Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 NCAA Division I Attendance figures

CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com has a message board thread on 2008 D-I attendance figures that is interesting. It contains a Top 50 list posted by Rivals.com's Kendall Rogers, plus some other data posted by Boyd Nation, College Baseball numbers guru (Boyd'sWorld.com).

A few interesting bits of data:
Mizzou barely sneaks onto the Top 50 Total Attendance list #50, and #48 on the Average Attendance ranking, with a reported total home attendance of 30,248 and an average attendance of 1,167.

LSU leads the pack in both total attendance and average attendance, with a total home attendance of 311,187 and an average attendance of 7,590

■ Four Big XII teams are in the Top 20: Texas, #4 total and average (179,282 / 5,976), Texas A&M, #5 total, #11 average (176,723 / 4,208), Nebraska, #12 total, #10 average (136,120 / 4,391), and Baylor, #18 average, but # #21 total. Texas Tech (#30/#24) and Oklahoma State (#32/#36) are the only other conference teams that appear on the lists.

■ 15 schools have an average attendance larger than the maximum capacity of MU's Taylor Stadium

Boyd Nation has an Average Road Attendance Top 25 that amazingly shows the Kansas Jayhawks at #13, with 3,099 average fans in attendance on the road. He also has a Top 25 Percentage of Opponent's Home Attendance ("in other words, if an opponent averages 2000 and 3000 show up for your game, you get 150% counted"), which shows Nebraska 3rd on the list, drawing 204.8% and Texas 5th (194.9%).

■ Another board poster, HPoirot, shares an interesting fact that there are actually 3 D-I Baseball teams that outdraw their school's Basketball program: "The Rice program draws 321.5% of the basketball average attendance, Cal State-Fullerton 231.7%, Tulane 174.8%"

Quotes & Notes: Managing & Scouting

■ A correction to my posts earlier this week about former Tiger Jayce Tingler. According to The Raw Feed, Tingler has been named the Manager of the Dominican Summer League team in the Texas Rangers organization. This will be his second year in that position.

■ Thanks to CollegeBaseballBlog (an internet source that has become a daily habit for me) for tipping me off to a great article in the Boston Globe about the details of scouting for a major league organization. An excerpt:
"It's still the most unexact science in the world," said Rob English, who scouted for 18 years in Georgia, including the last eight for the Sox. "If there was a set thing you could do, it would be easy. You're going to make a lot of mistakes. When you get one right, that's what's really gratifying."

Each scout looks for something, whether it's athleticism or body type or energy on and off the field. They cite Dustin Pedroia, as if to say that in baseball a player doesn't have to be 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds. He doesn't have to be an Adonis. He has to be a baseball player.

"Not everybody understands that we want to like players," Fagnant said. "I remember when I was playing, I thought all scouts were cynical curmudgeons, waiting to see what he can't do. It's just the opposite. When I like somebody, you've got to prove to me that you're not a professional prospect. I'll always give him the benefit of the doubt and go back and see him. The bottom line is they still have to show something."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kyle Gibson #4 in CBB Top 50 Players

The College Baseball Blog has been counting down the 2009 Top 50 College Baseball Players , day by day, for the past several weeks. Just yesterday I asked one of the CBB Blog-meisters when they were going to include Kyle Gibson - or whether they had done the unthinkable and left him off the list. He laughed and said that I would just have to keep watching until the countdown was done.

Well wait no longer, this morning's entry in the countdown is Number 4 Kyle Gibson of Missouri. The write-up is mostly a recounting of Kyle's career at MU, plus their comments about his summer with the USA National Team:
He spent the summer with the USA National Team where he saw action in 13 games (1 start) with a record of 5-0 and a ERA of 1.02. We saw both his starts during the trials period of the USA National Team. You can see our report from the North Shore Spirit game by clicking here and Newport Gulls game by clicking here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quotes & Notes: It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping

■ PingBaseball.com has come out with their Preseason All Ping Baseball Team. OF Aaron Senne is the only Tiger on the list, coming in as a Third Team Outfielder.

■ Project Prospect has an interesting article On Evaluating College Hitters Quantitatively. And he thinks highly of his methods:
My system is comprehensive, relying on empirical production metrics. It looks at a player’s total body of work adjusting for age, positional, park, conference, and schedule effects, and then uses a system of variable weights to determine a player’s likelihood of pro success based on what players of comparable skill have done in the past.

MU in the Minors: 2008 Summary

Here is a summary of MU alumni in the Minor Leagues in 2008. I have left out Max Scherzer and Doug Mathis, both of whom spent time in the minors in 2008, but are covered separately as Major Leaguers.

Garrett Bauer: Rockford Riverhawks (Independent Frontier League)

· 10-6, 2.98 ERA in 21 games
· Traded 9/9/08 to the Sioux City Explorers (Independent American Association)

Brock Bond: San Jose Giants (Class A Advanced California League, SF Giants organization) from the Augusta GreenJackets.

· 2008 San Jose stats: .297 BA, 155 AB, 26 R, 19 RBI, 9 SB
· Promoted from Augusta (Low-A) 6/26/08
· 9/5/08 Transferred to extended Spring Training


James Boone Altoona Curve (AA Eastern League, Pittsburgh Pirates organization)

· 2008 Altoona stats: .219 BA, 329 AB, 10 HR, 40 RBI
· EAS Player of the Week, 4/21/08
· On the disabled list (right shoulder) from 5/21/08 to 6/25/08

Garrett Broshuis Connecticut Defenders (AA Eastern League, SF Giants organization).

· 2008 Connecticut stats : 13-9, 3.78 ERA, 157 IP
· Blogs on SportingNews.com


David Cales Boise Hawks (Class-A Short Season Northwest League, Chicago Cubs organization)
· 2008 stats
· Cales played his freshman year at MU, then transferred away


Kurt Calvert Boise Hawks (Class A Northwest League, Chicago Cubs organization)

· 2008 Boise stats: .216 BA, 204 AB, 11 RBI, 13 SB

Aaron Crow Fort Worth Cats (Independent American Association)

· Drafted in June by the Washington Nationals; did not sign
· Crow is working out and hanging out in Columbia, MO in the offseason and is expected to play in May for Fort Worth while awaiting re-entry to the Draft in June 2009
· Online audio interview with Crow about the failure of the negotiations with the
Nationals
· The Washington Nationals' version of the breakdown in negotiations


Nathan Culp Lake Elsinore Storm (Single-A California League, SD Padres organization)

· 2008 Lake Elsinore stats : 14-8, 3.83 ERA, 157.1 IP, 74 SO

Cody Ehlers Trenton Thunder (AA Eastern League, NY Yankees organization)

· 2008 Trenton stats : .200 BA, 370 AB, 8 HR, 43 RBI
· Released by the NY Yankees organization, 8/30/08



Erik Dessau Traded to the Lancaster Barnstormers (Independent Atlantic League) from the Gateway Grizzlies (Independent Frontier League, 8/1/08

· 2008 Lancaster stats
· Barnstormers blog: Dessau traded


Lee Fischer Great Falls Voyagers ( Rookie Pioneer League, Chicago White Sox organization)
· 2008 Great Falls stats : .206 BA, 131 AB, 12 RBI


Evan Frey Promoted to Visalia Oaks (Class A Advanced California League, Arizona Diamondbacks organization) from the South Bend SilverHawks
· 2008 Visalia stats : .297 BA, 229 AB, 3 HR, 18 RBI
· MID Mid-Season All-Star, 6/17/ 08
· Also played for Phoenix Desert Dogs of Arizona Fall League
· Listed #7 among Diamondbacks' top prospects


Justin James Sarasota Reds (Class A Advanced Florida State League, Cincinnati Reds organization)

· 2008 Sarasota stats : 1.56 ERA, 17.1 IP
· Began the season at AA Chattanooga Lookouts
· Traded to the Cincinnati Reds organization from Toronto BlueJays
organization during the 2007-2008 off-season.

