Monday Morning Manager: February 3rd, 2014

Welcome back to the Monday Morning Manager - Keith Robinson

It's February, and we are officially two weeks away from opening day at Lupton Stadium. And yet, even with baseball about to begin, dark clouds are already forming over TCU, with some potentially horrible news on the horizon.

NEWS

- Welcome to February, we are less than two weeks away from opening day at Lupton Stadium.

- The 11th annual TCU Baseball First Pitch Banquet will be held on Friday, February 7 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. Six-time MLB All-Star Nomar Garciaparra will be the featured speaker at the event.

- The TCU baseball team will host the fifth annual "Frogs for the Cure" Women's Baseball Clinic presented by Roger Williams AutoMall to benefit Komen for the Cure on Feb. 6 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Sam Baugh Indoor Facility. Join the 2014 baseball coaching staff and team for food, fashion and Horned Frogs' baseball.

- The 2014 season marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 SWC Championship and the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Conference USA Tournament Championship.

The 1994 squad, coached by the winningest coach in TCU baseball history Lance Brown, claimed its first outright conference championship since 1956. The group put together a 38-22 overall record and went 14-4 in Southwest Conference play to earn the championship. Eight members of the squad earned All-SWC honors and Brown was honored as the league and region's Coach of the Year.

In just his first season as the head coach at TCU, head coach Jim Schlossnagle guided the Horned Frogs to their first-ever tournament championship. The squad advanced out of the loser's bracket of the Conference USA Tournament to take home the title with a 3-1 win over Southern Miss. The victory secured TCU's first trip to the postseason since 1994 and started a string of nine straight regional berth's.

Members of both of these squads are formally invited to attend the First Pitch Banquet at a discounted price of $50 for team members and their spouse. Please call Meredith Montgomery, Director of Operations, at 817-257-5155 or email her at m.m.montgomery@tcu.edu to reserve your seat(s) at this price.

- TCU baseball junior LHP Brandon Finnegan was tabbed a second-team preseason All-American by Perfect Game. The preseason accolade is his second of the year as he was also tabbed by Louisville Slugger.

- The TCU Baseball Diamond Club will host its first Diamond Club meeting of the year on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Meyer-Martin Athletic Club from 11:45-1 p.m. Attending the luncheon along with head coach Jim Schlossnagle will be Keaton Jones and Dylan Delso.

- The 2014 preseason college baseball polls are out, here is how TCU fared...

Publication Baseball America Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Coaches Poll PerfectGame College Baseball Writers
TCU Ranking #19 #19 #23 NR Not Released

- Here is what PerfectGame had to say about TCU Baseball:

Though the Horned Frogs have some concerns about the offensive side of things, they're hopeful imposing first baseman Kevin Cron returns to his freshman ways this season. Meanwhile, the rest of the weekend rotation is in great shape with righthander Preston Morrison and elite freshman lefty Tyler Alexander leading the charge, while hard-throwing righty Riley Ferrell spearheads the pitching staff. TCU will finish the season much, much higher if the offense pans out. For now, though, it's too significant of a concern.

- Here is what Baseball America had to say about TCU Baseball:

Veterans such Cron, Odell, Suiter, Keaton Jones, Morrison and Finnegan got a taste of super regionals two years ago, when they lost to UCLA. But this group of players needs to prove its toughness and resilience all over again following last year's flop. A handful of newcomers in the lineup-plus key freshman arms Alexander and Traver-need to establish themselves at the D-I level.

The Horned Frogs made nine straight regionals before 2013, and they figure to ride a premier pitching staff back to the postseason this year. How far they go will likely be determined by the maturation of the lineup. TCU will surely pitch and should be solid enough defensively; but will it execute enough on offense to make a deep run?

2014 TCU Baseball Notes

- The outfield is pretty close to being set. This could change, and guys will move around and spell each other, but be prepared to see Boomer in left, Cody Jones in CF, and Suiter in right. That trio has been performing well, through the fall and into the spring, and will be in the top half of your opening day lineup.

- The catcher position looks to be filled as well, Dylan Delso has looked strong so far this spring. He isn't an elite defensive catcher, but he swings the bat well for a backstop and should be a major improvement at that position for TCU.

- The infield, however, is looking a bit shaky right now. There is no official word yet, and thus we will not name names, but several major producers for TCU are looking at major injuries as of today that could change the outlook for TCU Baseball 2014. As was the case with TCU Football and Basketball, fans could start to feel like TCU athletics is truly doomed. Again, no official word yet, but we may have a problem brewing at Lupton.

- The pitching staff is still the major bright spot for TCU. The rotation is basically fixed, with only the Sunday starter position still up for grabs. Morrison and Finnegan are both quite strong, while Teakell, Kipper, Young, Traver fight for the third and (mythical) fourth starter positions. It's too early to know who has the lead in those battles, but we should have some answers in a week. My guess: Teakell get's the Sunday nod, Traver gets the Tuesday nod, and Young/Kipper take spots as 7th-8th inning relievers for the Frogs.

