Archive for College Ball

Yes, I know this is a Yankees blog, but we’re not just Yankee fans here at RAB, we’re baseball fans (well, at least I am), and you’d be hard pressed to find a better brand of the game than in Omaha. The players aren’t a bunch of egomaniac millionaires who think all of humanity owes them something; they’re a group of guys trying to achieve a common goal while in a key phase of life. There’s no pay check to play for, in fact many of the players are paying out of their pocket to play (NCAA limits the number of scholarships available for baseball to 11.7 per year, compared to 15 for women’s basketball and 85 for football).

Quick note - if you’ve ever wondered why so many high school kids drafted in the lower rounds of the draft sign pro contracts instead of going to school, remember the scholarship bit – some families just don’t have the means to send their kid to school if he doesn’t get a scholarship.

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We’re still waiting on the winner of the Michigan-Oregon State Super Regional, which was delayed due to rain (rain in Oregon? You don’t say…), but otherwise 7 of the field of 8 is set for Omaha: Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Louisville, Mississippi State, Rice, UC Irvine and UNC. Oregon State leads their best-of-3 series 1-0 after the toughest of tough luck losses for Wolverine ace Zach Putnam, and will resume action with Game 2 today (Game 3 is tomorrow if needed).

I’m just not sure who to pick here. Rice seems like a good bet to make a run, but their pitching isn’t all that great right now, and “moment of truth” guy Cole St. Clair has been merely good, not lights out like before his shoulder injury. Louisville’s got some serious momentum (they obliterated Oklahoma State 20-2 in the Super Regional finale) and the underdog tag working in their favor, but I can’t see this team going the distance; there’s just not enough experience, especially with a first year coach. Miss. State will probably go 2-and-out in the double elimination tourney, and I’d say the same for Fullerton, but I think they’ll squeeze out a win in whatever game Wes Roemer pitches.

I’m not sleeping on UC Irvine, they’ve got some fantastic pitching, but no experience in Omaha, which is a great separator of pretenders and contenders. Arizona State could make a deep run, but if they run into a couple of good arms they’ll be toast; that team wins 95% of the time by bludgeoning sub-par pitching. UNC is probably best suited to make a run, it’s essentially the same team as last year, with Alex White and Luke Putkonen more than just filling in for the departed Andrew Miller and Dan Bard. Plus de facto ace Rob Woodard just does not lose, dude’s 33-5 in his college career. 

Okay, so my official pick is UNC sweeping UC Irvine in the Championship series. Here’s the updated brackets, and for the record, only 3 of my picks for the field of 8 made it.

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You have to feel for Zach Putnam

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Dude goes into Corvallis and no-hits the defending National Champs for 8+ innings before a walk, sac bunt and single gives Oregon State a 1-0 lead in the top of the 9th.

Michigan is considered the home team because of record, but the matchup is taking place in Oregon State’s turf because the Wolverine’s Athletic Director didn’t submit a bid to host a Regional. Let’s see if Putnam’s teammates can bail him out in the bottom of the 9th against Joe Paterson, the Beaver’s #2 starter who came out of the ‘pen in the 8th…

Update: After getting a quick GB out and giving up a single, Paterson is relieved by Eddie Kunz, one of the nation’s top closers. Because he was also serving as Michigan’s DH, Putnam came up representing the winning run … and promptly grounded out to short on the first pitch. Kunz gets another grounder from the next guy to end the game, and gives OSU a 1-0 lead in the best of 3 series. Talk about a tough loss for Putnam.

This is what baseball is about, not all that soap opera WWF bullshit that the media has made it.

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My brackets are a disaster

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It turns out that LeBron James does have something on David Price: a chance to play for a championship. There were upsets galore in the NCAA Regionals this weekend, none bigger than top seeded Vanderbilt – #1 team in the country for 9 consecutive weeks, and the home of the nation’s best pitcher (Price), best hitter (the Bronx’s Pedro Alvarez) and best closer (Casey Weathers) - getting bounced from the postseason by an upstart Michigan team in extra innings last night. Vandy threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Wolverines, bringing in Price, #2 starter Brett Jacobsen and sometimes #3 starter Mike Minor out of the pen. Price was hung with the L after giving up a homer to pinch hitter Alan Oaks in the 10th. Here’s the box score.

My pick to win the CWS – #4 ranked Texas – lost to UC Irvine to end their season. I’m shocked just like many other poeple, but I give Irvine their props – they’ve been a good team all year and just flat out-pitched the ‘Horns. Here’s that box.

Louisville is this year’s cinderella team, advancing to a Super Regional matchup with Oklahaoma State after beating Miami and Kent State twice in the Columbia regional. Beating Miami twice is quite a feat, they’ve been to Omaha 10 times in the last 14 years by anything but accident.

Only 3 of the top 8 nation seeds are still alive, with #2 Rice, #3 UNC and #5 Arizona State winning their Regional matchups. You can view the updated brackets here. If you care to mock me, you can check out my pathetically wrong picks here - only 6 of my Super Regional teams are still alive, although that could still end up 7 with a Virginia win over defending national champs Oregon State in today’s Regional finale (weather pushed a couple games back).

There’s really not a clear cut “this is the team to beat” school still out there in my eyes; Rice has some pitching questions, UNC had trouble getting past Western freakin’ Carolina, and Arizona State is a team that has to bludgeoning their opponents offensively to win. If Oregon Stae wins today, they could make run because they’ve been there before, but they really backpeddled into the tourney, so they’re far from a lock for Omaha. My de facto pick is Clemson because of their pitching staff, but they really need to get their lineup going to have a chance – their best hitter, Brad Chalk, has 12 XBH this season. That’s not a typo.

For more college baseball info than you could possibly get your head around, check out the The College Baseball Blog.

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9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 17 K in Vandy’s Regional opener vs. Austin Peay. Hey, he’s not the consensus top talent in the draft by accident.

The College Baseball Blog‘s got you covered for all the postseason action.

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Baseball Bracketology

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I just want to mention that the college baseball postseason kicks off today…well, not if you count last week’s Conference tournaments I guess. Anywho, I’m going to venture a guess that your office doesn’t have a massive pool akin to March Madness set up for baseball.

Well fear not my metal bat loving friends (and please, lets not forget ’bout those RBI Girls), you can head over to Baseball America and participate in their Bracket Challenge for a chance to win a couple prizes if you get lucky/actually know what the hell you’re doing.

I made my picks, you can check’em out here.

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The very first post here at River Ave. Blues was a look at some college kids to keep an eye on for the 2007 draft, which I then followed up by previewing some noteworthy high school kids. With less than 2 months until the big event goes down, it’s time to start getting serious with the draft coverage.

I brought in the big guns for the next installment of my draft preview series, enlisting the services of Brian Foley, editor of The College Baseball Blog, a blog about (duh) college baseball which is just too great for words. You’d be hard pressed to find a site that’s more informative, comprehensive and entertaining than Brian’s. If you have any interest in college ball whatsoever, make sure you head on over and bookmark it, if you haven’t already.

Anyways, I asked Brian some questions, and he answered. I slacked off a bit putting this together, so any stats mentioned DO NOT include action from this past weekend. Enjoy.Â

Q: Teams love to draft college righthanders, they’re generally safe, cheap and plentiful. But outside of Andrew Brackman and Josh Fields, there doesn’t seem to be any truly elite RHP prospects, whereas last year there was Tim Lincecum, Brandon Morrow, Max Scherzer, Daniel Bard, Joba Chamberlain, Jeff Samardzija…I could go on and on. Are there any RHPs who could sneak up, have a great spring and really vault themselves into that elite prospect category? Read More→

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