Andrew Johnston Tulsa Drillers (AA Texas League, Colorado Rockies organization)

· Began the season with the Modesto Nuts (Single-A California League)
· 2008 stats: 3-1, .240 ERA
· CAL Mid-Season All-Star
Hunter Mense Greensboro Grasshoppers (Single-A South Atlantic League, Florida Marlins organization)
· 2008 Greensboro stats: .289 BA, 432 AB, 13 HR
· Hunter's blog: The Life and Times of Aitch

Jacob Priday Lexington Legends (Class A South Atlantic League, Houston Astros organization)
· 2008 stats: .216 BA, 102 AB, 1 HR, 11 RBI
· Began the year with the Rookie-League Tri-City ValleyCats, promoted after 25 games
· Played 1 game at Lexington before going on the disabled list for several weeks

Andy Shipman Midland Rockhounds (AA) Texas League (Oakland Athletics organization)
· 2008 Midland stats: 2-2, 5.13 ERA, 37 G, 54 IP
Travis Wendte Brevard County Manatees (Single-A Florida State League, Milwaukee Brewers organization)
· 2008 Brevard stats: 4-0, 5.46 ERA, 28 IP

Rick Zagone Aberdeen Ironbirds (Class A NY-Penn League, Baltimore Orioles organization)
· 2008 Aberdeen stats: 7-1, 2.89 ERA, 65.1 IP, 79 SO
· Zagone's 1-hitter: Zagone (6-1) was working on a no-hitter until Ronald Ramirez singled to center with one down in the sixth. Selected by the Orioles in the sixth round of this year's Draft, Zagone struck out five and walked three over six frames while lowering his ERA to 3.23.
· Baltimore Sun, 9/6/08: IronBirds left-hander Rick Zagone finished the season with 79 strikeouts after collecting four in last night’s game against Brooklyn. Zagone came up just shy of the franchise record of 82, which was set by current Orioles starting pitcher Radhames Liz in 2005.

Torre Tyson, Manager, Charleston RiverDogs (Single-A South Atlantic League)MLB.com Profile
· Tyson to return for 2009

Jayce Tingler, Hitting Coach, Dominican Summer League team of the Texas Rangers organization

Jonny Williams, Hitting Coach, Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie League, KC Royals organization)
· Royals have announced Williams will return to this job in 2009


If anyone has additional information about Mizzou alumni playing or coaching in the minor leagues, please let me know. Send me an e-mail at simmonsfield@hotmail.com

Notes & Quotes: Off the Field

A couple of articles in the Columbia Missourian this weekend include mention of some off-the-field activities of MU Baseball players:

■ "Coaches in the Classroom" talks about the Total Person Program (which, according to the apparently untutored Missourian proof-reader, is abbreviated with the initials TTP):
Trevor Coleman, an MU junior, knows the time demands of a student athlete all too well. A member of MU’s baseball team, he travels heavily with his sport in the spring and relies on help from tutors to keep him caught up.

“I have to find time for school,” Coleman says. “Tutoring definitely helps. During the spring, we travel a lot so we miss a lot of classes. Tutoring helps catch me up with what I missed. I get tutors for the classes that I know I might have trouble with.”

Coleman, a finance major, says he uses the TTP facilities about once a week, mainly to use the computers and as a meeting place for himself and his tutors.

■ "Tigers' Saunders fills two roles", talks about football player Tommy Saunder's involvement with Big Brothers-Big Sisters, and goes on to talk about the involvement of other MU athletes in mentoring programs:
Seven members of the MU baseball team, including Aaron Senne and Ryan Lollis, will start working with children at local schools.

“We need some good, quality male role models," Tina DeClue, a school-based mentor coordinator, said. “And it’s always good to get athletes involved, because it’s good for our kids to see they can head in another direction.”

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jayce Tingler managing in the Dominican Summer League

I happened upon an interview with Jayce Tingler (MU, 2000-03) on Scout.com from back in August . Some quotes:


■ On getting the job of coaching in the DSL:

Basically I had talked to Scott Servais. We had talked about the opportunity to coach in ’06 – basically after I was done playing. He said that there was maybe a job opening up, but it was going to be a little different. It was going to be in the Dominican Republic. We would sit down and we talked for awhile about it. It basically came down to I wanted to get into coaching. That’s what both my parents did, but at the high school level.

We talked about the benefits of it and one of the things I wanted to learn was Spanish. I figured if you’re going to be around the game of professional baseball, you talk about finding ways to separate yourself from other coaches. The opportunity came up down here and I said, ‘Yeah, I’d love to.’ I want to learn Spanish anyway.


■ The difference between coaching young Latin players and young U.S. players:

I think the difference between the Latin kids, where you grow up in the states – I’m from Kansas City – the number one sport was football and basketball. That was our opportunity and I was a big Chiefs fan and stuff. Down here, the number one sport is baseball and it’s by far. It’s not even close. Instead of guys like LeBron James or Michael Vick or whoever in the states, those guys aren’t football players – they’re shortstops or they’re left-handed pitchers.

I think that’s the beautiful thing about it. You don’t have an AAU basketball coach all over a 6-foot-4 13-year-old getting him to play AAU ball. That 6-foot-4 kid may be a left-handed pitcher and that’s what they want to be. That is kind of the difference.

Torre Tyson to return for third season of managing

The New York Yankees organization announced this week that Torre Tyson (MU, 1995-98) will return in 2009 for a third year as manager of the High-A Charleston RiverDogs.

“We simply love Charleston, playing in Riley Park and being a part of the RiverDogs family,” said Tyson, who is from the St. Louis area. “My family was excited to hear we would be returning for a fifth year and are hoping to call Charleston our home by the end of the season.”

In 2008, Tyson guided the RiverDogs to an 80-59 overall record tying the franchise record for victories in a single season, when the 2005 RiverDogs posted an 80-58 mark.

You can read more about Torre Tyson's experiences as a manager in the minor leagues in Ty's Take, his blog on the official RiverDogs' website.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Some early draft predictions

PGCrossChecker.com has some [very] early thoughts about the 2009 Draft, including a couple of Mizzou pitchers:

Aaron Crow:
Aaron Crow, the ninth overall pick last year of the Washington Nationals, will be following in the footsteps of his former teammate at Missouri, Max Scherzer, while pitching with the Fort Worth Cats.

For Crow it came down to money, as he and the Nationals were reportedly several hundred thousand dollars apart as negotiations broke down before the August 15 signing deadline. He was tied for the nation lead in wins with 13 as part of a perfect 13-0 season for the Tigers. His availability gives the ’09 draft class yet another power arm, an area next year’s draft class has no shortage of talent.
Kyle Gibson:
The University of Missouri has produced some very promising right-handed pitchers in recent years, and Kyle Gibson poised to follow in the footsteps of Aaron Crow (profiled above) and Max Scherzer.

While Crow and Scherzer were praised for their fastballs, Gibson’s bread and butter is a nasty slider that is nearly unhittable. The only problem with his slider is that he can fall a little too in love with it at times. He does throw his fastball in the low-90s, with many expecting him to add velocity as he fills out his tall and lanky frame. However, the pitch can straighten out at times, and he can get in trouble when he catches too much of the strike zone, which causes him to nibble and fall back on his slider.

