CSTV continues their season previews with Eric Sorensen checking in on the Big Ten and the Big 12. Sorensen predicts that Michigan will win the Big Ten after a great run into the Super Regionals last season. He puts Minnesota and Ohio State as contenders with Penn State as the darkhorse. The full preview is available here. He also checks in on the Big 12 which is one of the top conferences in the country. He states that the Big 12 is wide open with the favorites being Texas, Missouri, and Texas A&M. He lists Baylor, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State as contenders with Kansas as a darkhorse. The full article is available here.
Rivals national baseball writer Kendall Rogers has put out his 2008 All-American Team which is led by Pedro Alvarez of Vanderbilt. Buster Posey of FSU is named to the first team catcher’s spot in only his second year behind the plate. Miami slugger Yonder Alonso beat out Justin Smoak for the first base position. Filling out the rest of the infield is 2B Blake Stouffer of Texas A&M, Ryan Flaherty and Pedro Alvarez of Vanderbilt. The outfield is Dominic de la Osa of Vanderbilt, Kyle Russell of Texas, and Tommy Baldridge of Coastal Carolina. Brett Wallace of Arizona State picks up the DH spot while Zach Putnam of Michigan is listed as the Utility player. The starting pitchers are Jacob Thompson of Virginia, Preston Guilmet of Arizona, Brian Matusz of San Diego and Lance Lynn of Ole Miss. The relief pitchers are led by switch-pitcher Pat Venditte of Creighton and Cole St. Clair of Rice. The full team with break downs on each player is available here.
Baseball America has put out their Preseason All-American list lead by Justin Smoak (South Carolina) and Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt). Both players are expected to become top 5 picks in the 2008 MLB Draft in the springtime. Miami first baseman Yonder Alonso was the other corner infielder on the team leaving Brett Wallace (Arizona State) off the squad. The middle infielders are Gordon Beckham (UGA) and Jemile Weeks (Miami FL). The outfielders are teammates Kyle Russell and Jordan Danks of Texas. The team is filled out by Dennis Raben of Miami (FL). The biggest snub on the team is Dominic De La Osa (Vanderbilt). The pitching for the squad is led by Aaron Crow of Missouri after an unbelievable summer in the CCBL. The other pitchers are Christian Friedich of Eastern Kentucky, Brett Hunter of Pepperdine, Brian Matusz of San Diego, and Ryan Perry of Arizona. How is Jacob Thompson (UVA) left off the team? He has had two outstanding seasons in a very competitive ACC. Zach Putnam of Michigan is listed as the utility man after a strong NCAA tourney last season.
Baseball America has released their preseason top 25 list. The full ranking is available here.
Leading the way are the UCLA Bruins in the top spot. Arizona, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and North Carolina landed in spots 2 through 5, while Missouri, Oregon State, Michigan, ASU and Miami rounded out the top 10.
Kendall Rogers has continue his Top 25 countdown and checking at #12 is the Missouri Tigers of the Big 12. Missouri finish 2nd to Texas in the BIG 12 last year and they return a very talented pitching staff led by Aaron Crow. The weekend series with Texas traveling to Columbia will help determined the BIG 12 conference and national seedings. When they tangle April 11-13 the CBB will right here reporting on the first pitch until the final out on Sunday. Mizzou article available here.
Top 25 Countdown: No. 13 Michigan
Top 25 Countdown: No. 14 Virginia
Top 25 Countdown: No. 15 Mississippi
Top 25 Countdown: No. 16 Cal State Fullerton
Top 25 Countdown: No. 17 Long Beach State
Top 25 Countdown: No. 18 Wichita State
Top 25 Countdown: No. 19 Mississippi St.
Curt McKeever of the Lincoln Journal Star checks in with 4 coaches from across the country on how the new signing date affects the way that Colleges coaches recruit.
Texas A&M baseball coach Rob Childress woke up on Aug. 15 feeling lucky that seven of the 11 underclassmen and incoming recruits who had been selected in June’s major league draft were still on board with the Aggies. Continue reading Major League Baseball’s new pro-signing date changes way colleges recruit
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.
Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC has released their 2008 schedule. The 2008 season will be the first year that the College has competed in Division 1 and will join the Big South Conference in 2009. They will open the season at UNC Asheville on February 22nd for a three game set. Some of the other highlights on the schedule is a visit from Yale for two games and heading to Tennessee, taking on Clemson in Greenville SC, and taking part in the Coastal Carolina Tournament where they will take on Michigan, Ball State, and the hosts Coastal Carolina. The full schedule is available here.
Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com College Baseball has counted down his top 10 rising programs with a series of articles. Here’s the list.
Kendall also answered some interesting questions in his latest Mailbag. Addressed were the draft decisions for a trio of Longhorns and Rick Porcello. Also discussed are the prospects for the NC State Wolfpack and Western Carolina’s hiring of Bobby Moranda.
Baseball America published an interesting op-ed piece today, forecasting their predicted field for the 2008 College World Series. Obviously it’s too soon to tell who will be a legitimate contender, with almost 2 months remaining before the August 15 deadline for MLB organizations to sign would-be college prospects, and injuries, weather and dozens of other factors looming on the horizon. But all the same, it’s interesting to start thinking about it already as we watch the summer leagues take shape, and Aaron Fitt provides some interesting food for thought in the off-season. And no, as you near the end of the list, you’ll discover that I am not unbiased in my evaluation of this article…
The lucky 8: