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.

Mid-Winter U-M Baseball Update

Mid-Winter U-M Baseball Update

Submitted by Raoul on January 11th, 2013 at 9:07 PM

In just 35 days, the Michigan baseball team will begin its 2013 campaign at Cal. Below are a few features and news items from the last several weeks, during the run-up to Opening Day. These are non-recruiting in nature—I'm planning to post a recruiting update in the near future.

Top 10 College Coaches under Age 40

Baseball America released this top 10 list earlier this month, with Erik Bakich landing at #3:

3. Erik Bakich, Michigan (Age: 35)

The Skinny: The uncommonly personable Bakich helped build Vanderbilt into a national power through his tireless recruiting efforts, then helped Maryland's program take a step forward during his three-year stint as head coach before leaving for Michigan this summer.

What They're Saying: "He's a younger guy, and the way he gets after it, the work ethic, the game management—I was impressed by that, even at Maryland in a tough situation with the ACC. And I was impressed with the communication skills. I think he relates well to people."

—An AL crosschecker

College Baseball Daily Feature

Courtney Swift interviewed Bakich and Patrick Biondi for a piece from late December titled New Coach, New Philosophy at Michigan. The feature offers some good insight and information from the team's fall practice. Some insight into the new coach from Biondi:

Biondi spoke of the new style in practice, but how the coaching staff still kept it fun. “We definitely worked our butts off in the fall but he doesn’t over do it to the point where you don’t want to be in practice.” The senior said the team worked a lot on mental toughness. “We do some tough conditioning stuff,” he said. “But the way he [head coach Erik Bakich] presents it makes it more fun.”

And here's an early glimpse into some of the freshmen who made early impressions:

Bakich saw some bright spots in pitching during the fall, but said nothing was set in terms of the Wolverines’ rotation. Two freshmen pitchers that separated themselves include Cam Wysocki a righty out of Ada, Michigan and southpaw Evan Hill from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Other young guys who played well in the fall are Travis Maezes, Jacob Cronenworth, and Jack Sexton. Bakich mentioned the three freshmen showing some talent on the field at position spots. Matthew Dacey, another freshman, also proved himself in fall ball. “Dacey is a strong physical kid with power in a left-handed swing, Bakich said. “He’ll see action early on.”

Drake Transfers

The team suffered a blow in December, when sophomore outfielder Will Drake decided to transfer, later choosing Cincinnati as his destination. B1G Baseball blogger Chris Webb (in the first linked item above) comments:

As Michigan enters a new era under Erik Bakich, it was expected for Drake to be within a 1-5 with Biondi, O’Neill, freshman Travis Maezes and junior Brett Winger that was as talented as any lineup-leading quintet in the conference.

For a program that has a Big Ten-leading 35 conference championships, but coming off of consecutive tenth place finishes, the rebuilding job for Bakich is now a little more difficult.

In another piece of pessimism about Michigan's prospects for the 2013 season, Webb reported in this post on Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's projected order of finish for the Big Ten, which showed Michigan in 10th place yet again.

O'Neill #77 in the Country

Ending on a more positive note, College Baseball Daily ranked junior outfielder Michael O'Neill as the #77 player in the country for 2013.

As a sophomore in 2012, he led Michigan with a .327 batting average, .525 slugging percentage and 12 doubles. He was also 5th in the Big Ten in stolen bases with 19 and sixth in slugging percentage.

He spent the summer of 2012 in the Cape Cod Baseball League with the Falmouth Commodores where he played in 44 games. He finished the summer with a .263 average with five homers and 18 RBI.

U-M Baseball's Patrick Biondi

U-M Baseball's Patrick Biondi

Submitted by chatster on July 26th, 2012 at 12:48 PM

SIAP, but nice news for Patrick Biondi of the Wolverines baseball team and the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League.  He's the starting centerfielder for the West Division in the Cape Cod Baseball League's All Star Game on Saturday.  The game supposedly will be televised on Fox College Sports Network.

http://www.boston.com/sports/blogs/ondeck/2012/07/harwich_hosts_the_return_of_cape_league_all-star_game_this_satuday.html

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 Recap

Baseball: Northwestern Recap

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 17th, 2010 at 12:06 AM

the captains Oh Captains, My Captains

That just happened. Michigan wins the series 2-1 on the most stunning senior day in recent memory. This series has it all - A pitcher's duel, a stunning heart breaker, a come-from-behind win on senior day featuring the two co-captains completing a walk off. If you have ever been a baseball fan, this was the series for you.