His slider and stature makes him a very similar prospect to Brad Lidge. Gibson will be given every opportunity to succeed as a starter as a professional, but like Lidge it would not surprise me if he eventually settled in as a dynamic closer.

Notes & Quotes: Christmas Week

Collegiate Baseball has released the Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American Baseball team for 2009.

MU's Kyle Gibson made the 2nd Team. He is the only Tiger on the team.

2009 MU opponents on the 1st team include:
· RHP Mike Leake, Arizona St.
· RHP Tim Clubb, Missouri St.
· OF Jason Kipnis, Arizona St.

■ Kendall Rogers at CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com lists Aaron Crow as one of the Top 10 players hardest to replace in 2009. Kendall also has an interesting College Baseball Christmas Wish List.

■ Speaking of pre-season heroes, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports on their hometown hero, Aaron Senne making the Brooks Wallace List

Monday, December 22, 2008

MU #22 in Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top 40

Collegiate Baseball has released it's "Fabulous 40" pre-season NCAA Division I Baseball poll, and the Missouri Tigers are at #22.

Louisiana State received the #1 ranking.

The Big XII placed 5 teams in the "Fabulous 40":

#9 Texas A&M
#10 Texas
#14 Oklahoma State
#15 Baylor
#22 Missouri

Other ranked teams on MU's 2009 schedule are:
#6 Arizona State
#32 Missouri State
#38 Oregon State

Missouri will play four games against ranked opponents during their season-opening 10-day road trip to Arizona.

By the way: MU Basketball was ranked nationally today for the first time in a while; MU Football continues to be ranked as it has been all year. I wonder how long it has been since all 3 of these MU sports - Baseball, Basketball and Football - were all ranked at once.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

MU Baseball Photo Album

Mizzou fan Josh Burch took a lot of photos at the ballpark in 2008, and he is in the process of uploading those to his zenfolio photo albums.
"The site won't let you download the originals, but if there are any you or anyone else wants, let me know, and I will be happy to send them."

I won't post his e-mail address here, but let me know if you are interested in some of his photos and I'll pass along the word. You can contact me, as always, at simmonsfield@hotmail.com.

There are some great photos at that site, and more to come. Keep checking back there as he continues uploading his collection.

Max Potential

Arizona Diamondbacks' General Partner/CEO Jeff Moorad participated in an online chat with fans on MLB.com this week, and mentioned former Tiger Max Scherzer a couple of times. Sounds like Moorad has a very definite idea about where Max fits in with the D-Backs' future.
azgamer: Who will be the number five starter for the D-backs?
Moorad: Max Scherzer.

dhtdiver: Back to Scherzer & RJ....Didn't Scherzer's experience last year as a reliever show more promise that as a starter?
Moorad: I believe his best, long-term value is as a starting pitcher.

Thanks to a fellow fan for pointing me to that chat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Notes & Quotes

A few odds & ends from the past few days:

■ Mizzou OF Aaron Senne was named to the 3rd team of the 2009 NCBWA Preseason All-America Team. Senne is the only Tiger named.

■ In case you missed it, be sure to check out the details on the 2009 First Pitch Celebration, and e-mail your reservation to our favorite Cubs fan.

■ Another developing college baseball story you may have missed involves Oklahoma State pitcher Andy Oliver, who has found himself in the middle of a legal mess involving the murky world of college eligibility and agents/advisors. SportsAgentBlog has been providing good coverage and analysis of the story, beginning with Let Andy Play, in which blogger Darren Heitner explains the details of what happened, and continuing this week with an update, They Still Won't Let Andy Play. This should be of interest to any players or their parents who are looking forward to the Draft and considering relationships with agents.

Baseball America and CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com also have good reports on the Oliver case.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Doug Mathis a Ranger once again

As we reported earlier this week, Doug Mathis was given his release from the Texas Rangers, but rumor had it that they would turn around quickly and re-sign him to a minor league contract.

The Dallas News confirms the turn of events today:
The Rangers have re-signed RHP Doug Mathis to a minor league contract and invited him to major league spring training. The club made Mathis a free agent last week when it did not tender him a major league contract.

Monday, December 15, 2008

5th Annual First Pitch Celebration: Feb 7, 2009

This announcement came out today from Luke Cassis at the MU Baseball office:

You are invited to help us kick off the 2009 season!! Over 100 years of Missouri Baseball will once again be acknowledged with the 5th annual First Pitch Celebration. From the National Championship in 1954 to participating in our 6th consecutive NCAA Tournament during the
2008 season, Missouri Baseball has plenty of history to be proud of. Join us as generations of the Mizzou Baseball family come together to recognize past and present achievements in one fun filled night.

The fifth annual First Pitch Celebration will include hors d’oeuvres, beverages for young and old, introductions of past and present players, a 2009 season outlook, silent auction featuring prestigious professional and collegiate items, as well as a look at highlights from the 2008 season and a special guest speaker.

When: February 7, 2009

Doors will open at 6:30; Festivities will begin at 7:00

Where: Holiday Inn Select Executive Center (Right off I-70 at Stadium Blvd); 2200 I-70 Drive S.W.; Columbia, MO 65203

Tickets: Admission to First Pitch Celebration- $20

To register, email Luke Cassis @ cassisl@missouri.edu with your name and address as well as the number attending in your party. Admission will be collected at the door.

Any questions can be directed to the Missouri Baseball office at 573-884-8929 or by email at cassisl@missouri.edu.

News on Taylor Stadium Expansion

This tidbit from Mizzouligan82 on Tigerboard.com:

Just came across a tidbit in SportsBusiness Journal:
· Facility: Taylor Stadium improvements
· Purpose: 1,500 seat expansion of existing baseball stadium, renovation and expansion of existing concourse, new home clubhouse, new offices/locker rooms for the coaches, indoor batting cages, new scoreboard and lights
· Est. Cost/Budget: $3 million
· Architect: 360 Architecture
· Contractor: TBDMajor Subs/Consultants: Structural Engineering Associates, Lankford, THHinc., FSC
· Start Date: July 2009
· Completion Date: Spring 2010

Doug Mathis now a free agent

Former MU Tiger Doug Mathis, who spent part of 2008 with the Texas Rangers in Arlington and part of the year on the disabled list, was not tendered a Major League contract for the coming season, making him a free agent.


From MLB.com:

The Rangers have declined to tender a Major League contract to Doug Mathis and have instead made him a free agent.

The Rangers will likely re-sign Mathis to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The move leaves the Rangers with 39 players on the Major League roster. Mathis was 2-1 with a 6.85 ERA in eight games, including four starts, with the Rangers last year. He did not pitch after June 15, instead going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
MLB.com predicted this move last week, with an explanation about the Rangers' rationale:

The Rangers aren't planning to let anybody get away by not tendering them a contract. But club officials said they might non-tender a player and then re-sign him to a Minor League contract. The Rangers did that five years ago with outfielder Jason Tyner.

The move would free up a spot for the Rangers on their 40-man roster. Right now, the roster is full. Two possible candidates are pitchers Willie Eyre and Doug Mathis, who are both coming off arm injuries.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quotes & Notes: B. Dalton and B. Wallace

Quotes and Notes and a Correction from the past few days:

■ And now we learn that the blog host doesn't always actually read every word of the links he posts. I received an e-mail thanking me for the great job I do and especially for my post about the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, which includes "both Aaron Senne and Kyle Gibson."

That was a subtle way of telling me I had heard somewhere that Gibson was on the list but had failed to actually look closely enough to see that Senne is also on the list.

