Saturday, January 31, 2009

InsideMizzou.com to increase MU Baseball coverage

There's new management running InsideMizzou.com these days. The website has been around for awhile as part of the Scout.com network, but it has never paid much attention to Baseball, and has, frankly, not been all that attractive to MU fans in general.

But after several months of basically being untended, there is a new man at the wheel and he wants to make the site inviting to Mizzou supporters. And he tells me that part of his plan is to provide a lot more reporting on MU Baseball, including gameday reports, scouting reports, coverage of recruits, interviews and the like. This will be welcome to fans like you and me who are always looking for more info to feed our obsession with MU Baseball.

One thing he has asked me to give a helping hand to is resurrecting the Baseball and Softball Message Board. The board has always had a very small but faithful group of contributors, but we'd like to see that grow. I for one would love to see an active message board that is dedicated solely to Baseball and its sister sport, Softball.

So, you can expect to see some cross-pollenation going on between InsideMizzou.com and SimmonsField.com over the coming months, as we work together to try to feed the hungry fans of Mizzou Baseball.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Excited About Baseball

■ The Knights of the Rock M Roundtable are underwhelming in their interest in Mizzou Baseball:
Q: Which sport has you more excited/intrigued, Mizzou Wrestling or Mizzou Baseball?

ZouDave:Well, quite honestly I really can't see me watching a second of either team. But given that I know NOTHING about wrestling, I'd have to say baseball. If Mizzou makes it to the College World Series, I'd probably find time to watch.

■ As a remedy to that ringing endorsement, I took another look at Why I Like Baseball, Cecelia Tan's blog. Among the many offerings there, I'm fond of Why Baseball is Better than the Movies. Of course, most of her thoughts apply to sports in general as well:

But baseball is real. Sports drama is real.

You don’t have to suspend your disbelief because these are real actual guys whose job it is to go out there and compete every day. And they are amazing at what they do. Believe it. And the back story? The baseball season is like a soap opera. On any given day, nothing earth-shattering may seem to happen. But who will rise above? Who will slump? Who will have the clutch hit at the critical moment? Who will get tagged out at third to end the rally? Who will get injured? Who will recover from injury?
■ In the same vein, Why is Baseball So Much Better Than Football?
9. Baseball has a bull pen coach blowing bubble gum with his cap turned around backward while leaning on a fungo bat; football has a defensive coordinator in a satin jacket with a headset and a clipboard.

10. The Redskins have thirteen assistant coaches, five equipment managers, three trainers, two assistant GMs, but, for fourteen games, nobody who could kick an extra point.

11. Football players and coaches don't know how to bait a ref, much less jump up and down and scream in his face. Baseball players know how to argue with umps; baseball managers even kick dirt on them. Earl Weaver steals third base and won't give it back; Tom Landry folds his arms.

12. Vince Lombardi was never ashamed that he said, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."

13. Football coaches talk about character, gut checks, intensity, and reckless abandon. Tommy Lasorda said, "Managing is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it; not hard enough and it flies away."

■ And whilst I'm waxing poetic over the Great Game of Baseball, let's not neglect Bart Giamatti's Green Fields of the Mind:
The aisles are jammed, the place is on its feet, the wrappers, the programs, the Coke cups and peanut shells, the doctrines of an afternoon; the anxieties, the things that have to be done tomorrow, the regrets about yesterday, the accumulation of a summer: all forgotten, while hope, the anchor, bites and takes hold where a moment before it seemed we would be swept out with the tide.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baseball America's crystal ball (and other ridiculous predictions)

Baseball America has released their Preseason Projections for the Field of 64 in the NCAA Regionals. You know, the Regionals that will be held in June AFTER the regular season is over - the season that is still 3-1/2 weeks away from starting.

BA has Mizzou hosting a regional in Columbia, with the tiers as the #1 seed, along with #2 seed Missouri State, #3 Vanderbilt and #4 Illinois-Chicago.

This vital and informative prediction from such an august source of baseball knowledge prompts me to make a few predictions of my own:
  1. The 2009 College Baseball season will begin on February 20th
  2. Augie Garrido will hire former Florida pitcher Stephen Locke as a volunteer assistant for the Longhorns
  3. The weather will be chilly at Simmons Field for several games in March
  4. Baseball America will attend a week's worth of games at the Cape Cod League this coming summer and as a result will name several Cape players in the 2010 Preseason All-Americans list.
  5. Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson will both be first round draft picks this June
  6. Larry Wyatt II will fail to remain seated longer than 15 minutes in any one spot at Taylor Stadium this season
  7. Barack Obama will run again for president in 2012
  8. In a key game between MU and KU an umpire will call a swing-and-a-miss strike three and the batter will be out
  9. Tex Little will call Kyle "Conner" and Conner "Kyle" throughout much of this season

As always, 9 is the magic number, so I'll quit there. You heard it here first, folks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Big 12

The College Baseball Blog has posted their preview of the Big 12 for 2009 (Part 1 & Part 2)

■ The message board at CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com has a discussion thread titled "Will KU be a top contender in the Big 12?" A sampling of the answers:

· DBUSchween19: I feel that KU is definitely heading in the right direction. Maybe they can follow Missouri's steps in getting into the national picture (along with the Big 12). It interests me how a team like Nebraska can do so well being a northern team, and teams like KU and K State are so far behind, but I do believe KU is on the way up. I don't expect them to make a run this year, but I think they are close to be taken as a serious contender soon.