- Your closer is Riley Ferrell... Not much controversy there.

- I wish I could tell you more, but everything is on hold now. Once we know what the injuries look like, we will do a couple previews... Pitching staff, outfield, infield, and your final opening day outlook and season predictions. For now, we wait.

FORMER FROGS

(Name, Team, Separated by highest/final professional level in 2013)

Major Leagues

Triple AAA

Double AA

High A
Taylor Featherston (Rockies)

Low A
Kevin Allen (Royals)
Jason Coats (White Sox)
Kyle Von Tungeln (Rockies)
Kyle Winkler (Diamondbacks)

Low A Short Season
Paul Hendrix (Indians)

Rookie League
Stefan Crichton (Orioles)
Nick Frey (Cardinals)
Andrew Mitchell (White Sox)
Trevor Seidenberger (Brewers)
Jantzen Witte (Red Sox)

Independent League
Joseph Weik (Amarillo Sox, American Association League)

German Baseball-Bundesliga
Tyler Lockwood (Heidenheim Heidekoepfe)

Japanese Pacific League
Chad Huffman (Chibba Lotte Marines)

Retired/Released
Kaleb Merck

RECRUITING UPDATE

- A reminder, you can always keep up with TCU Baseball recruiting here... I keep all the recruiting classes as up to date as possible, it is always a good place to check.

The Frogs 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes are coming together nicely, here are their profiles:

2016 TCU Baseball Commitments

Trey Morris
Height/Weight: 6'4"/185 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Taylor HS/Katy, Texas
HS Positions: RHP
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 200 nationally, top 60 pitcher nationally, top 10 pitcher in Texas.

Notes: The first commit for TCU in the 2016 class is a lanky but projectable pitcher from Katy, Texas... The kid is getting a ton of looks around baseball, a few good summers will help his stock soar.

2015 TCU Baseball Commitments

Luken Baker
Height/Weight: 6'4" / 240 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Oak Ridge HS / Spring, TX
HS Positions: RHP, CIF, OF
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 100 prospect nationally, top 50 RHP nationally, Top 15 prospect in Texas, top 10 RHP in Texas

Notes: Massive RHP out of Spring, TX, very physically developed... Throws a FB in the low 90s, slider in the low 80s, and he has a developing changeup... Combined with Roedahl, this is an impressive 1-2 punch for a future rotation.

Braden Comeaux
Height/Weight: 6'0"/165 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Alfred M. Barbe HS/Lake Charles, LA
HS Positions: SS, IF
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 150 IF prospect Nationally, top 30 IF, #3 overall prospect from LA.

Notes: Comeaux adds a great bat and defense to the Frog's 2015 class, a highly regarded prospect from LA.


Ethan Franklin
Height/Weight: 6-2/200 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Kountze HS/Evadale, TX
HS Positions: RHP, 3B, OF
Bats/Throws: L/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 150 Nationally, Top 25 in Texas

Notes: Top 10 RHP in the Texas 2015 class... Up to 91 with his fastball in PG tournaments... Sits in mid-to-high 80s with FB, also throws CB... Over the top release slot with an athletic build.

Ryan Johnson
Height/Weight: 6-3/200 lbs.
High School/Hometown: College Station HS/College Station, TX
HS Positions: OF, IF
Bats/Throws: L/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 5 nationally, #1 recruit in the state of Texas

Notes: Premier level recruit in the 2015 class (Billy McKinney level) with excellent bat speed from the left side, projects as a solid defensive COF and middle of the order bat. Plays for the Texas Scout Team Yankees, both parents are Texas A&M grads.

Dillon Meadows
Height/Weight: 6-1/180 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Paradise HS/Paradise, TX
HS Positions: RHP, IF
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 350 Nationally, Top 50 in Texas

Notes: A rising Texas RHP with a great athletic frame and loose arm action to accompany a high 80s fastball and good slider... Plays for D-Bat Baseball... Keep an eye on this kid.

Devon Roedahl
Height/Weight: 6'2"/190 lbs.
High School/Hometown: West Brook HS/Beaumont, TX
HS Positions: RHP
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 50 prospect nationally, top 15 RHP nationally, top 10 prospect from Texas

Notes: Roedahl is a major name in the 2015 class and was a major get for TCU and recruiting coordinator Kirk Saarloos... Roedahl will be a draft watch next year, with an emerging frame and great stuff.

Joshua Watson
Height/Weight: 5-11/190 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Arlington Martin HS/Arlington, TX
HS Positions: OF, C
Bats/Throws: S/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 400 Nationally, Top 50 in Texas

Notes: ...A top 50 catcher nationally and a top 5 catcher from the state of Texas... Power potential bat, solid athlete... Could play C or OF at the next level...

