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Monday Morning Manager: New-look roster heading into fall, former Frogs blazing through MiLB

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Several transfers have changed the look of the Frogs’ fall baseball roster, while former TCU stars are moving on up

Melissa Triebwasser

Every summer, collegiate baseball teams go through some level of roster overhaul, as new players sign, some recruits and current players go pro, and others leave looking for better opportunities elsewhere.

The summer of 2018 was no different for TCU Baseball, who saw several starters - and several potential signees - leave for the Big Leagues for a second straight season, as well as a few players head to other programs.

Here are the players that no longer appear on the TCU Baseball roster and are rumored to have transferred:

Infielders:

Tristan Hanoian, SO (5’8”, 180 - Orange Lutheran High School)

Hanoian played in 12 games as a true freshman with four starts, garnering just two hits in 15 at bats. He drew five walks and struck out four times. A natural second baseman, Hanoian was not going to beat out incumbent, and fellow rising sophomore, Coby Boulware, who had a solid true freshman campaign on his way to locking down the starting job from game one.

Danny Crews, SR (6’4”, 175 - Fort Scott CC)

Crews, a transfer shortstop who had a reputation as a lockdown defender with pop in his bat, was never able to pass freshman Adam Oviedo in the pecking order, and was relegated to the bench. He appeared in eight games, starting two, going 1-9 in his limited at bats. Crews also had two errors in just four chances defensively. He still has TCU in his twitter bio, but is not listed on the 2019 TCU Baseball roster.

Pitchers:

Trey Morris, JR (6’5”, 207 - Taylor High School)

The most surprising transfer of the lot has to be Morris, who saw his playing time deplete with the arrival of freshman Augie Mihlbauer, Russell Smith, Caleb Sloan, and James Notary - as well as the emergence of fellow rising juniors Cal Coughlin, Jake Eissler, Haylen Green, and Charles King. Morris probably saw the writing on the wall; after pitching 28.2 innings across 17 appearances as a true freshmen, his numbers dipped to 12 appearances and just 14.2 frames of work. Though his ERA dropped precipitously (from 5.65 as a freshman to 1.23 as a sophomore), he had trouble getting work as the season drug along and will have more opportunities elsewhere. He, too, still has TCU in his bio, but is not on the 2019 roster.

2018 Signees:

RHP Matt Rudis (Madisonville, TX) 6’3”, 195

Rudis is a top ten right hander in the state and a top 15 ranked player overall, who went 7-4 with a 0.54 ERA in his senior campaign. A big guy with a fastball that runs up into the mid-90s, Rudis has a four pitch arsenal and is a strong candidate to make an early impact with the Frogs.

OF Porter Brown (San Antonio, TX) 5’10, 165

The Frogs find themselves short outfielders again, as only Josh Watson and Johnny Rizer remain from last year’s rotation. Though that pair will likely man left and center respectively, right field is up for grabs. Brown will have a chance to compete with redshirt freshmen Brad Czerniejewski and RJ Lan for that spot - and he has a real shot to beat them out. One of the fastest players in San Antonio this spring, Brown set San Antonio Reagan’s stolen base record and is among the all-time leaders in runs scored and walks drawn. He also hit over .400 during his senior season, and plans to study neuroscience at TCU - he’s a super bright kid who uses his intelligence to make on the fly adjustments. Whether he starts for the Frogs this fall or not, it’s hard to imagine him not finding a way into the game as a pinch hitter or pinch runner. He’s going to be Nolan Brown/Cody Jones kinds of fun to watch wreak havoc on the base paths.

RHP Marcelo Perez (Laredo, TX) 5’11”, 170

A solid athlete, Perez might be a bit of a project for Kirk Saarloos at TCU, and is a strong candidate to redshirt his first year on campus - think Dion Henderson (hopefully without the injuries). Perez has loose mechanics but a live arm and runs his fastball up to 93 despite not having the most fluid delivery.

RHP Dawson Barr (Flower Mound, TX) 6’1”, 195

Barr doesn’t have the big arm of some of his contemporaries, but he commands three pitches and does a good job of keeping hitters of balance. He can work both sides of the plate and has a knee-buckling slurve, and his 34 slot gives him some nice arm action of his fastball.

