Yet another attempt at fighting the monotony that come with the college baseball weekend roundup posts. This week we’ll go through conference by conference to see who did what in the weekend that was. First up, the Big Ten. Midwestern baseball at its very best. All prospects were picked for some reason or another, so if the presence of a player confuses or excites you, please be so kind as to yell at me in the comments section.
Friday: SO LHP Jarred Hippen (Iowa): 8.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB 8 K
Saturday: JR RHP Zach Kenyon (Iowa): 5.2 IP 6 H 3 ER 2 BB 6 K against Texas
Sunday: SR LHP Zach Robertson (Iowa): 3.1 IP 7 H 5 ER 1 BB 6 K
Hippen may have had the best start of the bunch, but Kenyon and Robertson are both better prospects. Robertson’s stuff falls in line with your typical college finesse lefty: mid- to upper-80s fastball, good changeup, solid curveball.
Friday: FR CF Patrick Biondi (Michigan): 2-4, BB, 2 SB, RBI, 2 R, K
Friday: SO RHP Brandon Sinnery (Michigan): 4 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K out of bullpen
Friday: JR RHP Matt Miller (Michigan): 4.2 IP 9 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K
Saturday: FR OF Patrick Biondi (Michigan): 4-10, 2 2B, BB, HBP, RBI, 4 R, K in a doubleheader
Saturday: FR SS Derek Dennis (Michigan): 3-8, 2 HR, 2B, 2 BB, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 K in a doubleheader
Saturday: JR RHP Kolby Wood (Michigan): 4 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 4 K
Sunday: FR OF Patrick Biondi (Michigan): 1-3, HBP
Sunday: SR RHP/OF Alan Oaks (Michigan): 6.1 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K
Biondi’s cumulative weekend line: 7-17, 2 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB, 2 HBP, 2 RBI, 6 R, 2 K. Not bad for anybody, let alone a freshman. Wood and Oaks both pitched well. We’ve talked about Oaks before (90-94 FB, but very raw on mound), so let’s delve a bit deeper into Wood. His best pitch is a nasty SL that flashes plus when he has it going; too often, however, it flattens out on him. He also throws a 88-93 fastball with late movement and a well above-average mid-80s splitter. The power stuff suits his 6-6, 210 pound frame well.
Friday: JR OF Casey McMurray (Illinois): 2-5, HR, 2B, 2 BB, 6 RBI, 2 R in a doubleheader
Friday: SO RHP Will Strack (Illinois): 7.1 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 5 K
Friday: JR RHP Lee Zerrusen (Illinois): 1 IP 4 H 2 ER 0 BB 1 K
Saturday: SO OF Willie Argo (Illinois): 2-3, SB, BB
Sunday: JR RHP Lee Zerrusen (Illinois): 7 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 4 K
Lee Zerrusen was called upon to close out Friday night’s game and then start on Sunday. Such is life when pitching for a team without too many other arms with quality three-pitch mixes. Zerrusen throws a fastball that sits 91-93, a quality cutter, decent changeup, and tops it all off with above-average command and a pro body.
Friday: FR CF/2B Troy Larson (Minnesota): 3-5, 3B, 2 RBI, K, R
Friday: JR RHP Seth Rosin (Minnesota): 7.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 12 K
Saturday: JR C Mike Kvasnicka (Minnesota): 2-3, 2B, 2 BB
Saturday: JR LHP Luke Rasmussen (Minnesota): 6 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 4 K
Sunday: SO SS AJ Pettersen (Minnesota): 3-5, SB, RBI, R
Sunday: JR RHP Scott Matyas (Minnesota): 2.2 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K
Sunday: FR RHP TJ Oakes (Minnesota): 5.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K
I mentioned in the comments recently that Minnesota desperately needs a solid second starter to emerge after ace Seth Rosin. TJ Oakes may have heard me. The freshman righty features an upper-80s fastball (topping out at 91 currently) and a good low-80s slider, but offers plenty of room to grow on his 6-5, 215 pound frame. He’s one to watch as the season progresses. It’s also great to see Matyas back throwing strikes again and Kvasnicka continue to develop his defensive chops behind the plate.
