Erik Bakich Offered New 5-Year Deal to Stay

Erik Bakich Offered New 5-Year Deal to Stay

Submitted by Raoul on June 13th, 2017 at 9:21 PM

Latest on Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich, reportedly slated to interview at South Carolina and perhaps in the mix for the Stanford job: Warde Manuel has offered him a new five-year contract to keep him in Ann Arbor (terms undisclosed):

“I love Erik and want him to stay here, but people have to make choices they want to make,” Manuel said Tuesday. “I hope he stays. He’s done a terrific job at Michigan. We have been talking about him returning for a few months now. He has those terms and everything we put on the table. This was the last year of a five-year deal, and we offered him another five-year deal to stay. He’s doing a great job.”

Take this for what it's worth, but South Carolina fans have talked about being able to easily double Bakich's current salary. His base pay in 2016-17 (the final year of his original five-year contract) was $182,000.

The article linked above also notes that a new contract is being worked on for softball coach Carol Hutchins.

Baseball: Bakich to Interview at S. Carolina; Sean Kenny to UGA

Baseball: Bakich to Interview at S. Carolina; Sean Kenny to UGA

Submitted by Raoul on June 9th, 2017 at 8:46 PM

SEC Country is reporting that Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich is expected to interview for the open South Carolina job.

Bakich is familiar with the SEC, having served as an assistant at Vanderbilt from 2003-09 and also has experience in South Carolina from coaching at Clemson in 2002.

Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan is reportedly a strong candidate for the same job

Meanwhile, Bakich's pitching coach, Sean Kenny (an Ann Arbor native), is headed to Georgia to be their pitching coach. So even if Bakich stays at U-M he'll have a big hole to fill on his coaching staff.

Bakich Gets 100th Career Win as U-M Baseball Tops Air Force

Bakich Gets 100th Career Win as U-M Baseball Tops Air Force

Submitted by Raoul on February 16th, 2014 at 12:09 PM

One of the youngest head coaches in college baseball, Erik Bakich picked up the 100th win of his career last night as Michigan beat Air Force 8-2 in the third game of their four-game Texas State Tournament opener in San Marcos, Texas. Fifth-year senior Ben Ballantine made an outstanding return from the gruesome ankle injury that ended his senior year prematurely, giving up just one hit and no earned runs in seven innings of work—and earning the win. (See also mgoblue.com recap.)

The victory followed a disappointing opening day that saw the Wolverines drop two games, both in 10 innings, 8-7 to Texas State and 8-6 to Washington. In both contests, Michigan went into the late innings with a decent lead—7-3 after six in the opener, 6-3 after seven in the nightcap—but the bullpen was unable to hold the advantages and the Wolverines batters failed to tack on any insurance runs.

Some hitting highlights from the first three games:

  • Junior DH Kyle Jusick is hitting .455 (5-for-11), with 3 runs and 2 RBI
  • Senior catcher Cole Martin's solid start includes a 3-run homer
  • Juco transfer Jackson Glines has done well stepping into the large void left by Pat Biondi's graduation; batting leadoff, Glines is hitting .400 (6-for-15), with 3 runs, 3 RBI, and 1 stolen base
  • Freshman Jackson Lamb is living up to the hype so far, going 4-for-6, with 3 doubles and 4 RBI

Michigan plays Washington again today at 1pm ET in their final game in this tournament. The Wolverines will send sophomore Evan Hill to the mound as they try to even their season and tourney record at 2-2.

Michigan Baseball Preview: Who's on First?

Michigan Baseball Preview: Who's on First?

Submitted by Raoul on February 12th, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Erik Bakich made the first of his weekly appearances on WTKA for the 2014 season this morning (podcast), providing a good preview of the upcoming Michigan baseball campaign, which begins Friday down in Texas.

The focus here is on who's playing which position. In addition to what Bakich said, this overview is also based on the current game notes.

Starting pitchers: Every starter returns from last year—fifth-year seniors Logan McAnallen and Ben Ballantine, juniors James Bourque and Trent Szkutnik, and sophomore Evan Hill. They'll get the bulk of the innings. The game notes have probable starters for this weekend as Bourque and Szkutnik for games 1 and 2 on Friday, Ballantine on Saturday, and Hill on Sunday. Bakich talked about the importance of his hurlers being able to consistently throw multiple types of pitches for strikes. McAnallen and Ballantine had shown this ability in the past; the other three have made tremendous improvement in this area since last season.

