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.

Comments

Wolverine Devotee

January 11th, 2013 at 11:43 PM ^

Perhaps you and I could work together in getting Michigan Baseball some pub on this site. 

It's a shame one of the most historic programs in the midwest and college baseball doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's probably the #4 sport in most fans minds and slowly lacrosse may pass it. 

 

Wolverine Devotee

January 12th, 2013 at 12:20 AM ^

Here at Michigan, Baseball is the #4 sport. Hockey has been a national power for over 20 years and has a huge following with the fans here. Yost is filled more times than not (save this trainwreck season). At Fisher, it's usually only filled when the rival teams come to town. 

In the 80s it was the other way around. Baseball was going to CWS after CWS and dominating the B1G while hockey was in the darkest period of program history and sparties were taking over Yost. 

 

Raoul

January 12th, 2013 at 12:42 AM ^

I guess I've seen my occasional posts on Michigan baseball as an attempt to draw a little more attention to the sport here. But the bottom line is that more people on this site and outside this site will pay attention to Michigan baseball when the program starts winning again.

Look at what's happened with Michigan basketball. A few years ago, most basketball threads were lucky to get a dozen replies. Now, just about any basketball post will have dozens of replies, and the open threads for games attract hundreds of replies. Winning cures all.

trueblueintexas

January 12th, 2013 at 1:08 AM ^

I appreciate the baseball coverage. Thanks to a certain user, the softball team gets good coverage on this site and I am very thankful. You could argue the softball team has been the most successful varsity team sport at Michigan over the past 10 years.

MGoSoftball

January 12th, 2013 at 1:38 AM ^

has been very successful thanks to Hutch.  It all starts at the top.  Now hopefully BB can put it together with a young, new coach.  We should be able to recruit top talent because of the success of the FB and BB teams.  What young man who loves sports would NOT want to come here?

I, for one, enjoy catching a game or two; especially if the SB team is out of town.  It is a great stadium with a good view.

RoxyMtnHiM

January 12th, 2013 at 8:15 PM ^

I met the father of one of the fall signees last week when I was looking for a vet in the middle of nowhere. He treated my dog during a hunting trip (on a Saturday night no less).  He had a couple Michigan hats in his office and I said, Michigan fan, eh?

Cool story, yeah.

Mitch Cumstein

January 12th, 2013 at 11:04 PM ^

This post reminds me that I recently read "Imperfect" by Jim Abbott.  It was a great book and had some nice parts about Michigan.  I would highly recommend it to anyone that still reads books.  

mjagger

January 12th, 2013 at 11:32 PM ^

Excellent update, keep 'em coming. Getting good, quality info for college baseball is difficult. Getting good quality info on specific program, even more so. Thanks again.

Wally70

January 13th, 2013 at 6:19 AM ^

I'll second & third more baseball coverage here. Michigan has a long storied baseball history that has gotten lost in the mix.

 

Bakich  is not just a good coach he's a great one. Soon U of M baseball will be where it should have always been. On top.

 

MGoSoftball

January 13th, 2013 at 9:39 AM ^

to see the AD schedule back to back BB/SB games on the same day.  Maybe a noon game for BB and a 4pm game for SB.  I would love to see this, especially against ohio.

I encourage everyone here (locals) to attend one BB & SB game this year.  The cost is almost free, hot dogs are awesome and the product is good.  I will guarantee you will enjoy the game(s).

Is it the same game-day experience as FB, BB, or Hockey?  No.  But the game(s) are different too.  They are more laid back and somewhat slower pace.  

justingoblue

January 13th, 2013 at 1:01 PM ^

in baseball content and only ten points. If you have something you want to post as far as baseball coverage goes, you should try and make a point of posting a bit to get up to 100, where you can start your own thread or diary.

If we get to season and it really wasn't an option, go ahead and post in the moderator action stickey and we'll see if we can get something worked out so you can post anyway.

MGoSoftball: You should see if you can make it up to Rochester (you live in the Dearborn area, no?) for MGB's games. I might try and make it up there with family in the area and it should be a good, lopsided series. By good I mean not for Oakland, so if you have ties there then probably not good.

MaizeMN

January 14th, 2013 at 1:04 AM ^

You can have 90 of my MGopoints if it means moar quality baseball coverage. Sorry WD, don't have enough pts for you too; bring me back a crummy T-shirt from Bolivia! 

justingoblue

January 14th, 2013 at 2:00 AM ^

but if someone wants to cover a sport without much coverage, we'll find a way to get their posts up (although I'd prefer if points came around organically just to get the posting experience). There's so much room for non-revenue coverage, it'd be a shame not to take advantage of it.

Also, WD will be back in plenty of time for baseball season, so no worries there. He does have photoshop, though, so maybe he can make up some crummy t-shirts.

Every Roh Has …

January 14th, 2013 at 9:01 PM ^

I've seen Hill pitch several times, and have scouted him extensively.  Michigan is getting a good one with him, although he remains insanely raw.  Has potential to be a dominant SP with low-mid 90's from the left side