Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mizzou in the Majors: Journeyman Justin James makes the Jump

Former Tiger Justin James earns call up to MLB (mutigers.com)
Former Mizzou baseball player Justin James is stepping up to the Major League. He joins the Oakland A's today in New York City in time for their game at Yankee Stadium tomorrow night. Yankee Stadium is a long way away from where James was at the start of the 2010 season.
. . .
Following time in the Arizona Fall League in 2007, James was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for the 2008 season, however, he was released following that season. He then signed with the Kansas City T-Bones, an independent team out of the Northern League.

James began the 2010 season with the T-Bones, appearing in 11 games, recording six saves with an ERA of 1.69. His contract was purchased by the Oakland A's on June 17 and he was sent to the Double-A Midland Rockhounds, where he pitched in 12 games, posting an ERA of 2.29 and 21 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.

On July 22, he advanced to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, where he went 1-1 with a 1.37 ERA in 16 games. He recorded four saves while striking out 28 in 19.2 innings, earning him a promotion to the big leagues.

■ See our post from a few weeks back for more details on Justin James' long journey

Mizzou Baseball: Runs Created

Analysis of runs created in 2010 (49thstatehardball.com)
The main point I wanted to make with this table -- other than, again, giving some name-space to players who did well in limited plate appearances -- is that you can hit for a low average and still be an above-average offensive threat. Case in point: Ryan Gebhart of the Oilers' created a run every 7.04 at-bats but hit only .222, while the Fire's Will Watson created a run every 7.13 at-bats while hitting .322 (100 points better).

Mizzou Baseball: Festus @ MU

Matt Stites now at Mizzou (mymoinfo.com) [includes brief audio]
After a highly successful spring and summer, Festus graduate and now former Jefferson College Viking Matt Stites is getting settled in at the University of Missouri. The right handed pitcher was drafted by the Chicago Cubs, and played summer baseball in the Cape Cod League. After not signing a contract with the Cubs, Stites says he's happy to be a Tiger.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mizzou Baseball: Pitching Prospect

Bowers warms up in the bullpen (Columbia Missourian)
Laurence Bowers tied on borrowed spikes and picked up a loaned glove before climbing onto the pitching rubber in the left-field bullpen at Taylor Stadium.

Both appeared a bit too small for the Missouri basketball team’s elongated junior forward, but he still liked the fit of it all as he began throwing pitches under a bright summer sky Friday.
. . .
Several Missouri baseball players, as well as new MU pitching coach Matt Hobbs, observed the bullpen session and were surprised by what they saw. Hobbs even hinted that Bowers had enough raw tools to pitch effectively at the college level with the right instruction.

If everything goes according to plan on the hardwood, Bowers will never find out. But if it doesn’t …

“Worst-case scenario and basketball doesn’t work out, knock on wood, I think I’d use that fifth year to try to walk on to play that last year,” he said.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Gibson done for season (kffl.com)
Minnesota Twins SP Kyle Gibson (ankle) has been shut down for the rest of the season after suffering a sprained ankle at Triple-A Rochester, MLB.com's Kelly Thesier reports. However, the decision was made because he has thrown a total of 152 innings this year. The team planned to limit him between 150-160 innings this year. Gibson was 0-0 with a 1.72 ERA in three starts at Triple-A. In three combined stops between Rochester, Double-A New Britain and Class A Fort Myers, Gibson went 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Bond Market Down

■ Thanks to our friend mizzoufan_1 for tweeting us the news:

Brock Bond was assigned to AA yesterday.
Checking the transactions board, we see:

8/25/2010: Brock Bond assigned to Richmond Flying Squirrels from Fresno Grizzlies.
Apart from the possible loss of dignity resulting from now being known as a "flying squirrel" after being a "grizzly" for the past few months, Brock would seem to be getting demoted for little cause, since he has been putting up decent numbers at Triple-A Fresno.

.285 Avg in 403 at-bats, 62 R, 115 H, 24 2B, 4 eB, 1 HR, 35 RBI, 9 HBP, 66 BB, 63 SO, 9 SB
Looking closer at that transactions list, though, we see something more on the same day:

1B Brandon Belt assigned to Fresno Grizzlies from Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Tiger fans may remember Brandon Belt as a former Texas Longhorn. Belt was a 5th round draft pick of the Giants in 2009 and has been a hot commodity among their prospects.

According to the bloggers at calltothepen.com, Belt is very likely being fast-tracked through Fresno on his way to a September call-up to the San Fracisco Giants.

If that is indeed the plan, Brock Bond could find himself back in Fresno within a week or two, and back to helping the Grizzlies in their pennant race.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: Max Dominates the Missouri Way

Max Scherzer dominant (mlive.com)
It was over quickly for the Blue Jays -- with the game lasting just 2:26.

Scherzer said his quick pace came from a pitching tip while playing at the University of Missouri.

"I was told to never turn my back to the hitter," he said. "If you do that, you are pitching quick and always pumping strikes."

Scherzer bears down on Jays for victory (mlb.com)
When you're working with half your arsenal, you're going to be half the pitcher.

According to Tigers manager Jim Leyland, that's exactly what starting pitcher Max Scherzer was coping with earlier this season. He was showing up to duel without his pistol fully loaded.

Thankfully for both Scherzer and the Tigers, the right-hander has since curbed this trend, and after being recalled from Triple-A Toledo at the end of May, he has shown complete dominance over his fastball, changeup and slider. To boot, he's mastered pitching inside with conviction.
. . .
Since June 15, Scherzer has posted a 1.85 ERA with an 8-3 mark -- an improvement Leyland doesn't need stats to see.

"I think he has an air about him now," Leyland said. "I think it was a little bit strange for him coming over from a different league. I think he wasn't sure what to expect. I think he figured something out.

"The key for Scherzer has been -- he's pitching with three pitches now. He was pitching with 1 1/2 pitches early in the season ... he's pitching with three pitches now. He's also got the ability to have a little extra in the tank when he needs it."

Max Scherzer, Jhonny Peralta lead Tigers past Blue Jays (Detroit Free Press)
“You can see him on the mound, he has a mound presence that is saying ’Hey, I’m doing pretty good and I feel pretty good about myself,’” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “You’d be a fool if you can’t see that.”
Max Scherzer, Tigers beat up on Blue Jays (Detroit News)
A right-hander whose muscle and mastery appear to be gaining by the week all but wrapped the Jays lineup in barbed wire as he ran his record to 10-9 with a powerhouse performance.

"He's really tough," said Jhonny Peralta, the Tigers shortstop who drove in four runs with a three-run homer and a bases-loaded walk. "I can see from shortstop that he's really tough. Fastball. Slider. Change-up.

"Really good."

Scherzer lasted eight innings and 117 pitches, firing fastballs up to 97 mph that bedeviled the Jays in concert with a slider and change-up that, as Peralta attested, were Grade A. It was a lethal brew that helped him pump his record to 10-9 and drop his ERA to 3.60. His last three starts: All victories with an ERA of 0.86.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Scherzer leads climbing Tigers into Toronto (mlb.com)
In the series opener against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Max Scherzer gets the ball for a club that has won five of six games against the Indians and Royals but still trails the Twins in the American League Central by nine games.

Scherzer gives them a reason to feel good crossing the border.

The 26-year-old right-hander has a 1.35 ERA in his past five starts, and a 2.05 ERA if you go back all the way to June 10. Since June 4, in fact, his ERA has dropped from 6.66 to the 3.73 mark he sports heading into Toronto.

His last time on the mound, Scherzer gave up two runs (only one of them earned) in seven innings against the Indians.

So what's changed?

"Right now, I'm executing pitches," Scherzer said after his last start. "Everybody wants to look at the difference between now and then, but I'm not. I'm going out there pitching. Next start I have is against Toronto. I'm going to go out there and try to execute as many pitches as I can and hopefully give the team a chance to win."

Mizzou in the Minors

Play of the game (Augusta Chronicle)
GreenJackets right fielder Ryan Lollis sprinted well to his right and fully extended his 6-foot-2 frame to make a diving catch on a line drive to right-center field for the second out of the second inning.
From TwinCities.com:
Last year's Twins top draft pick, Kyle Gibson, is 0-0 with a 1.72 earned-run average in three starts and 15 2/3 innings since his promotion to Class AAA Rochester.

