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
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.
The Yale Bulldogs have released their 2008 schedule. They will open the season on March 1st when they start a three game set against George Washington. They will then head out on a 15 day road trip where they will play 15 games against seven different opponents including perennial national power South Carolina on March 11th and 12th. The Bulldogs will play conference opponents Princeton, Cornell, Harvard, and Brown at Yale Field. The Bulldogs have conference road games against Penn, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth. Yale will play interstate rival UConn in Storrs on March 26th and Quinnipiac in Hamden on April 2nd. The full schedule for the Bulldogs is available here.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats knocked off the Yale Bulldogs over the weekend by a score of 5-2. The Bobcats took advantage of a key Bulldog error in the bottom of the third which gave the Bobcats an early 2-0 lead. The Bobcats would extend the lead to get the 5-2 victory. In the consolation game, Southern Connecticut State knocked off New Haven 8-2. A full recap is available here.
The Princeton Tigers have released their 2008 schedule. It begins on March 1st and 2nd when the Tigers head down to Delaware for a pair of doubleheaders. They will also play weekend OOC road series against Richmond, UNC-Greensboro, and Navy before opening up Ivy League play. The Tigers will open Ivy League play on March 29th when they host Dartmouth and March 30th when they host the Crimson of Harvard. The Tigers will also host Ivy League opponents Penn and Cornell. They will head on the road to take on Yale, Brown, and Columbia. The full schedule is available here.
FROM PRESS RELEASE
NEW YORK – The series of recent upgrades to Columbia’s baseball facilities continues this fall, when Columbia Athletics will install a state-of-the-art artificial surface at Andy Coakley Field. The surface will allow the team to practice at its home venue earlier in the year.
On September 4, installation of the FieldTurf™ infill system will begin. It is the same surface used at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and Columbia Soccer Stadium. Renovation of the field will be completed in November, allowing the field to set during the winter months.
“We are delighted to embark on this project to support our varsity baseball program,” says Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. “This will be an outstanding field that illustrates our commitment to Columbia Baseball, as we continue to strive for quality and excellence in all that we do. We are dedicated to providing the best experience for our student-athletes, and that commitment includes providing the best possible facilities.”
The surface will be a hybrid fiber, rubber and sand infill blend designed to have a more consistent feel. It will cover both the infield and outfield, with the only dirt covering the mound and home plate. The surface will be more resilient than the current grass field, and will allow the team more practice opportunities.
The resurfacing of the playing surface at Andy Coakley Field has been made possible through a combination of charitable gifts from interested donors, friends and alumni.
“The ‘new’ Andy Coakley Field is going to help take Columbia Baseball to a new level,” says Brett Boretti, head coach of baseball. “It will allow us to practice and play outdoors in February, earlier than ever before.”
These improvements come just months after Andy Coakley Field received major upgrades that included the installation of 250 chairback seats, a press box, an extended major league-style backdrop behind home plate and an improved sound system.
A modern batting cage was installed in left field, bullpens were reconfigured, and a strengthened retaining wall was put in place along the right field line.
“With the installation of the FieldTurf, Andy Coakley Field will also be one of the best baseball facilities in the league,” Boretti states. “We are excited and looking forward to showing our recruits and our team our new facility.”
“By installing a state-of-the-art surface at Andy Coakley Field, we are continuing consistent and significant improvement of this facility, which ranks it among the best baseball venues in the Ivy League,” adds Dr. Murphy.
The three FieldTurf facilities at Baker Field Athletics Complex – Columbia Soccer Stadium and Lawrence A. Wien Stadium are the other two – plus the Desso Sportilux SV 37 “water-based” polypropylene turf for field hockey, makes the entire complex versatile and durable for year-round and multiple-team use.
While the FieldTurf is being installed at Andy Coakley Field, the baseball team will use an alternate site for fall practices in preparation for the 2008 season.
The installation follows a season in which Columbia Baseball posted its most wins since 2003.