Note: it has come to the author’s attention that Georgia Tech right-hander Buck Farmer‘s start on Friday at 4pm ET will be available via Watch ESPN. The senior recorded 14 strikeouts in 8.0 innings during his season debut last weekend against Akron.
Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.
Three Notable Weekend College Series
The college baseball season began last weekend and continues with games through this next one. While some — like the author’s jerky editor Dave Cameron — are impervious to the charms of the collegiate game, it’s demonstrably a fact that the best NCAA players of 2013 will become relevant major leaguers in the not very distant future. Furthermore, in the absence of actual professional baseball, the college game is a reasonably entertaining substitute.
With that in mind — and as he did last week — the author has provided below a collection of series this weekend that both (a) are likely to feature actual amateur prospects and (b) are available for consumption, via streaming video, through CBS Sports’ ULive service.
The author has benefited considerably from Aaron Fitt’s top-25 college preview at Baseball America in the composition of these previews. Also, his own impressive prose skills is another thing from which the author has benefited.
As noted, all games are available streaming on ULive. All times are Eastern.
Teams: Temple/Holy Cross at (24) Virginia Tech
Times (Fri/Sat/Sun): 2:45 PM / 3:15 PM & 5:45 PM / N/A
Notes: Virginia Tech enters Baseball America’s top-25 rankings list after winning two games each against UNC-Wilmington and Kent State this past week. Duke transfer and junior right-hander Devin Burke was effective during the second game of a Saturday doubleheader, striking out six of 23 batters faced while walking two and allowing just a single hit (box). Even more impressive was senior Tanner McIntyre. At 5-foot-9, McIntyre is unlikely to inspire much in the way of projection, but he posted a 34:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31.2 relief innings last season and struck out eight of the 25 UNC-Wilmington batters he faced on Sunday (box). McIntyre sits at 88-90 mph, it seems. Among field players, sophomore catcher/outfielder Mark Zagunis is most notable. As a freshman, he was the team’s most productive hitter, hitting five homers while posting a 21:25 walk-to-strikeout ratio and 17-for-22 stolen-base record. Through four games, he’s walked twice, struck out not at all, and is 4-for-4 on stolen bases. Junior third baseman Chad Pinder had two home runs in Tech’s first four games.
Teams: Akron at (4) Louisville
Times (Fri/Sat/Sun): 3:00 PM / 2:00 PM / 1:00 PM
Notes: Junior right-hander Jeff Thompson averaged nearly a strikeout per inning last season, but doubled that rate this past Saturday against the University of South Florida, striking out 12 of 20 batters faced (while walking just one) in five innings. He’s listed at 6-foot-6 and, according to Aaron Fitt, sits at 92-93 mph with his fastball and his slider is a swing-and-miss pitch. He’s likely to start the Saturday game. Sophomore reliever Nick Burdi is also worthy of attention, possessing a fastball that reaches 100-plus mph. Despite recording just seven plate appearances last year as a freshman, shortstop Sutton Whiting has led the offense through its first four games, reaching safely in 11 of 16 plate appearances — including two doubles — and posting a 3:3 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak walked three times as much as he struck out in 2012 (27:9 BB:K), while also recording 28 (!) hit-by-pitches.
Teams: Notre Dame at Tulane
Times (Fri/Sat/Sun): 7:30 PM / 3:00 PM / 1:00 PM
Notes: Though neither of the teams here is ranked, former FanGraphs prospect analyst Kiley McDaniel addressed players from each school in his debut effort at FOX Sports’ Scouting Baseball. Writes McDaniel of Tulane sophomore right-hander Tony Rizzotti: “[He] was a lesser-known name that was also excellent in his first start, hitting 96 with a power three-pitch mix that now has crosscheckers and scouting directors scrambling to see the potential first rounder.” And of Notre Dame junior third baseman Eric Jagielo: “[He] also took a step forward. Scouts think he has a chance to stick at third base and his plus left-handed power showed up this weekend with two homers, including an opposite field bomb to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth against Florida Gulf Coast, a game the Irish won in the 10th inning. Jagielo is now also in first round consideration after shoring up some concerns about his contact ability with a consistent stroke.” Rizzotti will pitch the Friday games, most likely. Notre Dame freshman David Hearne, who was the most impressive of the Irish pitchers during their first weekend of play (5.0 IP, 21 BF, 8 K, 2 BB), will likely pitch on Sunday.
Action Footage: Virginia Tech Junior Devin Burke’s Changeup
Here are three consecutive changeups last year from Virginia Tech right-hander (and likely Saturday starter) Devin Burke to North Carolina’s Cody Stubbs.
For strike one:
And strike two:
And for the strikeout: