Our good friend Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com has started doing previews of conferences for the 2008 season.He is one of the top college baseball writers in the country with the depth of his knowledge about the players and coaches across the country. The previews are brief but informative especially the lower level conferences. Continue reading
The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to talk to John Cole who is entering his third season with the Penn Quakers. They won the Lou Gehrig division in 2007 but were swept by the Brown Bears in two games.
1. In 2007, Penn had a great season in the Ivy League by going 12-8 in the conference but finishing with an overall record of 20-19. The Quakers return a veteran squad as seven out of the nine starters from the 2007 Gehrig Division championship team return. Who is going to replace Joey Boaen (.310 BA) and Josh Corn (.288 BA) who have both graduated? Continue reading
The CBB will be providing conference previews throughout the preseason. We start this week with the Ivy League. I know you would rather see us preview the ACC or SEC but I have a guilty pleasure for the Ivy League. It is very competitive baseball that is a must-see for a baseball junkie like myself. The Brown Bears won the Ivy League title with a two game sweep over the Penn Quakers. Brown ended up winning the Red Rolfe Division over Harvard by two games while Penn ended up winning the Lou Gehrig Division by only a single game over Princeton. Continue reading
FROM PRESS RELEASE
LINCOLN, Neb. – In a year when pitching has a solid chance of being dominant, the eighth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason 2008 All-America team reflects the plethora of mound aces returning for the upcoming campaign. Continue reading
The College Baseball Blog is continuing their series of previews on the Top Players in the Country with our second edition of the Top Position Players for 2008.
Zach Putnam, Michigan
When Putnam signed with the Wolverines in November of 2005, he was immediately tabbed as an impact player. Rated the #3 High School player by Baseball American as a Senior, he presented an intriguing two-way prospect. In the two years since, he has emerged as just that. As a Freshman, he earned Freshman All-America honors on the hill, going 6-2 with a 2.51 ERA and a save. He struggled at the plate, but emerged as a hitting threat in the Outfield and at DH as a Sophomore. He hit .330 with 8 Homeruns and 59 RBI to complement an 8-5 record with a 3.87 ERA. He starred in the Corvallis Super-Regional, carrying a no-hitter into the ninth inning against eventual NCAA champion Oregon State. Putnam features excellent mechanics on the hill, with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a slurvy slider and a changeup with excellent tail. At the plate, Putnam shows good contact (1:10 K:AB ratio) and solid power potential. Putnam projects to be the Big10’s top player and figures to join Nate Recknagel and Derek VanBuskirk in leading Coach Maloney’s Wolverines to a pre-season top 25 ranking.
Dustin Ackley (UNC)
Dustin Ackley is a 6’1 184 pound sophomore outfielder/first basemen. He had one of the best seasons in the history of college baseball for a freshman. He finished the season with a .402 average while starting all 73 games in 2007. Ackley picked up consensus national freshman of the year award from Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, and Rivals.com. Dustin should be able to lead the Tar Heels back to Omaha as they try to make their third straight appearance in the CWS Championship series.
Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest)
Allan Dykstra is entering his junior season after having two stellar seasons with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Dykstra stands at 6-5 225 pounds and hits from the left side. Dykstra has had impressive power numbers in his first two seasons hitting 15 homers as a freshman and 18 as a sophomore. He has also spend his first two summers in the Cape Cod League where he starred for the Chatham A’s. In the CCBL, He hit .308 with five homers and 31 RBI in forty games. The CBB took in a game in 2007 when Dykstra went 2-8 in a 17 inning loss to Boston College. Dykstra came up in many key situations but could not deliver any key hits to take control of the game. A full report on this game is available here. Wake Forest should be able to make a run into the top four of the ACC behind Dykstra’s bat in the middle of the order.
Dennis Raben (Miami FL)
Dennis Raben enters his junior season looking to bring the Miami Hurricanes back to the promise land after a disappointing 2007. Raben is a 6-3 220 pound outfielder who also chips in occasionally as a pitcher. Raben had a solid 2007 season as he hit .280 with 12 homers. He picked up many awards this summer including being named the third best prospect in the Cape Cod League by Perfect Game Crosschecker. He hit .298 with six homers against the top pitching in the country. Some scouts expect Raben to move to first base after college because of his side. He can’t play first base at Miami because Yonder Alonso is already taking that spot and is one of the best players in the nation.
Ryan Lavarnway (Yale)
Ryan is a 6’3 210 pound catcher from Yale who might be the best player in the Northeast. He led the nation in batting average (.467) and slugging percentage (.873) during the 2007 season. He broke the Ivy League hitting streak record with a 25 game streak which carried over from the final 2 games of the 2006 seasons which was carried over in the first 23 games of the season. The CBB saw Lavarnway in a doubleheader at Harvard where he showed a strong bat but needs some work behind the plate as he was having problems making throws down to second base including some going into the outfield. Full Report on the doubleheader is available here. This is a player to watch in 2008 that might not be on everyone’s radar. The CBB will see the Yale Bulldogs this spring against Harvard, Brown, or Penn.
Thanks to NYDore for helping out with some of the previews.
