Monday Morning Manager: April 22nd, 2013

Rob Carr

TCU has consecutive weekend series wins, over Big 12 foes... They even won last Tuesday vs. UTA. Is this team starting to put it together? Maybe, but they need to get on a serious roll if they want a guaranteed NCAA tourney birth.

NOTES

Jake Arrieta (Orioles)
Jake made the Orioles out of spring training as their fifth starter, beating out Brian Matsuz among others. So far, Jake has had a shaky season, through four starts he is 1-1 with an ERA in the sixes... The biggest problem for Jake is the same as it was in 2012, control, or the lack of. Arrieta has tons of stuff, he simply needs to learn to command it better. Once he does that, his role will no longer be as shaky.

Scott Atchison (Mets)
Scott made the Mets as a middle reliever out of spring training, and has had a very solid start to 2013. Outside of a three ER performance last week, Scott has been solid in eight games and the Mets are very please with his level of consistency. As long as he is healthy and producing, Scott will have a job somewhere.

Matt Carpenter (Cardinals)
Carp seemingly picked up where he left off in 2012, slapping the ball around and providing consistent clutch hitting for the Cardinals. Matt has played at third base in ten games and at second base in nine, I expect him to get some first base time in as well. As I write this, Carpenter just hit a homerun which put the Cardinals on top of the Philies early. Pitchers have started to make adjustments against Carp, so he will have to continue to get better to stick in the lineup this year, but so far so good.

Andrew Cashner (Padres)
Cash was hoping to make the Padres rotation out of spring training, but was relegated to the bullpen as a long reliever for the first month of the season. Well, due to injury Cashner got his first start of the season today, going four innings and striking out five, while giving up two runs. For now, this is just a spot start, but so far so good for the fireballer.

Sam Demel (Yankees)
Sam bounced around a bit through the offseason, from Arizona to Houston, and finally to New York who got him through waivers and assigned him to AAA. Not a horrible start for Sam, control and consistency will be the keys to a call up for Demel.

Bryan Holaday (Tigers)
Bryan is in AAA for Detroit, and continues to struggle offensively at this level. The question was never about Bryan's defense or hustle, it was always about the bat, which doesn't appear to play above AA. Bryan is still young-ish and could still figure something out, but as of now he is, at best, a backup MLB catcher or AAAA player.

Chad Huffman (St. Louis)
Chad got picked up by the Cardinals in the offseason, where he will start at his familiar AAA level. He is not on the 40-man roster and the Cardinals have several offensive options ahead of him, so phenomenal play leading to a trade is probably the best we could expect out of Chad. Astros RF anybody?

Matt Curry (Pirates)
Curry, despite finishing 2012 at AAA, will start 2013 in AA again, where his job is to replicate his second half performance from last year in the first half of this year. AAA is within reach for Curry, who has hit homeruns in consecutive games coming into today, he still has some prospect value for a team with a depth problem at 1B/Power LHB.

Greg Holle (Brewers)
This is, for all intents and purposes, a make of break year for Holle. He will start the year in AA, a promotion for Greg, but his role and expectations are the same. Despite consecutive poor performances, Holle has had a good start to 2013, he definitely needs to prove the Brewers right for taking a flyer on him and giving his potential a shot one last time.

Jerome Pena (Orioles)
Pena will start 2013 where he finished 2012, High-A ball for the Orioles. Pena has gotten off to a slow start so far this year, he will need to perform consistently for the Orioles to bump him up a level, the jump to AA is the biggest single level leap you can make in pro-ball.

Kyle Winkler (Diamondbacks)
Wink is healthy starting off 2013, and the Diamondbacks are pushing him, having him move back to starting and sticking him in high A. Not a good start though for Kyle, control problems have really plagued him, but the trust shown by Arizona is promising. The 'Backs have been patient as Kyle rehabbed and got healthy over the last two years, now it is time for the stuff to turn consistent, along with the results.

Josh Elander (Braves)
Elander, after being drafted by the Braves, "auditioned" as a catcher last year while in low A for Atlanta. That audition didn't go well, so Elander spent the offseason learning the outfield, and has played in LF for most of 2013. This was, ultimately, the best thing that could happen for Elander, his bat can play but his defense behind the plate is just not MLB level, he needed a new position and I am extremely happy he found one.

Jason Coats (White Sox)
Coats is back on the diamond, after rehabbing a torn ACL last year. The White Sox have him in A-ball to start 2013, and Coats is hitting well to start the year. I am not sure Jason's SLUG will play in professional ball, but his OBP and contact rate look great so far, high-A shouldn't be too far away.

Taylor Featherston (Rockies), Kyle Von Tungeln (Rockies)
T-Bird will start 2013 with a promotion to high-A as a full-time second baseman, while KVT will take his place at A-ball as the everyday CF'er. T-Bird is still quite offensive, while KVT will have to learn to use his speed more as more talented players take away more of his robust offensive toolset. These two could play at the same level in 2013, KVT could easily make a jump in June or July, provided he produces over the next few months.

Kevin Allen (Royals), Kaleb Merck (Twins), Matt Purke (Nationals)
Allen, Merck, and Purke are all being held back to start 2013, two playing in extended spring training and the other on the DL (you can guess who). Merck could move quickly once he is assigned, while Purke continues to have extensive potential if he could ever get on the mound consistently.

SERIES REVIEW

Record: 19-21
Conference: 7-8
Last 10: 5-5
RPI: 127 (Boyd), 130 (Warren)
SOS: 48 (Boyd), 54 (Warren)
Remaining Opponents (RPI): Kansas State (39), Texas Southern (210), USC (102), West Virginia (105), UTA (165), Texas (55)

Sure, we are feeling good about where we are right now, but it is all relative. The rotation is becoming settled, the bullpen roles are becoming less fluid, the lineup seems to be more consistent at this point, all good things right?

Yet, we still lost once this weekend, failing to close it out Friday against the Bears.

As we have said a bunch this year, this team does have a ton of talent, they just have yet to all play well at the same time, they instead are all on their own schedules. I don't get it, but I don't so much care, I just want to end this season on some kind of positive note.

This could include a winning streak, a postseason birth, a Big 12 Tournament Championship, or maybe just getting over .500, maybe getting to 30 wins.

No matter how this season ends, the months of June-August are going to be incredible interesting for the Frogs. To put it susinctly without saying too much, not everyone we expect back will be, not all we expect to leave will do so, and the incoming high school class could change dynamically between today and the first day of fall classes.

Most, if not all of the team will play summer ball, and all will have to dig deep to get better, no jobs are guaranteed in 2014. But, maybe the impending attrition is a good thing, maybe cleaning house a bit won't be bad, maybe we will gain some by losing some.

But, to the task at hand, I believe the Frogs will need to go 13-1 over the Frogs final 14 games in order to make the tournament. Usually, 30 wins is good enough to make it, but with the Frogs bad home losses starting to pile up, we will need to pick up some major victories to get into consideration. Even after a 13-1 finish, one or two wins in the conference tournament would help.

If they lose more than one, especially at home, the Frogs only chance to make the tournament will be to win the Big 12 Conference Tournament, their RPI numbers just won't be good enough to get it done. This isn't an impossible task, and unexpected winners emerge from conference tournaments with regularity, but a big time winning streak isn't totally out of the question. Road series at USC, K-State, and WVU are critical for TCU, big road wins agianst higher RPI ranked teams are big for your score, while a currently falling Texas doesn't bring much to the table for a final Big 12 opponent.

I will be in Manhattan, Kansas this weekend (Sat. and Sunday only) to see the Frogs in person, and I am looking forward to catching up with old friends while watching some baseball. TCU, based off the pitching of Morrison and Finnegan, can sweep, it just needs to continue to execute as it has lately. If we can continue to execute, maybe we too can begin to believe in miracles.

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
Connor Castellano, IF
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 current professional level)

Major Leagues
Jake Arrieta (Orioles)
Scott Atchison (Mets)
Matt Carpenter (Cardinals)
Andrew Cashner (Padres)

Triple AAA
Sam Demel (Yankees)
Bryan Holaday (Tigers)
Chad Huffman (St. Louis)

Double AA
Matt Curry (Pirates)
Greg Holle (Brewers)

High A
Jerome Pena (Orioles)
Kyle Winkler (Diamondbacks)

Low A
Josh Elander (Braves)
Jason Coats (White Sox)
Taylor Featherston (Rockies)
Matt Purke (Nationals)
Kyle Von Tungeln (Rockies)

Low A Short Season
(none)

Rookie League
Kevin Allen (Royals)
Kaleb Merck (Twins)

Independent League
Joseph Weik

Released/No Team
Tyler Lockwood
Erik Miller
Brad Furnish

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