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

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

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

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

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



September 2nd, 2014 at 4:58 PM ^

Overall, this is likely one of the top classes in the Big Ten, with five players in Prep Baseball Report's top 100, plus a highly touted catcher from New York. That New York player, Drew Lugbauer, is a key addition given the graduation of starting catcher Cole Martin. I'd say the other two headliners in this class are right-handed pitcher Ryan Nutof and southpaw Jayce Vancena, both of whom bypassed chances to sign with MLB teams. (Nutof wasn't drafted, but a team had approached him with a mid-round offer.)


2014 Commits Position, School Hgt., Wt. PG Rank/Grade PBR Rank MBP Rank Scouting Rpt.
Jake Bivens SS/2B, Battle Creek Lakeview H.S. (MI) 6-0, 175 n/a region: #73; MI: #7 MI: #8 PBR
Michael Hendrickson LHP, Saline H.S. (MI) 6-2, 175 n/a region: #152; MI: #17 MI: #21 PBR
Oliver Jaskie LHP, Grandville H.S. (MI) 6-4, 190 n/a region: #221; MI: #27 MI: #17 PBR
Ty Kiafoulis OF, Birmingham Brother Rice (MI) 6-5, 230 Grade: 8 MI: #69 MI: #11 PG
Drew Lugbauer C/3B, Arlington H.S. (Pleasant Valley, NY) 6-4, 210 Grade: 8.5 n/a n/a MLBlogs
Ryan Nutof RHP, South Elgin H.S. (IL) 6-2, 190 n/a region: #35; IL: #11 n/a PBR
Bryan Pall RHP, Carl Sandburg H.S. (Orland Park, IL) 6-2, 205 US: #343; IL: #10 region: #53; IL: #14 n/a PBR
Grant Reuss LHP, Cranbrook Kingswood (Bloomfield Hills, MI) 6-5, 205 n/a region: #42; MI: #4 MI: #2 PBR
Jayce Vancena RHP, Lake H.S. (Millbury, OH) 6-4, 220 n/a region: #7; OH: #2 n/a PBR



September 2nd, 2014 at 7:31 PM ^

Thanks for getting this all in one place, Raoul; I appreciate the summary.

The only thing that I'm wondering about is where all of these freshmen (other than the pitchers and Lugbauer) are going to get their playing time.  Unless I am mistaken, Michigan returns every single player who started even 1 game in either the infield or the outfield.

Doing a quick talley from the end-of-season press release...Michigan's starters last year (with # of games started) in the infield and outfield:

1B:  Jusick-32, Patrick-20, Cronenworth-8
2B:  Jacobson-34, Cronenworth-13, Romano-10, Gutierrez-3
3B:  Cronenworth-31, Miller-13, Romano-13, Gutierrez-4
SS:  Maezes-58, Gutierrez-1, Romano-1
LF:  Benedetti-17, Zott-14, Jusick-10, Lamb-9, Cronenworth-8, White-2
CF:  Glines-60
RF:  Slater-21, Lamb-19, White-17, Jusick-3

I think everybody listed there has eligibility left, and I haven't heard of anybody transferring out.  Of course this is a nice problem to have, but obviously something has to give here.  Unless Bakich decides to pass out a bunch of redshirts (and I'm assuming the 2 Juco transfers from California would want nothing of that), it seems like we have a real logjam out there, and some established starters might have to fight pretty hard to keep their jobs this year.


September 2nd, 2014 at 9:16 PM ^

Earlier, I was going over the fall 2014 roster to see about any departures, and Zach Zott and Trey Miller aren't listed, so there's some playing time in the outfield and at third, respectively, that's available. (Jake Balicki isn't on the fall roster either, by the way.)

On the other hand, Jack Sexton is back on the roster as a redshirt sophomore. He started 42 games at first base in 2013 as a freshman and then wasn't on the roster last season. I can't remember if he got hurt or what.

I'm not sure how it'll all shake out. I believe that only one freshman redshirted each of the last two seasons. Perhaps there will be more than that this year.


September 2nd, 2014 at 8:07 PM ^

That's not as bad of a logjam as it looks on the surface. A number of those players played two or three positions. There's only 13 players there and only 3 position players coming in, one of which is a C and that's not listed on the above chart. You're really keeping that same mix and adding one OF and one MI. This hurts a guy like Gutierrez or White, maybe Romano or Lamb. Otherwise stable.


September 2nd, 2014 at 9:14 PM ^

Yes, I'm leaving out catcher because Cole Martin graduated and freshman Drew Lugbauer appears to be good enough to step in as the starter.

You're right that there are only 2 other freshmen position players coming in, but in addition to them, there are 2 Juco transfer outfielders from California (Cody Bruder from Corona and Michael McNichol from Alta Loma) coming in as well.  I can't imagine Bruder and McNichol are coming to Michigan to sit on the bench for even one year--they each have only 2 years of eligibility left.

Michigan is in the interesting position of possibly having an entire outfield of Juco transfers--Jackson Glines will certainly be starting in the outfield again this season.


September 3rd, 2014 at 1:24 AM ^

At a very large school that plays in one of the hardest baseball leagues in southern Cali. I live 2 blocks from that school of 4000 kids so you get the idea. I've said it here many times before that the Cali kids will come to Michigan if they get out there to recruit. Most of these kids end up at JC and or Small private schools. These kids are a lot better then most mid western kid out there that gets a D1 ride! These kids play all year round. And as I've said before my 12 yr old travel ball team has kids throw in the 80's....these kids see top notch pitching every damn weekend from the time they are 8yrs old....