Doug Kroll of CSTV checks in with his weekly column on the top players in the country. This week he checks in on starting pitchers which is led by Jacob Thompson of UVA. Continue reading Doug Kroll’s top pitchers
Pedro Alvarez of Vanderbilt has been named the Pre-Season National Player of the Year for the 2008 season by Louisville Slugger.
Joining Alvarez on the first team are Pitchers Jacob Thompson (UVA), Preston Guilmet (Arizona), Anthony Shawler (ODU), Brian Matusz (USD), Josh Satow (ASU), Scott Gorgon (UCI) and Reliever AJ Griffin (USD). Rounding out the infield are Brett Wallace (1B, ASU), Blake Stouffer (2B, TAMU), Johnny Giavotella (2B, UNO), Alex Buchholz (SS, Delaware) and Buster Posey (C, FSU). In the outfield are Dominic De la Osa (Vanderbilt), Kyle Russell (Texas) and Brad McElroy (Charlotte). Josh Romanski of San Diego made the first team as a Utility player.
For those who are wondering: Yes, Ryan Flaherty earned 2nd team honors at SS, though I’m wondering how Vanderbilt’s Mikie Minor was not deemed among the twenty-nine pitchers selected to the three team All-America list which can be read here.
First, Kendall picks UCLA to be the team to step up their game the most. Conversely, he sees Clemson falling flat in the new year.
Kendall’s “Most Important” players? Pitcher Jacob Thompson of UVA tows the rubber, while Vanderbilt Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is the king of the batter’s box.
And Kendall’s early take on national title contenders? It all starts with Arizona State, but Kendall says that Miami, UCLA, Rice, San Diego, Texas and Vanderbilt should be in the mix for some hardware.
In separate blogging news, congratulations go out from this Commodore fan to Vandy’s All-American RHP commitment Sonny Gray, who, as QB, led Smyrna High School (Smyrna, TN) to its second straight state football title. Gray’s legend continues to grow in Tennessee and we’ll have to wait until August 15 to see if BA’s #6 rated HS prospect will take his 96MPH fastball and back breaking curve to the Hawk.
Oral Roberts head coach Rob Walton was named the field manager for the 2008 USA National Team. He will be joined by Old Dominion head coach Jerry Meyers who will act as the pitching coach. The other two assistant coaches are San Francisco head coach Nino Giarratano and Ritch Price of Kansas. The team will hold training camp in conjunction with their tour of the New England Collegiate Baseball League starting on June 10th. They will then head down to the Coastal Plain League to present the National Team Trials on June 20th. The team will be named on June 24th before starting up a seven game series with Chinese Taipei from June 25th-July 1. On the next day the team will fly over to Europe to play in the 2008 Dutch Honkbal Tournament and play a two-game set against the Czech Republic. The team will stay in Europe until July 18th when they begin competition in the IV FISU World Collegiate Championship in Brno, Czech Republic. The full release is available here.
We are starting up with our previews of the 2008 season. We have broken down the top five pitchers in the country. Stay tuned for more previews of the upcoming season as the season gets closer.
Aaron Crow, Jr. Missouri
Crow was named the top pitching prospect in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League this summer. Crow has a mid-90’s fastball with a plus slider and a solid cutter. Crow went 9-4 with a 3.59 last season but got bombed in the NCAA Tournament by Louisville as he let up seven runs in 2/3 of an inning.
Jacob Thompson, Jr. Virginia
Thompson had a breakout season in 2007 where he led the Virginia Cavaliers to the NCAA Tournament. He had a perfect 11-0 record with a 1.50 ERA. Thompson has a low 90’s fastball with downward action on it with a solid curveball. Thompson pitched over the summer for the USA National Team where he got a chance to pitch in the Pan Am Games. He went 1-2 with a 1.27 ERA in 21.1 innings. He was shutdown after the Pan-Am Games to rest his arm for the 2008 season.
Brian Matusz, Jr. San Diego
Matusz is a 6’4 left handed power pitcher for the University of San Diego baseball program. In 2007, He led the Toreros to the number 1 seed in the San Diego regional with a 10-3 record with a 2.85 ERA. He also struck out 163 strikeouts in 123 innings. He pitched for the USA National Team this summer where he compiled a 3-1 record with a 1.33 ERA in four starts. He was also shut down for the summer after the Pan-Am Games to rest his arm.
Kyle Gibson, So. Missouri
Gibson is a 6’5 right handed sinker ball pitcher who was named the number 3 overall prospect in the Cape Cod League by Baseball America and number 9 by Perfect Game. He lead the Missouri Tigers with help from Aaron Crow to the NCAA Tournament as he had a 8-3 record with a 4.12 ERA as he served as the closer with seven saves. He is expected to make the move to the rotation in 2008 and give the Tigers two legitimate aces on the staff.
Ryan Perry, Jr. Arizona
Perry dazzled scouts in the Cape Cod League with a mid-90’s fastball which hit 97 on some guns over the summer. He struggled in 2007 with the Arizona Wildcats as he went 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA. Perry was recovering from a January 2007 accident when he crashed his motorcycle going over 80 MPH without a helmet on which he walked away with a broken non-throwing arm. Perry pitched in 18 games coming out of the bullpen while picking up four saves. His record for the CCBL season was only 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA. He is expected to become an impact player in the Pac-10 for the 2008 season.
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Cape Prospects for providing the videos for some of the pitchers.
The Cal Bears released their 2008 schedule recently which is highlighted by taking part in a tournament in San Diego where they will take on USD, Fresno State, SDSU, and Missouri. They will play a full Pac-10 schedule with UCLA, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon State visiting Berkley while Washington State, USC, Arizona State, and Stanford will welcome the Bears to their stadiums. The full schedule is available here.
According to a press release from Fresno State, the field for the 2008 Pepsi Johnny Quik Tournament has been set. The Fresno State Bulldogs will act as host of the tournament with Utah, New Mexico State, Portland, Gonzaga, and Indiana all taking part in the week long tournament from March 10th-15th. The full press release from Fresno State is available here.
Jett Ruiz formerly a catcher with the Boston College Eagles has turned up with the San Diego Toreros. He left the Boston College program last season late in the year over the emergence of freshman catcher Tony Sanchez Jr. Ruiz will enter San Diego as a junior but will likely not see much time behind the plate with Logan Gelbrich expected to handle the pitching staff in 2008. Ruiz struggled mightily in the ACC the last two seasons. He showed a few glimpses of talent but could not become a consistent hitter.