2014 TCU Baseball Commitments

Bradley Barnett (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-0/175 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Rockwall HS/Rockwall, TX
HS Positions: MIF, CIF, DH
Bats/Throws: R/L
PerfectGame Rankings: n/r

Notes: Solid IF commit, plays for the Dallas Patriots


Francisco DeJesus (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-1/215 lbs.
High School/Hometown: McKinney Boyd HS/McKinney, TX
HS Positions: 1B, OF, LHP
Bats/Throws: L/L
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 500 Nationally, Top 50 in Texas

Notes: Big/strong frame, mature physical specimen... Can definitely hit the ball a long way when he makes contact... Future positions are 1B, maybe COF... Plays primarily with Team Citius...


Drew Gooch (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 5-10/195 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Argyle HS/Argyle, TX
HS Positions: LHP, 1B
Bats/Throws: L/L
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 500 Nationally, Top 75 in Texas

Notes: Top 10 LHP in the state of Texas, top 50 LHP nationally... small frame but solid velocity for his build... high ¾ arm slot with a strong downhill motion... mid to high 80s on the fastball, solid change and developing breaking ball...

Preston Guillory (JUCO) (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-3/190 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Live Oak HS/Denham Springs, LA
JUCO Positions: RHP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Notes: Went JUCO out of HS, played two years at Panola JUCO in Carthage, TX... Appeared in 13 games last spring for Panola, pitching 67 innings with a 4.68 ERA... Was named a 2nd Team All-Conference, invited to the JUCO All-Star Game... Will come to TCU with two remaining years of eligibility...


Jared Janczak (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-1/185 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Belton HS/Temple, TX
HS Positions: OF, RHP, IF
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 500 Nationally, Top 50 in Texas

Notes: Legit two-way prospect, very athletic... Throws in the upper 80s consistently, solid breaking ball, high ¾ release... Plays with the Waco Storm...

Tyler Kolek (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-5/230 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Shepherd HS/Shepherd, TX
HS Positions: RHP, IF
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 5 Nationally, #1 in the state of Texas

Notes: All world RHP in the 2014 class... The #1 RHP in the nation... Throws in the mid-90s consistently, has hit 98-99 on several occasions... Also throws a CB, SL and change... Huge frame... Matt Purke did make it to TCU, will Tyler?

Matt Myers (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-1/195 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Churchill HS/San Antonio, TX
HS Positions: RHP, OF, C
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 300 Nationally, Top 30 in Texas

Notes: Just a solid baseball player who can play all over the field... Probably a RHP at the next level... High 80s FB with a solid CB and a change... Athletic build, high ¾ arm slot...Plays with the South Texas Sliders...

Connor Reich
Height/Weight: 6-0/170 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Hallsville HS/Longview, TX
HS Positions: RHP, OF, IF
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 1000 Nationally, Top 130 in Texas

Notes: Medium frame yet athletic, ¾ arm slot with solid arm action that can work a FB into the mid to high 80s consistently... Fairly projectable guy who already has some pitch-ability... Solid defensive outfielder and solid bat, but will likely be a RHP at the next level...

Evan Skoug (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 5-11/200 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Libertyville HS/Libertyville, IL
HS Positions: C, IF, OF
Bats/Throws: L/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 300 Nationally, Top 10 in Illinois

Notes: Very good and rising catching prospect that has turned heads during the summer (2013) with an advanced feel at the plate... May not be a C at the next level, but his bat and athleticism certainly will... Very solid arm (think Elander) that could play COF or C...

Justin Twine (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 5-10/195 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Hemphill HS/Hemphill, TX
HS Positions: MIF, OF, RHP
Bats/Throws: S/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 50 Nationally, Top 5 in Texas

Notes: Top level MIF prospect in the 2014 class, also a three star football recruit (running back)... Has indicated he will only play baseball in the future... Likely a MIF at the next level, although I could see him at the hot corner as well... Excellent instincts, shows running back "twitchiness" when ranging in the IF... Gap power and tons of bat speed... Would be a major win for TCU to get him on campus...

Kenneth Cullen Vaught
Height/Weight: 5-11/190 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Calallen HS/Corpus Christi, Texas
HS Positions: IF, RHP, C
Bats/Throws: R/R
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 100 3B Nationally, Top 200 Player in Texas

Notes: Smaller IF who shows some hit potential, plays with Action Baseball... Had been committed to Vanderbilt, switcher to TCU this fall...

Austen Wade (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-0/185 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Midland HS/Midland, TX
HS Positions: OF, LHP
Bats/Throws: L/L
PerfectGame Rankings: Top 500 Nationally, Top 50 in Texas

Notes: Solid OF prospect for TCU, good LH bat that flashes some good potential... Prototypical COF at the next level, will add weight and strength as well... Plays for the D-Bat Mustangs....

Connor Wanhanen (SIGNED LOI)
Height/Weight: 6-2/175 lbs.
High School/Hometown: Flower Mound HS/Flower Mound, TX
HS Positions: OF, IF
Bats/Throws: L/R
PerfectGame Rankings: n/r

Notes: Similar to Wade, will need to add strength at the next level but has potential... Plays for the Dallas Tigers...

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