Baseball Recruiting: Zach Fish Decommits

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on August 7th, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Bad news on the baseball recruiting front this weekend as outfield prospect Zach Fish of Gull Lake High School (Richland, MI) has stepped back from his verbal commitment to the University of Michigan. Fish had previously committed to UM coach Rich Maloney in May to accept a 50% scholarship to the school he had been a fan of since he was a small kid.

Things have changed over the course of the summer. Fish now holds offers from Oklahoma State and Florida Gulf Coast, two solid baseball schools in more baseball-friendly weather states. On top of that, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Louisville are also showing interest. If they get involved with decent scholarship offers, any of those three would probably hold a huge upper hand on Michigan.

U-M is “still in the mix,” Fish noted. He admitted, however, some doubts crept in when a Wolverines coach was talking to the Cincinnati-based Midland Redskins organization for which Fish plays in the summer and did not mention that Fish was a U-M commit.

“You’d think that you would want it reflected on (the Redskins) roster that Zach has committed to your school,” Fish’s father, Duane Fish, said about the U-M coach. “You would think the first thing you would say is, ‘Zach Fish is ours, keep your hands off him.’”

Duane Fish said his son also had second thoughts about playing in a northern climate and concerns about not getting the exposure he might at a southern program.

Zach Fish said the phone call to U-M head coach Rich Maloney was “probably one of the most nerve-racking conversations I’ve had, just because I gave the man my word that I was going to be a Wolverine and I gave him my commitment and he gave me his.”

I'm not sure what to make of a coach not mentioning his commitment. Fish can't sign his letter of intent until the early signing period in November, and therefore, the program isn't allowed to discuss commitments. I'm missing the context here, so maybe there is something deeper to this.

As far as losing exposure, I think that's just talk. Michigan did just have an outfielder go in the first round after being listed as a preseason All-American. I'm sure Fish and his father are well aware of that, but it's definitely something the other schools are trying to sell.

If Michigan isn't able to re-secure the commitment from Fish, it's a pretty big loss for the program. Fish is one of the better position players to come out of Michigan in a few years, and Maloney unloaded the kitchen sink (50% scholarship is reserved for the best of the best).

Fish seemed like a lock to start as a freshman along side Biondi and O'Neill. If Michigan can't re-secure a commit, they do have a few other outfield options, but they'll probably try to secure another commit in this class.



August 7th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

Derek Dennis is the biggest recruit we've had in years, he would have been a first or second round pick.  How big is his scholarship?  Michigan has at least 3 guys that i can think of who have made the big leagues in the past few years and at least 10 that are in the minors.  If Fish says he can't get exposure at U of M he's lying.


August 7th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

Michigan is in a tough position. Southern schools probably do have a better shot at getting him exposure and playing in more big time games to showcase his skills. Weather is also a huge draw as you can play outside nearly year round. The big pitch we have is instant playing time whereas he might have to sit a year or two at a more prestigious school. Hopefully he comes back full circle and realizes he can build a legacy here at Michigan and be much more appreciated because he's an instate product.


August 8th, 2010 at 3:42 AM ^

I think it is strange that he plays for a team from Ohio for summer ball, when we have some of the best summer ball teams in the nation, at least back when I played.  Went to the world series finals against top teams from puerto rico and the dominican and dominated.  Some of the best summer teams are in GR or Detroit..  Unless he lives in Ohio during the summer


August 8th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

He's played for the Ohio summer team the past couple summers.  They travel around the country to play the top competition.  Heck I remember the Redskins team from back when I play summer baseball back in the 1980's.....


I don't buy the "exposure" thing.   If you're good, you're good.  You'll get noticed.    It just sounds like the kid has changed his mind and Michigan is out of the picture. 


August 8th, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

If this is all about him feeling "disrespected" because of the coach's failure to comment on his commitment, that should be easily remedied by explaining the rules to him. And the "exposure" claim is either fake or can also be explained.

If it's about getting his head turned because he's suddenly getting attention from prestigious baseball schools, that's more difficult but can possibly be managed.

If it's about the weather, forget it.


August 9th, 2010 at 8:20 AM ^

I'm sure all the excuses he has given was discussed, debated, contemplated etc.  ad nauseam prior to his verbal.  With UM being a top academic school, great facilities, big travel budget, nice schedule.  Not much to change your mind about.  As far as money,  50% is not that big a scholly. At a northern school, your top 2-3 players should be getting 70-75% at least and there is usually at least one that is full ride based on players leaving early…  If he goes to a “baseball” school, that amount will decrease heavily as he is not what one would call a top national recruit.. .. . it all comes down to coaching.   Maloney talks a good game up front and the kids generally like him but if they did their homework and dug deep, well, decisions could change.


August 9th, 2010 at 3:28 PM ^

But this is to be expected when we are competing against top southern schools.  A kid will play a lot more games and baseball is taken a lot more seriously down there.  Everyone in the sport is aware of this.  

Example:  University of South Carolina baseball team played 65 games entering the World Series, 26 of which were before April, 2010.

Michigan played 57 games, 21 before April.