Mizzou Baseball on Twitter

MUTigerBaseball on Twitter has links to a couple of photos. Follow them on Twitter, or go take a look at the MUTigerBaseball Photostream.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Simmons Field Photo: Lucky 44

J. R. Warner, 1998-2000

Mizzou in the Minors

Spokane Indians pound Eugene (spokesman.com)
And catcher Brett Nicholas, whose playing time has diminished since the arrival of first-round draft pick Kellen Deglin, had the biggest hit of all, an eighth-inning grand slam for his second professional homer.

“I was hoping for a fastball and gearing up for it, and luckily things met right,” said the Phoenix native, who had family in the stands. “It’s a memory that I’ll keep forever.”

Burlington Bullets (burlingtonroyals.mlbblogs.com)
A big reason the Royals beat a good team last night was new B-Royal infielder Michael Liberto's three-run triple in the third. He got that shot after Danville elected to intentionally walk Luis Piterson. The 5'7" product has had it happen before, and he uses it as motivation. "People look at me as a short guy who can't hit it out of the infield," Liberto said. "I just take it personally and try to do whatever I can to get a hit."

And one more . . .

C.J. Jarvis, INF (Home: LaPorte, TX; Houston Christian HS, TX) was previously committed to the Oklahoma Sooners and is now on board with the Missouri Tigers.

S/R, 5'11", 175 lb

• All-Greater Houston Area first team (Houston 5A Baseball)

• Youtube videos:
Jarvis at bat

Several at-bats

Fielding (infielder in the outfield)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Additional competitors for roster spots

I've heard the names of a couple of freshmen that may be participating in Fall practice with the Tigers, competing for the coveted roster spots:

Matt Galakatos, RHP (DeSmet HS, StL)

• 2010 Stats: 5-1, 37 IP, 1 Save, 13 R, 13 ER, .2.46 ERA, 7 BB, 37 K

Desmet shuts down Zumwalt South (surburbanjournals.com)
Matt Galakatos made the most of a prime starting assignment Wednesday.
. . .
Galakatos struck out four and walked just two.
“Beating the defending state champs is a big deal,” Galakatos said. “I had a bad start against Chaminade last Friday so I was trying to shake that and come out here and do my best.”
Sal Belfonte, OF (Rockhurst HS, KC), 5'10", 200 lb

Belfonte had signed to play football (linebacker) at Southern Illinois, but chose instead to sign with the tigers for baseball.

Belfonte's brother, David, was a senior on the Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball team this past season.

Rockhurt's Belfonte is finally healthy, giving him some options (Kansas City Star)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Offense overshadowed but not overlooked on incoming recruiting class

While the MU recruiting class of 2010-11 is dominated by pitchers, there are a handful of newcomers on the offensive side that promise to bring some leadership and production to the team.

Jeff Lusardi, OF had been with the Tigers for a year now, but was forced to sit out the past season after transferring from Arizona State (originally from Blue Springs South HS in MO). Lusardi played in the Cape Cod League this summer, with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, where he no doubt gained valuable experience playing against top-notch competition. In 80 at-bats he posted a .226 average (detailed stats). Lusardi comes in with the age and veteran status of a JuCo transfer, yet is a known quantity to the team. He will compete with several other candidates for the starting outfield positions.

Dillon Everett, SS (Horizon, AZ) has future leader written all over him, both on the field and off the field. Everything I hear about him paints a picture of a solid and steady young man, a good asset to have on a young team.

Drew Carlile, C (Poudre HS, Fort Collins, CO) was a late sign, just a month before the school year began. He hit .451 in 2010 and, like Everett, comes with off-the-field bona fides as a scholar and leader. Considering the starting catching job is probably up in the air after the departure of Nicholas, Carlile will add some pressure into that battle.

■ I've also heard from Danny Murphy, 2B/SS (Mehlville HS, StL), who is enrolling at Mizzou and plans to make a run at the roster as a walk-on. He sports some decent 2010 stats, which should help him in the steep uphill climb to crack a roster that is already well over the playing season limit.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pitching potential packs a punch in incoming recruiting class

2009-2010 proved to be a recruiting class filled with offensive/defensive potential for Mizzou. Eric Garcia, Dane Opel, Blake Brown and Brannon Champagne came on strong in developing as reliable everyday players for the Tigers.

But it was pitching that proved to be a struggle for the team, especially when another freshman, Eric Anderson, went down due to injury.

Fortunately, the incoming 2010-2011 recruiting class looks to be one that will be known as a great class of pitchers for Missouri. The awards and accolades just keep coming for the incoming moundsmen.

RHP Jason Adam (Blue Valley Northwest HS, KC) has gotten the most press, since he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 5th round of the MLB Amateur Draft. His decision at the deadline to sign with the Royals removes him from the picture for the Missouri Tigers.

RHP Matt Stites (Festus HS/Jefferson College) was the other Tiger recruit named in the Draft. Stites was picked by the Chicago Cubs as the 1000th pick. Wisely [editorial comment coming], Mr. Stites chose not to indenture himself to the evil empire of Wrigley Field, and will be in a Tiger uniform this season.

In 2010 Stites 9-2 with a 1.69 ERA with Jefferson College and was the team's Most Valuable Player and Region XVI Player of the Year and was a 3rd Team JuCo All-American.

Most impressively, Stites is pitching with the Falmouth Commodores in the elite Cape Cod League this summer as is having a very good summer against the best competition summer college ball has to offer.

Stites has been mentioned on Baseball America as a favorite prospect of theirs:

Righthander Stites stands just 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, but he has a big arsenal. Before he tired toward the end of the season, Stites showed an 88-92 mph fastball that touched 94, a slider that served as an out pitch and a solid curveball. He's a quick-twitch athlete rather than a max-effort thrower, and he commands his fastball to both sides of the plate.
LHP Rob Zastryzny (Calallen HS) comes from the Corpus Christi area and has been the most dominating pitcher in that part of Texas in 2010. Zastryzny was named a 2nd Team All-American by MaxPreps. He has received MVP of the year, Pitcher of the Year, several All-Region, All-Conference, All-everything team honors, and led his team to great success during the season and deep into the postseason.

RHP Michael Franco (Moody HS), the other most dominant pitcher in the Corpus Christi area, had signed a letter of intent to play at Missouri, but has reportedly opted out to enroll in a Junior College program.

RHP Myles Smith (Divine Child HS, Dearborn, MI) led his team to a state title in 2010. He was a 2nd team MaxPreps All-American. He went 8-1 in 2010 with a 1.58 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched.

Read this profile of Smith on ESPN Rise and you'll be excited about seeing this young man in a Mizzou uniform.

LHP Ian Ekery (Franklin HS, TX) was named first team All-City and first team All-District 5A for the second straight year. Ian's 2010 numbers: 7-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 47 K's in 51 innings. Ekery also appears to be a real team-leader type, according to this article: 10 Most Influential Seniors.

RHP James Hudelson (Hickman HS, Columbia/Jefferson College, StL) began his pitching career in the shadow of Mizzou and now on course to return as a Tiger after a couple of impressive years in the Junior College ranks. this summer he is having great success as a closer for the Hannibal Cavemen of the Prospects League, and was named to the Prospects League All-Star game.

RHP Matt Linderer (Bishop Debourg HS, StL) was the Pitcher of the Year in the AAA_Conference and was named to the All-State team. According to a Profile on SuburbanJournals.com, "the 6-foot-2, 178-pound Linderer was outstanding as he went 8-1 with an earned run average of 1.83. He struck out 85 batters in 69 innings."

RHP Dusty Ross (Vernon College, TX) is a late addition to the recruiting class. He caught the attention of Tony Vitello with his play in the Texas Collegiate League, where he was selected as the league's top reliever of the summer. See our profile for details on Ross.

RHP Ryan Yuengel (Festus HS, MO) is another late addition to the recruiting class. Originally slated for the Junior College route, Yuengel is at Mizzou and fighting for a slot on the pitching staff. He has some impressive stats (1.38 ERA, 59 K in 45-1/3 innings pitched) and a record of performing big when the stakes are high.