· bubbfan: No


■ And Big12Sports.com has the schedule for the 2009 Baseball Coaches Weekly Teleconference, to which you can listen online. The first teleconference will be February 18th at 10:00 AM (CT).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Odds & Ends of MU Baseball History

A few scraps and nuggets from the history pages at our old website:

■ 1926: From the front page of The Columbia Daily Tribune, April 15, 1926, an incredible description of a city buzzing with excitement and activity upon the start of a new MU Baseball season. Wouldn't it be great to see this kind of hoopla surrounding the start of a new season in 2009?
With much of the pomp and panoply which attends the opening of big league baseball, the University of Missouri team, coached by Jack Crangle, will go into action for the first time this season on their home lot at 3:20 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Following an opening day parade about the field by players led by the university band, Mayor Emmett McDonell will pitch the first ball across the plate, or somewhere thereabouts. With prospects for one of the best teams the Tigers have ever had, baseball is expected to make further progress this year back to the high position which it enjoyed here before the war. With more than 2,000 season tickets in the hands of students and Columbians, record attendance is expected.
1975: A comment in the Columbia Daily Tribune, March 26, 1975, about a newly organized group:
The Diamond Darlings are an addition to the 1975 MU Baseball team. They are batpeople, known in previous times as batgirls. They bring the bats back to the dugout, hand the baseballs to the home plate umpire, pass out programs and when it is cold, they wish their uniforms provided more protection from the elements.

1976: The 1976 Mizzou team, coached by Gene McArtor played the longest season in MU baseball history. Whereas in 1975 they played a total of 37 games, and had scheduled an average of 31 games per season for the previous 10 years, the '76 squad played a total of 68 games between March 6th and June 1st.

The MU schedule was padded on both ends. In March, they played 13 games in 9 days down in Lakeland, Florida, compiling a 10-3 record before many northern teams had begun their season. The season was also extended at the end, when they played an extra five games in the first ever Big 8 Tournament on the way to the Big 8 Championship, then played three additional games in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

Even without those extra 21 contests, though, the remaining 47 games would still have represented a significant expansion of the schedule. This was representative of the general NCAA philosophy at the time. A longer schedule was believed to prepare college players for post-season play, which was becoming more and more important.

On April 6, 1976, The Columbia Daily Tribune had a write-up of a lively Tiger victory, entitled "Tigers speak loudly and carry big sticks in defeating Oshkosh":

In the fifth inning, Oshkosh (0-5) got successive home runs from Dorian Boyland and Mike Wesling, as the margin grew to 7-0. And then the noise began. One vocal jab after another carried from the Oshkosh dugout to the opposite sideline. After losing three straight games to Missouri in two days, one by the discomfitting score of 17-0, the Oshkosh players couldn't resist an opportunity to rub their opponents' noses a little deeper into the dirt. Although there's no way to gauge its exact effect, bench jockeying certainly played a part in what turned out to be an 11-7 Missouri victory.

"We woke them up, there's no doubt about it," said Oshkosh coach Russ Tiedemann. "We should have just let sleeping dogs lie."

Suddenly, Missouri players were perched at the top steps of the dugout, alternately encouraging their own and taunting the enemy. It didn't take long before they had convinced the Wisconsin team that words can speak as loudly as
actions.

In the fifth inning, Goedtke gave up four runs and was replaced by Tom Frederick, who on Sunday had suffered the ignominy of allowing 13 runs in less than three innings. To make sure Frederick remembered, the Tigers ever so gently reminded him of it. Again and again.

It was about this time that Frederick threw his first pitch to Mark Thiel, a pitch that ended up some 400 feet from home plate and brought MU within one run.

The Tiger bench jockeys have gained a reputation for being ahead of their class. In
a game last month in Florida against Michigan, the players taunts reportedly angered their opponent.

"The Michigan coach couldn't believe it," said freshman pitcher Jeff Cornell. "I guess in the Big 10 they don't do it, but it's accepted policy in the Big 8."

Season Ticket renewal forms are in the mail

The Mizzou Ticket Office informed me this morning that renewal forms for Mizzou Baseball Season Tickets will be going out in the mail TODAY (Monday the 26th). Try not to knock down your friendly postal carrier in your rush to get your tickets renewed.

For ticket information, please call the Mizzou Ticket Office at 1-800-CAT-PAWS or 573-884-7297 if you are local.

2009 Recruit: Aaron Blunt, LHP/1B

Thanks to a tip from a Mizzou fan, we've uncovered yet another letter of intent signee planning to come to Mizzou in the Fall of 2009:

Aaron Blunt,
Mineral Area College, Park Hills, MO
North County HS, Bonne Terre, MO
Home: Desloge, MO

2008 Stats: Unknown

2007 Pitching (NCHS): 5-2, 3.00 ERA, 5 CG, 49 IP, 24 R, 21 ER, 36 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR
2007 Hitting: .341, .379 OB%, .561 SLG, 28-for-82, 16 R, 9 2B, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 5 BB, 3 K, 5 SB

· Daily Journal reports on Blunt signing with MU (with photo)
· Daily Journal report of Blunt's April 2005 no-hitter

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quotes & Notes: 4-days not enough

A lot of responses to the 4-days' suspension handed down from the UT Athletic Department in response to Head Coach Augie Garrido's DUI arrest:

_ The College Baseball Blog thinks Augie got off a little easy:
Would Augie have suspended one of his players for only four games of the season for doing the same thing? I don't think so.