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (Katy, TX) 6’2”, 205

Spencer looks college-ready as an athlete right now, with a big, filled out frame and the ability to continue to get stronger. Arrighetti (it’s going to be fun to hear that name over the Lupton PA) feels a lot like freshman Durbin Feltman coming in - his fastball sits at 91 now, but it’s hard to imagine he won’t have a major velocity uptick based on the type of athlete he is once he gets under the tutelage of Saarloos. In his career, he struck out 160 batters in just 107.2 innings, boasting a 2.29 ERA as a senior. He will need to work on his control - 34 walks and 16 HBP in 55 innings, but the ability is certainly there.

C Nicholas Juaire (Farmington, MN) 5’8”, 175

All of a sudden, TCU is recruiting on a national level, and the Frogs went back into Minnesota to pick up their catcher of the future. With Zach Humphreys entering his junior year and Colton Parrish a senior, Juaire can be a developmental project who likely redshirts in his first year in Funky Town. Already a defensive wizard behind the plate, Juaire is a compact switch hitter who uses all fields, and should project to be a middle of the lineup type player should his development continue at the current rate. His POP time of 1.85 (from catch to throw down to second) is elite - most major league catchers hover around 1.9-2 seconds - and the fact that he hit .500 with six home runs and 28 RBI on his way to player of the year honors should get Frog fans fired up.

OF Bryson Jackson (Humble, TX) 6’0”, 170

Remember when we talked about all the speed that Porter Brown possess? Well, you’ll want to be lined up along the fence watching wind sprints when he and Jackson face off this spring. Jackson, who will play football for TCU in the fall, was a highly-pursued prospect on the field and the diamond, choosing the Frogs from 26 offers. Wanting to be “the next Bo Jackson”, the centerfielder will need to find a way to get baseball work in while on a football scholarship, and look to be the first Frog to successfully play both sports for more than a single season since Chad Huffman did it back in 2006 - more on him a few paragraphs down. Insanely fast, Jackson runs a 4.76 40 with a 4.28 shuttle, and has been clocked home to first in an MLB-ready 4.3 seconds. He will be behind some of his peers developmentally due to his baseball commitments, but has a chance to be a contributor for the Frogs early on defense and the base-paths.

Former Frogs Making Big Impressions in MiLB

Brian Howard, Durbin Feltman, and Kevin Cron have been making big moves this summer, as all three have been on absolute tears. Cron, the former TCU first baseman (who might best be remembered for this) has destroyed minor league pitching since May, mashing 16 home runs in just over two months of play. Cron is hitting .321 for the AAA Reno Aces, with 13 doubles and 64 RBI to go with his long balls. As the Diamondbacks look to hold off the Dodgers in the NL West, Cron’s bat could certainly buy him a ticket to the Big Leagues.

Check out this big bomb:

Big Game Howie has taken his reputation to the Minors, holding opponents to a .186 average in 10.0 innings of work since moving up to AA, posting a 2.25 ERA with 11 strikeouts for Midland of the Texas League. Howard, who has a career 7-3 record with a 2.36 ERA in 14 total games, is being noticed as a guy who could be a rotation piece for an Oakland team that could certainly use the help.

Former TCU closer Durbin Feltman debuted in short season A ball, and is on pace to fast-track to the majors should he continue to look as sharp as he has so far. Feltman has seen action in three games, going an inning in each, and has five Ks having faced the minimum nine batters. While it’s too early to project him in a pennant race for the Sox in September, don’t expect Feltman to stay in A ball very long.

If you miss Feltman throwing gas, check out these highlights:

Those three aren’t the only former Frogs making moves - another former TCU closer is moving on up to AAA, as Riley Ferrell is finding his groove and lighting things up for the Fresno Grizzlies. He finished his AA stint with 12 shutout innings.

Chad Huffman, who last suited up in purple in 2006, was recently named to the AAA All-Star team as a DH. The Mud Hens first baseman was hitting .256 on the season with seven home runs and 25 RBI before being placed on the temporary inactive list last week.