That's quite a lineup of pitching potential for new Pitching Coach Matt Hobbs to mold into a dominant pitching staff. The recruiting classes of 2009 and 2010 combined could be the key to making the down year of 2010 an anomaly as the Tigers return to their post-season ways they enjoyed for several years.

Oh . . . We haven't forgotten about a couple of other recruits on our cobbled-together list of incoming recruits, and a new face on the field that sat out a year on the bench -- all three of them non-pitchers. We'll take a look at them tomorrow.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Kyle Gibson Interview (TwinNation.blogspot.com)
KL: Have you had a chance to take a breathe and just take it all in that you are becoming a major league baseball player?

KG: Not yet. I still wake up some days and head to the park and it is pretty realistic at that point that I have become a professional baseball player. Obviously the Major League dream has not come true yet, so I still have a lot of work to do.

KL: Heading into the home stretch of the 2010 season is there anything you still hope to work on and improve?

KG: I still need to work on throwing more first pitch strikes and getting ahead of batters, as well as putting them away when I have the chance.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another addition to the Fall Roster

I've received word that Ryan Yuengel, RHP/3B, from Festus High School (MO) has enrolled at Mizzou and will play baseball for the Tigers. Word is he was recruited as a pitcher, not an infielder.

■ 2010 Pitching: 7-0, 8 G, 8 GS, 5 CG, 45.7 IP, 10 R, 9 ER, 1.38 ERA, 24 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 16 BB, 59 K, 0.88 WHIP

■ 2010 Offense: .500 Avg, OB% .611, SLG .730, 74 AB, 25 R, 37 H, 28 1B, 5 2B, 4 HR, 44 RBI

■ StLToday.com All-Conference Pitcher and Player, and Player of the Year, Jefferson County Large Schools

■ 2010 Second Team MSHSAA All-State

Yuengel, Tigers keep JCC title hopes alive (Surburban Journal)
Festus senior Ryan Yuengel was hesitant to call his outing Monday against Crystal City his best of the season.

"It is one of the best I have thrown," said Yuengel, who did not allow a ball out of the infield for the first seven innings of Festus's 6-3 eight-inning victory against the Hornets.

Yuengel did not want to call it his best as he did have a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts earlier in the season against St. Vincent.

"I probably did have better stuff today," said Yuengel, who struck out a career-high 14 Hornets. "It was just your basic fastball and curve. The key was that I was able to get the curve over for strikes."

Yuengel allowed only three infield hits through seven innings, but the Hornets were able to scratch out a pair of runs, one with the help of Yuengel's throwing error in the fifth inning.
■ Led the Festus American Legion team to the regional championship game where they lost to Eden Praire, MN.

Central Plains Regional (RapidCityJournal.com)

Festus pitcher Ryan Yuengel kept the Post 22 hitters off balance. Through eight innings, the right-hander struck out 12, walked three and allowed all three of Post 22’s hits.

“His fastball — I don’t know what it was clocked at — but it was really popping,” Ploof said. “And his curveball was really good.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

MU Baseball on Twitter

Follow MUBaseball on Twitter!

It appears the Twitter account that had been sporadically manned by a former member of the staff has now been picked up by another anonymous Twit. Twitterer. Tweeter. Whatever you call it.

Anyway, so far there's a "quote of the day" and posts about what's going on with MU Baseball as the players return to town and get ready for classes and the Fall practice season.

We've added (again) a feed from the MUBaseball Twitter account in our left-hand column, or you can go over to Twitter itself and follow MUTigerBaseball.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mizzou Baseball: Fall Roster

The Mizzou Baseball fall roster will take shape over the next week or two as all the students show up on campus and officially register for classes and join the team. A few notes on what we're hearing about roster changes:

Aaron Blunt and Andre Rodriguez are both back at school, but will not be rejoining the team for the 2010-11 season.

■ Former Tiger Brian Carr is back at Mizzou after a year at Central Arizona College and is expected to be on the fall roster.

Michael Franco, a freshman recruit from Corpus Christi, TX, is reportedly going to head to a Junior College rather than enroll at Mizzou.

■ As reported earlier this week, MU recruit Jason Adam signed with the Royals and will not be at Mizzou, but Matt Stites, drafted by the Cubs, turned down their offers and is expected to be a Tiger. In addition, Nick Tepesch signed with the Rangers at the deadline and will not be back to lead the Tiger pitching staff.

The tentative Fall Roster, then, should look something like this (not counting the recruits that have slipped in under the no-official-announcements radar):

• Eric Anderson RHP/IF (SO)
• Ryan Ampleman, C (SR)
• Brad Buehler, RHP (SR)
• Kenny Burton, LHP (SO)
• Blake Brown, OF (SO)
• Drew Carlile, C (FR)
• Brian Carr, LHP (JR)
• Brannon Champagne, OF (SO)
• Ryan Clubb, RHP (JR)
• Ian Ekery, LHP/3B (FR)
• Jeff Emens, RHP (JR)
• Dillon Everet, IF (FR)
• Kelly Fick, LHP (SR)
• Eric Garcia, IF (SO)
• Ryan Gebhart, OF (JR)
• Zach Hardoin, LHP (SR)
• James Hudelson, RHP (JR)
• Neil Hugenberg, RHP (SO)
• Russell LaFleur, OF (SR)
• Matt Linderer, RHP/SS (FR)
• Jeff Lusardi, OF/IF (SO)
• Conner Mach, INF (JR)
• Kevin Mahler, LHP (SR)
• Phil McCormick, LHP (SR)
• Garrison McLagan, OF/IF (JR)
• Danny Murphy, 2B/SS (FR) Walk-on
• Dane Opel, OF (SO)
• Andreas Plackis, C (SO)
• Dusty Ross, RHP ((JR)
• Jesse Santo, SS (SR)
• Jeff Scardino, RHP (SR)
• Jonah Schmidt, OF/IF (SR)
• Myles Smith, RHP/SS (FR)
• Scott Sommerfeld, OF, 1B, C (SO)
• Matt Stites, RHP (JR)
• Andrew Thigpen, IF (SR)
• Ben Turner, C/1B (JR)
• Jake Walsh, LHP (SO)
• Rob Zastryzny, LHP/OF (FR)
• Ryan Yuengel, RHP/3B

If anyone has further information about additions or subtractions to this unofficial list, let me know at simmonsfield@hotmail.com

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Kudos to St. Louisan Max Scherzer (stltoday.com)
He's rolling for the Detroit Tigers. After going to the minors for a couple of weeks in May to sharpen his mechanics, Scherzer has been outstanding, going 7-5 with a 2.35 ERA, and 100 strikeouts in 95 innings. In his most recent start, Monday, Scherzer pitched shutout innings to beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. His parents were there to see it. Great stuff.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Draft Signing Deadline

Heading up to the draft signing deadline, the Tigers had three players/recruits: Nick Tepesch, Jason Adam and Matt Stites.

Tespesch signed with the Rangers and Adam signed with the Royals.

Matt Stites, however, did not sign with the Cubs and will presumably begin classes at Mizzou next week.

Matt Stites (photo at right)

Chicago Cubs final 2010 draft signing results

■ From ChicagoBreakingSports.com, Monday morning:
The Cubs are hoping to sign multiple high-round picks, and paying special attention to Matt Stites, a 33rd-round pick from Jefferson (Mo.) Community College, Mark Buehrle's alma mater. He opened eyes in the Cape Cod League and the Cubs would love to keep him from honoring his commitment to Missouri.

Jason Adam

Royals sign two draft picks (Kansas City Star)
Second-round pick Brett Eibner and fifth-round pick Jason Adam — a Blue Valley Northwest product — signed Monday in advance of the midnight Eastern time deadline for players selected in the first-year player draft. Eibner received $1.25 million, and Adam received $800,000, which was more than four times above slot.
. . .
Adam, a right-handed pitcher, went to Surprise, Ariz., earlier this summer and worked with the Rookie League team there. His agreement has been under review by the commissioner's office since at least last Tuesday.

"I'll be in Surprise for the rest of their season and stay there through spring training," Adam said.

