Boston.com is reporting that Blaine O’Brien of Scituate MA has verbally committed to playing for the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2008-2009 school year. O’Brien is a 6’7 185 pound right hander who also drew interest from Florida and Vanderbilt before settling on the Bulldogs. The full article is available here.
Meanwhile, Paul Mainieri, a true class act and well respected SEC coach, has brought in his first full-year class at LSU. It includes 18 new players, of whom 7 were drafted this year. LSU only lost infielder Drew Cumberland to San Diego (46th overall pick).
LSU’s class will be welcomed with the opening of the beautiful new Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge. A rendering of the new Stadium is pictured above, as LSU becomes the latest SEC program to upgrade its facilities in the recent facilities arms raise in the South.
1) Teams that do not sign a top 2 Round pick will receive a comparable pick in the 2008 draft. If you fail to sign the 7th overall pick, you would receive pick 7A in 2008. For example, if Tampa fails to ink David Price and if Tampa finished last in the standings again, they would receive the first overall pick and then receive pick 1A (functionally, the second overall pick). This provides significant leverage by improving the team’s BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). A draftee is in the same spot as before, but it’s a little easier for the team to stick to slot guidelines knowing they would be forfeiting a whole lot less. Source and a list of the unsigned first rounders.
2) Everything must be done by midnight Wednesday. That means not just an agreement in principal. A signed agreement won’t even cut it unless the player has passed his physical. It’s hard to tell if a physical can be performed before a contract is signed, because all draft rules aren’t public, but which unsigned stars go in for a doctor’s visit tomorrow or Wednesday morning can probably be an indicator as to who’s close to closing their deal. Source.
Notable unsigned players as of yesterday include #1 Price (Tampa Bay), #2 Mike Moustakas (Kansas City Royals), #3 Josh Vitters (Chicago Cubs) and #5 Matt Weiters (Baltimore Orioles).
UPDATE: Yahoo Sports has written an article on this topic. It is available here.
Doug Kroll of CSTV checks in with an article about the top power hitters for the 2008 season. He discusses Pedro Alvarez, Justin Smoak, Kyle Russell to just name a few. It is an excellent read and can be found here.
Team USA was one-hit by Japanese pitcher Yuske Iwamato but picked up a 1-0 victory on the first day of the World Port Tournament. As the game entered the ninth inning, Team USA had no hits off of Iwamato but Jordan Danks (Texas) got a lead-off walk. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Tommy Medica (Santa Clara). He then advanced to third on a flyball from Brett Wallace (Arizona State). Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) then hit a single to drive home Danks with the eventual winning run. Ryan Berry (Rice) started for Team USA and went 7.1 strong innings while only giving up three hits and three walks but got the no-decision. Brett Hunter pitched the final 1.1 innings without allowing a hit while striking out three batters to up his record to 3-0. Yuske Iwamato was the tough luck loser pitching a complete game while allowing the only hit and four walks. Team USA is off on Friday before playing The Netherlands on Saturday.
Team USA Recap
World Port Tournament Schedule
Jose Cueto (Miami, Fla.), a junior outfielder from Virginia Tech hit .455 last week for Winchester, going 10-for-22 on the week. Cueto added seven runs, 10 hits, three doubles, two home runs and five RBIs for the Royals. Cueto slugged .864, while walking three times on his was to compiling a .520 on base percentage.
Jason Kipnis (Northbrook, Ill.), a sophomore outfielder out of Kentucky (according to some readers transferring to Arizona State) hit two more home runs last weeks to up his league-leading total to nine. Kipnis also added a .333 batting average with five runs, two doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs. Kipnis went 6-for-18 with six walks to finish with a .480 on base percentage.
Pitchers of the Week
Russ Brewer (Norwood, N.C.), a freshman righthander out of Vanderbilt went 1-0 on the week with a complete-game shutout for Waynesboro. Brewer allowed seven hits, walked none and struck out nine in the win. He faced just six batters above the minimum and held opponents to a .212 batting average against.
Ross Fetterly (Norfolk, Va.), a sophomore righthander from Old Dominion went 1-1 on the week. Fetterly pitched 16.1 innings and posted an ERA of 1.65, including pitching a complete game. He gave up 10 hits, 3 earned runs, three walks, lead the league with 16 strikeouts and held opponents to just a .179 batting average against.
DURHAM, NC— Tyson Ross (3-0, California) took a no-hitter into the sixth, striking out eight over seven innings in leading Team USA (19-7) to a 14-0 victory over the Netherlands in the first of a three-game, two-day series. Ross allowed just two hits while walking none, in his first appearance since the Gold Medal Game eight days ago.
Brett Wallace (Arizona State) drove in five with a three-run home run and a two-run double, while Ryan Flaherty (Vanderbilt) went 3-for-5 with four RBIs a day after turning 21 years old. Roger Kieschnick (Texas Tech) went 3-for-4, as the trio all hit home runs.
Flaherty, Kieschnick and Jordan Danks (Texas) all hit home runs as part of an eight-run eighth inning.
