby does have a pretty good fastball, a solid slider, changeup, and has worked with developing a splitter.

As far as the other relievers and potential starters, I have to be impressed with Gerbe and Ballantine. Gerbe could very well end up as this year's closer if he doesn't get groomed into a starter as well. I'm starting to get excited about the future of Ben Ballantine as well. His freshman season wasn't great, but with his height and size, I think we'll see a big break through for him this year.

The last note on the pitching staff, why do lefty relievers always bother me? Be it Katzman's bipolar "OMG I'M GREAT" to "OMG I JUST HIT TWO BATTERS AND GAVE UP 4 HITS THIS INNING" or Jeff DeCarlo, Academic All-American, I've just never felt comfortable with our "specialists." This year appears to be more of the same. Tyler Mills is cut from the same sporadic lefty mold where he'll walk a few batters per innings to raise the blood pressure, then it's anyone's guess on how the inning will end.

The Lineup

Starting lineup:

  Player Pos
1 Patrick Biondi 8
2 Anthony Toth 4
3 John Lorenz 5
4 Coley Crank 2
5 Garrett Stephens 3
6 Derek Dennis 6
7 Tyler Mills 9
8 Kevin Krantz 7
9 Alex Lakatos DH

Here's where things get interesting. While the first two slots of Biondi and Toth is no surprise, John Lorenz (bottom right, by MGoBlue) in the 3-hole isn't something I really expected. Lorenz really came along to end last season, but his power has been streaky at best and his strikeout rate lorenz is generally pretty high.  The more I think about it though, the more it makes sense. The only other power options are Crank and Stephens, but their K-rate is probably twice that of Lorenz.

The other option was moving Derek Dennis into the 3, but judging just on the regular season, Dennis didn't appear to be ready for that load yet. It's not to say he won't be ready by February, but I just haven't seen reason to move him that high in the order just yet. Dennis should fit in well to the 6-hole. He'll act as a clean up hitter for Crank and Stephens above him, who should provide Dennis with plenty of RBI opportunities.

The bottom three in the order are of more interest to me than anything else. With two outfield spots open, all three of those guys are competing for two spots on the field. And with Michael O'Neill due back from labrum surgery in the next month or two, that's just one more guy in the mix – one that some close to the baseball program think is already the favorite to start in left. I'm personally leaning towards Krantz as the other outfielder, but that's without seeing him play since the broken thumb. Kevin looked good while replacing Ryan LaMarre last season, and I'd love to see him continue to produce like that at the bottom of the order.

As for the DH, I wasn't really expecting Alex Lakatos to make an appearance, especially given his pitching potential. Lakatos was one of the state of Michigan's top high school pitching prospects last season. I didn't know Maloney also was looking at his bat. I'm also somewhat surprised with the lack of Cam Luther. Luther was the big bat brought in the recruiting class of 2009. He made it into just a handful of games last year before contracting mono, but it appears the projection that he would challenge Stephens for 1st base or designated hitter might be pushed back a little later.

What it Means

Like spring football, everything in this game is all to be taken with a grain of salt. Players still have a few months to get into baseball shape, and anything could happen between now and then, especially on the mound.

If there is one thing I take out of this though, it's pleasure in the AD finally giving the fall exhibitions some publicity. In several southern baseball schools, fall ball is a big deal. Last year, we were given a score, no box, no write up, nothing. As Michigan continues to build it's baseball program, this is a small step forward. So is their recent hire of the new assistant SID, Kent Reichert, formerly of Coastal Carolina (a big time baseball school). I'm really encouraged to see the program moving forward like this.

Baseball: Derek Dennis spotlight from the Cape

Baseball: Derek Dennis spotlight from the Cape

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on July 9th, 2010 at 1:02 PM

While Dennis isn't quite the star that Ryan LaMarre was going into the Cape Cod League last year, he's still important to Michigan's future succcess. Because of that, and because Michigan has slowly built a pipeline of journalists from the Daily heading to Cape Cod during the season (Auerbach last year and now Rohan), Dennis was lucky enough to earn a player spotlight on CapeCodOnline.