_ Austin American-Statesman writer Kirk Bohls, recorded these comments about the 4-day suspension:

Texas blew it.

And we're not talking the Breathalyzer test that Augie Garrido declined to take after his drunken-driving arrest last weekend.

The school chose to send the weakest message it could Friday at a news conference at Bellmont Hall. Guess Longhorn fans should be grateful the school didn't give him a raise.

_ Austin TV station KVUE says Garrido is Lucky:

Augie Garrido is a decent man who made a big mistake. His apology was heartfelt and sincere. He'll be 70 years old next month and he says he'll learn from this and grow from this. I believe he will. If his message reaches one person and, after a few drinks, that person calls a cab instead of sitting behind the wheel of a car, this 2nd chance will have been worth it.


Friday, January 23, 2009

UT Coach Garrido suspended for four games

According to the Austin American-Statesman, UT Coach Augie Garrido gets by with a slap on the wrist for his DUI arrest this past weekend:
Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido apologized this afternoon in the wake of his drunken-driving arrest and then announced that a term for suspension has been set. He will miss the first four games of the season.

Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds said he stands behind Garrido. No other terms of the suspension were disclosed, and Garrido, citing the pending legal case, did not take questions.

“I know he will do the right thing, and I know he will do it with integrity, and I know he will do it with strength,” Dodds said.

MU #19 in Composite Poll

CollegeBaseballInsider.com has crunched the numbers and posted their annual Composite Preseason Poll.
The CollegeBaseballInsider.com Composite Poll weighs the four primary national polls, thereby providing the most accurate national ranking. In case of ties in the composite ranking, the team with a higher individual ranking will come first.

Missouri comes in at #19, having been ranked 10th, 22nd, 20th and 20th in the four polls. The full posted list shows that MU does not win the prize for the biggest spread between its highest and lowest rankings. Florida State, which comes in at #11 on the Composite Poll, was ranked 24th, 7th, 6th and 9th, with their outlier being the same as Mizzou's: Baseball America. Except BA dropped them lower than the other polls while boosting the Tigers up higher.

Polls and rankings are a crazy business.

MU #20 in USA Today/ESPN Top 25

USA Today released their Preseason Top 25 coaches' poll, with Missouri ranked # 20.

LSU grabs the #1 spot in their poll.

Ranked Big 12 teams include #5 Texas A&M, #9 (tie) Texas, #13 Oklahoma State, #17 Baylor and #20 Missouri. The only other ranked team on MU's 2009 schedule is #7 Arizona State

Is it just me, or does it seem the various polls are just all over the map in different ways this preseason?

Quotes & Notes: MU Scouting Reports

Baseball America follows up its Top 25 announcement earlier this week with scouting reports on the ranked teams, including #10 Missouri:

· BA lists the probable starters, including "defensive whiz" Liberto at SS, Thigpen at 2B, Folgia at LF and Conner Mach at DH, plus the more obvious starters at the other positions.

· BA lists Buehler, Allen and Folgia as the core of the bullpen

· BA calls the daily lineup "potentially the best Missouri offense in the Tim Jamieson era."

· Kyle Mach "could be the best defensive third baseman in the Big 12."


InsideMizzou.com says Spring and Tiger Baseball is on its way in their (free to non-subscribers) scouting report:
Anytime a team loses two starters to the draft, Crow and Rick Zagone, there are bound to be question marks on the pitching staff. Luckily for the Tigers, it looks like Gibson and Tepesch are poised to lead the rotation while the bullpen has become deeper.

If Tepesch can continue the growth he showed through the fall and the bullpen improves after returning intact, the Tigers should be in great shape on the mound for 2009.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quotes & Notes: The Job Market

■ MU alum Cody Ehlers (01-04) gets some ink in a piece apparently written by fellow Tiger alum Garrett Broshuis (01-04) in Baseball America:

Those who have found work consider themselves fortunate, such as vetern minor league first baseman Cody Ehlers, who spent the last two years at Double-A Trenton (Yankees).
. . .
The 2006 Florida State League MVP can now be found rushing sandwiches around Tampa, adhering to the sandwich shop's mantra of "subs so fast, you'll freak." It has provided him with income, which is all minor leaguers are after these days.

"I was really lucky to have this job lined up," Ehlers said. "One of my buddies sent his resume out to practically every place in Tampa and it took forever to find something."

MLB.com says Max Scherzer (04-06) is ready to join the rotation:
"We'll see," Arizona GM Josh Byrnes said about what an ideal number of innings would be for Scherzer. "He's probably conditioned at his age to where 170 is a possibility. We also want to be careful for his first go as a wire-to-wire starting pitcher and we hope there's a seventh month of play."

Scherzer is itching to get Spring Training started, and even though everyone seems to have him penciled into the rotation, he is taking nothing for granted.

