Wednesday Morning Manager: March 20th, 2013

Lupton Stadium: The scene of the crime. - KEITH ROBINSON

The MMM is back, with Fungo's take on where TCU Baseball is headed... That, and lots of news and notes from around the TCU Baseball universe, past/present/future.

NOTES

- Sam Demel didn't make it in major league camp for the Astros, he was reassigned to minor league camp last week. Demel should start the year in AAA for the Astros, but could make a run to the majors easily as he is still on the 40-man roster... for now.

- Andrew Cashner has had a good spring, working back from a thumb injury which derailed his 2012 season. Cashner hasn't been able to stay healthy in the majors yet, but his time there has been successful both as a starter and a reliever. The Padres want him to start, for now, and Cash thinks he could be ready by opening day. We shall see, I think he will likely end up in the bullpen this year, if he can get 50 games under his belt with success he might just have a future in somebody's rotation.

- Bryan Holaday was also sent down to minor league camp, after losing the backup catcher role to Bryan Pena. The offense just hasn't been there for Holaday, but that doesn't mean he won't find his way back to pro ball. He too is on the 40-man roster, meaning a trip up from AAA requires a minimal amount of paperwork. If he can get the bat to play, he will find a job somewhere.

- Matt Carpenter is having an incredibly hot spring, hitting over .400 while playing everyday at second base. The problem? He is still blocked, by Daniel Descaloso. For now, the two are splitting time, but the Cardinals are dead set on finding Carpenter some at-bats. He will play, mostly at 2B for now.

- Scott Atchison is technically in Mets major league camp as a non-roster invite, but the Meta have much bigger plans for the almost 37 year old RHP. Having recovered fully from a partially torn elbow ligament, Atchison appears to have locked down a bullpen role with the Mets, and should be signed to a one year major league deal very soon.

- Jake Arrieta has pitched well this spring for the Baltimore Orioles, and is at this point a leading candidate to win the fifth starters job. But, the Orioles haven't announced anything, so Arrieta could also be ticketed for the bullpen, or AAA. Regardless, Arrieta's control has been much improved this spring and it appears he is back on track to be a quality major league starting pitcher.

- Over the next 10 days, we will start to find out where all the rest of the former Frogs will be starting their 2013 seasons. I will give you an update in a few weeks.

SERIES REVIEW

- Let's take stock of where we are right now...

Overall Record: 9-11
Conference Record: 1-2
RPI: 101
SOS: 44
Team Slash Line: .245/.337/.327

(Park/Sched Adjusted)
Best Bat: Jantzen Witte, 3B, .397/.476/.676, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 7/11 SO/BB, .494 wOBA
Best Arm: Preston Morrison, RHP, 3-1 (5 Games), 0.96 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 26/5 SO/BB, .217 BABIP

- That is pretty sobering. And, we get to play Oklahoma this weekend, a team that is talented but played an incredibly soft schedule to start the year. Preston Morrison vs. Dillon Overton will be an amazing show this Friday, but the rest of the weekend will be stressful.

- Let's start with the most pressing news, Andrew Mitchell heading back to the rotation. He will probably be at an 80 pitch limit this Sunday, but if he can get through five innings he will have done better than most of TCUs Sunday starters this year. I don't thing this move was necessary, but I understand the idea behind it: You have to compete in weekend series, and Seidenberger wasn't getting it done. Enter Mitchell, and experienced college pitcher, to lock down the Sunday role. Who will close? Apparently it doesn't matter, the Frogs will simply turn to the best arm available. This isn't a long term solution, but I bet it also won't last very long. A closer will be named, in time.

- The offense: Better. The biggest thing I see right now is this, why can't we get the lineup right? Why do we keep moving things around... It seems, to me, this is the lineup that has worked best for the Frogs...

vs. RHP // LHP

RF Fitzgerald // DH White
DH White // RF Fitzgerald
3B Witte // 3B Witte
1B Cron // 1B Cron
LF Johnson // LF Hendrix
2B Odell // 2B Odell
C Suiter // C Suiter
SS Jones // SS Jones
CF Jones // CF Jones

But, we seem to keep tinkering with this formula, and I don't know why. Cody Jones should hit in the nine hole in every lineup, Fitzgerald or White should hit 1-2, and Witte needs to hit third. Cron is figuring things out and can hit fourth, and the rest I don't care about.