A taste:

Do you think your defense at short will get better with experience?
Even from high school to college, with the pitching and how strong guys are, the ball comes off the bat so much harder, so you have to react much quicker. As the year went on, I felt more comfortable seeing it off the bat. Even in the Cape League, I feel so much more comfortable in the field than I ever have.

They also discuss things like the comparisons between Dennis and Jeter and things like Dennis being a 3-pt specialist in high school and receiving basketball offers from some smaller schools.

Baseball: Summer Ball Teams

Baseball: Summer Ball Teams

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on June 23rd, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Baseball season doesn't end with the College World Series. For most players, it continues all summer long. It's here, and the weight room in the fall, that players make their big jumps for next year. So with that in mind, we'll keep an eye on some Michigan players over the course of the summer.

With games starting over the last week, here's an overview of the destinations of Michigan players.

The Knowns

  • Wareham Gatemen (Cape Cod) - Derek Dennis and Anthony Toth
  • Butler Blue Sox (Prospect) - Ben Ballantine and Matt Broder
  • Quincy Gems (Prospect) - John Lorenz
  • Richmond RiverRats (Prospect) - Kevin Krantz and Garrett Stephens
  • Anchorage Bucs (Alaska) - Coley Crank
  • Lake Erie Monarchs (Great Lakes)- Travis Smith
  • Lima Locos (Great Lakes) – Logan McAnallen, Cam Luther, and Tyler Mills
  • Alexandria Beetles (Northwoods) - Patrick Biondi, Kevin Vangheluwe and Kolby Wood
  • Winchester Royals (Valley League) - Kyle Clark
  • Michigan Rams (AAABA) - Brandon Sinnery (really?), John DiLaura, and Sam Cleary (incoming freshman)
    Not a lot of super interesting notes here. The one that really stands out is Brandon Sinnery pitching for the Rams. Nothing against the Rams, but Brandon seems like he'd be a bigger pick up for ANY other league. The Rams have been home to many of our freshmen who haven't seen playing time, not a guy who is poised to be Michigan's #2. This is a pretty large step down for Sinnery from his stint last summer with the Winchester Royals of the Valley League.
    Lima, Alexandria, and Richmond continue to have multiple Wolverines. Coley Crank and John Lorenz both are sticking it out with their clubs from last year. Travis Smith moved from the Texas Collegiate League to the Great Lakes, and hopefully it serves him better. Last summer with the Brazos Valley Bombers was forgettable.
    In the marquee division, Michigan sends two to the Cape, both with Wareham (Ryan LaMarre's club last season). Toth and Dennis appear to be working on their double play combos as regular players. Neither has hit very well, both around .285, but sometimes it takes time to get used to the wood bats.

Missing

    Looking over the returning roster, a few guys I couldn't find.
  • Ricky Samuel (P, So)
  • Matt Gerbe (P, Sr)
  • Bobby Brosnahan (P, Rs So) – Once was listed on Lima Locos roster, no longer.
  • Michael Kershner (P, Rs Fr)
  • Zach Johnson (C, Rs Fr)
  • Ben Paskus (2B, Rs Fr)
    Gerbe was in the Valley League last season, but he doesn't appear on any active roster I've been able to find. Brosnahan is also a strange one to be missing. He was with Lima last year. It could be that they're in summer school and will join a team later. As for now, it's unknown.
    The other players on that list have yet to make an appearance in a game. Ricky Samuel is supposed to be a major part of the bullpen next season, so I'm somewhat surprised he's not on a roster somewhere.

I'll probably post an update on how seasons are going closer to the start of school, or if I hear about players joining teams late.