Thanks to the completely impartial blog followers who brought this to my attention. We'll be rooting for both of these Tigers to make a good run at the award this coming season.

Examiner.net has a feature on Blaine Dalton, Blue Springs South quarterback. The senior has signed to come to Mizzou to play football . . . and more?

Dalton has not decided if he will leave Blue Springs South at the semester to enroll at the University of Missouri, where he has made a commitment to play football for the Tigers.

“I think it would give me a jump at Missouri, going to spring practices,” Dalton said, “but I want to play my last year of baseball here at South. And I might want to try and play baseball at Mizzou.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Off-Season Baseball Deprivation Syndrome




"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." (Rogers Hornsby)

What can the avid baseball fan do in the off-season to stave off the dreaded baseball-deprivation blues?

Some suggestions:

  1. Listen to a lot of baseball music: Download it to your iPod, listen to it online, buy CDs and play them, whistle them while you work, break out into raucous renditions of them in inappropriate places. I've compiled a list, in the left-hand navigation bar here at SimmonsField.com, of links to baseball music sources online, many of them being various versions of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. My personal favorite is the mellow mandolin version.

  2. Lurk on Internet message boards: When you're mourning the loss of baseball, you can find similar distraught souls online. Many online baseball boards completely ignore College Baseball. But there are some places where fans of the college game congregate. CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com is one of the most active gatherings of like-minded fans. For talk with other Mizzou Baseball fans, the Tigerboard.com All Sports Board has some discussion in the off-season, as does PowerMizzou.com (on the subscription-only boards). Or you can go over to the PhogNet baseball board and interrupt their obsession with the Royals long enough to stir up the MU-KU rivalry a bit.

  3. Memorize the rules: Download the official NCAA Baseball Rules of the Game and memorize them. It'll come in handy for message board arguments and for heckling the umpires. And if you have questions, ask them on the NCAA Baseball Rules Message Board.

  4. Do some advance preparation for heckling: Start by reading some of the best heckles at HeckleDepot.com. ("How'd you get a square head in that round mask?"). If you're really ambitious, go to MySpace.com and see if you can find any unprotected pages of key players from our upcoming opponents.

  5. Take a trip in the WayBack machine: Here on SimmonsField.com we have a lot of information about Mizzou Baseball History. Of special interest is a day-by-day detailed re-creation of the Missouri Tigers' 1954 World Championship Season. Reading through the whole season from start to finish will not only be educational but a pick-up from the off-season blues.

  6. Pass the time seeing how some creative fans of America's Pastime are passing their time online: In the left-hand navigation bar here at SimmonsField.com is a list of links called Fan Fun. Many of these websites contained a veritable can of cornucopia of baseball imaginings. A favorite of mine is the Cosmic Baseball Association, which Nuke Laloosh would describe as "really out there."

    "Frank Zappa played cosmic baseball for three seasons as an outfielder for the
    Delta Dragons and the Paradise Pisces. He retired in 1988. He is currently the
    owner of the Franklinton Zappas which play in CBA's Underleague."
  7. The annual baseball movie marathon: Speaking of Nuke Laloosh, watching a bunch of baseball movies is a great cure for the off-season blues. I have a drawer full of baseball movies, some of them great, others tolerable only because they're about baseball. You might have to actually go to your local video store and rent them. Set apart a weekend - or a week - and go through your stack of movies one after the other. My Top 9 lineup, in no particular order:
    The Kevin Costner trilogy: Bull Durham, Field of Dreams & For Love of the Game (in which a current Big 12 head coach plays a small role as the Yankee manager); A League of Their Own, The Natural, The Sandlot, Eight Men Out, , Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, Pastime. Or find the Baseball series by Ken Burns and watch the whole things straight through (many libraries, including the Columbia Public Library, have it available for check-out)
  8. Read some baseball books: My Top 9 lineup, in no particular order (more or less): Hornsby Hit One Over My Head, by David Cataneo (definitely the star of my baseball bookshelf); Moneyball, by Michael Lewis; The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, by Bill James; Eight Men Out, by Eliot Asinof; Sholess Joe , by W.P. Kinsella; The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence S. Ritter; Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball, by Mark Ribowsky; Baseball: A Literary Anthology, by Nicholas Dawidoff; and, if you can find them used or at a library, the out-of-print Fireside Books of Baseball, by Charles Einstein.

  9. Start your own website or blog about college baseball: Worked for me.

There is no #10. This is baseball. 9 is the magic number.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quotes and Notes

A few notes and quotes from the past few days:

■ Kyle Gibson has been listed on the Preseason Watch List for the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award, according to the College Baseball Foundation. The Wallace Award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. CollegeBaseballBlog has the entire list of 64.

■ CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com is doing a series ranking the various D-I baseball programs in each state. I'm sure Kendall Rogers had to think long and hard how to rank MU, MSU, SEMO and SLU.

■ Aaron Crow was on the Wallace watch list a year ago. Now he just seems to be on a different kind of list for some Washington Nationals' fans, including the obviously objective fanatics at Nationals Inquisition:

Crasnick and a good majority of the media continue to blame Aaron Crow on the Nats when in fact it was Crow’s own arrogance, horrible agent, and the kid being a general f#*! up eating burgers and drinking beers in his off time that lead to him not being signed. No media outlet seems to want to report the other side of the story and instead follows the rest of the sheep in making the Nats out to be complete failures in this respect.
The blogger is obviously referring back to a Kansas City Star article back in October where the reporter met with Crow at Booches in Columbia, and Crow uttered the memorable line, "I'm not used to having to be anywhere."

Of course, if I was Aaron's age and forced to wait out a year to sign a multi-million dollar contract, I'd probably be doing the same thing he is: working out and hanging out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MU alum Ian Kinsler earns prestigious award

Former Tiger Ian Kinsler, now the All-Star starting second baseman for the Texas Rangers, was named the 2008 winner of the Rangers' Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award, according to an MLB press release:

"Ian Kinsler devotes a great deal of time to this community, as is evidenced by his work with Toys for Tots and other initiatives," club president Nolan Ryan said. "I congratulate him for receiving this year's Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award, which is one of the biggest honors that the Rangers present."

Kinsler and wife Tess are serving for the third consecutive season as the Rangers Ambassadors for the Toys for Tots program.

WBAP.com has a good writeup about the Kinslers' involvement with the Toys for Tots program, including this extra news nugget:
Kinsler and his wife, Tess, have a special reason for their involvement in Toys for Tots this year: "We're expecting a child of our own," he told WBAP during the kickoff of the program at the south Arlington Toys R Us location Tuesday. Tess Kinsler is due to have a girl any day. Her husband, Ian, is trying to be prepared: "I've got to check out the girls' section and see what I can bring home.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Closer Look at the 2009 Schedule

The MU Baseball office has posted the official 2009 schedule, which is remarkably similar to the 2009 schedule we've had posted here for a few weeks.

Now that it's official, we can take a look at that schedule and ask the question: How tough is MU's 2009 schedule?

Boyd Nation, at Boyd'sWorld.com, annually produces a list of Intended Schedule Strength, based on the final RPI or ISR numbers of each team on the upcoming schedule, averaged out to an intended average RPI.

Using that formula, and using the Boyd'sWorld.com final RPI numbers, I've compiled a list of the final 2008 RPIs of the teams on the tentative 2009 schedule, and averaged them out for an intended schedule strength of .541.

So what does that really mean, in terms we can understand?

Three teams (South Florida, Texas San-Antonio and New Mexico) finished 2009 with an RPI of .541, placing in a tie for 64th place in Division 1 of the NCAA out of a total 296 teams.