"What everyone else writes about how the rotation is going to be or whatever, my approach is to go in and have a good Spring Training and everything will take care of itself," he said. "If I get caught up in whether I'm going to make the rotation or not I'm not going to be as productive as I could be. So for me, it's a matter of going in healthy in Spring Training and the rest of the stuff will work itself out."
■ More on UT Coach Augie Garrido from The Austin American-Statesman:

Garrido, 69, said that the university still is looking into the facts surrounding the case and that he does not know what his future with the Longhorns would be or when his suspension would be lifted. The Longhorns begin practice Feb. 1 and their first game is Feb. 20 against University of Illinois-Chicago at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Garrido, who often tells people baseball is his life and he doesn't have any other passions, had tears in his eyes as he talked briefly about his future as longtime girlfriend Jean Grass stood by his side.


■ Can't pass up this comment from a blog appropriately called Major League Jerk:
I have Missouri a couple spots higher than Baseball America because, although I hate that entire university and hope it gets wiped off the planet, they have a ton of talent back, and I gave them a bit of a boost due to them having Kyle Gibson, who is probably the second best pitcher in the nation. One thing that could get in the Tigers’ way is a lack of speed. Their projected starters combined for just 14 stolen bases last season and sometime in regional play they are going to need to run in order to advance

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Speculating in futures

Scout.com has an interview with Sean McCall, the play-by-play broadcaster for the Lake Elsinore Storm. Among his comments are his thoughts on former Tiger Nathan Culp (04-06):

Nathan is successful with his confidence and ability to work quickly on the hill.
. . . Where does he fit into the Padres plans? To be determined. Nate walks less than a guy a game, which is what you like. He deserves a chance to be tested at Double-A.


■ The Omaha World-Herald has more details on the DUI arrest and suspension of Longhorn head coach Augie Garrido:

Garrido recently received a $160,000 raise by the UT System Board of Regents, increasing his salary to $800,000 for this season. The contract calls for a $50,000 annual raise, taking his salary to $1 million by September 2012.The contract stipulates that should Garrido be dismissed from his job, he would receive $300,000 for each year left on the contract.

But that provision is voided if he were to be terminated for cause under the university's "standard of conduct" provisions.

"This is a difficult and regrettable situation that we are taking very seriously," Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said in a statement. "I spoke with Coach Garrido and he's devastated and realizes he made a serious mistake. He deeply regrets putting the university in this position and will act quickly to do what's right."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Midnight Madness & Poll Madness

■ The 2009 NCAA Division I Baseball season is getting off to an early start, with a 12:01 AM game between the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. Fortunately, that game is being played at Fort Meyers, Florida, where the average low in February is 55 degrees (as opposed to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, where the average low for that time of year is 15 degrees).

■ A number of opinionators on the web were surprised at Baseball America's preseason ranking of Mizzou at #10:
· True Son at MizzouRah: A little surprising considering we're losing Jake Priday and Aaron Crow. Most other polls I've seen have us somewhere in the 20-25 range

· In-the-mix at Tigerboard.com: Just a bit high I would say too. Brad Buehler as a starter? Wow!! Did the bulb come on this winter? Let's hope they're right!!

· Phil Miller at Market Power: I know better than to put much stock in preseason polls. Nobody knows how the team will gel, what injuries will occur, etc. But since the progress of the polls through the season are path-dependent (future polls depend partly on previous polls) it makes preseason polls impossible to ignore.

Personally, I have to agree with them. I think Mizzou will do well this season, but #10 seems a bit of a stretch for a preseason ranking. But you know me; I usually prefer the Tigers stay low in the grass until they've earned their stripes.

Baseball America discusses MU and their Top 25 preseason rankings

Baseball America hosted both an Audio Podcast discussion and a separate Online Chat about their Preseason Top 25. Aaron Fitt gets a little testy with the endless procession of koolaid-drinking homers asking questions in the chat. A few quotes from both the podcast and the chat:

■ A&M (ranked #1) is right in the thick of discussion for best pitching and we know they're going to be a productive offensive team and a good defensive team.

■ Disruptive offensive philosophy: that's what Rob Childress really seems to believe in.

■ We believe that Missouri's going to be loaded again, and they're one of the most underrated teams in the country. This is a team that's been extremely consistent this entire decade.

■ Like Ole Miss, Missouri is looking at having one of the strongest lineups they've had in a long time.

■ The WCC is going to be very competitive this year, and Gonzaga [on MU's 2009 schedule - trrip] should be right in the mix with USD, Pepperdine, Santa Clara and a few others for regional bids. It's a team with some extremely promising freshmen . . . but also some steady veterans

■ Look, we are going to keep on making predictions based on what we think is going to happen. We are not going to be timid just because certain predictions have not worked out in the past. That's the nature of this business -- sometimes, when you're putting yourself out there, you're going to get burned. But anyone who was afraid to rank Fresno State last year just because of a lack of postseason track record would have simply been wrong, as it turned out.

Tepesch is largely unproven, but his talent is enormous and I expect he'll have a major breakout year. Part of what we do here is try to predict things like that. And I would argue that Gibson has actually been quite consistent -- he has 17 wins and 173 strikeouts in 154 innings to this point. That's pretty darn good. Also, Missouri's lineup has a chance to be better than it's been this decade.


There's a lot more interesting stuff in the podcast and blog - worth taking a listen and a look.

Quotes & Notes: Useful schedule, Abused pitchers & a Recruit in the news

Boyd's World has a downloadable Mizzou Baseball 2009 Schedule that can be loaded into your Outlook calendar. Just follow his instructions.

Boyd's World also has the annual list of worst Pitch Count offenders for the 2008 season, both by individual pitchers and by team. Gladly, Mizzou does not appear on the "most abused" list for either category.

■ Mizzou 2009 Recruit Eric Garcia of Henderson, TX has been named the starting shortstop on the 2009 Round Rock Express Pre-Season Central Texas High School All-Star Team.

Baseball America slots MU at #10 in Preseason Top 25

Baseball America has released its 2009 Preseason Top 25, with the Big 12's Texas A&M in the #1 spot.

Missouri is ranked #10. Other Big 12 teams on the list are #4 Texas, #8 Baylor and #16 Oklahoma. Among MU's 2009 opponents, Arizona Sate is ranked #13 and Oregon State is #25.

Baseball America's John Manuel and Aaron Fitt discuss the rankings in a Podcast archived on the website.

Fitt also hosts an online chat about the rankings at 1:30 PM today.

Quotes & Notes: The good, the bad, and the ugly

The Good: Blogger Will Geoghegan of OmahaSky has some good things to say about Missouri:
· I would expect Senne to be one of the top players in the Big 12 this season. I saw him in a Team USA exhibition game last summer and was pretty impressed. He's a lefty with a lot of pop.

· For the other teams I've done, the "five to watch" has included a freshman or two. Not so for the Tigers, which reflects their experience.

The Bad: The folks at HornFans.com are doing their best to out-crazy the most rabid of Tigerboard posters in their "discussion" of what will or should happen to UT Coach Augie Garrido.

As for The Ugly, I do have to agree with a HornFan who calls himself Beau Vine:
"I'd rather shut down the program than hire Gene Stephenson."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Longhorn coach suspended

Texas Longhorns baseball coach Augie Garrido has been suspended indefinitely by UT after being charged with a DUI, according to the Austin American Statesman:
Texas men's athletics director DeLoss Dodds said in a statement that Garrido's suspension was pending "until further information can be gathered. This is a difficult and regrettable situation that we are taking very seriously. I spoke with coach Garrido and he's devastated and realizes he made a serious mistake. He deeply regrets putting the university in this position and will act quickly to do what's right."

An Austin sportswriter says he expects Garrido to hold himself accountable:
One of his favorite lines — "Baseball is a game of failure" — came to mind Saturday when I heard of his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

He always said any game where you can be considered a good player if you get it right three out of 10 times is some kind of game. He has always used the game as a metaphor for life and the teaching of life lessons to young men.

Well, Garrido might be the first to admit he failed his program. His arrest put a fog over the start of the season

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mizzou ranked #19 by Rivals.com

Kendall Rogers of CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com has tagged Missouri Number 19 in his Preseason Top 25 Countdown, with a scouting report:
To challenge for the Big 12 title, Jamieson listed three things that must happen: The Tigers must get a productive campaign from sophomore pitcher Nick Tepesch. They also are looking for fellow pitchers Kelly Fick, Brad Buehler and Tyler Clark to have solid campaigns. Additionally, the Tigers need two-way player Greg Folgia to be a contributor at the plate and on the mound.

The Rivals.com Top 25 is being announced one team at a time, one day at a time. MU's 2009 opponents listed so far include Oklahoma at #25 and Oregon State at #24.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Make the Call: Where will MU finish in the 2009 Big 12 standings?

It's time again for another You Make the Call SimmonsField.com poll. This time, we want to know how you think the Tigers will do in the Big 12 in 2009.

Can the Tigers win the conference this year? Will Mizzou maintain the pace they've set over the past few years? Will it be a down year?

You make the call! Cast your vote in the Poll box in the left column.

As usual, there are ways to stuff the ballot box, so this isn't a scientific poll. But let us know what you think.

In a few weeks we'll ask a similar question: How will Mizzou do nationally in 2009? A trip to Omaha? A Super Regional? Keep checking back here for your chance to cast your vote.

Quotes & Notes: Tigers Talk

■ The Dallas Morning News has an interview with former Tiger Ian Kinsler about Michael Young's request to be traded, Kinsler's recovery from injury, and other matters of interest:
Right now it's a big question with all the guys. We've all been talking amongst ourselves. It's just a big question with the whole Michael Young thing coming up. What's going to happen with the lineup? What's going to happen defensively? Where are we going to go from here? If he does get traded what are we going to get? If he doesn't get traded is he going to play third?

■ According to the Kansas City Star, Tim Jamieson was the featured speaker at the Kansas City Tiger Club weekly luncheon on Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MU # 20 in NCBWA 2009 Preseason Top 35

CollegeBaseballBlog reports on the National College Baseball Writers Association 2009 Preseason Top 35.

Mizzou is ranked at #20 in the poll.

Other Big 12 teams in the poll are #4 Texas A&M, #8 Texas, #16 Oklahoma State, #19 Baylor and #28 Oklahoma. The Big 12 ties with the Pac 10 for most teams (6) ranked.

Other 2009 MU opponents on the list are #7 Arizona State and #31 Oregon State. Other MU opponents receiving votes include Missouri State and Nebraska.

Quotes & Notes: El Gibbo

VivaElBirdos.com has a draft preview which includes their scouting report on Kyle Gibson:
The other thing about Gibson that really stands out, after his control, is the amount of projection still remaining to him. At only 195 lbs on a six foot six inch frame, it's fair to say he's a little bit on the thin side. Once he fills out, he should add a fair amount of velocity, though just how much is somewhat in debate due to his delivery.