Game One

Box Score R H E
Northwestern 0 1 0   1 0 1   0 0 0   3 9 3
Michigan 2 0 0   0 0 1   1 0 x   4 10 0

W – Gerbe (2-0)… Save – Burgoon (9)

Game one was the pitchers' duel. Michigan managed the early lead thanks to a leadoff walk of Patrick Biondi. After going to third on a perfectly placed hit and run by Toth, going right through the hole vacated by the second baseman, LaMarre would knock him in on a would-be double play, but Northwestern's second baseman double clutched, giving LaMarre just enough time to beat out the throw. After Berset's single, Crank would line out deep to left, gaining an easy sacrifice fly, and Michigan led 2-0.

oaks

Alan Oaks was on the mound for Michigan and had a pretty good game. In his 6 innings of work, he gave up 7 hits and 3 runs. Two of those came in the form of solo home runs by Northwestern's third baseman Chris Lashmet. The third run also involved Lashmet. In the 6th, he would single and score on a Zach Morton double that screamed past a diving Lorenz and took a strange hop off the wall, evading Ryan LaMarre in left.

LaMarre would lead the response for Michigan, knocking a triple off the center field wall. This set up Chris Berset up for an easy RBI single.

Oaks would open the 7th with a hard hit double, and the bullpen would take over for Oaks after that, with the game tied at 3 a piece. Gerbe would give up a sac bunt to move the runner to third, but Mike Dufek made a great play on a slow roller by the next batter to gun the runner trying to score and preserve the tie.

In the bottom of the 7th, Biondi got the offense started on a two-out rally. His walk was followed by back-to-back singles by Toth and LaMarre to bring in a run. With the lead, 4-3, it was all Burgoon from here on out.

Notable Stars

  • The Pen – 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, W, Save
  • Anthony Toth – 3/4
  • Ryan LaMarre – 2/4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3B
  • Game Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Attendance: 1385

Notable Goats

  • Coley Crank – 0/3 RBI, 3 LOB, SACF

The rest of the series, including the THRILLING CONCLUSION, after the jump.

Baseball: Minnesota Recap

Baseball: Minnesota Recap

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 9th, 2010 at 6:55 PM


What a dump…

Michigan took it on the chin this weekend, dropping two games to open the series at Minnesota, but they battled back to win a close game three and keep pace with the Big Ten Joneses. Recaps, thoughts, and the opening stanza to a MICHIGAN STATE HATE mid-week series after the jump. And no, no pretty pictures as baseball can't be pretty in the Metrodome.

Baseball: Minnesota Preview

Baseball: Minnesota Preview

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 6th, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Michigan (28-15, 9-6)

@

Minnesota (20-26, 8-7)


Friday 6:35pm CDT, Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
Eric Katzman (4-1, 4.03 ERA) vs Seth Rosin (4-4, 4.43 ERA)
Stats (Minn) Audio (Minn, $)      
Notes: Michigan is 84-84 all time, Last year: 1-2 series loss.

Michigan

@

Minnesota


Saturday 2:05 CDT, Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
TBA vs TJ Oakes (3-3, 4.19 ERA)
Stats (Minn) Audio      
Notes: Audio available through Friday's link ($9/month).

Michigan

@

Minnesota


Sunday 1:05pm CDT, Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
TBA vs Phil Isaksson (4-0, 3.16 ERA)
Stats (Minn)        
Notes: Isaksson  is a LHP

Michigan takes its first Big Ten road trip in three weeks, traveling to Minnesota for what is going to be yet another huge series in terms of the conference standings. The Gophers had a truly rough start to the year, but they currently sit tied for third place, only a game behind Michigan. They also lead the Big Ten in ERA and third in batting during conference games. They're getting hot when it counts, and Michigan looks to cool them off.

Q&A with the Daily Gopher, weather, thoughts, and predictions after the jump:

Baseball: Runs Scored Per 9-inning drop

Baseball: Runs Scored Per 9-inning drop

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on May 1st, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Michigan has seen their runs scored per nine innings drop about a run per game on their season cumulative average over the last 5 games. That's pretty sizable. Coming into the Iowa series, Michigan averaged 8.9 runs per nine innings. Over the Iowa series and the first two games of the Ohio State Series, Michigan has averaged 3.7 runs per nine innings. Yikes.

Looking at the other offensive charts, I think the culprit is pretty clear.

Biondi's current 0/20 is killing the team's production. He's the spark plug that sets the top of the order in motion. He's not getting on, not putting pressure on pitchers, manufacturing runs. With out that, Michigan's 1-5 hitters have had a rough going.

Game 3 with OSU is tomorrow. IF the game manages to be played despite the bad weather, Biondi needs a slump buster against OSU's weak 4th starter. I will be praying to Jobu, offering him plenty of rum and cigars, for there to be no rain and for Biondi take the fear from his bats.  If it comes to it, I may go to KFC and sacrifice a chicken. I encourage all of you to do the same.