Tim Jamieson's Intended Schedule Strength has been moving slowly upward over the past few years, and this year's continues that steady rise, which is a good thing:
2009: .541
2008: .537
2007: .534
2006: .532
2005: .528
2004: .528

Part of that rise is due to the overall gradual strengthening of the Big XII conference from top to bottom. But it also reflects a willingness to schedule multiple contests against teams like Arizona State.

I have posted the details of the final 2008 RPIs for the teams on the 2009 schedule on Sheet 2 of the MU 2009 Tentative Schedule.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coach's report on 2009 recruit Eric Anderson

We've received more details about 2009 Recruit Eric Anderson. Most of the info I had been able locate about him said a lot about his football exploits and stats, but very little about him as a baseball player. So I went to the source.

Here are some comments from his high school coach, Mark Goldsberry:
Last spring Eric played all 19 games for us at shortstop. He was first team all league at that position and honorable mention all state. He also pitches. He did not pitch for us last spring because of a arm situation. We closed with him in the summer, and he will be our number one this coming spring. I believe Missouri recruited Eric as a pitcher with a opportunity to play a position. His upside is incredible. One of the best athletes I have coached in 19 years. He is 6'4 and about 210, and I don't think he is done growing. Last year he hit .490. His on base percentage was .560 and his slugging percentage was .887. He had 8 homeruns, 6 doubles, and 3 triples. He also had 30 RBI'S. I believe his future is on the mound. If I was to project him in the future, I would say he will be a power pitcher that will top out in the mid 90's with a plus breaking ball. He needs work on developing a third pitch. Missouri got a special athlete and a special person. It will be fun to watch him develop the next four years.
One note about those comments. Another source tells me that Colorado High School Athletics only allows 19 spring games, "so aggregate number always pale compared to warmer states."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

D-1 coaches suggest changes

Nearly everyone has their own pet peeves about the way NCAA Baseball functions, and the Division I Head Coaches are no different. Kendall Rogers at CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com reports on a recent meeting of D-I head baseball coaches in Indianapolis, and also provides some analysis of the recommendations. Among the suggested changes:
  • Keep the uniform start date, but add a week to the season, either before or after [I vote for before - trrip]
  • Increase scholarships from 11.7 to 14.0 [still not enough compared to football and basketball]
  • Adjust RPI formula to reward road wins [makes sense- basketball does this]
  • Allow 4 exhibition games in the Fall against D-I opponents, without impacting the 56-game allowance [I'd love to see a home-and-away vs. KU every Fall]
  • 20 second pitch clock [this was suggested by Wichita State's Gene Stephenson; seems to me he should worry less about how quickly his guys pitch and more about which direction they're throwing the ball]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

MU Baseball releases OFFICIAL 2009 Schedule

MUTigers.com has released the Tigers' official 2009 schedule.

For the most part, it is the same as the schedule released earlier this fall at the scrimmages, and thus similar to the here since that time, albeit with some more detail about game times (which still are subject to change, if the past is any indicator).

The one date change is for MU's pair of games against Western Illinois, which had been listed as a Tuesday-Wednesday pair of games on March 10 and 11. The game on the 10th remains the same, but the game on the 11th has been removed and a game against the Leathernecks on March 4th has been added.

Sometime this weekend we will post a quick analysis of the strength of the Tigers' 2009 schedule.

The official press release summary of the highlights:

Mizzou Baseball has released its 2009 schedule, which will get underway on Feb. 20 against Nevada at the Grand Canyon Classic in Phoenix. The Tigers will spend the first two weeks of the season in the Phoenix area, playing nine games before its home opener against Western Illinois on March 1.

On the 2009 schedule are 29 games at Taylor Stadium, 19 road contest and nine games at neutral sites.

Highlights of the schedule include games in each of Missouri's Major League Baseball Stadiums. MU will face Saint Louis University at Busch Stadium in St. Louis at 7:15 p.m. on April 1. On April 22, the Tigers will take on Kansas at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Missouri will also return to T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, Mo., facing Eastern Illinois on April 28.

Mizzou's conference series include home matchups with Texas A&M (March 20-22), Oklahoma (April 3-5), Texas Tech (April 24-26) and Kansas (May 8-10). The Tigers will travel to Texas March 13-15 to open Big 12 play. They also have road conference series against Oklahoma State (March 27-29), Baylor (April 10-12), Kansas State (April 17-19) and Nebraska (May 1-3).

The Big 12 Conference Tournament is slated for May 20-24 at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. The NCAA Tournament will begin with regional play on May 29-June 1 and concludes with the College World Series June 13-22.

Ryan Crowley chooses MU

The Athletics2000.com Mustang Update reports on Ryan Crowley's signing with Mizzou:
Ryan Crowley has been playing baseball for 12 years. He will start his 3rd season on varsity this spring on the Morton High School Baseball team.

After being a Suburban Life Player of the year finalist, Ryan became one of only two pitchers from Illinois to play in the prestigious Area Code Games.

In July, 2008 colleges were able to conduct face to face conversations with him. Missouri, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State,Arizona and Kansas State were all interested.

On Monday, November 17, 2008 Crowley became the first Morton baseball player to sign a Division 1 letter of intent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Frey & Scherzer: From AZ Fall League to AZ Diamondbacks

The Phoenix Desert Dogs have won the Arizona Fall League Championship for the 5th straight year.

Two of their top contributors were former MU Tigers Max Scherzer and Evan Frey.

Frey's stats for the season: .288 (36-for-125), 21 R, 6 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 48 TB, 12 BB, 22 SO, 7 SB, 4 CS, .350 OBP, .384 SLG, .734 OPS

Scherzer's stats: 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 4 G, 4 GS, 24.0 IP, 16 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 3 HR, 5 BB, 24 SO, 0.88 WHIP

Baseball America has a write-up of the championship game, in which Evan Frey figured prominently.

MLB.com had a feature on Frey taking advantage of his jump to the AFL:
It's an important test for the 22-year-old, who grew up in the St. Louis area. At the lower levels, a player who has speed can still put up pretty good numbers simply by beating out what otherwise would be a routine ground ball. As the competition gets tougher, a hitter must show an ability to handle that challenge and show he can actually hit and not just outrun the ball. The Minor Leagues are littered with speedsters who didn't have the baseball skills to succeed at the higher levels.

Mark Hulet, a blogger at Fangraphs, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses and prospective future of both Max and Evan, including the following excerpts:
The Graduate: Max Scherzer: He allowed 48 hits in 56 innings of work. Scherzer posted rates of 3.38 BB/9 and 10.61 K/9, along with a 3.33 FIP. One warning sign with his season, though, is a high line-drive rate at 28.1%. Scherzer certainly has the stuff to have a dominating career, with a fastball that averages 94.2 mph, as well as a slider and change-up.

The '09 Sleeper: Evan Frey: At High-A ball, Frey hit .297/.395/.402 with an ISO of .105. A left-handed batter, Frey understands the value of getting on base to utilize his speed. He posted rates of 13.9 BB% and 20.1 K%. At the very least, he should be a valuable fourth outfielder at the Major League level.
You can read more about the Arizona Fall League and Frey and Scherzer's selection for it in our previous post.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2009 Recruit: Zach Hardoin, LHP

We just keep coming across more and more recruits who have signed to be a part of what is shaping up to be an impressive 2009 Recruiting Class for Mizzou.