Friday: SO 2B Eric Charles (Purdue): 2-3, BB, R, SB
Friday: SR RHP Matt Bischoff (Purdue): 8 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 11 K
Saturday: SO 2B Eric Charles (Purdue): 3-4, 2 RBI, R
Saturday: JR RHP Matt Morgan (Purdue): 4.2 IP 10 H 4 ER 2 BB 0 K
Sunday: SR LHP Matt Jansen (Purdue): 7 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 10 K
Bischoff has to be, what, an eighth-year senior at this point? Feels like he’s been on the Purdue squad forever. Charles put together a nice weekend at the plate, a welcome sight for a draft-eligible player already getting high marks for his defensive work.
Friday: SO OF Quentin Williams (Northwestern): 1-4, 3 BB, SB, R, 2 RBI, K
Friday: SO 1B/RHP Paul Snieder (Northwestern): 2-5, 4 BB, HBP, SB, R, 3 RBI and 1.1 IP 0 H 0 ER 0 BB 3 K
Friday: SO RHP Francis Brooke (Northwestern): 7.1 IP 11 H 4 ER 2 BB 2 K
Saturday: SO RHP Zach Morton (Northwestern): 5 IP 14 H 11 ER 2 BB 5 K
Saturday: SO 1B/RHP Paul Snieder (Northwestern): 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI and 2 IP 0 H 0 ER 1 BB 2 K
Snieder is one of my favorite college players because 1. it’s always fun to have legit pro prospects playing for schools like Northwestern, and 2. he’s a legit two-way talent who happened to excel in both areas over the weekend. It’s arguable where his pro future will go — slick fielding first baseman with power potential or mid-80s fastball with dangerous slider — but he’s a solid 2011 player to watch either way. As for the two sophomore hurlers on the list, Brooke is a non-prospect who keeps putting up winning results while Morton is an excellent athlete with a good three-pitch mix (upper-80s FB, 12-6 CB, CU) that should make him a draftable player in June 2011.
Saturday: JR RHP Dean Wolosiansky (Ohio State): 6.1 IP 11 H 8 ER 3 BB 3 K
Sunday: SR 2B Cory Kovanda (Ohio State): 3-3, BB, SB, 2 RBI, R
Sunday: FR RHP Brett McKinney (Ohio State): 6 IP 10 H 5 H 4 ER 2 BB 4 K low-90s FB with good life
Sunday: JR SS Tyler Engle (Ohio State): 3-4, 2B
Sunday: JR RHP Alex Wimmers (Ohio State): 8 IP 3 H 0 ER 5 BB 10 K against Tennessee
It wasn’t the prettiest effort of the season, but it’s hard to complain about 8 shutout innings against a traditional SEC power, right? Wimmers gets himself into trouble by being a nibbler, a problem that probably doesn’t worry me as much as it should at the next level. I’m admittedly a baseball outsider with playing experience that didn’t get too far past dabbling in high school, but I feel like Wimmers nibbling issue is something that can be knocked right out of his head by a good pro pitching coach. Wimmers’ possible Friday successor, freshman righthander Brett McKinney, used his plus fastball (sitting low-90s with good life) to get some success on Sunday. Oh yeah, one last thing about Ohio State before I forget: I love the person who is in charge of describing the weather on their box scores. Remember last week when it was “Blue skies, breezy & beautiful.” This week the weather on Friday was listed as “48 degrees. Eeerily quiet.” Love it. I’m really hoping there are weather forecasters in Columbus who check the radar and talk about warm fronts, cold fronts, and quiet fronts.
Sunday: SO LHP Drew Leininger (Indiana): 9 IP 8 H 0 ER 0 BB 4 K
Leininger may not be much of a prospect, but who am I to ignore a complete game shutout? Plus, it’s nice to throw the Hoosiers a bone after the year the basketball team had. I suppose I could have done the same for Penn State, but, really, that team is such a disaster I don’t even know where to begin. Love the 15 walk effort by the pitching staff on Friday night, guys. Keep up the good work.