Stop tinkering. Lock it down.

- I have gotten tons of texts, tweets, emails and calls asking, "What is going on with this team?" Well, as I said on the last podcast, for me it comes down to execution. This team, due to its inability to score more than 4-5 runs per game, needs to pitch well and execute when it gets guys on base. Well, the staff is secure, Morrison is arguably the best Friday starter in college baseball. But, the lineup can't execute, the bases loaded situation from Sunday is just the latest episode.

I don't know why, but leadership and coaching have to be called into question. Who is this team's vocal leader? I don't know.

A national baseball writer made this point to me: Maybe, just maybe, the loss of Whitting and Mazey has hit this team harder than we thought. Maybe, those voices in the club house added a balance that helped prepare the team better, that helped push the team harder without making guys uptight.

Nothing against Jeroloman, but he never coached before last year and isn't prepared to handle a lineup full-time. Nothing against Vitello, but he isn't a hitting coach: A fantastic recruiter and good pitching coach yes, but not a hitting coach. And Saarloos is a pitching coach, fair and square. Which leaves Schloss, who I think DOES deserve some blame here.

Listen, this team IS TALENTED, there are many many teams across the country that would love to have what we have. We just can't execute and put the talent into practice, which in part falls back on the coaching staff. There is still a TON of baseball to be played, so don't give up yet, but the first third of this season gets a grade of an F+ and part of the blame belongs right up top.

- So, we have Oklahoma this weekend, which will be fun. This could be a very big series for TCU. 2/3 or a sweep would be awesome. 1/3 would be typical of 2013. 0/3 would tell me this team isn't going anywhere in 2013. I hate to make it so black/white, but this team HAS to take the next steps, they HAVE to turn their current momentum into results, or they will simply continue to spin their wheels. If they can take the series or sweep, we have our Frogs back. We will just have to wait and see.

Friday, 6:30pm CST, FSSW+ has the game. Can't wait.

TCU BASEBALL RECRUITING CLASSES

Here are the commits I have for TCU Baseball, classes of 2013 and 2014.

2014 Class
Noah McGowan, OF
Justin Twine, IF/RHP
Austen Wade, OF

Drew Gooch, LHP
Tyler Kolek, RHP

2013 Class
Connor Beck, OF
Garrett Crain, IF
Will Foreman, OF/C
Will Fox, OF
Eric Garza, MIF
Billy McKinney, OF/1B
Walker Pennington, IF/OF
TJ Scott, OF
Ty Slanina, OF

Tyler Alexander, LHP
Ryan Burnett, LHP
Brandon Gilson, LHP
Brian Howard, RHP
Jordan Kipper, RHP
Alex Mata, RHP
Robby Medel, RHP

PROFESSIONAL FROGS

(Name, Team, Separated by Final 2012 Level)

Major Leagues
Andrew Cashner (Padres)
Matt Carpenter (Cardinals)
Scott Atchison (Mets)
Bryan Holaday (Tigers)


Triple AAA
Jake Arrieta (Orioles)
Sam Demel (Astros)
Chad Huffman (Indians)
Matt Curry (Pirates)

Double AA
(none)

High A
Greg Holle (Brewers)
Jerome Pena (Orioles)
Kyle Winkler (Diamondbacks)

Low A
Taylor Featherston (Rockies)
Tyler Lockwood (Red Sox)

Low A Short Season
Kyle Von Tungeln (Rockies)

Rookie League
Josh Elander (Braves)
Kevin Allen (Royals)
Erik Miller (Reds)
Kaleb Merck (Twins)
Matt Purke (Nationals)

Independent League
Joseph Weik
Brad Furnish

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