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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Big XII Opponents Updates

CollegeBaseballblog.com, which is a great resource for daily news updates on the college game, has posted several pieces recently about Mizzou's Big XII opponents:

On November 4th, they've got an interview with Texas A&M Coach Rob Childress (Tigerboard's NSUDemon will be so happy):

This league is committed to winning, top to bottom, and there are no easy weekends. But in a way I do like the condensed schedule, because we’re going to get to find out early where we’re going to put the pieces of the puzzle on the mound. We’ve got a lot of options for starters, and we have a good core group of five or six guys that can really fit in well on the back end of the pen. It’s going to be interesting to see, by the time we get to the Baylor series, where each of those guys fit and what lines up best for us.


They also report that SoonerSports.com is running a feature on incoming players, including some video highlights

And CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com has ranked the best baseball conferences, slotting the Big XII at #4:

It's probably time for the Big 12 to rejoin the party at the College World Series. Since Texas claimed its sixth national title with a series win over Florida in '05, the Big 12 has done virtually nothing in the postseason.

Mizzou Baseball recruit dominates on gridiron


The Quincy Herald Whig has a feature on the St. Charles West Warriors in the state football playoffs, where they focus on Brannon Champagne:
Much of the Warriors' success rests is because of dual-threat quarterback Brannon Champagne, who is headed to the University of Missouri on a baseball scholarship.

This season, Champagne has completed 54 of 89 passes for 1,038 yards with 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He leads West in rushing with 883 yards and 17 scores. Defensively, he tops the team with five interceptions. He also kicks and punts.

"He's a multi-purpose threat that you have to game plan against," Strauss told the Suburban Journals.

All in the family: Champagne's father, Boo, was a defensive lineman St. Charles when it won the Class 4A state championship in 1982. He went on to pitch for the University of Illinois and was an 11th round selection of the Kansas City Royals in the 1986 amateur draft.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Evan Frey listed #7 among Diamondbacks' top prospects

Baseball Prospectus has posted a list of the Arizona Diamondbacks' Top 11 Prospects, and Mizzou alum Evan Frey is listed at #7, a 3-star prospect (out of a possible 5 stars). In addition, there's an audio interview with Evan Frey that's pretty interesting. He talks about his experiences in the minor leagues and even talks about Missouri's success in developing pitching prospects, with a shout out to Tony Vitello.

Monday, November 3, 2008

2009 Recruit: Brannon Champagne

Brannon Champagne, OF/C; St. Charles West HS;
6'0", 180 lb, L/R

2008 Stats: .351 (26-for-74), .478 OB%, .500 SLG%, 23 R, 5 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 8 K, 13 BB, 5 HB, 18 SB, 2 CS,


Also plays football (QB) and basketball for St. Charles West

StLToday.com, 9/12/08: Brannon Champagne, a three-sport athlete at St. Charles West, has committed to Missouri to play baseball for coach Tim Jamieson.

StLToday.com message board thread:

· "He bats left handed, he is also a talented outfielder and catcher. He plays summer ball for rawlings prospects."

· "Brannon is always a tough out and is a threat to steal anytime he gets on base. He really puts alot of pressure on the defense. With all the talent in the GAC this past season he didn't get all the publicity some got, but he was definitely one of the better players in the conference."

2008 All-State Honorable Mention

2009 Recruit: Ryan Crowley

Ryan Crowley; LHP/1B; Morton, IL (Morton HS) has reportedly made an oral commitment to play at Missouri.


I have been unable to find many details on Crowley: no stats or other vitals, other than the following:

Crowley pitches for the Chicago-area Morton Mustangs, where he also plays golf.

The Chicago Sun-Times lists him among the Top 100 area prep baseball players.

He is described by a scout on the HSBaseballWeb message board as pitching in the mid 80's with a "nasty split"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mizzou to play SLU @ Busch Stadium

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Tigers and Billikens will meet this upcoming season after all - at Busch Stadium!

Missouri and St. Louis University play the first sanctioned college baseball game at Busch Stadium at 7:15 p.m. on April 1. The game has been scheduled in lieu of the Billikens playing the Cardinals in their unofficial spring training opener.

This announcement, however, conflicts with the tentative 2009 schedule posted on the SLU website, which shows them playing Indiana State on that day.

Nevertheless, I've updated Mizzou's 2009 Tentative Schedule accordingly. Looks like the schedules for both these teams are indeed a work in progress.