Monday Morning Manager: August 20th, 2012

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Welcome back to the Monday Morning Manager, where there is lots of good news when it comes to former Frogs playing in the pros... Also, in the spirit of the mock draft, how about a mock 2013 opening day lineup? My thoughts, and more, included within this weeks Monday Morning Manager.


NOTES

- Scott Atchison has decided to try and rehab his partially torn right UCL instead of opting for Tommy John surgery, meaning that he could hypothetically be ready by spring training. But, I can't remember one single player who had a partial UCL tear and successfully rehabed the injury, surgery is almost always required. Surgery would also likely mean Scott would be out until the spring of 2014, his age 38 season, so you can imagine why he is choosing this route. If, in the next 4-6 weeks Scott doesn't see improvement with his elbow, I would imagine a retirement announcement will follow.

- For those looking ahead to Big 12 play and who we might have to face in our inaugural season, you likely saw the good/bad news come out of Austin on Friday. RHP John Curtiss from Dallas had TJ surgery earlier this week to repair his right elbow, an injury suffered in the final series of Texas' 2012 season. He will miss all of 2013, meaning we will not have to face off against his top level stuff. You never, ever wish for this to happen to a guy and I hope John gets healthy very soon, but the prospect of going up against both John Curtiss and Parker French in a weekend series was fairly daunting and I am happy I can now ignore that reoccurring nightmare.

- A quick injury note: Mitchell Traver will be reporting to TCU next week well ahead of schedule with his rehab. Traver had surgery to remove an upper rib near his right shoulder related to a condition known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. TOS sufferers, such as Matt Harrison and Kenny Rogers, usually see increased stamina and velocity after the operation. For Traver, that means fastball velocities heading up from the low 90s into the mid and high 90s consistently. I made the comparison last year to Gerrit Cole in terms of fastball command and velocity, if Mitchell can continue to develop his hammer curve and change, as well as learn to keep his fastball out of the middle of the plate, this kid is going to be special for TCU. Like, Matt Purke special.

- Here is a quick recap and some thoughts regarding the current Frogs who played in various summer leagues:

Glacier Pilots (Anchorage Summer League) (2012 League Champions)

Trey Teakell- 4-0 (9 Games), 3.82 ERA, 47.1IP, 48/10 SO/BB
Axel Johnson- .288 BA, 34 Games, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 1 SB

Vermont Mountaineers (New England Collegiate Baseball League)
Brett Johnson
- .246 BA, 29 Games, 8 2B, 1 3B, 11 RBI, 8 SB

Kamuela Panilolos (Hawaiian Summer Baseball League)
Travis Gauntt
- .169 BA, 17 Games, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB

McKinney Marshalls (Texas Collegiate League)
Travis Evans
- 1-0 (2 Games), 0.82 ERA, 11 IP, 13/7 SO/BB

Xenia Scouts (Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League)
Pat Vickery
- .297 BA, 35 Games, 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 7 SB

- Great to see Trey be a big part of a championship team with the Glacier Pilots, this is the second summer he has had good results. With the talent TCU is bringing into Fort Worth next year I don't think he will fit in anywhere as a starter but could be a solid middle reliever for the Frogs. You have to be a little disappointed with Brett Johnson and Travis Gauntt's results this summer, both of those guys could have filled big holes for the Frogs in 2013. Travis Evans was looking strong to start this summer but some arm soreness shut him down before he could get going with the McKinney Marshals, shouldn't be much to worry about for the fall though. Pat Vickery put together a solid summer too, would love to see him play into a role for TCU this fall. Derek Odell and Jerrick Suiter also played with the Dallas Amateur Baseball Association summer league some, both came out healthy. Suiter did have one performance of note: He played a bit with the Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods League and in 16 games he hit .323 with almost 20 RBIs with a magical grand slam mixed in. Suiter has been playing mostly OF and pitching some in relief this summer, a preview of his future with the Frogs IMHO.

FORMER FROG UPDATES

- Andrew Cashner continues to slowly build arm strength this summer, currently working out at the Padres spring training facility. There is no time table for his return.

- Matt Carpenter is truly asserting himself in St. Louis, becoming an everyday player at several different positions for the Red Birds. Carp is now sporting a slash line of .311/.382/.503 with 4 HR, 31 RBI and 24 total extra base hits. Since August 7th Matt is hitting .450, a phenomenal feat for him at this level and something we should all sit back and appreciate: The next great Horned Frog Major Leaguer is appearing before our eyes.

- Jake Arrieta continues to battle in AAA where a search for command and control continues to seem a bit futile. Certainly, this year hasn't improved his prospect ranking but the Orioles still believe in his future and I believe we will see him back up with the big league club in September.

- Sam Demel is getting better, recently rattling off five straight run less appearances, but is not on the quick call up list for the Diamondbacks at this point.

- Chad Huffman is on the DL for Cleveland's AAA affiliate, has been since the end of July.

- Bryan Holaday, playing everyday in AAA after his brief major league stint, has cooled off as of late and his batting average is now under .250. This was always the concern with Bryan, would his bat be major league average for a catcher, Bryan needs to finish 2012 strong at his current level to put his name in the discussion to back up Alex Avila in 2013.

- Matt Curry has also cooled off a bit in Altoona, but is still having a solid year at that level for the Pirates.

- Greg Holle has had a fair season at high A this year, although his role has changed significantly since 2011. I hope the Brewers might challenge him soon with a promotion, otherwise it might be hard for Greg to fit into the organization's plans in the future.

- Kyle Winkler continues to work exclusively as a reliever for the Diamondbacks at the high A level, slowly improving performance wise each outing. He is likely ticketed for AA in 2013, if healthy, the Diamondbacks see him as a possible max effort bullpen arm in the near future.