Nick Tepesch

A dream come true (Blue Springs Examiner)
Nick Tepesch, the former Blue Springs High School all-state pitcher who was The Examiner’s High School Player of the Year and American Legion Player of Year in 2007, has signed a professional contract with the Texas Rangers.
. . .
“I’m not much for celebrating,” said Tepesch, 21, who leaves early Wednesday morning for the Rangers’ spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz.

If his destination sounds familiar, it’s because the Royals share that facility with the Rangers.

“I haven’t thrown a baseball in a long time,” said Tepesch, who was drafted by Texas in the 14th round out of the University of Missouri. “I’m going to go down there and start throwing and working my way into shape.

“I’ll be there until September, then I’ll come home for a while then leave for the Instructional League.”
. . .
“It’s kind of weird to think that I’m a professional baseball player,” Tepesch said. “It’s something I dreamed about for a long time, and now it’s really happened.”

SimmonsField Photo: Generations

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kerrick Jackson: Scout, Coach, Jack-of-all-baseball-trades

Kerrick Jackson was announced on Friday as one of two new Assistant Coaches. Jackson will be the Recruiting Coordinator as well as participating in the coaching duties.

Jackson's experience has been extensive and varied, ranging through all levels of college baseball and high school baseball and major league baseball, from coach to scout to scouting to public relations to . . . Cornhusker??

Jackson has been serving as the Washington Nationals Area Scouting supervisor for the past couple of years. According to Baseball America, "Jackson was the scout who drafted former Missouri ace Aaron Crow ninth overall in 2008, and he coached both Crow and fellow Tigers righty Kyle Gibson with Falmouth in the Cape Cod League."

Nationals hire Kerrick Jackson as area scouting supervisor (mlb.com. 10/17/07)
Jackson joins the Nationals scouting department less than one month after completing curriculum in the Nationals Diversity Internship Program, which annually provides valuable field and classroom-type experiences within the areas of baseball administration, scouting and player development.
. . .
Jackson will supervise all amateur scouting in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Before graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1999, Jackson played Division I baseball at Bethune Cookman College. He later served as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Nicholls State (LA) University and spent a pair of summers coaching in the nation's premier amateur baseball circuit, the Cape Cod League.
■ College Coaching career:
• SLCC-Meramec (MO), Graduate Assistant (08)
• Nicholls State (LA), Pitching Coach, 06-07
• Jefferson College (MO), Assistant Coach
• Coffeyville Community College
• Emporia State (KS), Graduate Assistant
• Fairfield University (CT), Assistant Coach
■ High School Summer Leagues
• Kansas City Sluggers, Associate Head Coach, 02-03
• Kansas City Barnstormers KC Scout League coach, 2010
■ Jackson spent a couple of years coaching in the Cape Cod League, with the Falmouth Commodores. The following article introducing him as a Falmouth coach provides the most detailed description of his experience in baseball I've found, plus the photo above:

Meet Coach Kerrick Jackson (falcommodores.org)
Kerrick Jackson enters his first season with the Falmouth Commodores toting a more than impressive coaching resume.

“I think it has put me in a situation to be able to deal with different players from different areas and allows me to understand what these guys are trying to accomplish,” Jackson said. “Those other coaching experiences allow me to easily adapt (to the challenges presented by the Cape League).”

Currently an assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator at Nicholls State University, Jackson is a former member of the Jefferson College coaching staff. While at Jefferson, Jackson was in charge of numerous on field responsibilities as well as overseeing the academic achievements of all student athletes at Jefferson College as the college’s Student-Athlete Success Coordinator.

Jackson was also a pivotal member of the Coffeyville Community College coaching staff, contributing both on the field and off, while providing significant assistance in the development of strong public relations within the Coffeyville community.

As a graduate assistant at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, Jackson maintained a competitive pitching staff while assisting with player recruitment. Before his ESU experiences, Jackson began his collegiate coaching career at Fairfield University in Connecticut as an assistant coach in 2001.

Like fellow coach Shane Wedd, Jackson was involved with the Kansas City Sluggers as the team’s associate head coach in 2002 and 2003. At the helm of the Sluggers, Jackson lead the 18u organization to two consecutive trips to the NBC World Series.

Coach Jackson also has past coaching experiences with high school summer leagues, leading a United States squad to a gold medal in an international tournament held in Holland in 2006.

Before starting his coaching career, Jackson was member of the St. Louis Community College – Meramec baseball team as a reliever that earned a third place finish at in the JUCO World Series. After two seasons, Jackson transferred to Bethune-Cookman College before attending the University of Nebraska in 1997 in his last eligible collegiate season.

Jackson, a Kirkwood, Missouri native, hopes to one day become a head coach and eventually serve in the front office of a professional baseball organization as a general manager. Regardless of where the future leads the Commodore’s new coach, he will always love the game of baseball.
■ College baseball playing experience:
• StL Community College - Meramec ('94-'95)
• Bethune-Cookman College ('96)
• Nebraska Cornhuskers ('97)
He graduated from Nebraska in 1999 with a BA in Sociology.

■ Jackson is a 1992 graduate of Kirkwood HS (MO), where he played baseball and basketball for the Kirkwood Pioneers

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mizzou in the Minors: Hunter Mense now PITCHING for KC T-Bones

I saw a couple of news clips over the past couple of weeks and ignored them, thinking there must be two minor league ballplayers with the same, as much as that seemed unlikely given the name is Hunter Mense. It couldn't be the same Hunter Mense we know from Mizzou Baseball. Our Hunter Mense is an outfielder. This guy with the T-Bones is a pitcher.

But it's true: the wild ride of David Hunter Mense through his minor league baseball career has indeed landed him in Kansas City, with the independent Northern League T-Bones. He was given his release from the Florida Marlins organization after his final game July 12th. On July 28th, the KC T-Bones signed him, listing him as a LHP.

■ Hunter Mense bio at tbonesbaseball.com

List of instructors at All Star Sports Center in Liberty, MO:
Hunter Mense is back home, ready to provide pitching, hitting and fielding training! The Marlins loss is All Stars gain. Hunter spent 4 years in the Florida Marlins organization and is currently playing with the KC T-Bones.
Hunter, we're all pulling for you to follow in the path of fellow Tiger alum Justin James, who went from a journeyman career in the affiliated minor leagues to the Kansas City R-Bones and now is in Triple-A ball.

Draft Update: Nick Tepesch signs with Rangers

■ Rangers sign 14th round RHP Nick Tepesch, out of University of Missouri, according to Jamey Newberg of the NewbergReport on Twitter (reposted on RockMNation.com)

Matt Hobbs' MU Playing Career

Photo from 2002 MU Baseball Poster
(Yes, Mr. Hardoin, as a coach he has been wearing his original jersey number, 38)

Matt Hobbs was no Roy Hobbs. More like Calvin & Hobbes.

Matt Hobbs, announced Friday as a new member of MU's coaching staff, played for Mizzou during a stretch that could be called the Great Slump in the middle of the Tim Jamieson years. After some great record-setting offensive teams of the 90's (led by Ryan Fry, Aaron Jaworowski and others), the turn of the century was not kind to Tiger Baseball. The team averaged a record of 29-26 from 2000-2002, reaching a low in Hobbs' senior year of 24-29. In '01 and '02, MU failed to make the Big 12 Tournament.

While he could strike out a lot of batters, Matt Hobbs gave up too many runs and only accumulated 13 wins in four years on the staff, with the bulk of his wins coming in his Junior year (8-5 record), when he was the leader of the pitching staff. In his senior year he struggled with inconsistency and was overshadowed by a group of young newcomers to the pitching staff, including Justin James and Travis Wendte.

Frankly, hearing the name of Matt Hobbs announced as the new pitching coach did not initially inspire excitement in me, based solely on his pitching records at MU.

My memory of him is also clouded by the fact that I recall Mr. Hobbs quite clearly as being the only Tiger player I have ever loudly heckled during a game at Simmons field.

Hobbs came in to relieve the starter in this particular game. It quickly became apparent that Hobbs had little or no control of his pitches on that afternoon. He allowed at least two runs on wild pitches in a single inning, combined with walks and hits surrendered.

After the second or third wild pitch, he ran to cover home plate, like a good pitcher will do. When the catcher came back up with the ball and tossed it to his pitcher, Hobbs looked at his catcher with a cat-that-ate-the-canary grin on his face.

From my usual seat behind home plate, I had a clear view of that grin, and I let him have it. You think it's funny that you can't find the plate? You think it's funny that you're letting down your team? Et cetera, et cetera.

I also clearly remember his reaction. He definitely heard me, since I was only a few yards from him, and I was standing up, waving my arms and yelling at the top of my lungs. As he looked at me his jaw dropped open and stared for a moment before returning to the mound.

Who knows what was going on with him in that game and in that moment? I do know that I was certainly a more volatile heckler then than I am now. So I'll give him (and myself) the benefit of the doubt.

I just had to tell that story, though, for the benefit of the current crop of Tiger pitchers, now Hobbs' apprentices.

He's not a young and cocky college pitcher anymore, but an experienced college pitching coach with a lot of really good recommendations and press clippings.
Matt Hobbs is the most hard working recruiting coach I have ever seen. I saw him while he was recruiting for San Diego. That guy showed up to every showcase, tournament and game. He was everywhere - watching everyone and everything.

Hobbs is a GRINDER. Hardest working man on the west coast, he is everywhere.

(CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com message board)
And he will be able to put himself in the shoes of his players, even those who may be less-focused than desired.

Oh, and not only has he won 13 more games as a Tiger than his pitching-coach predecessor did, but his overall stats are no less dazzling than Tony V's were as a player.

Here's to the tradition of unspectacular players becoming successful coaches.

Matt Hobbs MU Player Bio (mutigers.com)
• 2002: 2-3, 9.82 ERA, 18 Appearances, 3 starts, 29.1 IP, 33 SO, 21 BB

• 2001: 8-5, 4.06 ERA, 14 starts, 55 SO, 36 BB

• 2000: 2-1, 4.74 ERA, 21 Appearances, 35 SO, 19 BB

• 1999: 4 appearances, 2.2 innings

• Set a Big 12 Conference record by striking out seven consecutive batters in two games (Harris-Stowe, 3/26) and Texas Tech, 3/29)

• Helped MU set a Big 12 mark as Tigers struck out nine consecutive hitters in one game against Harris-Stowe (3/26)
• Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 30th round of the 2001 Draft; he chose to return to the Tigers and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 50th round of the 2002 draft
Hobbs' gem lifts Tigers (Columbia Tribune 4/22/2001)
With his team desperately needing a quality outing, Hobbs came through with one of his best performances of the season for the Tigers (24-17-1, 9-14 Big 12). The junior left hander scattered three runs on seven hits in 8 1/3 innings of work to improve to 7-3 on the year.

"Matt did a great job and kept the ball down all day and that’s what you’ve got to do against these guys," Stegall said. "He went right at guys and was ahead in the count all day and that’s why he pitched so well."

Hobbs was quick to credit his offense for putting some early runs on the board and his defense.

"All I had to do was hit the mitt," said Hobbs, who finished with seven strikeouts. "It seemed like every ball they hit was right at somebody and my defense made some incredible plays behind me."
■ Hobbs' teammates during his days as a Tiger include Tony Vitello, Luke Cassis, Travis Wendte, Garrett Broshuis, Wes Fewell, Justin James, Drew Endicott, Cody Ehlers, Mark Alexander, Jayce Tingler, Lee Laskowski, Shaun Marcum, Jon Williams, Logan Dale, Ryan Stegall, Mike and Ryan Rallo, and many others.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Rookie shines in Rochester Redwings win (democratchrnocile.com)
Kyle Gibson may not be a power pitcher, but he got the job done in his Triple-A debut on Friday.
. . .
Gibson allowed just one run in 52/3 innings, and Macri broke open a close game with a three-run home run off the left-field foul pole in the seventh inning as Rochester tied a season high with its fourth straight win.

"You're always a little bit nervous when you're at a new level," said Gibson, who was promoted from Double-A New Britain on Thursday. "I just tried to go out and give the team a chance to win."

With 20 members of his family from Greenfield, Ind., looking on, Gibson walked two, struck out one and threw 88 pitches (50 for strikes) before leaving in the sixth.

"When I took him out, I asked him if he had a good time," Wings manager Tom Nieto said. "He said 'I had a blast.'

Draft Deadline Update

MLB 2010 Draft signing deadline: 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, August 16

The best draft dealine preview you'll find (Baseball America Podcast)
  • Jason Adam, Royals: "I think they'll definitely get that done"
  • Nick Tepesch, Rangers: "I don't know how much the team thinks he's worth . . . he has developed asmuch as people hoped. He's guy, depending on what's he's ofered, who might get as much going back for another year."
  • Matt Stites, Cubs: "One of my favorite pitchers "
Pressure rises as signing deadline looms (CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com)
Missouri hopes pitcher Nick Tepesch decides to return for another season. Tepesch, who has loads of potential, could benefit by returning. For now, though, the talented pitcher has a tough decision to make. The 14th-round pick by the Rangers is said to be 50-50 between returning to college and signing. He’s expected to be a deadline decision.
Rangers sign Jackson: What does it mean for Tepesch? (RockMNation)
  • Bid Head: If the Rangers really wanted to sign Nick, they would have done it already since Nick really doesn't have much leverage.
    . . .
    Basically, the Rangers have already pushed Tepesch back a year. With the Rangers already spending way over slot for their 1st two picks, I don’t believe the Rangers really want to pay over slot for Tepesch, which they’d have to do
  • Uribe Auction: Vitello leaving means Tepesch is going to have a new pitching coach next year regardless of whether he goes back to Mizzou or signs with Texas. I guess I’d rather have a minor league pitching coach whom you have no relationship with than someone who may be a good college pitching coach whom you have no relationship with.
Moving draft signing deadline a future topic (mlb.com)

If the real negotiating doesn't take place until right before the deadline, why not have it on, say, July 15?

"I am all for moving up the deadline, but nothing is going to happen until 2012," one American League scouting director said. "I expect significant changes in the Draft to be part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement."

It's true that no changes to the Draft process are likely to be made until the next CBA is agreed upon -- the current one expires in December 2011 -- and most of the Draft-related focus will likely be centered around bonus slotting. But there are several reasons why teams would be in favor of truncating the signing period even further.

The biggest, and most often mentioned, advantage, would be the potential of getting players into systems more quickly. If a player signs on Aug. 15 or 16, he'll usually go to the Instructional League and perhaps play in a few games somewhere before the season ends. With a July 15 deadline, even a player who waits to the very end to sign can get six weeks of professional experience under his belt.

Matt Hobbs, Pitching Coach

MU has announced the hiring of two new Assistant Coaches: Kerrick Jackson and Matt Hobbs. Over the next few days we will have features introducing these new coaches.

We begin with former Tiger Matt Hobbs, who will be taking over the duties of Pitching Coach. Today, a look at his experience and philosophy as a pitching coach. Tomorrow, Matt Hobbs' career as a Tiger pitcher. Look for a feature on Kerrick Jackson on Monday morning.

University of San Francisco Bio (usfdons.com)
Matt Hobbs Hobbs begins his first season at the University of San Francisco in 2010. Hobbs comes to the Hilltop from UC San Diego, where he held an associate head coaching position for three years.

"We are extremely excited to have Matt Hobbs as a pitching Coach/ recruiting coordinator at the University of San Francisco," said Giarratano. "Matt brings great success, knowledge, and great work habits to our program. Matt will continue to help the program rise."
. . .
At UC San Diego, Hobbs was also pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, and he helped lead the Tritons to their first ever final four appearance in the 2009 Division II College World Series. UCSD was ranked third by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association in 2009, after being named Regional Champions for the first time in school history. The Tritons 41-15 record was the second best in program history, behind the 2008 team that had 43 wins.

On the mound, Hobbs' pitching staff allowed the fewest number of walks per nine innings of any Division II baseball program, and was 12th nationally in ERA (3.73). As a recruiter, since 2007 Hobbs brought in three All-Americans, four First-Team All-West Region, four Second-Team All-West Region, seven First-Team CCAA, one Second-Team CCAA, and one CCAA Freshman of the Year.

Prior to UCSD, Hobbs spent two seasons (2005-2006) at Santa Barbara City College as the pitching coach. In 2006, the Vaqueros had the fewest walks in the Western State Conference, while the 2005 squad led the WSC with a 2.27 team ERA and seven shutouts as SBCC earned a program high 24 wins. During the summers while at SBCC, Hobbs was the pitching coach for Foresters Baseball. The summer league team earned the National Baseball Congress World Series in 2006, after a runner up finish in 2005. He also spent one season as an assistant coach at Chapman University, working with the pitching and catching staffs and coaching first base.

It's all about the heater (Baseball America, reposted at UCSDTritons.com)

But Matt Hobbs sees it differently. He pitched in the Big 12, at Missouri, and now is assistant coach at emerging Division II power UC San Diego. The Tritons don't have any arms like Baylor's, but Hobbs still espouses the fastball-first philosophy.

"You have to command the fastball, even at this level, even when the fastball is in the mid-80s, like most of our guys," Hobbs said. "It's imperative to work off the fastball, to command it, to build arm strength—it's the foundation of everything a pitcher does."

Maybe it's easier for Hobbs to say that at the D-II level, where the pressure to win is not as heated as in the Southeastern Conference, where Pat McMahon can take Florida to Omaha in 2005 and lose his job in 2007. But if it works in the big leagues, it's hard to see how it won't work against amateurs. The metal bat is an equalizer in some ways, but it doesn't turn, say, Ryan Graepel into Albert Pujols.
How do you correct striding across the body? (insidepitching.com)

Matt Hobbs, Pitching Coach, University of San Francisco:
The approach is the first place to begin making sure that a pitcher has a definite idea of where they want to throw the ball and how they want to get it there is ground zero. We always make sure that they are “attacking the middle of the plate” rather than trying to manipulate their bodies by stepping outside their drive leg. Once this approach is ingrained if the pitcher is still having a hard time getting on line to the plate we move into drill work.
The most basic drill I start with is having the pitcher throw a short 50 ft. pen on a 2 x 4 pointing directly through the center of the plate after he gets an idea for what it feels like to be totally centered we move to a “T-Drill” this is done by attaching a section of 2 x 4 slightly larger than a standard pitching rubber perpendicular to a 2 x 4 slightly longer than the pitchers full stride. This allows for the pitcher to move on the rubber so he can land slightly closed but not step completely across his body. In some extreme cases the 2 x 4 can be used as an obstacle for the pitcher, placing it perpendicular to the rubber aligned with his regular stride, this serves to not only show him where he is striding but it provides instant feedback when he strides too far outside his drive leg

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mizzou in the Minors: Culp Cruising

Nathan Culp tossed bullets across six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk while fanning five. He also recorded 11 ground ball outs. Culp, a winner of three straight, has allowed one earned run over his last 19 innings of work, striking out 19. It is the eighth time in his last nine starts that Culp has allowed two earned or less. The southpaw has a 3.76 ERA in 14 starts and a 6.23 ERA in eight relief appearances. (MadFriars.com)

MU announces hire of two coaches

Mizzou Baseball coaching staff adds two (mutigers.com)
Mizzou Baseball Head Coach Tim Jamieson has announced the addition of Kerrick Jackson and Matt Hobbs to the Tigers' coaching staff. Jackson will take over as Missouri's recruiting coordinator along with other coaching responsibilities, while Hobbs will handle the duties of pitching coach.

In addition, Evan Pratte, who has spent the last 13 seasons as Mizzou's hitting coach, will take over as the Director of Baseball Operations.

"I think we've put together a very strong staff with the additions of Kerrick and Matt," Jamieson said. "Kerrick has an eye for talent and great knowledge of the areas in which we recruit. He also is very knowledgeable when it comes to the game of baseball and working with young players. Matt has positioned himself as a solid pitching coach. His emphasis on attacking hitters and avoiding walks is something we have always stressed and he's done a great job of getting that done with the staffs with which he's worked. Also, he's a former Tiger and it is always nice to have former players come back and work with our program."

Jackson joins the Mizzou staff after spending the past three years with the scouting department of the Washington Nationals. He supervised all amateur scouting in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Jackson was a member of the baseball team at Nebraska in 1999 after playing at Bethune Cookman College. He later served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Nicholls State and spent two summers coaching in the Cape Cod League.

A native of Kirkwood, Mo. outside of St. Louis, Jackson attended Kirkwood South High School.

Hobbs pitched at Missouri from 1999-2002, where he won 13 games and struck out 125 batters. He comes to Missouri after spending the 2010 season as the pitching coach at the University of San Francisco. USF's pitching staff ranked fourth in the West Coast Conference in ERA and was second in the league in fewest walks per nine innings.

From 2006-2009, he was the associate head coach, pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at UC-San Diego when the Tritons made a trip to the Division II College World Series and finished the year ranked No. 3. Under Hobbs, UCSD's pitching staff allowed the fewest number of walks per nine innings in D-II in 2009 and ranked 12th nationally with a 3.73 ERA.

Prior to UCSD, Hobbs spent two seasons as the pitching coach at Santa Barbara City College, while also spending the summer as the pitching coach for the summer league team, Foresters Baseball. He also served one season as an assistant coach at Chapman University, where he worked with the pitchers and catchers.

Kyle Gibson starts tonight at AAA Rochester

Gibson to make debut for Wings Friday (redwingsbaseball.com)
The Twins will also promote RHP Kyle Gibson from New Britain to Rochester, and Gibson will make his Triple-A debut Friday night at Frontier Field. Gibson, the Twins' first round pick last year, will start here Friday night. Gibson was 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 16 starts at Double-A New Britain; Gibson began this season with Class A Fort Myers, where he posted a 4-1 record and a 1.87 ERA.
• Gametime 7:05PM ET (6:05 PM Central Time) -- Listen Live at MiLB.com (No video for tonight's game)

Summer Ball

Millers wrap up division crown (suburbanjournals.com)
Waterloo grabbed game one 9-2 behind a strong performance by veteran right-hander Brandon Musso, who went the distance, striking out seven and walking three while allowing six hits. Jeff Schwierjon and Jonah Schmidt had three RBIs apiece and Patrick Miesner was 3-for-3 with a home run.
. . .
“They lost four in a row here lately, but they are vastly improved. We will have Jonah Schmidt back for the playoffs. He could be the difference in us winning or losing. He has hit well for us, but he hasn’t hit for power, which I know is there. He needs to pop about three home runs in one game with men on and we are home free.”

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Rick Zagone returns to AA

Bowie Baysox announce a series of roster moves (boxscorenews.com)
The Bowie Baysox announce a series of roster moves today. OF Daniel Figueroa was placed on the Seven-Day Disabled List, LHP Rick Zagone was transferred to Bowie from class Single-A Frederick and Baltimore Orioles RHP Jim Johnson was assigned to Bowie on a Major League rehab assignment. With the moves, the Baysox maintain a complete 24-man roster.
. . .
Zagone made eight starts for Bowie, going 3-3 with a 3.74 ERA. The left-hander has walked 13 batters in 53.0 innings while striking out 29. In 15 starts for the Frederick Keys this year, Zagone was 5-6 with a 3.20 ERA.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Tiger vs. Tiger

■ Aaron Senne and the Jamestown Jammers played Tyler Clark and the Connecticut Tigers Wednesday night in Jamestown. Tyler came in in the 8th inning with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Tyler worked a ground out SS to 1B to end the inning. Tyler struck out the side in the 9th inning but not before allowing 1 run on 2 hits. Tyler faced Aaron in the 9th inning with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 3rd and walked Aaron on a 4 pitches. Connecticut won the game 8-3. Jamestown is in 1st place in the Pinckney Division and Connecticut is in 2nd place Stedler Division of the NY Penn League.

Draft Deadline Update

■ From DallasNews.com: The Rangers are also believed to be in active negotiations with RHP Justin Grimm (fifth round pick) and RHP Nick Tepesch (14th round).

Kyle Gibson likely to Triple-A today

Gibson likely promoted to Rochester (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Kyle Gibson, the Twins' 2009 first-round draft pick, will likely be promoted to Class AAA Rochester to start Friday's game, Twins minor league director Jim Rantz said.
. . .
Rantz said the Twins want to cap his workload at 150-160 innings. Gibson has thrown 136 1/3 innings between Class A and Class AA this year, so Rochester would be his final stop.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Ball: All-TCL Team

■ 2010 All Texas Coast League Team includes a returning Tiger and a Mizzou newcomer
  • Conner Mach was named to the 2010 All-TCL Team as a second baseman. In Mach's first summer with the Generals, he led the team in home runs with four, in RBIs with 30, and in total bases with 57. Mach, a sophomore from the University of Missouri, hit .295 during the regular season. His four home runs were tied for third in the league while his 30 RBI ranked him second. (victoriagenerals.com)

  • Dusty Ross, who shattered the league saves record, was selected as the league’s top reliever. (texascollegiateleague.com)

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Kyle Gibson Timetable

Q & A with Twins GM Bill Smith (Naples Daily News)
Q: When do you expect 2009 first-round draft pick and former Miracle pitcher Kyle Gibson to make it to the majors?

A: Kyle started his season here with the Miracle and had a tremendous first half. He has pitched very well with the Rock Cats in New Britain. He's been a bright spot for that club. As he's getting late into the season he's starting to show a little bit of fatigue. We want to monitor that. We’re probably going to be shutting his innings down pretty quickly. He had an injury last year and didn’t pitch a lot of innings, so we want to monitor that. He’ll finish the year with Double-A, and we'll see where spring training (next year) takes him. You can't put too much of a timetable on it. I would hope at some point next year he'll get to Triple-A and be knocking on the door.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MU Coaching Shuffle

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt blogs about the Mizzou Baseball coaching shuffle that we reported on last Friday:
BA has learned that Hobbs will serve as Missouri's pitching coach, and the Tigers have hired Washington Nationals area scout Kerrick Jackson to serve as recruiting coordinator, replacing Tony Vitello (who left for Texas Christian).

SimmonsField Photo: Meltdown

As a provocateur, the Reds' Brandon Phillips is an amateur compared to Louisville's Chris Dominguez (now a teammate of Ryan Lollis).
Tim Jamieson and Trevor Coleman, 2007 Columbia Regional

Jason Adam: 99% I'm going to Royals

Royals close to deal with BV Northwest's Jason Adam (KansasCity.com)
Pitcher Jason Adam of Blue Valley Northwest appears ready to sign with the Royals.

“Negotiations have been fairly painless,” said Adam, a fifth-round pick in the June draft. “We talked to them before the draft. They knew going in what it would take to sign me. It’s looking pretty sure we’ll sign.

“It’s probably 99 percent I’m going to the Royals.”

Summer Ball Revs up, Winds down

5 things to watch in the Generals playoff series (Victoria Advocate)
The top-seeded Victoria Generals open their first-round playoff series Tuesday against their regional rival, the Texas Tomcats, on Tuesday. While on paper, it's the TCL's best versus it's lowest seed, it could be a mismatch for the Generals. Here's what to watch for in the series:
. . .
This year, center fielder Mark Hudson batted a team best .340 and had 20 RBIs, while second baseman Conner Mach batted .295 and led the team with 30 RBIs, making for a great combination at the heart of the Victoria lineup. Both have home run power.
Jacks finish well, start playoffs on a roll (Kilgore News Herald)
The East Texas Pump Jacks have made the Texas Collegiate League’s playoffs, now, in all three seasons of existence. And after clinching the second-half championship of the league with a 7-4 win at home over McKinney on Monday night, the Pump Jacks are setting their sights on the league’s biggest crown.
. . .
Carvutto struck hard again in the bottom of the fourth. Teammate Jesse Santo, the University of Missouri junior from New Jersey, singled down the right field line, and then Texas A&M sophomore Brandon Wood laid down a perfect bunt, safely reaching first and allowing Santo to get into scoring position.
Bombers' World Series run ends (American Chronicle)
Sedalia starter Zach Hardoin lasted four innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Cavemen top Gems twice on last day of season (Hannibal Courier-Post)
Closer James Hudelson allowed one unearned run in the ninth inning, but managed to shut the door with a strikeout to pick up his eighth save of the season. Reliever Kyle Grana (1-1) picked up his first win of the season with a scoreless eighth.

MizzouTube: 1928 MU film

Not baseball, but a great ride in the wayback machine for Mizzou fans:
Oldest known surviving film of a Missouri Football game

(link to Tigerboard discussion of the YouTube video, which I first saw referenced on RockMNation - I think that's the definition of viral video)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Draft signing deadline approaches

MLB 2010 Draft signing deadline: 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, August 16

Still unresolved for the Mizzou Tigers:
• MU Recruit Jason Adam, drafted in the 5th round by the Royals, still unsigned

• MU Senior-to-be Nick Tepesch, drafted in the 14th round by the Rangers, still unsigned

• MU Recuit Matt Stites, drafted in the 33rd round by the Cubs
Mighty Matt (SurbanJournals.com)
Jefferson College all-America pitcher Matt Stites turned in a solid showing in tone of college baseball's big-time summer spotlights. Invited to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League, Stites opened and closed the season with a bang for the Falmouth Commodores. The 5-foot-10 fireballer, won two of his first three starts and finished the season by not giving up a run in five consecutive relief appearances. The former Festus High and Festus American Legion ace has signed a letter of intent to join the Mizzou baseball program in the fall, but he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the first-year player draft in June and his Cape Cod showing may push the Cubs to make an effort to get him locked up before they lose his signing rights on Sunday.

■ From Dallas.SBNation.com:
Much has been made about the club's future payroll and ability to re-sign Cliff Lee, but there are more immediate monetary questions to be asked. The Rangers still must sign Luke Jackson, though all signs point to that happening and the Rangers just waiting until August 16 per MLB guidelines on over-slot deals. But the club also drafted a handful of interesting talents in the middle rounds (including Justin Grimm, Nick Tepesch, Garrett Buechele and Brian Ragira - the last two being longshots to sign with local ties) that they would have been stretched to sign under MLB budgetary restrictions. If the Greenberg group assumes control this week as expected, my hope is that there is some money available to round out their draft class.

MizzouTube: VolleyZOU

Summer Ball

Tomcats clinch playoff spot with 8-4 win over Pump Jacks (texastomcats.com)
The Texas Tomcats entered into Wednesday night's game with the East Texas Pump Jacks knowing that their magic number to get into the 2010 TCL playoffs was two. The Tomcats 8-4 win over the Pump Jacks and the McKinney Marshals 7-6 loss to the Alexandria Aces on Wednesday night sealed the Tomcat's fate as the #4 seed in the TCL playoffs. The Tomcats will face the #1 seed in the first round, which is still up for grabs between the Victoria Generals, Brazos Valley Bombers, and East Texas Pump Jacks. Game one of the best-of-three series in the first round will be hosted by the Texas Tomcats at Veterans Memorial Park - Strickland Field in Weimar on Tuesday, August 10. The Tomcats will then play on the road at the home site of the #1 seed for game two and for the "if" game, game three. Those games will be played on Wednesday, August 11 and Thursday, August 12. The winner of the series will then move on to play in the TCL Championship Series against the winner of the matchup of the #2 and #3 seeds.

The East Texas Pump Jacks jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the first inning of play on Monday night. The Pump Jacks offense roughed up Tomcat's starting pitcher Zach Oates for five hits in inning. But Oates then settled into a groove, only allowing four hits over the next six innings of work without giving up a run to earn the win. Oates struck out six in the ballgame. The Tomcat's offense got back into the game in the bottom of the fourth inning by scoring three runs. The big blow of the inning was a two-run homerun by Nick DeSantiago. Casey Grayson had an RBI single in the inning as well. The Tomcats tied it up in the fifth inning when Andre Rodriguez scored on a passed ball. The Tomcats then took the lead for good by scoring three runs in the sixth. The big hit of the sixth inning was a two-run triple by Wes Mercurio. Andre Rodriguez then hit a sacrifice fly to score Mercurio. The Tomcats added an insurance run in the seventh as Troy White scored on a passed ball to make the final score 8-4.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mizzou in the Minors: Justin James

Have you noticed what Justin James has been doing lately?

James was promoted to AAA Sacramento July 21st. since then, he has posted a 0.93 ERA in 8 relief appearances, 9-1/3 innings pitched. 10 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 14 K, 1.65 WHIP.

This is quite the comeback for James, who played for the Tigers in 2002 and 2003 and was drafted in the 5th round by the Blue Jays in '03. He worked his way through the Toronto farm system until he was shipped off to the Reds organization in the off-season of 2007-08, and spent 2008 toiling in the Cincinnati minor leagues. In 2009 he found himself out of affiliated baseball and signed with the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent Northern League, where he played through 2009 and began the season in 2010.

On June 18, 2020, the T-Bones sold James' contract to the Oakland A's organization, who sent him to AA Midland, promoting him to Triple A a month later.

It brings to mind a quote from Satchel Paige:
"Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."

2010 Stats from FirstInning.com

Yukon's Justin James faring well in Triple-A (NewsOK.com, 7/31/10)
It didn't take long for former Yukon standout Justin James to move up the ladder in the A's organization.

Just more than a month after signing with Oakland after more than a season with the independent Kansas City T-Bones, James was called up to Triple-A Sacramento.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Alumni

Former Mizzou pitcher Ryan Allen joins Informed Athlete (informedathlete.com)
Informed Athlete is very pleased & proud to announce the addition of Ryan Allen to our team.

Ryan completed his final year of college baseball eligibility in May after playing 3 years for the University of Missouri (2006-2009) and 1 year (2010) for the University of Central Missouri. He will graduate in May 2011 from the University of Missouri with his bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He also is a private pitching instructor at Balls N Strikes in Columbia, Missouri.

As a former college athlete, Ryan brings a unique point of view to Informed Athlete that only someone who has “been there” can understand. He will be providing input on website content and writing blogs & giving advice from the student athletes’ perspective.

Advice from a veteran college baseball player (informedathlete.com)

Probably the best words I received going into my freshman year at the University of Missouri were given to me by my coach from Connie Mack ball.

“Just remember, they wouldn’t have recruited you if they didn’t believe you could help them get to Omaha,” he told me . . .

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bullpen Scramble Set for Sept. 17

From mutigers.com:

The 16th Annual Missouri Baseball Bullpen Scramble will be held on Sept. 17 at A.L. Gustin Golf Course in Columbia. The day will begin with registration and a pre-tournament lunch at Noon with a shotgun start set for 1 p.m. for the scramble format.

The entry fee is $105 per person or $400 per team. Missouri Baseball alumni are invited to play free of charge.

For those who need to "hit a few" beforehand, you will be able to get to the driving range. After the golf, prizes will be awarded to the top three teams in the three flights following dinner. Also there will be the standard longest drive and closest to the pin holes. Of course, you will be able to help your score by buying mulligans.

All proceeds go to support the Tiger Bullpen, the official booster club of Missouri Baseball.

Details & Registration

Mizzou Baseball: Compliance

The NCAA's APR reports are out for all Division I coaches in all sports, for six consecutive seasons through the 2008-09 season. You can check on any coach at any institution at NCAA.org
Tim Jamieson's APR looks pretty good, compared to all other NCAA coaches: an average of 961 over the past 6 seasons, compared to 938 for all D-I Coaches.

Of course, that's comparing Jamieson to ALL coaches: football, basketball, baseball, et al.

Let's compare MU and Tim Jamieson to the other Big 12 schools:
  • 980 BU Steve Smith

  • 961 MU Tim Jamieson

  • 958 A&M Mark Johnson, Rob Childress

  • 946.5 UT Augie Garrido

  • 941 KU Ritch Price

  • 941 NU Mike Anderson

  • 931 OU Larry Cochell, Sunny Gollaway

  • 930 KSU Brad Hill

  • 906 OSU Frank Anderson

  • 894 TTU Larry Hays, Dan Spencer

Thursday, August 5, 2010

MU Coaching Shuffle

We've now heard from more than one source that a full-scale shuffle is taking place in the Mizzou Baseball coaching staff. Some of the following details I know for a fact. The rest of it has all been confirmed by a number of disparate sources:

■ We know for sure (although MU has not officially announced either of these moves) that Tony Vitello is leaving his job as pitching coach and chief recruiter to take an assistant coaching position at TCU. Also, Luke Cassis is leaving his position as Operations Director to return to his hometown of Chicago, to enroll in graduate school.

■ Earlier this week we reported that former Tiger pitcher Matt Hobbs is apparently going to be the hire as the Pitching Coach.

■ We've also heard from more than one source that long-time Assistant Coach Evan Pratte is going to be moving into the Operations Director position vacated by Cassis.

■ We are also hearing from more than one source that Pratte will be replaced as Hitting/Fielding coach by Kerrick Jackson. Jackson currently is a regional scouting coordinator for the Washington Nationals, and has a long record of assistant coaching experience.

■ It's not certain who will be the Head Recruiter, but both Hobbs and Jackson have a great deal of experience and high recommendations as recruiters. Both have ties in Missouri, Hobbs has many connections on the west coast, and Jackson has played, coached and scouted in the Midwest, the Northern Plains, Louisiana and Florida, and in the Cape Cod League.

Again, none of this is officially confirmed by MU. The departures of Vitello and Cassis are confirmed by TCU and by Luke himself. I expect an announcement from MU soon. As someone who works for the University, I am fully aware that the wheels of UM Human Resources can move very slowly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SimmonsField Photo: Leapfrog

Tom Ciombor

Mizzou Asst. Coach Search

Report says Tigers hire baseball aide (Columbia Tribune)
Former Missouri pitcher Matt Hobbs is returning to the Tigers this year, according to an Internet report.
. . .
Through an MU athletic department spokesman, Jamieson said he had nothing to report on the job search.

I hope he doesn't take it out on his appliances

Alex Rodriguez hits 600th HR (espn.com)
Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th career home run on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez hit a two-run homer to straightaway center field in the first inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, off Shaun Marcum (2001). It came on a 2-0 pitch with Derek Jeter on first and two out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Matt Hobbs to replace Tony Vitello

Missouri replaces Tony Vitello (CollegeBaseball.rivals.com)
. . . With San Francisco assistant coach and former Missouri player Matt Hobbs.

Hobbs spent just a season at San Francisco. Previously, he spent three seasons as associate head coach at UC San Diego.

In addition to getting a former player, it looks like the Tigers are hoping to open up an avenue out in California.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Demoted, Promoted, Demoted

Aaron Crow demoted (kingsofkauffman.com)
To make room for Danny Duffy on the Double A Northwest Arkansas Naturals roster, 2009 first round pick Aaron Crow was demoted to High A Wilmington. Duffy, you’ll remember, took a hiatus before the season began due to personal issues, but posted a 2.38 ERA in two rookie league tune up starts and a start for Wilmington.

Crow has struggled all season for the Naturals, putting up a 5.66 ERA in 22 starts and producing a weak 90/59 K/BB ratio over 199.1 innings.

The Royals have a unique luxury in that of their high profile prospects, Crow is the only one who’s had many roadblocks in 2010. With the performances of Mike Montgomery, John Lamb, Edgar Osuna, Duffy, Chris Dwyer, Louis Coleman and more in the minor league pitching ranks, the Royals can afford to give Crow a chance to work things out at a lower level of competition – for now.
Nathan Culp has gone to Triple-A Portland to make a spot start. (mysanantonio.com)

Mathis back (NewsOK.com)

Before their game at Anaheim on Saturday night, the Texas Rangers optioned Doug Mathis to the RedHawks. Mathis was sent down to make room for Rich Hardem who was activated from the disabled list to start Saturday
. . .
Mathis made three one-inning, shutout appearances in his latest stint with Texas but hadn't pitched since July 24.

200 Days until the 2011 Season Begins

As we announced earlier this week, the Tigers' first game of the 2011 season will be on February 18th against the USC Trojans at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles.

That's just 200 days away (and counting).

"Ever notice that after the June Classic closes its doors, you tend to move a little bit slower? The days seem longer. Daily chores take forever to complete. Southern drawls get even more drawn out. Even the second hand on a clock seems like it’s stuck in syrup."
(Eric Sorenson, CollegeBaseballToday.com)