Ross was perfect through the first 14 batters, before an error by second baseman Ryan Flaherty allowed the first Dutch base runner to reach base in the fifth. Ross finished off the inning by striking out the side. Ross’ no-hit bid was broken up an inning later, by Danny Rombley, with a one-out base hit to center field.
Five of the Americans first six runs came with two outs to give them a 6-0 lead after three.
The Americans tallied back-to-back, two-out RBI singles from Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) and Kieschnick to take a 2-0 lead in the first. Wallace’s two-out, two-run single in the second then made it 4-0.
A Kieshnick homer in the third gave the Americans a 5-0 lead in the third, before a two-out, RBI double from Josh Romanski (San Diego) made it 6-0. Dutch righthander Rob Cordemans gave up six runs on seven hits over the first two and two-third innings.
Wallace’s homer in the eighth made it 9-0, after reliever Diegomar Markwell pitched four and one-third scoreless innings. Wallace’s blast was one of three homers and eight runs in the inning, as Flaherty added a three-run shot and Danks followed with a solo shot.
It was second baseman Ryan Flaherty’s 21st birthday last night… shortstop Danny Espinosa made a nice play off the glove of Ross in the first inning to rob Dirk van’t Klooster of a base hit… these same two teams will play in Holland in Rotterdam starting next week at the World Port Tournament… the four home runs was a summer-high… high school senior Tyler Stovall, a Team USA junior team invitee, pitched the ninth inning.
The nine-game American trip will continue with the Netherlands on Sunday in Cary (morning game at 11 a.m.), and Durham (afternoon game at 5 p.m.), before closing out with and Russia on Monday (one night game) in Cary, NC at 7 p.m… the team closes out their schedule at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands starting on August 2.
BIRMINGHAM, AL— China’s Kun Chen, Youhua Guo and Quansheng Zhao out dueled Team USA’s Lance Lynn (2-1) and Jordy Mercer as the Chinese (1-2) won the third game of the five-game series over the Americans (17-7), 2-1, on Wednesday evening. Team USA had won the first two games of the series.
Chen went the first six and two-thirds, giving up one run on seven hits, before yielding to Guo. Guo went an inning and one-third before yielding to Zhao in the ninth, who posted the save, despite putting the tying run on second base.
Brett Wallace (Arizona State) and Danny Espinosa (Long Beach State) each had three of the Americans nine hits, who rested starting outfielders Jordan Danks (Texas) and Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) to begin the night.
Espinosa’s bunt base hit in the ninth sent the winning run to the plate against Zhao with one out. Espinosa was then balked to second. Zhao though got a flyout and strikeout to end the game.
An RBI single followed by a groundout gave China a 2-1 lead in the second, the second time in two nights the Chinese led early.
Lynn went the first four innings, giving up two runs on two hits. Mercer went the final six innings, not allowing a hit the rest of the way. He struck out eight on the night and did not walk a batter.
Wallace gave the Americans a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single.
The game was delayed by over an hour due to a rain storm which started around 90 minutes prior to first pitch… Manager Mike Weathers played in the Oakland A’s minor league system in Birmingham, AL in the mid-1970’s for three years… RHPs Jacob Thompson (Virginia) and Brian Matusz (San Diego), neither of which are injured, left the team for precautionary reasons due to a high number of innings pitched over the previous eight months… Thompson finished the summer 1-2 with a 1.27 ERA, Matusz was 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA… junior national team invitee, Tyler Stovall, a lefthander/outfielder from Hokes Bluff (AL) High School joined the team on Wednesday and will be with the team through the end of the week… Team USA is now 2-2 against Communist-led governments over the last four games (China and Cuba).
The five-game series with China continues in Rome, GA on Thursday and Ft. Mill, SC on Friday, finishing off the nine-game (two-day) American trip with the Netherlands and Russia in North Carolina… the team closes out their schedule at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands starting on August 2.
Team USA got four runs in the middle innings to knock off China 4-1 in the second game of their five game series. Team USA was led on the mound by Josh Romanski (San Diego), Brett Hunter (Pepperdine), and Cody Satterwhite (Ole Miss). Romanski started for Team USA and went four innings while giving up one run on six hits with six strikeouts. He ended up getting a no decision as Brett Hunter (1-0) picked up the win by going the middle four innings without allowing a run on one hit and two walks. Cody Satterwhite pitched a perfect ninth inning to get his fourth save. Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt) went 2-4 with a run scored to lead the offensive attack for the national team. Brett Wallace (Arizona State) got a run-scoring double to help the offensive attack. Team USA and China will play on Wednesday at 7 pm in Birmingham (AL).
The Valley League has released players of the week for July 23rd. Ryan Sontag and Luke Greinke each were named Players of the week while Wade Korpi and Zac Blakney were named Pitchers of the Week. Ryan Sontag of Arizona State hit .433 last week in seven games while scoring nine runs, getting 13 hits, and driving in six runners. Luke Greinke of Auburn hit .619 last week while leading the league with 13 hits. Wade Korpi of Notre Dame pitched seven shutout innings last week while only allowing three hits as he led his team to a victory on Saturday night. Zac Blakney of the University of Montevallo threw six shutout innings while giving up only five hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.
Valley League Release