Sitting at the far right in this picture is Zach Hardoin, a left-handed JuCo pitcher from Blinn College, shown with three of his teammates who were all signing with D-I schools.
The Blinn website says:
Blinn College pitcher Zach Hardoin of Spring (Klein Collins) signed a letter of intent with the University of Missouri. Hardoin recorded 43 strikeouts in 47 innings pitched and finished the year 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA. He was among four Blinn players to sign with Division I programs.
Hardoin is listed in the Blinn College Baseball Media Guide as 5'10", 182 lb, L/L; Hometown: Spring,TX; High School: Klein Collins; All District Baseball. If you want to know his favorite actress, pro team and hobbies, that's all posted in his Media Guide profile as well.

Another Photo: Eric Anderson signs

Eric Anderson, RHP/IF; Highlands Ranch, CO (Mountain Vista HS) on his signing day to become a Missouri Tiger.

Tigers in 2009 MLB Draft

We get lots of tips and info from the far-flung posters at Tigerboard.com. This week a faithful west coast Mizzou Baseball fan, BruceinLA, posts this nugget:

The current copy of Baseball America has a list of their top 100 prospects for the 2009 MLB June, 2009 draft. #5) Aaron Crow #13) Kyle Gibson #96) Trevor Coleman. Coleman is the only non pitcher from the B12 listed. Kinda disappointed that Senne isn't listed. Any thoughts on that?


As I said in reply to his post, the writers at Baseball America tend to lean heavily in favor of players they've actually seen play in person, and every summer they spend quality time in New England watching the Cape Cod League. As a result, players who do well in the CCL tend to get ranked higher by Baseball America than some others. All three of the Tigers listed - Crow, Gibson and Coleman - did well at the Cape and have been and will continue to be consistently touted by the BA Crew.

Mr. Senne, on the other hand had a rough and rocky start to his summer season in 2008, first not mkaing the final cut for Team USA - another roster the Baseball America guys pay attention to - plus dealing with some minor physical ailments that slowed him down. Because of that, Baseball America has him devalued.

On the other hand, Perfect Game Crosscheckers lists Aaron Senne as the #8 Outfield prospect in the 2009 Draft and the #1 prospect from the 2009 Northwoods League. PGCrosscheckers often seems to me to have a more broad-based perspective on nationwide prospects than does Baseball America. (NOTE: most of their online information is subscription only)

Aaron Senne will have plenty of opportunity this coming season to show the scouts what he's capable of, and will no doubt rise in value by June.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More recruiting news: Kale Gaden signs

More recruit signing photos keep coming in. The latest is this official pic of Kale Gaden signing his letter of intent. The photo includes Kale, Corey & Tami (parents), Coach Gary Gardner (retired this year), Head Coach Tony Holt and Athletic Director Butch Ligenfelter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

More recruiting news: Heifner and Opel sign

More news keeps coming in on the recruiting front. First, we received this photo (above) of Andy Heifner of St. Charles West signing his Letter of Intent to play for Mizzou.

Then we got another pic (below), this one of Dane Opel of Edwardsville, IL, putting pen to that all important paper. That's proud father and former MU Football player Brad Opel sitting to Dane's right.
The Edwardsville Intelligencer has a great article about "Great Dane" signing, including some good quotes from his high school coach:
“He throws the ball well, he hits, he hits with power, he can track it down in the outfield and he could probably even play first base if needed and he’s thrown some too for us and his speed is increasing on a regular basis. It’s one of those things that as you move up through the ranks you get different challenges and he’s faced good competition over the years and I’m sure he’ll face even better competition as he continues his rise. It’s just one of those things where you keep trying to climb the ladder and see how far you go.”

It's Official: MU vs. SLU @ Busch Stadium

As reported here at SimmonsField.com a few weeks ago, Mizzou and the SLU Billikens will be playing a game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on April 1st.

MUTigers.com officially reports this news flash under the headline " Mizzou Baseball Adds Game at Busch Stadium to 2009 Schedule". At this point, the Busch game and the MU-KU game in Kansas City mentioned in the article, are the only games on the 2009 schedule as reported so far by MUTigers.com (SimmonsField.com's Tentative 2009 Schedule).

The University of Missouri announced on Friday, that the Mizzou baseball team will face the Saint Louis Billikens on April 1 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The game will start at 7:15 p.m. Ticket information for this game will be announced at a later date.

"First off we'd like to thank the St. Louis Cardinals for working to get this set up," Mizzou Head Coach Tim Jamieson said. "Our team is looking forward to the chance to play in Busch Stadium and I expect our many alumni and fans in the St. Louis area will be excited to see the Tigers in St. Louis."

The contest with SLU will be one of two games on Missouri's schedule at Major League stadiums. The Tigers will face Kansas at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on April 22.

The remainder of Mizzou's 2009 schedule is expected to be announced soon.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

2009 Recruit: Jack Dudenhoeffer, 3B/RHP



Thanks to a tip on Tigerboard.com, we've discovered yet another 2009 recruit signing: Jack Dudenhoeffer, 3B/RHP from Pembroke Hill HS in Kansas City; 6'1", 200 lb, L/R; 2.9 GPA.

2008 Pitching: 5-0, 1.10 ERA, 51 IP

2008 2nd Team All State, 1st Team All-District
2007 2nd Team All-State.

The Pembroke Hill HS website ("Blue Collar Baseball!") has this profile of Dudenhoeffer:
As a regular starter for the Raider baseball team since his sophomore year, Jack has predominately played third base and served as a pitcher. In his junior year, Jack was named 1st team All-District as a third basemen and 2nd team All-State as a pitcher. At Pembroke Hill, Jack set a school record for ERA in a season (1.10) as a junior - the same year he went 5-0 as a pitcher. One of those wins was a no-hitter against Raytown South. He has the second most innings pitched in a season in Pembroke Hill history. During the summer, Jack plays baseball for Mac-N-Seitz, a highly competitive tournament team.

According to Jeff Diskin, Jack’s baseball coach, he is a tremendous role model for younger players, is willing to do any task including sweeping out the dugouts and is a joy to coach.

Jack is also very much a part of the football program at Pembroke Hill. He was a four-year letter winner in football and served as a captain this season. Jack was the winner of the 2007 Studebaker-Riley Award for the team's best lineman and recognized as an All-District lineman.

Off the field, he is a well-rounded student with many interests who is friendly and fun-loving. He has served as a campus guide and has volunteered with Operation Breakthrough, Missouri 3 & 2, Harvesters Food Pantry and Habitat for Humanity.

According to PHSBlueCollarBaseball.com:
Jack Dudenhoffer emerged as a dominant pitcher for the Raiders and made several “web gems” at third base game in and game out.
MidwestBaseballAdvisor.com reports that Dudenhoeffer has signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Mizzou:
Jack's Strong bat will be felt immediately in Columbia next fall as he battles for a starting position at either 3B/ or 1B, two very natural positions for the talented left handed batter. The Tigers run production should be plentiful in the years to come if Jack continues his torrid hitting!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rick Zagone's big season

MASN Sports' Steve Malewski has a write-up about Mizzou alum Rick Zagone's big year with Aberdeen after being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles organization. A few qotes:
"It went really well. I got out there and got used to pro ball pretty fast," Zagone said. "I had a week or two to rest between Missouri and Aberdeen. Then I got off to a nice start."
. . .
He only threw 70 innings in his junior year at Missouri, going 2-3, 5.25, so he had a pretty fresh arm when Aberdeen's season began in June.

He can't really explain how he had an ERA of 5.25 in college and 2.89 in the pros.

"I was just more comfortable at Aberdeen, I don't know exactly why that was true but it was."
. . .
This winter he is spending some extra time working on his changeup.