Baseball BTT: Iowa Recap & Minnesota Preview

Baseball BTT: Iowa Recap & Minnesota Preview

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 28th, 2010 at 12:07 AM

 nick uban goes kayak 
Nick Urban, Going Yard.
Photo by
MGoBlue.com

Michigan
(35-20, 15-10)

vs

Minnesota
(28-28, 16-9)

Friday 7:00pm ET
Bill Davis Stadium
Columbus, OH

Bobby Brosnahan vs TJ Oakes
Stats Audio   TV:BTN  
Notes: Michigan is 85-86 all time.
Minnesota is 1-0 in the tourney.

Season Series

Minnesota Recap

7-14

 

4-5

2-1

Michigan defeated Iowa in an absolutely dominating performance, winning 18-4. With the win, Michigan moves on in the winner's bracket to face the #1 seed Minnesota Golden Gophers. For Iowa recap and a look at Minnesota, follow the jump.

Baseball BTT: Tournament and Iowa Preview

Baseball BTT: Tournament and Iowa Preview

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 26th, 2010 at 7:55 PM

 catching Iowa stealing
Catching Iowa Stealing. Photo by 
MGoBlue.com

Michigan
(34-20, 14-10)

vs

Iowa
(28-26, 13-11)

Thursday 3:35pm ET
Bill Davis Stadium
Columbus, OH

TBA vs TBA
Stats Audio   TV:BTN  
Notes: Michigan is 101-45 all time.
Iowa is 1-0 in the tourney (not
reflected above)

Season Series

Iowa Recap

2-5

 

3-5

7-5

Michigan will open up their portion of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament Thursday against Iowa. The winner advances to the semi-finals of the championship round, the loser falls into a pit of despair also known as the loser's bracket.

Iowa owns a 2-1 record against the Wolverines, but they've already thrown their ace Jarred Hippen in order to get to this game. Michigan comes in fully rested and with all its pitchers at Rich Maloney's disposal.

A brief review of the regular season meeting and some thoughts on the tournament after the jump.

Baseball: All-Big Ten Teams Named

Baseball: All-Big Ten Teams Named

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 25th, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Following media day at the Big Ten Baseball Tournament, the conference unveiled their All-Big Ten selections.

Michigan claims one first teamer in junior outfielder Ryan LaMarre. Ryan finished his season hitting .409 with 5 homers and 8 doubles in 132 at bats. His .659 slugging percentage easily led the Wolverines. LaMarre didn't get a unanimous selection, possibly hindered by his early season absence.

For the full list of honors, follow the jump:

Baseball: Northwestern Preview

Baseball: Northwestern Preview

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 14th, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Michigan (29-18, 10-8)

vs

Northwestern (21-27, 10-8)


Friday 6:35pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Alan Oaks (4-5, 3.75 ERA) vs Eric Jokisch (4-5, 4.59 ERA)
Stats Audio (WCBN)   BTN.com ($)  
Notes: Michigan is 108-27 all time, Last year: 1-2 series loss. Jokisch
is a LHP.

Michigan

vs

Northwestern


Saturday 1:05 ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Bobby Brosnahan(5-4, 4.64 ERA) vs Francis Brooke (5-3, 4.28 ERA)
Stats Audio (MGo)   BTN.com ($)  
Notes:

Michigan

vs

Northwestern


Sunday 1:05pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
TBA vs TBA
Stats Audio (MGo)   BTN.com ($)  
Notes: Could see Katzman or Sinnery.

It's the first round of Big Ten Elimination as we've reached the final two weeks of regular season Big Ten baseball. Michigan faces one of the three other teams tied for the Big Ten lead in the Northwestern Wildcats, a team with a solid pitching staff and a surprisingly decent offense that came together just in time for conference play. This is also a series for revenge as Northwestern was the team to knock Michigan out of the Big Ten Tournament in 2009. Vengeance must be had.

Quick look at the midweek game against Michigan State, as well as a preview of Northwestern after the jump:

Baseball Stat Watch: Conference Midpoint

Baseball Stat Watch: Conference Midpoint

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on April 27th, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Now that we've reached the conference midpoint and looked at the conference outlook, it's time to take a look at the team stats. Unlike in previous editions, the graphics will include some pitching related stats despite too small of a sample size to be that meaningful. The pitching stats are starting to show some trends, though.

