Monday Morning Manager: May 27th, 2013

KEITH ROBINSON

Mercifully, the TCU Baseball season is over... Time to reflect on our problems? First, we have to decide on what actually went wrong.

NOTES

- Jake Arrieta has been bouncing around a bit, but has settled back in AAA for now. The RHP has seen better results at the lower level and should be in line for spot starts or a rotation spot, when one becomes available later this year. But, ultimately, it is wait and see mode right now.

- Scott Atchison was shut down with elbow pain/hand numbness, but there was no structural damage revealed in his MRI. There is no timetable for return at this point.

- Matt Carpenter continues his breakout year, with an OPS over .800 now he is becoming the best kept secret in all of baseball. I used to think Carpenter was destined to become Mark Derosa (not a bad life), but he is looking more and more like a consistent everyday stud.

- Andrew Cashner is becoming a solid figure in the Padre's rotation, with about seven starts under his belt. The move to the rotation was supposed to be temporary, but with this level of performance the priests are going to have a hard time moving him... Now, if he could only stay healthy, we might have a star on our hands.

- Through the first half of May, Holaday was on fire. Over the last week he has cooled off considerably, bringing his slash line down to .276/.328/.423 which isn't great. But, if Holaday could replicate that line in the majors year after year, with about 10 HR and 70 RBI, he could carve out a nice career.

- Through a month+ of the 2013 season, Chad Huffman is having arguably the best year of his career, sporting a very strong .316/.412/.520 with 5 HR and 19 RBI. Huffman would need an injury and open 40-man spot to move up with the Cardinals, but if he keeps this performance up he will certainly start to force the conversation.

- Matt Curry's season has been up and down, but mostly down as of late. The primary factor? His total lack of ability to do anything against LHP, whom he is hitting .191 off with NO extra base hits. Solve the lefty on lefty problem, and he is doing just fine (.291 vs. RHP).

- Greg Holle's season, which started with a promotion to AA, has been a bit rocky. Sporting an ERA in the 4s, Holle isn't doing horribly but there is room for improvement. Regardless, it is good to see him holding his own at this level, the jump from high-A to AA is regarded as the hardest in baseball, so as far as I am concerned: So far, so good.

- Jerome Pena is doing ok in high-A, playing almost everyday. Kyle Winkler has been pretty bad, 9 total starts and only one worth talking about. Newly minted outfielder Josh Elander is killing it so far this year (and should see a level jump in no time), same with Jason Coats who is enjoying a great season back from knee surgery. Taylor Featherston jumped up to high-A and is doing quite well, but got slapped on the 7-day DL recently with a minor injury. Kyle von Tungeln, who started the year as a teammate to Featherston, has gone in the opposite direction. In fact, the only thing he has in common with his former teammate is that they are both on the DL. Speaking of DL, Matt Purke is still there, sidelined and recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

- Kaleb Merck and Kevin Allen are both working out in extended spring training, I would expect both to make it to short season-A ball once that league kicks off this summer.

- Rounding out the bottom, Joe Weik IS still playing ball, currently with the Amarillo Sox of Pensicola, Florida, while Tyler Lockwood, Erik Miller and Brad Furnish all continue on without a team, presumably having "retired" from professional baseball.

SEASON WRAP UP

There is a lot to say... Not all of it can be said today. At this point, this all just feels to raw doesn't it? I mean, think back to what this season would bring... A regional for sure, probably a super, and a good shot at the CWS. Yeah right!

There will be plenty of blame to go around, and I am going to write a different story for each of these different topics, but I thought I would address each of the primary issues here.

Who Is To Blame?
A lot say the coaches (or lack, therein). Some say the players themselves. Some say the schedule. There is truth, and falsity, in each of these areas and if you pay close enough attention you have seen each admitted to at one point or another throughout the season by Coach Schlossnagle.

Eventually, you have to wonder how a staff can be so inept at coaching players up, how they seem to have little/no effect on their athletes approaches at the plate. But then again, should the focus be on the players themselves instead? Coaching is a two person game, requiring one to speak and another to listen, and it won't work if only one part is engaged. And yes, our scheduling strategy has to be reconsidered. In the MWC, we needed those games, but in the Big 12 we don't. Instead, we should probably consider the Gary Patterson approach to scheduling: One stretch series, one rivalry, one even match, and one easy win (or, in this case, multiple easy win - series).

But, more on this in the coming days.

What To Expect From The MLB Draft?
Well, a few things: Andrew Mitchell is gone. Trevor Seidenberger is likely gone too. Stefan Crichton? Better chance to get drafted than you think, and for his sake I hope he takes it. Paul Hendrix could see a look, but it isn't very likely.

Could others be gone? Yep.

The other major concern for TCU is their incoming class being affected, but those concerns have lessened as of late. Billy McKinney is likely gone, as he would have to turn down first round money (multiple millions) to come to TCU. It isn't totally out of the question, but he has not given MLB teams a reason to think he is even considering it.

The other concern is Tyler Alexander, lefty out of Southlake, but things have been getting better as of late... Alexander is rumored to have set his price at $1 million or more, meaning he would likely have to be taken in the first 90 picks for teams to be able to budget cash his way (top 10 rounds of the draft are basically slotted now, don't forget), which isn't super likely. If Alexander makes it to college, he will be one of the best arms to have done so from the 2013 class.

There was once fear that TCU could also lose guys like Walker Pennington, Brian Howard, Eric Garza, Brandon Gilson, Ryan Burnett, or Connor Castellano but those fears have mostly subsided and all are now considered a better than 50% chance to end up at TCU. This is good news, and if the Frogs do end up only losing one to the draft, the 2014 team will be on the receiving end of a major talent infusion.

With all that is said negatively about the coaching staff, kudos to Tony Vitello (recruiting coordinator) and Kirk Saarloos for a job well done in 2013, this is yet another class to be proud of for the Frogs.

Now, turning that talent into production on the field? An entirely different discussion all together.

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/1B

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
Scott Atchison (Mets) [DL]
Matt Carpenter (Cardinals)
Andrew Cashner (Padres)

Triple AAA
Jake Arrieta (Orioles)
Sam Demel (Yankees)
Bryan Holaday (Tigers)
Chad Huffman (Cardinals)

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

High A
Taylor Featherston (Rockies)
Jerome Pena (Orioles)
Kyle Winkler (Diamondbacks)

Low A
Josh Elander (Braves)
Jason Coats (White Sox)
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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