Quotes & Notes: A slow week

Odds and ends that accumulated in my inbox and on the web in the past week:

■ 2009 MU Recruit Eric Anderson is the subject of an e-mail I received:
He is reportedly prepping for baseball season while still playing basketball. Averaging 17.8 points and 13.2 rebounds a game. Most recent effort 31 points and 16 rebounds. Visited Mizzou campus and worked out in St Louis over the holidays. Attending Front Range baseball showcase this weekend.

Real Baseball Intelligence has posted a scouting report on MU's Kyle Gibson:
Steven Strasburg might have a more complete package, but no pitcher is more
projectable than Gibson. He’s got a body that scouts can dream on, 6-foot-6 inches tall and lanky at 195 pounds. His fastball hasn’t improved since high school and currently sits at 92 mph with late life but scouts still believe he can throw in the mid 90s once he fills out. If so, his fastball will be as effective as his slider, which is currently his outpitch. He also throws a changeup. Gibson has good command.
PGCrossChecker has posted their 2009 Preseason College All-American Team, with Mizzou starters on the first team:

Trevor Coleman has admirably handled some impressive pitchers over the last hree seasons, and has quietly enjoyed a solid college baseball career. A switch hitter, he has a cumulative .289 batting average over his first two seasons with the Tigers and 13 home runs over 360 at-bats. The 2009 class isn’t expected to be particularly strong with college catchers, but Coleman is one of the more interesting prospects that should go in the top two or three rounds of the draft

Aaron Senne is the second of two Mizzou Tigers on this list, as he and Trevor Coleman will provide a pair of impact bats in the heart of their lineup while serving as rocks up the middle defensively for a team loaded with pitching. Senne’s swing, size and long, strong limbs have garnered comparisons to Paul O’Neil, although Senne needs to work on shortening his swing and his overall approach at the plate before he comes close to putting up numbers similar to O’Neil’s

The College Baseball Blog comments on the 2009 Missouri Tigers:
I really like the Tigers in the Big 12 this year with the strong pitching of
Kyle Gibson. If he can become more consistent on the mound and become a
top notch strater in the Big 12, there is no way that Missouri can't win this
season.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cody Ehlers pegged for Northern League

Former Tiger Cody Ehlers has signed a contract to play for the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent Northern League, according to the Winnipeg Free Press:
His acquisition will also allow manager Rick Forney to keep all-star Kevin West in the outfield. Ehlers is a career .252 hitter with 47 home runs and 290 RBI in 516 games over the last five years in the Yankees’ system, including back-to-back titles in the past two seasons with Trenton of the Eastern (AA) League.
Blogger Mike Asworth posts some interesting thoughts on The Legend of Cody Ehlers:

The 26-year-old Oklahoma native hit just .200 last season before being released with just a handful of games to go in the season, struggling mightily for the majority of the campaign.

As someone who will be entering his seventh year of covering the independent Atlantic League, I do think that if Ehlers can hit and show flashes of the power he had in 2006, he might get picked up by an organization. But he’d be likely to be assigned to high-A or perhaps Double-A, being forced to try to climb his way up the ladder of a farm system in which he didn’t come up in.

It’s a tough road ahead for Cody Ehlers

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No Béisbol this week

As you read this, I am already on the road, driving one of three vans carrying several Mizzou students from the Christian Campus House on a mission/work trip to Villa Union, Mexico. We'll be gone for a week, planning to return on January 10th. We'll be doing some basic construction work of some kind for Good News Productions' Center for Hispanic Advancement.

Needless to say, I won't be near a computer, cell phone or any other access to the Internet. I will be eager to catch myself - and you - up with whatever odds and ends related to MU Baseball come up during my week offline.

If you're interested, here is a YouTube video of where we will be this week:

video

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008-09 Newcomers

Brian Carr, LHP/OF
Freshman
Sandra Day O'Connor HS, Phoenix, AZ
6'0", 180 lb, L/L

Stats (from MaxPreps.com):
· 2008 Pitching: 6-2, 8 GS, 3.00 ERA, 44.1 IP, 34 R, 19 ER, 0 HR, 28 BB, 42 K, 7 HBP. 6 WP,
· 2008 Offense: .370 BA in 100 AB; 36 R, 25 RBI, 8 2B, 4 HR, 19 BB, 20 SO, .475 OBP, .570 SLG, 2 HBP, 9/10 SB

Michael Liberto, IF

Junior
Delgado Community College, New Orleans, LA

Rummel HS, Metaire, LA
Home: Harahan, LA
5'9", 160 lb, R/R

2008 Offense: .377 BA (44-for-146) AB, 13 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 37 RBI, 8/12 SB

2008 NJCAA All-American Baseball Team, 2nd Team

Dolphins' Liberto named to All-American team, NewOrleans.com, 6/1/08:

Delgado shortstop Michael Liberto has been named NJCAA Second Team All-American.

Liberto is an Archbishop Rummel alum. He was also a member of an American Legion national championship team with Rummel-based Nationwide Restoration. Liberto was named American Legion World Series MVP.

The 5'9", 160 lb sophomore from Harahan recently signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Missouri next season.