Bullpen: Bakich didn't discuss the bullpen extensively, but sophomore Jacob Cronenworth will be the closer. In his freshman year, when he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, he had a 1.93 ERA and seven saves in 15 appearances; yesterday, he was named to the Stopper of the Year watch list. Michigan returns two other players who had extensive bullpen duties last season, senior Alex Lakatos and junior Matt Ogden. Bakich mentioned that freshman Jackson Lamb will be a two-way player, seeing time in the outfield and pitching in relief. He'll be brought along slowly, with his role likely increasing as the season progresses. The game notes mention two other freshman who are expected to have roles as relievers—Brett Adcock and Keith Lehmann.

Outfield: The biggest losses on the team from last year are starting outfielders Patrick Biondi and Michael O'Neill, both now playing professional ball. Zach Zott returns and will continue to be the starting left fielder. Bakich talked about how much more depth his team has this year than last year, and this is evident in the outfield, where he expects at least three players to see action in center and right—juco transfer Jackson Glines and two freshmen, Lamb and Johnny Slater. The game notes show the probable starters as Zott in left, Glines in center, and Slater in right. Bakich also mentioned that juniors Kyle Jusick and Kevin White might see some action in the outfield.

Infield: Coming off his stellar freshman season, sophomore Travis Maezes will continue to be the starting shortstop. Also anchoring the infield will be Cronenworth. But while he split time last season at second and third, this season Cronenworth will be the starter at either third or first, depending on whether the opposing team is starting a right-handed pitcher or a southpaw. Also playing some first will be juco transfer Kendall Patrick. Three freshmen will see action at second and third—Hector Gutierrez, Ramsey Romano, and Trey Miller. The game notes show the probable starters as Cronenworth at first, Gutierrez at second, Maezes at short, and Romano at third.

Catcher: Senior Cole Martin returns as the starter; he was named third-team All-Big Ten last year. He'll be helped out by Patrick and freshman Harrison Wenson.

Offense in general: Strategy will remain the same as last season, with the aim to play fast, be very aggressive both at the plate and on the bases, and put pressure on the opposing team. Many of the newcomers have speed and athleticism.

With all the starting pitchers back from last season, along with some key position players, as well as a raft of talented newcomers, Michigan is expected to improve on their 5th place finish in the Big Ten last season when their record was 14-10 in the conference and 29-27 overall. So far, the conference previews have picked them to finish third or fourth.

Baseball gets Bakich first win in style: 9-1 over Fordham

Baseball gets Bakich first win in style: 9-1 over Fordham

Submitted by Michigasling on February 22nd, 2013 at 6:46 PM

After losing each of their first three games by only one run (two games in extra innings), the men broke out the bats in Port St. Lucie for the first victory under the new coach.

Sophomore James Bourque (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) earned the win on the mound, scattering six hits and allowing just a run with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings. At the plate, junior Michael O'Neill belted his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to left in the eighth inning. O'Neill joined senior Patrick Biondi with two hits on the day, as Biondi drove in and scored a pair of runs.

For more details, MGoBlue LINK

A doubleheader against Fordham tomorrow, and then they get to face the Mets (yes, [some of] those Mets) in an exhibition.

Good day for both teams of bat-and-ball-slingers.

Chengalis: Bakich Remaking Michigan Baseball

Chengalis: Bakich Remaking Michigan Baseball

Submitted by Raoul on February 14th, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Interesting article from Angelique Chengelis—Erik Bakich remakes Michigan baseball with mental training, community presence—in advance of Michigan baseball's first game tomorrow.

"The reason we do perspective posters and visit the hospitals is so these guys have a true appreciation for how fortunate they are," Bakich said. "But also with baseball, you build up these bottom-of-the-ninth, game-winning situations like they're life and death. When we actually go visit people who really have struggled with life and death, you understand we're playing a kid's game. We can actually perform better knowing it's not really a life-or-death situation. It's about execution and we'll make the opponent make it life or death."

. . .

