Welcome back to the Monday Morning Manager, where a week off was much needed. Too much travel and work for this tired body. But, I am feeling quite refreshed and ready to go now, so thanks for waiting.
Real quick before we get started, we have added a TCU Recruiting widget to the left side of the screen which will link you to both of my 2012 Class Write Ups for what should be an excellent incoming class. I have plenty to say on this class, coming up shortly.
One final plug, we talked lots of TCU Baseball on Episode #4 of the Frogs O' War podcast which should be uploaded in the near future. Make sure and listen, lots of other goodies in there.
- The MLB draft is 27 days away and if you aren't sweating yet, you should be. As it stands right now, the Frogs will likely lose a bunch of talent from this year's team including a couple of guys from the 2012 class. Let's go through the guys that I think, as of today, are going to get drafted and sign professional contracts.
Seniors: Jason Coats & Brance Rivera
Juniors: Josh Elander, Kyle Von Tungeln, Kaleb Merck and Kevin Allen
So let's break into this class a little bit. Coats, a former 10th round pick, is likely going to see a look between rounds 10-20. Brance, if drafted, will be a late round pick. Josh Elander should get a look in the top 10 rounds, Von Tungeln in rounds 10-30 and Merck/Allen a potential late round look. If any of these guys are drafted, expect them to sign.
Then it becomes a story of which of these youngsters will be headed to pro ball. Thompson and Aune are both likely top five round selections and have indicated that, as long as compensation is slot money or higher they are interested in signing. Fairchild and Ferrell are more of a wildcard as they are more likely to slip into the back half of the top 10 rounds and are asking for top level compensation. Mitchell Traver, once thought by many to be the top "ceiling" arm in this class has fallen off this spring and it now appears he will almost assuredly be a Frog this fall.
I expect several more of the incoming freshman will be drafted, but few more will sign. One pro scout told me he thought somewhere between one and four of the guys listed here would sign, likely 1-2, and even though this opinion was not shared with several staff members I spoke with it is important to remember that until guys give their initial demands to teams and said teams finalize their boards, this is all a very fluid situation.
So, where does that leave us? Lots of young arms, some iffy bats and a team that will need to figure out its identity early next fall. This team will arguable lose each of its top leaders, both juniors and seniors, and the future of the team depends largely on who steps of to fill their shoes.
#TCU Baseball has another commit, 2012 Catcher Paddy O'Brien. Switched him from Santa Clara, should be good catcher depth for Frogs.
- Just a total guess here, but I bet O'Brien was offered as insurance for now (possibly) departing catcher Braden Mattson, who was suspended for 2012 a couple of weeks ago along with fellow freshmen Michael Resnick and Chris Murphy. If so, good add, O'Brien is regarded as a top 100 HS catcher in the 2012 class.
- Jake Arrieta, in six starts this year, has three quality starts and has been every bit the "staff ace" he was tabbed to be coming into 2012. The Orioles, currently 1st in the American League East, have been playing consistent and solid ball all season long and Jake is garnering much praise for his efforts. 2012 Season Stats: 6 Games (2-2), 3.52 ERA, 33/9 SO/BB
- Say hello to Andrew Cashner, your new San Diego Padres closer. With Huston Street going on the DL with some shoulder soreness, the Padres have promoted the hard throwing righty and I sincerely hope he can excel in his new role. Andrew is still struggling with his command, but maybe a move into the ninth inning role will help focus Cashner. Ultimately, Cashner's best role probably still is as a starter and I would bet we will see him perform those duties come 2013/
2012 Season Stats: 14 Games (2-1), 2.08 ERA, 11/10 SO/BB
- The most consistent reliever for the Red Sox in 2012? How about Scott Atchison, the 36 year old former TCU stud who has finally found a role with a big league team. Bobby Valentine has been praising Atchison in recent weeks for his workman-like attitude and effectiveness in any situation and the numbers show why the Sox manager is so pleased. I don't know how many seasons Scott has left in him, but if this is the way he is going to ride out what a way to do so ($480k retirement gift).
2012 Season Stats: 12 Games (1-0), 1.50 ERA, 14/4 SO/BB
- For Matt Carpenter, the first month of 2012 has been a tale of two seasons. One really good, one not so good. For the first two weeks, Matt was killing it. Then, with more consistent playing time his performance fell off. Now, in the last week he has returned to his top form and manager Mike Matheny has rewarded him with more consistent playing time. It is hard to say what the rest of 2012 will hold for Matt, but it is fair to say that he has proven himself a very effective and productive UIF. As injuries happen, Matt will continue to play. Is a midseason trade possible? Absolutely, there are plenty of lower level teams that have corner OF and RHP/LHP to offer the Cardinals and I am sure St. Louis will dangle Matt who really has not spot in the Cardinal infield. For his sake, I hope this happens and I hope to see him playing third for the Phillies by August 1.
- Matt Curry is doing big things so far in 2012, performing well at the AA level he is repeating from the second half of 2011. The Pirates got aggressive with Matt in 2011 and are hoping he can perform well there in 2012. If you are wondering when a AAA invite might be coming, you may have to wait awhile. If Matt is consistent at this level, an injury might allow him to move up later this year. I very much doubt he gets a MLB call up, but a 40 man roster addition in the offseason or next spring is not out of the question.
- Neither Kyle Winkler nor Matt Purke have thrown their first professional pitch, both appear to be working out injury issues to start 2012. You can find both in extended spring training.
- You can also find Jimmie Pharr and Erik Miller in extended spring training where they prepare to join there low a short season teams.
- Joe Weik is currently playing for the Gateway Grizzlies, an Independent League (Frontier) team based in St. Louis, MO.
WEEKEND SERIES REVIEW
- As we talked about before, it was best to look at the last week as a four game series. And, if you were projecting out before the series started, a 3-4 finish with the loss coming vs. NM would be the best option next to a sweep. Well, the Frogs didn't sweep, but they did do good work and today are sitting pretty in terms of RPI (33), SOS (46) and ranking (Baseball America: #24, Perfect Game #23).
- You have to love the genius with the way Schloss and Mazey handled the pitching staff over this stretch. They were able to get their best four arms, Mitchell/Morrison/Crichton/Finnegan into a lot of play and guys like Trey Teakell, Kevin Allen and Justin Scharf stepped up to fill in the holes. If you are comparing this weekend's performance against any other four game stretch this year, I think you have to say this is the best TCU has played all year.
- How big was that two RBI double for Kevin Cron in Sunday's rubber match? I have been waiting for that type of production and big hit from him all year long, so when he slapped that hit in to the right field gap I literally jumped up and screamed. No doubt, he was doing the same. If you include Sunday, Cron is now hitting .310/.366/.393 on the season, not bad and getting better with every game (only five XBH, more please!).
- The Frogs get a much deserved break this week with finals on the schedule, but will head out to Colorado Springs on Thursday ahead of their weekend series at Air Force. I hate playing in Colorado Springs, we always seem to struggle their, in every sport. The Frogs have seven regular season games left in 2012, three at Air Force, three vs. San Diego State at home and one road matchup at Oklahoma. Then, its MWC Tournament time and final preparations will begin for what is likely to be a regional matchup at Rice/Baylor/Texas A&M.