Sam Lind, IF

Freshman
Roosevelt HS, Sioux Falls, SD
Home: Hartford, SD
5'10", 168 lb, L/R

2007 Stats (combined Roosevelt HS and American Legion): .480 BA, 9 HR, 76 RBI, 69 Games

· Measured at 89 mph across the infield, 6.8 60 yd dash
· All State 1st Team Shortstop
· Roosevelt HS Offensive MVP
· South Dakota HS All-Star
· Post 15 West Legion Offensive MVP (Legion state champions, placed 3rd in Midwest regional)

Shortstop Lind signs with Missouri (Sioux Falls Argus Leader):

Sioux Falls Post 15 West Shortstop Sam Lind has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Missouri. Lind, a senior at Roosevelt, helped lead West to the class A American Legion state championship. He led west with a . 480 batting average and his single in the eighth inning drove in the winning run in West's 3-2 win over Rapid City Post 22 in the state finals.

Ben Turner, C/1B
Freshman
Westminster Christian Academy, St. Charles, MO
6'4", 210 lb, R/R

Stats (from StLToday.com):
2008 Offense: .447 BA; 42 H, 94 AB, 2 R, 14 2B, 2 HR, 38 RBI, .495 OBP, .660 SLG %, 6 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB
2007Offense: .519 BA (42-for-81), 6 R, 41 RBI, 5 HR, 13 2B, .889 SLG%, 72 TB; 2nd team All-Missouri
2007 Westminster Sunshine Classic @ Ft. Lauderdale. Gold Glove Award

Conner Mach, IF/RHP
Freshman
Parkway West HS, Chesterfield, MO
6'0", 190 lb, R/R
Brother of Kyle Mach, Mizzou 3B

Stats:
2008: .420 BA, 81 AB, 23 R, 34 H, 9 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 10 BB, 10 SO, 5/7 SB, .495 OBP, .691 SLG%
2007: Batted .420 (34-81) with 23 runs, 27 RBI, 3 HR, 2 3B, 9 2B, 10 BB
2006: Batted .367 (29-79) with 27 runs, 22 RBI, 3 HR, 1 3B, 9 2B, 12 BB
· Also a top ranked football player. Was First Team All-State at DB and Second Team All-State at WR in '06.

· Second Team All-Metro in '07.

· Played for the Rawlings Prospects 18 Reed team in the summer of '07.

· Selected to play for the Chicago White Sox team in the Area Code Games in August 2007. Named to the 2007 All-Area Code Team.

Gabbert's teammate also headed to Mizzou - for baseball (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/17/2007)

Parkway West's Blaine Gabbert, considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the country, ended his roller coaster recruitment and weeks of speculation last weekend by orally committing to coach Gary Pinkel and the Tigers.

Gabbert had orally committed to Nebraska in May, but he changed his mind in October after the Cornhuskers' lack of success fueled reports that coach Bill Callahan could be replaced before next season.

The quarterback will have one of his best friends with him in Columbia.

Conner Mach, a standout player on Parkway West's baseball team and football team, committed to Missouri baseball coach Tim Jamieson months ago. He is considered the Tigers' top baseball recruit; Baseball America has him ranked as the 47th best high school senior prospect for next spring's major-league draft.

Mach, whose brother Kyle is a junior infielder with the Tigers, was a second-team All-Metro selection last spring when he hit .420 with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 27 RBIs and scored 23 runs.


Ryan Clubb, RHP
Freshman
Eureka HS, Eureka, MO
Home: Wildwood, MO
6'3", 186 lb, R/R

Stats (StLToday.com):
· 2008 Pitching: 4-2, 2.97 ERA, 7 GS, 37.7 IP, 22 R, 16 ER, 43 H, 14 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 14 BB, 42 K, 3 WP, 3 HB
· 2007: 3-3; 1.67 ERA, 46 innings, 22 walks, 8 games, 3 complete
· Summer 2007: Rawlings Prospects - Red. Stats: 7-2 (led the team in victories); 57 IP, 36K, 2.89 ERA, 3 shutouts, 5 complete games
· 2007 1st Team Pitcher All Suburban-South Conference
· 2007 Honorable Mention All-Metro Pitcher
· Brother to Tim Clubb of Missouri State University, a 1st Team Pre-Season 2009 All-American


Andre Rodriguez, OF
Freshman
Sharyland HS, McAllen, TX
5'11", 183 lb, R/R

2008: .379 BA, 9 HR, 38 RBI
2008 VMS All-Valley Offensive Player of the Year
2008 All District Team OF

Sharyland's Rodriguez headed to Mizzou (The Monitor, July 8, 2008)
Rodriguez, a former Sharyland outfielder, accepted a partial scholarship offer last week to play for head coach Tim Jamieson and the University of Missouri Tigers. As a senior, Rodriguez hit .379 with nine home runs at 38 RBIs and led the Rattlers to the third round of the playoffs.

At Rattlers home games, his walk-up music was preceded by a line from
Anchorman, with Ron Burgundy saying "I'm kind of a big deal." And after what he went through during his sophomore and junior years, it definitely is a big deal that Rodriguez is headed to Missouri.

Prior to his sophomore season, Rodriguez broke his right wrist in a car accident, costing him the entire season. Then, halfway through his junior year, a back injury caused him to miss the rest of that season.

Sharyland coach Barton Bickerton said "it's great" to see Rodriguez sign with the Tigers after the challenges he faced.