Bakich has enlisted the help of Brian Cain, a mental conditioning coach who has worked with several college baseball programs. Cain's purpose is to give players tools to understand the mental aspects of baseball.

"They've learned how to implement routines and use breathing and visualization and self-talk to not only help them maintain their confidence, but be able to focus on one pitch at a time," Bakich said. "Brian has been great for routine implementation and getting these guys to stick to the process."

And part of that process is, very simply, having the players work on their breathing, whether he's a pitcher, hitter, or playing defense.

The players also have been taught to recognize "signal lights," when game situations are getting tight and players begin to talk to themselves negatively. Every player, Bakich said, has a release, whether it's kicking dirt, taking his helmet off or adjusting his batting glove. Next, the player finds his personal focal point, whether it's the left-field foul pole or a spot on the bat, for example, and he then returns to positive thinking.

And here's the official Michigan baseball preview video:

UPDATE: Michael O'Neill was named to 50-man preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award

Previews for 2013 Big Ten baseball season

Previews for 2013 Big Ten baseball season

Submitted by Raoul on February 4th, 2013 at 10:47 PM

With only 11 days until Michigan's 2013 season opener, a few Big Ten conference previews were posted today.

The most detailed one, from Baseball America, has several Michigan-related items:

  • Michigan picked to finish a surprisingly high sixth place
  • Wolverine outfielder Michael O'Neill selected as preseason conference player of the year and the #2 prospect for the 2013 MLB draft
  • Freshman Evan Hill, a left-handed pitcher, tabbed as top newcomer
  • Michigan also featured with this:
Michigan Jr. OF Michael O'Neill (.327/.381/.525, 19 SB), whose uncle Paul was a five-time all-star with the Reds and Yankees, was the fastest player in the Cape Cod League last summer (6.36 seconds in the 60-yard dash). He also has bat speed, power potential and center-field skills. O'Neill plays right field for the Wolverines in deference to Sr. OF Patrick Biondi (.303/.408/.407), a smaller speedster who led the Big Ten with 32 steals last spring and the Cape with a .388 batting average last summer. He turned down the Marlins as a ninth-round pick.

Most of the Perfect Game preview is behind a paywall, but they pick Michigan to finish eighth.

Based on a survey of 9 out of 11 Big Ten coaches, College Baseball Insider has Indiana as the favorite to win the conference title (as do the two sites above). Biondi and O'Neill figure prominently in their rundown of the conference's best players:

The best defensive outfielder: Patrick Biondi, Michigan

The best outfield arm: Michael O’Neill Michigan

The best pure hitters: Michael Pritchard, Nebraska; Sam Travis, Indiana; Michael O’Neill, Michigan

The biggest power threats: Sam Travis, Indiana; Chad Christensen, Nebraska; Michael O’Neill, Michigan

. . .

The best baserunner: Patrick Biondi, Michigan

Here are some miscellaneous items:

  • In their countdown of the top 100 players in the country, College Baseball Daily, after previously placing O'Neill at #77, has Biondi at #41.
From a scouting perspective, the success that Biondi had with a wood bat in the CCBL during the summer of 2012 shows a lot of promise. When added with his intuitive defense and fantastic base-running ability, that success may make all the difference for Biondi in the 2013 draft. Having Biondi back for his senior season gives the Wolverines one of their most talented players and leaders in 2013, as Biondi is one of the top players to watch for this season.
  • As I posted in another thread, Erik Bakich made an appearance on WTKA this morning—here's the podcast. Among other things, Bakich talked about how young the team is, with many freshmen expected to play major roles. If the season were to begin today, the starting infield would include three freshmen.
  • This is from a couple weeks ago, but in case anyone missed the news release, Biondi was named team captain and was one of five players selected for the team's Leadership Council.

Details on Erik Bakich's Contract

Details on Erik Bakich's Contract

Submitted by Raoul on February 3rd, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Mark Snyder at freep.com has the details on Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich's contract:

  • Five-year deal, with nearly $830,000 in base salary, starting at $150K/year and increasing to more than $182K for the 2016–17 season
  • $65,000/year for TV, radio, Internet, apparel, and so on
  • $25,000/year for a possible sponsorship deal with a bat manufacturer
  • Various performance bonuses, ranging from one month base salary for a Big Ten title/NCAA bid to $25,000 for a national championship

The reports at the time of his hiring of compensation of $400K+ were obviously exaggerations as Brandon had suggested. The other interesting thing is that while Bakich will be making much more than he was at Maryland, where his base pay was a little over $100K, his overall compensation is significantly below what Michigan was paying Maloney, who had a contract topping out at $349K in total compensation in its final year.