As another reminder, these stats aren't official, but they should be pretty close. I have to compile these by going through every box score and input them into Excel tables. Many times, box scores contain errors that are corrected in the official statistics, but they may not be adjusted in the online box score.

So, as I start each of these posts, we'll look at the three major derived stats that are readily available in the college game (batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage):

team hitting over season

In that AWESOME EXCEL GRAPH, you can see each of the percentages as they accumulate over the season. It should be pretty obvious that as the season goes along, the lines should normalize to the average as more data comes in. What may be a bit more difficult to see is that Michigan's offense peaked in the Central Michigan game. At that time Michigan was hitting .328 (BA) and .411(OBP). The slugging picked up a bit since then, peaking in the offensive explosion in Illinois game one, with a .477 slugging percentage.

Michigan currently sits at .321 (BA), .404 (OBP), and .470 (SLG). That ranks 3rd, 3rd, and 4th in the Big Ten respectively (more on this below). In terms of conference only stats, Michigan is at .322 (BA), .411 (OBP), and .469 (SLG), which means we've done a little bit better in conference in terms of getting on base, but everything else has been pretty similar to the non-conference season. That's pretty surprising given the difference in talent we've faced, but at the same time, Michigan has had a couple of anemic offensive games against some of the Big Ten's best pitchers (Hippen, Bischoff, Leininger), and they've had some explosive games against some of the not so good (Illinois win).

Speaking of talent difference between conference and nonconference, the purple line in the above graph, for those who didn't pay attention last time, represents the RPI of our opponents. The number one team in Boyd Nation's pseudo-RPI would be a 1.000, and a team holding the #302 RPI (or any non-D1 opponents if you're a Buckeye who plays AND LOSES to D2 and NAIA teams) would register as a 0.000 score. From that, you can see that our non-conference schedule was pretty difficult with two games against #1 Coastal Carolina, but our last few games, as well as the Big Ten regular season are quite a drop in competition.

The second graph I tend to post up is per nine innings stats, particularly runs, hits, strikeouts, and walks. These are just the sum of our total stats accumulated over the number of innings Michigan has batted (a home win normally only has 8 innings, as compared to any road game having 9 innings). Taking a peak:

per 9 innings

Looking at the above, we can clearly see the differences between "OMG WE LOST LAMARRE" and the the team becoming stable. LaMarre came back against Central Michigan, where we can see a small jump in hits and runs, but not much in terms of long term changes. The only long term pattern that comes from the post-LaMarre return is a slight drop in strikeouts, a product of Krantz and Stephens getting less at bats.

At the time of LaMarre's return, I probably would have predicted an increase in hits and runs per game, but as we'll see in a bit, a couple of players have really cooled down over the last few weeks, most notably Coley Crank.

For individuals and a brief look at pitching, follow the jump. Warning, it gets long. Probably unnecessarily long. But it is what it is.

Baseball: Iowa Recap

Baseball: Iowa Recap

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on April 24th, 2010 at 9:56 PM

not back
About being back… not so much. (image from MGoBlue)

If you would have asked me what the worst case scenario would be walking into the Iowa series, my answer would have been Jarred Hippen throws a complete game in the first half of the double header, and that momentum would carry Iowa through game two for Michigan to be swept on Friday. I would have then said that rain would cancel Saturday's game for the first Iowa sweep of Michigan in Ann Arbor in recent memory. Unfortunately, the first half of that prediction came true.

Luckily, Saturday had only overcast skies and Michigan was able to redeem themselves (somewhat) by salvaging a 1-2 weekend. Michigan exits the series half a game back of the Big Ten leading Buckeyes, who visit Ann Arbor next week. That's right people, it's HATE WEEK for the baseball team.

But before we get to that, we look at the Iowa series. Recaps after the jump: