Let’s kick things off with one of the finest moves a second rate website like this can make – the shameless traffic grab, of course. Hundreds of years of research shows that there is no better way to wake up Google than plastering up a picture of a popular, pretty girl. Erin Andrews is doing the sideline reporting for ESPN, so this isn’t quite as gratuitous as it could be…but, yeah, it’s still undeniably transparent.
Heat Index – 107 degrees
I like LSU to sweep, by the way.
LSU Lineup: LeMahieu, Schimpf, Dean, Gibbs, Mahtook, Mitchell, Ochinko, Helenihi, Nola
LeMahieu, Schimpf, Dean, Mitchell, and Ochinko were all drafted in the 2009 MLB Draft.
Texas starter tonight is RHP Chance Ruffin. Fastball has been in the low-90s so far. Best secondary offering has probably been the backup high-70s slider.
Ryan Schimpf (Blue Jays draftee, round 5) blasted a high, straight fastball deep to right to get the Tigers on the board
Texas Lineup: Torres, Tucker, Belt, Moldenhauer, Rupp, Keyes, Loy, Clark, Rowe
Mikie Mahtook is white. I don’t know why that surprises me, but it does. It really does. I’m not proud of this fact.
Still can’t get over that Cameron Rupp homer that tied the game against Arizona State on Friday. I haven’t heard the measured distance on it yet, but it was an absolute rocket to dead center. Had to have been over 430 feet.
Louis Coleman (5th rounder by Kansas City) has only thrown fastballs so far (as far as I can tell). I don’t have all of his readings, but the ones I’ve caught are: 92, 88, 85, 89, 90, 88, 91, 88, 89. No sooner do I type that does he end the inning with a strikeout on a 79 MPH offspeed pitch.
Sampling of Ruffin’s work so far:
FB: 92, 92, 87, 93, 87, 91, 85, 91, 90, 91, 92, 86
SL: 78, 79, 77, 79, 79, 81, 80, 82
CU: 72, 74, 76, 76
I could be wrong about those changeups…I miss having a DVR.
You know who Coleman reminds me of? Mechanically, anyway. His delivery reminds me a lot of Alex White’s low arm slot. Still looks like a future reliever, but worth trying as a starter so long as the results are there.
I legitimately forgot I wrote about Preston Clark earlier in the year. I knew I liked him, but I couldn’t remember if I thought about writing about him or if I actually followed through (a rare occurance, I know). Anyway, here’s what I wrote:
Preston Clark is one of the most talented players on the list and his incremental production from year to year at Texas is a nice sign going forward. He’ll never hit for a high average, but his plate discipline (29 BB in 179 AB last season) is good and he has just enough juice in his bat to keep pitchers honest. His health is a major question mark, but a spring that sees Clark in the lineup (and behind the plate) on a consistent basis should solidify him as prospect with a better than average shot of someday developing into a strong big league backup backstop. Even if he doesn’t catch all that often — sophomore Cameron Rupp is in line to get plenty of reps behind the dish as well — Clark’s defensive versatility (he’s capable of playing third and the outfield, in addition to catching) is an added bonus to his game.
I was wrong.
I really like Robin Ventura. He has two things that really work to his advantage from where I’m sitting – a) he’s quiet, and b) he has a sneaky sense of humor. I like Orel Hershiser just fine, but the way Ventura needles him is very amusing to me.
I didn’t really know about the LSU open stance thing before tonight. Quirks like that are one of the reasons I think college baseball is so much fun to follow – different programs preaching different things. From certain teams pushing certain pitches to the LSU open stance thing (I need a more clever name for it, but I’ve got nothing) to the infamous “Stanford swing,” college baseball is loaded with character if you just know where to look.
Who had odds on Travis Tucker hitting a homerun tonight? Travis Tucker’s mom, maybe, but that has to be about it. Baseball = funny game. Here’s what I said about Tucker earlier:
not a prospect worth going on about. He had a decent junior year (good on-base skills, tiny bit of pop, above-average baserunner), but his inability to play shortstop well will keep him as an organizational type at best.
Now Russell Moldenhauer, that homerun makes a little more sense. Well, it makes sense when you watch him hit. If you only saw his 2009 numbers, it’s an even bigger shock than Tucker’s. Moldenhauer came to Omaha with a whopping zero homeruns to his credit on the season. I’m a relatively big Moldenhauer fan, if such a thing outside of Texas exists:
Moldenhauer may yet rediscover the stroke that made him a third round pick once upon a time, but he is going to have to do so in a hurry if he wants to make it as a pro.
I forgot to mention Kevin Keyes’s homer in the fourth. Now there’s a homerun that can’t really be classified as a surprise. Keyes has first round potential heading into 2010, but has been more projection than production as a collegiate player so far. He’s a very different player than Jared Mitchell (power is his game, not speed) and he doesn’t have football as a reason for stalled development like LSU’s 2009 first rounder, but I think he is in a similar spot at respective points in their development.
Ruffin is cruising through five. His command is starting to waver a tiny bit, but his mechanics have stayed surprisingly consistent despite the conditions. I’m way more impressed with him than I thought I’d be coming in.
Connor Rowe is a lot of fun to watch in centerfield. Not so much fun at the plate right now, however.
Can Mikie Mahtook hit a breaking ball? Or take an accurate route to a flyball? His potential is vast, but there is no denying that you are watching a freshman, and a raw one at that, when you watch him play.
Jared Mitchell, what can you really say? Usain Bolt is probably faster than him, but that may be the extent of the list.
Only players with last names beginning with “M” matter, apparently. Mahtook, Mitchell, and now Moldenhauer. Russ Moldenhauer with two homers tonight. Both hits were “no doubt about it” homeruns that came on gorgeous swings. He’s now a guy to put on the early watch list for 2010 senior signs.
Laptop is dying, time to call it an early evening. Great game so far, should be fun to see how these last three innings play out…