Baseball Recruiting: 2013 In-State Signees

Baseball Recruiting: 2013 In-State Signees

Submitted by Raoul on January 15th, 2013 at 11:15 AM

The early signing period came and went without Michigan issuing a press release on the signees; they perhaps will do so following the regular signing period in the spring. In any event, it appears that the new staff signed about a dozen prospects and did a great job of hanging onto several players who had committed under Rich Maloney, as well as getting LOIs from several others in the short time they had to work with. The focus here is on 2013, but Erik Bakich and company have already also secured several 2014 commits and one from 2015. Their success on the recruiting trail has led to talk about a faster-than-expected turnaround for the program. In a Q&A posted in November, B1G Baseball blogger Chris Webb got this response from Jordan Banfield, a Texas Rangers scout and coach of an Ann Arbor travel team:

CW: Under Bakich, Michigan has been extremely aggressive and in those early classes [meaning 2014 and 2015] they surged to the front of the conference. Being in that region, what have you noticed first-hand with the approach Michigan has led by recruiting coordinator Sean Kenny?

JB: Aggressive is certainly the right term.  They locked up the top 2013 in Michigan within a couple weeks of being hired and haven’t stopped getting commits since.  Having only been on campus for a few months now and with the sheer number of guys they’re getting it’s obvious those guys are really hitting the road.

I think the biggest difference I see with this staff is that they have three coaches who are always out seeing guys.  When your entire staff recruits it makes an incredible difference in terms of how much ground you can cover.  With the number of kids they’re bringing in from across the country and some 2012 guys who look like early contributors I think there’s the potential for a quick turnaround in Ann Arbor.

This post covers just the seven in-state signees as it proved unwieldy to include the entire class. The signees from outside Michigan will be covered in a separate post. Following the intro below are additional (mostly recent) links and quotes relating to the signees.

The In-State Signees and Their Rankings

Last month, Prep Baseball Report posted a nice summary of Michigan's in-state signees that includes a brief scouting report on each player and links to their PBR profile pages where further information is often available. Below is their list of the seven recruits with their PBR rankings. Michigan signed four of PBR's top 10 in-state prospects, including Jackson Lamb, who is ranked #9 overall by PBR (overall meaning the eight-state region that the site covers).

Brett Adcock LHP-6-1-190 (Bay City Western HS)
PBR State Rank: 3
Overall Rank: 31

Carmen Benedetti 1B/LHP- (Grosse Point South HS)
PBR State Rank: 20
Overall Rank: 150

Hector Gutierrez SS/RHP-6-0-165 (Detroit Western International HS)
PBR State Rank: 9
Overall Rank: 93

Jackson Lamb RHP/OF-6-6-196 (Temperance-Bedford, Mich. / Bedford HS)
PBR State Rank: 1
Overall Rank: 9

TJ Shook RHP-6-3-190 (University of Detroit Jesuit HS)
PBR State Rank: 5
Overall Rank:  38

Johnny Slater OF-6-1-170 (Southfield Lathrup HS)
PBR State Rank: 33

Harrison Wenson C-6-3-225 (University of Detroit Jesuit HS)
PBR State Rank: 17
Overall Rank: 192

Three of Michigan's signees figure in the top 10 of Michigan Baseball Prospects' 2013 rankings:

1. Lamb

7. Gutierrez

10. Adcock

12. Shook

26. Wenson

46. Slater

Brett Adcock

From MLive: Bay City Western's Brett Adcock signs with Michigan—includes a brief video; here's a quote from his coach:

Coach Tim McDonald: “It doesn’t take a baseball genius to figure out he’s very talented and very gifted in terms of natural ability. He’s dominating when things are right, and I’m sure that’s why Michigan is taking a chance on him. He has a huge upside.”

Carmen Benedetti

Brief item from his school's newspaper, with photos of him signing his LOI (including the one below), and another brief item from the Grosse Pointe News.