"He's still not where he completely needs to be just because he missed all that time," Bickerton said. "It's great, especially since we knew he would be in this situation or better when he was a freshman starting. It's nice to see him hang in there and pretty much fulfill his dreams with going to a big school."

Sharyland's Andre Rodriguez had senior season to remember (Valley Morning Star, May 31, 2008)
As a senior, Rodriguez went out in style.

He led the Rattlers with nine home runs, batted .368 with 141 at-bats in 36 games, scored 40 runs, had 42 hits and had 43 RBIs with 13 doubles and five triples.

For his efforts, Rodriguez was named the 2008 VMS All-Valley Offensive Player of the Year.

"This was the kind of season I'd been waiting to have since I first began high school," Rodriguez said. "It was a season to remember."


Ryan Gebhart, OF

FreshmanMidway HS, Waco, TX
6'0", 175 lb, S/R

Stats:
2007: .347 BA, 41 R, 3 HR (2 RH/1 LH), 5 3B, 28 RBI, 12 SB; OB% .507.
2006: .412 BA, 37 R, 3 HR (all RH), 8 3B, 27 RBI, 22 SB
Gebhart was twice invited to the USA Baseball National Tournament of Stars (144 players invited from the US). He was named an UnderArmour Pre Season All American as well. Played for Austin Slam this past summer hitting .358; 7 3B, 3 HR (two left and one righty), 20 R, 18 RBI, 17 SB, OB% .540

PefectGame.com scouting report:
Ryan Gebhart is a 2008 OF with a 6'1'', 175 lb. frame from McGregor, TX who attends Midway HS. Athletic build, switch-hitter, RH-line-drive swing, good leverage in swing, present strength, LH-good bat speed, hits though the ball well, power potential, turns on the ball easily, short level swing, consistent solid contact, runs well in the outfield, good arm strength, solid fundamentals, good footwork, solid all-around athlete, high level prospect with good upside. (Videos available with scouting report)

Jeff Emens, RHP/IF


Freshman
Plano East HS (Plano, TX)

6'0", 170 lb, R/R

No stats found

Emens opens district play with no-hitter (Plano Star Courier, 3/7/07)

In seven innings, Emens walked two batters and struck out 12 on 96 pitches as he helped the Panthers pick up their first district win over Lake Highlands 6-0

The Panther defense did their part by hauling in nine balls put into play and teammate Clayton Farhat hit a two 2-run homeruns going 3-for-4 to give them a decisive lead.

But he didn’t just do it from the mound. Emens also went 1-for-3 at bat with a double, aiding his own cause and scored the eventual winning run.

On the mound however, Emens was excellent as his coach expects. With 20 strikeouts on the season, Emens is holding opponents to a .133 batting average

Emens sticks with black & gold (Plano Star Courier, 10/31/07)

Emens has been stellar as a pitcher for the Panthers, most notably tossing a no-no against Lake Highlands to open up district play last season. Known more for his speed and power, he also prides himself on his knowledge of hitters and has a bevy of pitches he can rely on.

“He’s a very good pitcher,” Collins said. “He could very easily be our No. 1 [starter] this year. His fastball tops out around 88. He’s got a good curveball, good slider, good changeup. He’s got four quality pitches. He hasn’t thrown a whole lot of innings for us because he’s more valuable to us as a shortstop. We’ve been trying to find a guy we feel comfortable with playing short behind him so we can get him a couple more innings on the mound. Whenever we do need him on the mound, he’s always been really good.”

His biggest asset, however, may not be one that shows up in his superior statistics.

“He’s one of those guys that always comes up clutch in a game,” said Clayton Farhat, former East teammate. “He’ll always give 100 percent. When [Emens] knows that the game is on the line, he’s gonna do everything he can to get that win. He gets mad when he loses. There’s no losing for him. That’s one thing I loved about him as a teammate; he does everything well.

“He’s got the best glove I’ve seen at short stop and obviously he’s got a great arm. He’s a guy you want to play with.”



Andreas Plackis, C
Freshman
St. Charles West HS (St. Charles, MO)
5'11", 170 lb, R/R

Stats:
2008: .409 (27-for-66); .466 OB%, .697 Slg%, 5 R, 11 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 22 TB, 0.096 Ks/PA, 7 BB, 7 K, 0 HBP, 0 SB

2008 GAC North All Conference 1st Team

Also a wrestler at St. Charles West (171 lb, 29-2)


Garrison McLagan, LHP
Christian Fellowship HS (Columbia, MO

Graduated HS in December2008 and will enroll at MU in January 2009 and officially join the Tiger roster.


More details
HERE

2008-09 Newcomers

Voting has closed on our latest "You Make the Call" poll. It saw an incredible 480 votes casts, which either is a testament to the overwhelming popularity of SimmonsField.com (unlikely) or is testament to the usual ballot box stuffing that goes on with Internet polls. The unscientific nature of the poll should be evident by the fact that a player who not only is NOT a newcomer but is not even on the team any more somehow made his way onto the ballot but also garnered a respectable 12 votes.

Anyway, Ryan Gebhart pulled away from the pack convincingly with 34% of the vote. His family must be proud (and computer literate).

I intend in the near future to post further information about these newcomers, since it has been pointed out to me that I never transferred nay of that information from the old location of SimmonsField.com. Until I get that done, you can read my previous posts about these "2008 Recruits" at this link.