Doug Kroll of CSTV checks in with an article about the top catchers in the nation. He talks about Buster Posey of FSU being the top backstop in the nation. Posey is entering his junior season but only his second season behind the plate. The CBB will be checking out Posey this season when the Seminoles visit BC on April 11th-13th. Petey Paramore of Arizona State is listed in the second spot and should put up huge numbers in 2008 on one of the top offensive teams. Rounding out the top five is Tim Federowicz of UNC, Phil Disher of South Carolina, and Doug Hogan of Clemson. I am surprised that Ryan Lavarnway of Yale was not anywhere in his top five or on the players to watch list. The full article is available here.
In Game 1, The story of the game was the starting pitching. Penn freshman ace Todd Roth pitched a complete game by letting up an unearned run in the eighth inning but Brown starter Jeff Dietz was better by pitching a complete game shutout while only giving up three Quaker hits to give the Bears the 1-0 victory. Dietz also drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth by hitting a sacrifice fly to second baseman Steve Gable in foul territory but Gable made a poor throw to the plate allowing Steve Daniels to score the winning run. This was the CBB first time seeing each team and came away impressed by freshman Todd Roth who has a plus curveball but an average fastball. Dietz kept the Quaker hitters on the defensive by throwing a solid slider that was getting the outside corner from home plate umpire Joe Cacciatore. Penn coach John Cole also got into a heated argument around the sixth inning with second base umpire Nick Zebilli over an issue that was not obvious to the fans or myself.
In Game 2, The Brown Bears jumped all over Penn starter Jim Birmingham for five runs in the first inning including a grand slam from Robert Papenhause. He would finish the day with three hits and six RBI. The second inning did not get better for Birmingham as the Brown Bears picked up another four runs on a Devin Thomas grand slam. Thomas finished the day with four hits in seven at-bats and seven RBI. The Bears would cruise to the 20-6 victory to win the Ivy League Championship for the first time in the school’s history. Brown is now scheduled to have a few weeks off until they head to the NCAA Tourney.
The College Baseball Blog had the chance to visit Cambridge MA on Saturday to take in some Ivy League Baseball action between the Harvard Crimson and Yale Bulldogs. The Crimson took both games of the doubleheader.
In Game 1, They received a very solid pitching performance from freshman Max Perlman who pitched a complete game allowing only three hits and a home run to Justin Ankney who crushed the first pitch of the sixth inning over the right field fence. The Crimson took advantage of five errors by the Bulldog defense including one by Dan Soltman and Ryan Lavarnway.
In Game 2, Shawn Haviland started for the Crimson and gave them eight shutout innings while only giving up seven hits. Jake Bruton pitched a perfect ninth to close out the doubleheader sweep. The Crimson offense was led by Matt Vance who went 2-4 with 3 RBIs. Yale starter Chris Wietlispach only lasted four innings while giving up all six runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks. The Yale defense did not back him up at all as Dan Soltman and Ryan Lavarnway each committed two errors in the nightcap.
The CBB was impressed with the level of pitching from the Harvard Crimson. They were able to throw a freshman in game 1 of the doubleheader and he was unhittable. The Bulldogs were off balance throughout the game. Steffan Wilson who plays third base for Harvard is a definite MLB prospect as he has all the tools scouts are looking for in an athlete. He made an excellent play on defense in which he charged a ball and threw out the runner by about three steps. The Harvard coaching staff also took advantage of many situations which arose in the game. They used a double steal (1st and 2nd) with two outs and an 0-2 count on the hitter which ended up getting the Crimson an extra run.
The College Baseball Blog might head down to Brown next weekend to see the battle for the Red Rolfe Division lead.
The College Baseball Blog will be making the trip down to Kingston RI to check in on the Charlotte 49ers and Rhode Island Rams on Saturday. The 49ers enter the weekend ranked as the 25th team in the country by the NCBWA. The 49ers have an overall record of 26-6 and 8-1 in the Atlantic 10. The 49ers weekend starters all have ERA’s under 2.66.
Charlotte Game Notes
URI Game Notes
The CBB will try to head to Cambridge on Sunday (weather permitting) to take in the Harvard-Yale doubleheader which is a key Red Rolfe Division showdown in the Ivy League Conference. The Crimson have a 5-3 record in the conference while Yale is 3-5. Both teams are looking to pick up some key wins hoping to get into the Ivy League Championship series at the end of the year.
The College Baseball Hall of Fame has elected four new members. The four people were Lou Gehrig, Christy Mathewson, Joe Sewell, and Jack Barry. Lou Gehrig played with the Columbia Lions before joining the New York Yankees and having a great professional career. Mathewson played for Bucknell from 1898-1900, in addition to Baseball, Mathewson played Football and Basketball. Joe Sewell played at Alabama from 1918-1920 and returned to coach the team in 1964 where he compiled a record of 106-79 in five seasons. Sewell and Gehrig were roommates with the New York Yankees which is ironic since they both are great players and contributers to the College Baseball World. Jack Barry played for Holy Cross from 1905-1908 and returned to the school in 1920 to coach the team. Barry is known as the Knute Rockne of the College Baseball World where he compiled a record of 616-150-6 (.802).
The full press release from The College Baseball Foundation is available here in PDF format.