Hector Gutierrez

I couldn't find anything recent for Gutierrez, so instead here's a video of him pitching, from the Detroit Arsenal RBI site.

Jackson Lamb

Mick McCabe wrote a nice feature on Lamb for the Free Press, focusing in part on his choosing baseball over basketball. Also, as the article mentions, Lamb is likely to be selected in the 2013 draft, so there's a possibility he won't end up playing for Michigan—maybe a good possibility given his choice of words when asked about it:

His shot at baseball is so good, he will likely be chosen in the baseball draft, but he might not be a high pick since signing to attend U-M.

"You can't really tell until it actually happens," Lamb said. "You don't want to get your hopes up too much and then you're disappointed. Worse case scenario, I go to Michigan, which is a great opportunity."

MLB Prospect Guide has Lamb ranked #223 on its list of the top 300 prospects for the 2013 draft. (Side note: Michigan junior outfielder Michael O'Neill is listed at #56.)

One last item on Lamb: In the B1G Baseball Q&A mentioned above, Banfield selected Lamb as one of the top Big Ten commits in the 2013 class:

CW: Not every standout participates in fall ball, Michigan commit Jackson Lamb, for example, was not in Jupiter. With all prospects on the table, as the fall concludes how would you rank the top five or so Big Ten commits out of the Great Lake states that you’ve seen?

JB: Assuming we’re talking strictly about the 2013 class, Farmer and Lamb to me are in a league of their own as prospects.

I talked quite a bit about Farmer earlier, Jackson Lamb is a guy that isn’t all that well known nationally because so much of his time has been spent playing basketball and not traveling the country attending showcases/tournaments.  We’re talking about a talent that doesn’t come through the state of Michigan very often.

First off, he’s 6’7 and extremely athletic, a legitimate 2-way player in college, people don’t think guys that tall can hit, well I’m here to tell you he can.  His swing is incredibly short for being as big as he is and he’ll be an above average defender in right.  As a pro prospect he’s obviously a pitcher who is extremely raw right now but throws strikes and I have no problem projecting him to throw 95-98 with low effort.  Everyone knows about Trey Ball who’s way more polished than Jackson but the tools really aren’t that far off.  Presently Farmer is way closer to being a B1G contributor on the mound, but in the long run I can’t pass on Lamb.

T.J. Shook

Here's a quote from a U of D Jesuit signing day press release:

Shook did not disappoint in 2012 either. The number 5 ranked player in the state of Michigan according to Prep Baseball Report, Shook was named to the All League and All District teams in 2012.
 
“I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. It has always been a dream of mine to play at a high level Division I university. I am really looking forward to playing under Coach Bakich and the rest of his staff.” Shook adds, “Go Blue!”

Johnny Slater

A MIPrepZone signing day article features a brief video and this:

“I’m very excited to become a Michigan Wolverine,” said Slater after penning his letter of intent. “I focused on improving my skills every year since I was a freshman and that focus paid off. I’ve made a big jump in my play and I intend to keep making further jumps over the next year, prior to getting up to Ann Arbor.”

Slaters’ versatility might be his most appealing attribute. A smooth and savvy lefty, Slater is a specimen, terrorizing opponents whether pitching, hitting, running the base paths or on defense in centerfield.

Last season, he sported a whopping .576 batting average.

Darren Mosley, the Chargers’ skipper, can’t say enough about his star player.

“Johnny is a great kid, a great baseball player and a great student, what more can you ask for?,” he said. “He’s incredibly humble and he leads by example. We’ve put a lot of pressure on him these past couple of seasons and he’s always delivered.”

Harrison Wenson

Wenson, a teammate of Shook at U of D Jesuit, also figured in the press release linked above:

Wenson is coming off an All-State season, as well as being named to the Dream Team in 2012, after hitting over .400 during the spring.

“I chose the University of Michigan because I have grown up in a Michigan house. My father played baseball there and I am proud to carry on that tradition,” Wenson said. “I feel honored to play at such an elite university and am excited to learn under Coach Bakich and his staff.”

Wenson's father, Paul Wenson, played baseball at Michigan in 1985–86 before spending three years in the Detroit Tigers minor-league system, including playing for the Mud Hens for part of the 1989 season (see his Baseball-Reference.com page).