From the Field: University of Michigan Baseball

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…

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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:

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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.

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