"I'm playing catch a lot with it now. In high school, I was a fastball, slider pitcher and never really developed a change until college. I really need to continue to perfect that pitch and get better location with it. That, and you always work on your fastball command."

As for the rest of this winter, he looks forward to spending the holidays with family and friends. He'll continue his workouts at the University of Missouri and start his throwing program in January.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Garrison McLagan makes it official

According to the Columbia Tribune, Garrison McLagan officially signed his letter of intent to play for Mizzou. McLagan, from Columbia's Christian Fellowship School, will actually graduate from high school in December and join the Tigers when he enrolls at the beginning of the spring semester.

And KOMU has a video report on McLagan's signing, with a few words from Garrison.

For more details on McLagan see out previous feature on him HERE.

Cody King signs with MU

KTVO in Kirksville reports that Cody King has signed his letter of intent to play for Missouri:

video

Monday, November 17, 2008

Photo: Brannon Champagne signs to play at MU

Above: Brannon Champagne, OF/C from St. Charles West HS, signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball with Mizzou.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Garcia, Opel, Kaden sign with Mizzou

On the second day of the Early Signing Period, news of Mizzou recruits signing is coming fast and furious.

The photo at right is of Eric Garcia, SS from Pflugerville, TX. He appears to be all smiles as he signs to play for the Missouri Tigers.

The Austin American-Statesman.com confirmed Garcia's verbal commitment earlier this week: "Garcia was a second-team All-State pick as a junior. He received offers from Texas, Texas Tech, Arkansas, LSU, Texas State and Sam Houston State. He is the first Hendrickson baseball player to sign with an NCAA Division I school."


The Belleville News-Democrat reports on Metro-east athletes signing lettters of intent, including Edwardsville's Dane Opel:
"He's a really nice player now and he's got the potential to be even better," Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said of the 6-foot-2 Opel, who hit .439 last spring as a junior with nine homers, 36 RBIs and 28 extra-base hits. "He's got the potential to be a five-tool guy. I've heard some different (draft) interest, it's always hard to tell.

"A lot depends on where you're signing and how much interest you have. He's also left the window of opportunity open that if the opportunity does come, it's something to think about."
. . .

"Word's gotten out on the success that Culp and Frey had in transitioning that program up another level," Funkhouser said. "They enjoyed it from the baseball end, the student end and the academic end, and had a lot of positives going forward."

Still no word yet, though, on Opel's teammate, Gregg Culp.


And the Stillwater News-Press has a good write-up on Kale Gaden, who officially signed his letter of intent to play for Mizzou.

Kale Gaden was never really a believer in magic — until Wednesday.

Before the Stillwater High senior signed his letter of intent with Missouri, he was presented with a pen by Kevin Ehlers, the father of former Pioneer standout Cody Ehlers — who competed for the Tigers from 2001-04.

Gaden signed his letter with the same pen Cody used to make his commitment official. Cody went on to play for the New York Yankees’ minor-league organization after college.

“Hopefully there’s some magic left in that pen,” Gaden said.
. . .
The Pioneer catcher chose Mizzou over Arizona, Mississippi State, Duke, Arizona State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Vanderbilt and Oklahoma State.

“When I took my official visit (to Columbia), the feeling was just like home,” Gaden said. “Walking around campus, I knew I could live there and succeed there."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Early Signing Period Underway

The early signing period for the National Letter of Intent began Wednesday, November 12th, and continues through Wednesday the 19th. This is the open signing period for high school seniors and Junior College players to officially declare their intent to play for an NCAA team beginning with the 2009-2010 school year.

We've compiled a list of reported verbal commitments to Mizzou, plus some that are on the fence while considering MU:

Updated Thursday 11/25/08, 9:00 AM

Garrison McLagan, LHP/OF, Columbia, MO (will graduate at the end of this semester and join the Tigers in January, 2009)
· According to the Christian Fellowship School website, McLagan signed his
letter of intent to play for Mizzou on Monday, November 17th, at his high school
gym
Cody King, RHP/SS; Kirksville, MO
· KTVO.com reports King has signed with Mizzou

Dane Opel, OF; Edwardsville, IL
· St. Louis Post-Dispatch confirms Opel has signed with Mizzou
Brannon Champagne, OF/C; St. Charles West, MO

· St. Louis Post-Dispatch confirms Champagne has signed with Mizzou

Ryan Crowley, LHP/1B; Morton, IL

· PrepBaseballReport.com lists Crowley as signing with Mizzou
Kale Gaden, C/OF; Stillwater, OK

· Stillwater News-Press confirms Gaden has signed with Mizzou


Eric Anderson, RHP/IF; Highlands Ranch, CO (Mountain Vista HS)

· The Rocky Mountain News confirms Anderson has signed with Missouri

Eric Garcia, SS; Pflugerville, TX (Hendrickson HS)

The Austin American-Statesman.com confirms Garcia's verbal commitment: "Garcia was a second-team All-State pick as a junior. He received offers from Texas, Texas Tech, Arkansas, LSU, Texas State and Sam Houston State. He is the first Hendrickson baseball player to sign with an NCAA Division I school."

Andy Heifner, 3B/RHP; St. Charles West HS, MO
· St. Louis Post-Dispatch confirms Heifner has signed with Mizzou
Blake Brown, OF/P; Bloomington, IL (Normal West HS)
· Pantagraph.com confirms Brown has signed with MU
Jack Dudenhoeffer, 3B/RHP, Pembroke Hill HS, Kansas City
· Confirmed: has signed with MU
Zach Hadroin, LHP, Blinn College


A couple of players known to be considering Mizzou along with other schools:

Gregg Culp, RHP; Edwardsville, IL; brother of former Tiger Nathan Culp

Chad James, LHP; Yukon, OK
- I have received word that Chad James has committed to Oklahoma State

We will continue to update this information as official word of signings reaches us.

If anyone out there has more information about these or other MU recruits, feel free to posts comments here or send me an e-mail at simmonsfield@hotmail.com.

A lot of money buys a lot of ugly

The University of Oregon is starting up with Baseball as an NCAA sport for the first time in 2009. They've thrown a lot of money at the startup of the program, including hiring one of the top college coaches in the country (George Horton, who took Cal State-Fullerton to the CWS) and they're building a state of the art ballpark for the team.

And now they've unveiled their opening season uniforms.

Most of them are pretty cool. But the big "O" is horrible.

Of course, Oregon has a reputation for ugly uniforms in all their sports. They are heavily subsidized by money from Nike, and that company likes to experiment with unusual styles for the Ducks' uniforms, apparently.

Even those better looking uniforms in their collection are offbeat. Note this quote:

"A close look at the gray pinstripe reveals the pinstripes are made with the words of the Oregon fight song."

Monday, November 10, 2008

2009 Recruit: Cody King


Cody King; RHP/SS; 6'2", 155 lb, R/R; Kirksville, MO


2008 stats (from MaxPreps.com):
· Batting: .273 (18-for-66); 17 R, 15 RBI, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR; 10 BB, 14 K, 2 HBP, .385 OBP, .424 SLG; 9/10 SB

· Pitching: 6-2; 2 Saves; 1.721 ERA; 2.143 OBP; 40.2 IP, 182 BF, 18 R, 10 ER, 32 H, 20 BB, 62 K, 8 HBP, 2 CG

Missouri Class 3 All-State: 2007 & 2008 Second Team

According to Perfect Game Crosschecker, King has committed to Mizzou

King is a 3-sport athlete (baseball, basketball, football)

King is the starting QB for the Kirksville football team:




However, according to the Kirksville Daily Press, King's football season ended early due to an October 17th concussion.

