Michigan was in Honolulu this week, which was very exciting. They are expected to finish first in the Big 10, and the roster is stuffed with talented players. They were super friendly, and I had no problems getting guys pregame–I cannot thank their coach enough for being cool about that. Now that I have a baby at home, spending an hour post game trying to get guys is not as easy as it once was…so its nice that I can get guys pregame, watch, and then leave. Unfortunately, I was not able to get any pictures this series; Hawaii switched dugouts this season and the new visitor side is not as great for photos as the other side. Hopefully I will find a good spot during the Chicago Series, and get back to my picture taking, which I am starting to enjoy more and more.
So who did I get?
Bryan Pall, rhp -As a freshman Paul had a great season, going 2-0 out of the pen, striking out 31 in 33 IP. He was selected a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. This season he is on pace to have a very similar, fantastic season: in 7.2 IP he has only allowed 5 hits and 13 K. Guys are batting .172 off him. Its easy to see why he was selected to the Perfect Game (PG) Preseason All-Conference Team. He is a very dangerous weapon off the pen.
Carmen Benedetti, ut – Normally I like to list out a players accolades, but with Benedetti is gets a little silly…so I will just do come cut and pasting…
In 2015 he hit .352 with 5 HR and a .418 OBP. He also pitched out of the pen, allowing only 4 hits and striking out 23 in 14.2 IP. This season he is putting up even better numbers, both with the bat (.298 AVG, 1 HR, .452 OBP) and arm (3.1 IP, 1 hit and 6 K’s). He is one of the more talented two way players I have ever seen come through Hawaii (he kind of reminds me of JD Davis), and it will be very neat to see what role a professional organization asks him to finally settle in.
Cody Bruder, of – Bruder is having a fantastic start to his 2016 campaign, hitting .393/.464/.426. He has the 3rd highest OBP on the the team.
Drew Lugbauer, c/3b – Lugbauer was on my short list of players that I was hoping to get, as good hitting catchers are always one of my favorite types of players to follow. Perfect Game rated him one of the conferences top draft prospects for the 2017 season, an he is putting up the kind of numbers that prove it: .313/.396/.400. He is a very exciting prospect.
Evan Hill, sp – I went back to the game on Saturday with Evan Hill being a player I was really hoping to get, as I missed him on Thursday. On the season Hill is 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA. In 14 IP he has struck out 15 and only allowed 3 walks.
Harrison Wenson, c – Wenson is probably my favorite player on the roster. Like Lugbauer, he is a offensive minded catcher who has both power (3 HR) and on-base skills (.446 OBP). Those on-base skills are enhanced by the fact that he can both hit and shows plus plate discipline (8 walks, 10 K over 47 at bats). I also talked to his dad, who seemed like a really cool dude. There is also an Ohio connection, as Wenson’s brother goes to college in Ohio.
Hector Gutierrez, p/if – Like Bredson, he has not had many chances yet this season, with only 5 at-bats (and 1 hit).
Jake Bivens, if – In 2015 Bivens would hit .319 with a fantastic .435 OBP. My favorite stat is that he walked (34) more than he struck out (22), which is always an impressive feat. And he was recognized:
So far in 2016 he is hitting even better than expected: .373/.475/.431 with 6 walks to 7 K.
Jack Bredeson, rhp – has only one inning this season, walking 2 and striking out 1.
Jayce Vancena, rhp – Pitching out of the pen right now, and in 5.2 IP has allowed 6 H and 6 ER. I am sure once he gets a little more work things will balance out–he is a valuable long reliever/swing man who, I think, will be a big help toward the end of the season (and the starters need to watch the workload)
Johnny Slater, of – Slater was drafted out of high school by the Braves in the 31st round of the 2013 draft, but decided to come play for Michigan instead. He is hitting .217/.348/.250.
Jonathan Engelmann, of – When I was reading the Perfect Game preview of Michigan he was one name that they were very high on, noting that he was “toolsy and projectable as anyone in the conference.” I only saw him get one at-bat, a pinch hit for Johnny Slater…and he got a hit. On the season he is only hitting .176 with a .167 OBP, but he only has 17 at-bats. I am sure with more at-bats will come more success, and I am sure he is a big part of the programs future.
Mac Lozer, rhp – He has not had a lot of innings out of the pen yet, but in the 4.1 he has pitched he has struck out 6 guys. That, coupled with last seasons stats (15 IP, 13K wiith a 3.60 ERA) really grabbed my attention.
Matt Ramsay, of – In 54 at bats this season, Ramsay is hitting .333 with a .410 OBP. He is yet another Michigan player starting off the season well.
Michael Brdar, if – Through 46 at bats, is hitting .196. But the value that he brings is his glove, which is one of the best on the team.
Ricky Karcher, rhp – Another player who is hard to write about because of the lack of innings. He is the son of Rick Karcher, who was a Braves pitcher back in the day, coupled with his great high school career…he is yet another player that i made sure to get since I think he will player a larger role on the team in seasons to come.
Ryan Nutof, rhp – Nutof is in the starting rotation, and having a very nice go of it: in 4 games he is 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA. Over 17.2 innings he has allowed only 16 hits, walking 4 and striking out 8. Guys are only hitting .254 off him. He is a very solid #3 starter, and would be most teams (see: Hawaii) #1. He is also popular with scouts, as he is one of the conferences top draft prospects for 2017.
Troy Miller, rhp – In 5 innings has only allowed 1 hit and stuck out 3. He also had a great high school career. Another player who projects to be a very successful player…both in college and hopefully the pros.
William Tribucher, lhp/of – Tribucher was not a player that originally jumped out to me…and I think (well, know) that was a mistake. He does not have any at bats on the season, but in 10 innings out of the pen he has struck out 12, walked 6 and only allowed 5 hits. And he is a lefty! He is super talented, and I am sure that he is going to be a legit prospect moving forward. I am looking forward to seeing what he eventually does with the bat…since if its anything like he throws…man.
Benjamin Keizer, lhp – Another lefty. No appearances yet this season.
Brett Adcock, lhp – So I am kind of embarrassed. I think I got him three times while he was here. I know that I got his autograph on the first night, but it got smeared since (as a lefty), they sometimes do that. I noticed when I got him on Thursday, and considering he is one of the most talented pitchers in the conference, decided to got back on Saturday to get him. I am always embarrassed to ask a dude for two autographs, but I explained the deal and he was super cool about it and signed another card. When I was sorting everything that I got I found that autograph…and another one. So I am thinking that I must have asked him again at some point (probably when he was signing for someone else…or maybe I confused him with #36, Oliver Jaskie…who is the only starter I missed out one). Anyhow. I will take it…two is better than one, and considering he is almost certainly going to be drafted, I wont complain! On the season he is 1-1 in 15.2 innings, with a team high 26 K to 15 walks and a fantastic 1.15 ERA.
Note: I just read that he also won Big 10 Pitcher of the Week. I saw his start in Hawaii (12 K’s), so he certainly deserves it.