Baseball Hello: Ben Keizer

Submitted by Raoul on February 10th, 2014 at 10:55 PM

Erik Bakich and his staff have picked up their 7th commitment in the 2015 class as Ben Keizer has announced his commitment to Michigan. Keizer is a 6-2, 175-lb. left-handed pitcher out of Portage Northern H.S. in Portage, Michigan. He plays travel ball for Midwest Athletics, the same team as 2016 Michigan commit Jack Weisenburger (see Hello post). Prep Baseball Report reported in November that Keizer was being recruited by Louisville, Ball State, Michigan State, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan.

PBR ran this scouting report on Keizer in a rundown of an August 2013 event at which they considered him the top pitching prospect:

6-foot-2, 175-pound lanky pitcher. On the mound he has a tall and fall style delivery with rhythm and an athletic finish. Throws with a loose, quick arm, from a high ¾ slot, with easy effort. Throws his fastball on a downhill plane, with occasional cut, sitting 83-85 mph, touching 86 mph one time. Has solid feel for his curveball that he throws with arm speed similar to the fastball. It has an 11/5 shape, occasionally flashing a true 12/6 shape, and comes in at 61-64 mph. His changeup has occasional sinking action and is 71-73 mph. His loose arm and easy effort, combined with his lanky frame give him solid projectability. Keizer is one of the top Class of 2015 graduates in the state of Michigan and is a high follow in the Midwest.

Rankings-wise, PBR has Keizer #12 in the state of Michigan for the 2015 class and #97 overall in their ten-state coverage area.

photo of Keizer from PBR profile page

Below are the PBR overall rankings for Michigan's seven 2015 commits. Plummer and Goslin are PBR's #2 and #3 players from the state of Michigan in the 2015 class, so Michigan now has commitments from 3 of the top 12 in-state prospects for that class.

*Hello post is Ace's from the front page. David will be on a football scholarship, but he evidently also plans to play baseball at Michigan.

The five top 100 PBR commitments for Michigan is the most of any Big Ten school. Ohio State is second with four commits, but their highest ranked is #25, with the other three at #54, #73, and #92. Purdue is the only other Big Ten school with a commit in the top 25—they have the #11 recruit, but they have only one other top 100 recruit (#27).



February 10th, 2014 at 11:29 PM ^

I didn't want to put this in the main post, which is long enough as it is, but here's a name to keep an eye on: Drew Blakely. He plays with Keizer and Weisenburger on that Midwest Athletics travel team and has definite interest in Michigan. He's visited Michigan, as well as Michigan State, Kentucky, Louisville, and South Alabama.

According to his PBR profile, Blakely is a 6-2, 175-lb. catcher/right-handed pitcher out of Gull Lake H.S. in Richland, MI. His PBR rankings in the 2016 class are #2 in Michigan and #12 overall. Here's what PBR had to say about him last summer:

Blakely has a chance to be really special. Behind the plate, his arm is clearly his biggest separator. He threw consistent pop times around 2.0. Sits low in his stance. Has soft hands behind the dish. At the plate he shows good balance and an athletic setup. He also runs well at 7.2 in the 60 for a catcher.His bat explodes through the zone after he uses a smooth easy load. Was willing to use the whole field and go the other way on occasion but he did favor his pull side. High upside as a ballplayer. The jury is still out on whether he will be a pitcher or a catcher but either way he will be highly sought after in Michigan.

rob f

February 11th, 2014 at 10:12 AM ^

a cool story, Bro---I played in the Kiracofe Tournament  a couple times many many years ago, too.  Late 70's, maybe '80 or 81? (Too long ago to remember). 

I played slowpitch softball all over the K-Zoo area (leagues in Kalamazoo, Portage, Comstock and Plainwell and tournaments all over about a 75-mile radius  from the mid 70's until the mid 80's.  Then as I moved at various times, continued playing into my 40's when my kids and their ball-playing schedules took precedence.  

One of my daughters still plays recreational ball in Portage in a coed league, so I usually take in several of her games each summer and daydream of still playing myself. 


February 10th, 2014 at 11:26 PM ^

I know 20 kids that are 14 that throw way harder then that and probably are a better pitcher then he is as well and play w some of the best travel balls clubs in California. Tell that coach to contact me. I could fill his roster with Cali boys REAL QUICK! California travel ball kids are so much more prepared to ball baseball at a higher lever then most everyone else! They play vs the best competition yearly.


February 11th, 2014 at 12:46 AM ^

I can't tell if you're adding sarcasm on top of mine or if you read my comment as literal and responded sarcastically. I am not sure if you need to check your meter reader or if I do. Or maybe neither of us need to. So confusing. Either way, I was joking.


February 11th, 2014 at 12:34 PM ^

Just for the record, I don't think this was a case of a single comment being taken out. I think that poster sometime in the past was caved in entirety. He just posted in this thread again, and I can't see that one either. (This is not to dispute your main point regarding the confusion that can arise when comments are taken out or when there are posts that some people can see and others can't.)


February 11th, 2014 at 11:35 AM ^

Softball is killing it out here. I know a school in Kansas and Tennessee that is killing it up in Cali with kids and these two schools are are only D2..... Trust me when I say that a lot of kids would like to leave Cali to play ball because there is not enough scholarships on the West Coast to cover all the talent that is here. I was at the JO last week. Which is Junior Olympic Tryouts if you don't know what a JO is and there was about 30 schools there and more then half where from the Midwest.

Trust me when I say, offer up enough $$ and kids will leave Cali. Community and NAIA schools here in Cali have way better talent then Michigan has right now. Or has coming in. Oklahoma kills it out here in recruiting to.

I know this cause this is what I do, I coach highly competitive kids that all move on and play at the next level.


February 11th, 2014 at 1:19 PM ^

I believe you that the talent is much higher. Our guys and gals can't exactly play year round like Cali. Not with the 3 feet of snow I'm looking at. So many kids there specialize in baseball year round that they are better prepared going into college.


February 11th, 2014 at 4:18 PM ^

The Michigan coaches will try to get the occasional player from California or other warm-weather locales (they had a prospect from Florida on campus recently), but anyone suggesting that a team in the Midwest should center their recruiting on California is pretty clueless about how baseball recruiting works. It's hard enough to get the top prospects in the Midwest to stay in the Midwest for college. The vast majority commit to Louisville, Kentucky, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, and the like. Bakich and his staff are taking the most logical approach—concentrating most of their efforts on top players from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin.


February 11th, 2014 at 9:10 AM ^

This is great information, thanks

Baseball could be an attendance lure for people living around Ann Arbor - I bet it would be great to wander over to the campus and catch a ball game with your kids in spring or summer


February 11th, 2014 at 1:40 PM ^

It's fun to read these posts and see the classes M is putting together. I doubt this will put to bed the endless CA talk on these threads but I have it on good authority that D1 schools in CA, including Cal Berkley, have been very interested in lefties who throw 83-85 touching 86 in this year and last year's recruiting classes. This kid would be among the taller and more polished of that group according to the report quoted in this thread. He looks like a very solid get.


February 11th, 2014 at 4:58 PM ^

Now that brings back some good memories of my youth.   Errr, on second though, maybe I dont have memories after some PBRs and these memories are second-hand accounts from my friends.