- T-Bird has picked things up as of late, now sporting a slash line of .302/.405/.503 with 11 HR and 46 RBI. If you were wondering, he has been playing mostly at 2B (51 games) with some 3B (16 games) and SS (16 games). After playing all of 2011 at SS, it is clear to see the Rockies are heading in another direction with Taylor's development. But, as always, the offense is there and the errors have started to come down now that he is playing mostly 2B, only 7 at that spot so far this year (14 in 2011 at SS).

- Tyler Lockwood, playing with high A after a brief demotion, is having a strong 2012, sporting an ERA in the high 3s with 48 SO in 58 IP.

- Jerome Pena, now playing for his third 2012 team (high A Frederick) is enjoying some success as of late, he has 15 hits in just 11 games at his newest stop, getting plenty of consistent playing time as well.

- Nothing new for Matt Purke who continues to work out in Florida, building arm strength slowly and tweaking his delivery slightly to add some smoothness where possible.

- After an incredibly fast start, KVT has slowed down some in August although he still holds an impressive .431 OBP for the Tri City Dust Devils.

- Josh Elander continues to play in the rookie league for the Atlanta Braves, no word on his next stop although his performance and power thus far has been impressive. Kevin Allen is also playing in the rookie league for the Royals, but his performance has been lacking slightly so far, with appearances few and far between.


2013 ROSTER-BATION, VERSION 0.1

What follows is my way to early, total guess at what head coach Jim Schlossnagle will run out onto the field next February when the Frogs take on Ole Miss in the dirty, dirty south. This is based off of almost nothing since these guys have yet to make it back to campus yet for fall classes. When fall ball roles around, we will know more about this team and how certain guys will fill roles left by graduating seniors such as Brance Rivera, Jason Coats, Kyle Von Tungeln and drafted junior Josh Elander.

C- Davy Wright/Jerrick Suiter/Kyle Bacak

1B- Kevin Cron/Brett Johnson/Axel Johnson

2B- Derek Odell/Josh Gonzalez/Davy Wright

3B- Jantzen Witte/Davy Wright/Josh Gonzalez

SS- Paul Hendrix/Keaton Jones

LF- Boomer White/Axel Johnson

CF- Jerrick Suiter/Pat Vickery

RF- Pat Vickery/Travis Gauntt/Jerrick Suiter

DH- Josh Gonzalez/Brett Johnson

Friday Starter- Brandon Finnegan

Saturday Starter- Mitchell Traver

Sunday Starter- Stefan Crichton

Iron Man Reliever- Preston Morrison

Set Up- Justin Scharf

Closer- Andrew Mitchell

THOUGHTS

Davy started working as the back up catcher last year and for the sake of depth and letting guys play where they need too, I would like to see him play there this year if he can handle it defensively. If Jerrick Suiter is your primary catcher, I think you do two things: You take away possibly your best all around defensive outfielder and you prevent Jerrick from possibly pitching if you feel you need him too (we shouldn't barring major injuries).

There is another JUCO outfielder coming into TCU this fall that I have not been able to figure out quite yet, but if he is your likely starting CF'er then Jerrick could slide to RF (his best position, in my opinion) and you could have Pat Vickery, Travis Gauntt or even Brett Johnson play in left.

The rest of the infield is solid and returns from 2012 in its entirety. The outfield, as discussed before, will be tough to judge but I think it has a lot of promise, guys just need to step up. There will be a healthy competition this fall to say the least.

The pitching staff is totally up in the air. For my money, Brandon Finnegan might just be the best overall pitcher returning from 2012. Stefan Crichton is a dependable innings eater who seems to get better every time he goes out and Mitchell Traver is the kind of dynamic, once in a decade talent that schools often ride to a championship. Andrew Mitchell as a late inning reliever is both good for the program and good for the kid (in his draft year, no less) and Preston Morrison will likely be more valuable as the Jim Schlossnagle Special Go-To Reliever in 2013 than he was as the kid who was afraid he might not make the team coming into 2012.

All of this is going to change and be fluid throughout the fall. One thing is for sure, the 2013 has no shortage of arms right now and guys will be fighting for every inning. But, will the offense be there enough for the Frogs? That, I think, remains to be seen. Fall ball can't get here soon enough!


PROFESSIONAL FROGS

Major Leagues
Andrew Cashner (15 Day DL) (Padres)
Matt Carpenter (Cardinals)
Scott Atchison (60 Day DL) (Red Sox)

Triple AAA
Jake Arrieta (Orioles)- Norfolk Tides
Sam Demel (Diamondbacks)- Reno Aces
Chad Huffman (Indians)- Columbus Clippers
Bryan Holaday (Tigers)- Toledo Mud Hens

Double AA
Matt Curry (Pirates)- Altoona Curve

High A
Greg Holle (Brewers)- Brevard County Manatees
Jerome Pena (Orioles)- Frederick Keys
Kyle Winkler (Diamondbacks)- Visalia Rawhide

Low A
Taylor Featherston (Rockies)- Asheville Tourists
Tyler Lockwood (Red Sox)- Greenville Drive
Matt Purke (Nationals)- Potomac Nationals

Low A Short Season
Kyle Von Tungeln (Rockies)- Tri City Dust Devils

Rookie League
Josh Elander (Braves)- Danville Braves
Kevin Allen (Royals)- Idaho Falls Chukars
Erik Miller (Reds)- Billings Mustangs

Independent League
Steven Maxwell- Joliet Slammers
Joseph Weik- Gateway Grizzlies

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