King was name All-Conference in basketball; MaxPreps has his basketball STATS

Sunday, November 9, 2008

2009 Recruit: Andy Heifner

Andy Heifner, 3B/RHP; (Full name: William Andrew Heifner); 6'5", 185 lb, R/R; St. Charles West HS (MO)

2008 Offense: .177 (11-for-62), .282 OB%, .242 Slg %, 6 R, 7 1B, 4 2B, 10 RBI, 9 BB, 13 K. 0 SB, 1 CS

2008 Pitching: 1-3, 15.7 IP, 22 R, 21 ER, 9.38 ERA, 20 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 13 BB, 12 K

2007 Offense: .250 (13-for-52); .350 OB%, .327 Slg%, 5 R, 9 1B, 4 2B, 14 RBI, 8 BB, 8 K, 1 SB

2007 Pitching: 1-0, 5.7 IP, 18 R, 11 ER, 13/59 ERA, 8 H, 6 2B, 11 BB, 8 K


Selected for 2009 Rawlings Prospects

Heifner also plays basketball for St. Charles West

According to post on the STLtoday.com Message Board, Andy Heifner has made a verbal commitment to Mizzou. I don't know much about him. His stats are unimpressive on paper. Following are some comments about Heifner from that forum thread:

· Andy Heifner, St Charles West: 6'5" 180lb RHP loose arm, projectable frame who should develop in to low-90's type of guy. Currently mid-80's. Began pitching full time over summer.

· [Heifner] has a big frame and can still add a lot of size to it. He is focusing on pitching now (I'm sure will hit and play infield in HS), but his future is on the mound. The folks from the Prospects I talked with yesterday, said he hit 87mph over the weekend in Chicago.

. . . once he adds 25 pounds or so, he may very well be a low 90's guy. So does he go to Mizzou and pitch on the weekend as a freshman, no, but Mizzou obviously has a track record of taking very similar body types and developing them to their ultimate potential. Heifner has increased his velocity 3 to 4 mph since the spring. It's all about projectability in some cases. I would imagine that Mizzou has seen him throw on several occasions and wants to make that investment. With the roster size cap, money cap, etc, every roster spot whether it's a scholarship slot, or non-money guy, is precious. Decisions are not made lightly.
Another source tells me that the scouts like Heifner's frame and arm action. His velocity is 85-87 mph right now, and he throws a tight, late-breaking breaking-ball with a change up.

Friday, November 7, 2008

2009 Recruiting: Will Chad James choose Mizzou?


Former Tiger pitcher Justin James' brother, Chad James, is a 2009 High School graduate, and is considering who he will sign with during the Early Signing Period coming up this month.

Scout.com has a story about James' decision being between Mississippi State and Missouri:



James, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder who is ranked by some as one of the top four left-handed high school seniors in the country this school year, took four visits – Oklahoma State and Texas A&M in addition to Ole Miss and Missouri.
. . .

But there were many more schools interested and they let him know it, too. He already knew about the Missouri baseball program. His older brother, Justin, pitched for the Tigers and is currently with the Reds organization. “I know a lot of people there, and I’m comfortable there,” he said of Missouri.

James was 9-1 as a high school junior, pitched in 12 games, 67 innings, with 13 earned runs for a 1.36 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 21 walks. He had three shutouts. He is a good hitter, too, batting .423 as a junior last season with 10 doubles, three triples, and a home run.


Elsewhere, Scout.com has this scouting report on James:
LHP @Yukon HS (Yukon, OK) 6'3"/195 lbs. Throws Left. Chad is rated #84 prospect in 2009 class by Perfect Game. Chad is top level prospect that is a weekend type arm. He could end up being another Pomeranz type arm. He throws his FB 88-91 with a great CB and CH.
James participated in the World Wood Bat Tournament in Jupiter, FL, a couple of weeks ago, according to Baseball America, where he played on the Braves Scout Team.

The College Baseball Blog reports on the Area Code Games, saying:
Chad James is the top left-handed pitcher with his deceptive motion where he reaches 88 MPH with a very good curveball that has a good break ball at 73-76.
James is listed as a LHP/OF, 6'3", 195 lb, L/L, from Yukon, OK

James was an Honorable Mention on the 2008 Louisville Slugger High School All-American roster.

2008 Recruit David Rollins' whereabouts

Many have asked what happened to David Rollins. He was a highly touted recruit for Mizzou's Fall 2008 class who was drafted by the Dodgers back in June. Rollins did not sign with the dodgers, but also did not enroll at MU. A fellow MU fan tipped me off to the San Jacinto College baseball page, which lists David Rollins on their 2009 roster. SJC is a Junior College in the houston, TX area.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

2009 Recruit: Dane Opel


Dane Opel, OF; Edwardsville, IL; 6'1". 183#

2007 Offensive Stats: .409 (47-for-115), .493 OB%, .617 SLG%, 43 R, 14 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 71 TB, 14 BB, 5 HB, 8 SB

2008 Second Team Louisville Slugger Pre-Season High School All-American

from RawlingsProspects.com, 2/21: Dane Opel (2009) has given a verbal commitment to University of Missouri

from Belleville News-Democrat, 3/19/08:

. . . Junior Division I prospects Dane Opel and Gregg Culp and senior shortstop Zach Frey are the headline returnees for the 2008 Tigers [Culp is also being recruited by Mizzou, but had not made any coomitments yet - trripleplay].
. . .
Culp, the brother of San Diego Padres minor-league hurler and former Missouri star Nathan Culp, is considered one of the top junior pitchers in the state.

He emerged as a potential ace last spring, crafting a 5-1 record with a 1.94 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 54 innings.

"I think his command can improve, and he's gotten a little better with his location," Funkhouser said. "We were hoping to get a good four or five innings out of him last year, and as the season progressed, he was able to get deeper into games."

Opel moves from right to center and should be one of the top hitters in the region. He hit .409 as a sophomore with 14 doubles, two homers and 37 RBIs and scored 43 runs.

"He really improved as the season went on and his power numbers increased," Funkhouser said. "I see him being a guy that can hit a lot of doubles and hopefully can increase that into some home runs as well." . . .

Telegraph Varisty reports on Opel playing in the Area Code Games this past summer

Telegraph Varsity also has a good story on Dane Opel being named Large-School Player of the Year:
"He really unleashed his power in the second half," Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said. "Dane's a mature hitter with a real good swing and a lot of power. He really busted out."

Opel, who hit .409 with 37 RBIs last season as a sophomore, ended his junior season with an 18-game hitting streak that produced eight of his nine home runs and a slugging percentage of 1.097. He finished with a .439 average and Opel's 28 extra-base hits fell one shy of the school-record 29 set by Nick Seibert and Matt Bogle in 1999.

"I guess I was just seeing the ball better, more than anything," Opel said of his second-half surge that included homers in four of his final five games. "I wasn't swinging at bad pitches. I was hitting strikes."

And he was hitting them hard. Opel finished the regular season as the Southwestern Conference's leader in doubles, triples, home runs and slugging. Splitting time between hitting leadoff or No. 3 in the Tigers lineup, Opel also had 36 RBIs and scored 39 runs.

A left-hander with five-tool skills rare for a prep player, Opel provided stellar - and sometimes spectacular -- defense in center field with speed and a strong arm that assured another Division I branch for the family tree. His size and athleticism are gifts of fate, not fluke, and the Tigers have long benefited from dips into the Opel/Barton gene pool.