Monday, August 10, 2009

baseball update in football season

Since it's almost football season, let's bring you up to speed on our baseball players in summer leagues, that makes sense. The summer leagues wrap up the season this week. We have players scattered around the country getting that crucial wood-bat experience, and here's what they've been up to this summer, roughly in order of lowest to highest quality of league:

In the New York Collegiate Baseball League, Justin Thompson pitched in a couple games for the Saratoga Phillies and did well - one of those games being a complete-game shutout. Only three appearances in 39 games, but two wins. Thompson's not as familiar a name because he only got in seven games this season for UVA, mostly in the midweek games like Stony Brook and Norfolk State, but he never gave up a run in any of them. Should definitely be one to watch out of the bullpen next season.

Tyler Biddix didn't go far - he played for the Waynesboro Generals of the Valley Baseball League which is entirely within the state of Virginia. Unfortunately, his hitting was brutal. In 56 at-bats over 28 games and 14 starts, he hit .143 and slugged .179.

Jared King fared about the same for Keene of the NECBL - he batted .156 in 25 games, 22 of them starts. Will Roberts was sparingly used by the Newport Gulls (who hopefully in another hour or so will be NECBL champs - see my hometown) but pitched brilliantly in his five regular season appearances (three earned runs in 27 innings, including two complete games - and the NECBL goes nine innings) and even better in his two playoff appearances: 1 complete game shutout and no runs in 16 innings. Chad O'Connor pitched fairly well for the Sanford Mainers, with a 2.73 ERA over 33 innings. (Low ERAs are to be expected: for a lot of these guys, it's their first real games with wooden bats. O'Connor is just slightly below his team's average of 2.89.)

And then there's the Cape Cod League, the big kahuna of summer leagues, where seven of our players represented - including, as you may recall, two on all-star teams:

- All-Star John Barr (nice ring to that) was a top hitter for a lousy-hitting Brewster team - his .288 batting average was second on the team. Teammate Jarrett Parker was Rob Deer: he struck out twice as often as he got a hit, and nearly had more extra-base hits than singles. His average was only .188 (ugh) but thanks to all those extra-base hits, tied for third on the team in RBI.

- Our other all-star, Dan Grovatt, also hit .288 and led the Harwich Mariners in OBP at .399. Phil Gosselin was another Harwich regular, hitting .262.

- Robert Morey pitched for the Bourne Braves and ended up with a 3-1 record, though batters hit .284 against him and his ERA was somewhere north of four, which is not good. Bourne, by the way, will play this week for the Cape Cod championship. Root for them - their opponent has no Cavaliers and one Hokie.

(Again, keep in mind with the stats, this is New England with wooden bats: .280 is wicked pissah. The best-hitting team in the league batted .261 and that's like twenty points above everyone else. The league average is like .234. Still doesn't excuse Brewster's team average of .217, though. But it means Barr and Grovatt hit really, really well, despite the near-.400 numbers you're used to.)

- Tyler Wilson, however, was dancin' in the streets of Hyannis with a 1.60 ERA and a .193 opponent's average. People stood in line and didn't seem to mind for his five starts and 3-1 record - he was getting pretty good at the game. OK, I'll stop that now.

- Matt Packer did pretty well, too, with an ERA of 1.90 for Orleans. Nice to see him working on dispelling the ghosts of the really awful ACC regular season he had.

Some other wrap-up items:

- Freshman OL Cody Wallace has left the team. That's about the most detail anyone ever went into in reporting that, which is fine: we probably don't want to know, and it's better than the way offensive linemen leave Michigan, which is mostly done while spewing idiocy on the way out the door. By my count we are now down to 86 scholarships. This summer we've lost the following players: Wallace, DE Kevin Crawford, TE/DE Andrew Devlin, OL Morgan Moses (yes, he counts, he was going to use a scholarship), and TE Rod Wheeler, as well as S Rico Bell, who transferred in late winter sometime. Patrick Slebonick remains on the roster, and my guess is that's with the understanding that his spot is dependent on nobody being ineligible coming out of summer school. If there are no academic casualties, he's probably going to have to leave.

Depth chart, therefore, will be updated. When I get around to it. Actually, I'm really just waiting for the last shoe to drop. I'll have it fixed up when we learn who the last attrite is. It's a little bit of a pain to do.

- The Richmond Times-Dispatch has been losing sports personnel left and right. You know about Jeff White, whose new space at the official website is pretty much must-read stuff. Former sports editor Mike Harris is trying his hand at the quasi-blogging world, and has launched a new website called Virginia Sports Now. Should be worth watching. The only problem is that their tag cluster seems to have Tech in huge letters and UVA in leeetle tiny ones. It's only a week old, though, give it time.

- Heather, I'm afraid, seems woefully out of touch with the fanbase and the way admin has handled things. She's still convinced Al Groh is not on the hot seat and would be safe even with a bad, non-bowl season. I beg to differ from her begging to differ. Groh's contract could have been extended this year, but wasn't. I've already gone over what I think about how the Peter Lalich and Mike Groh situations were handled, which was clearly not Groh making the calls. That's not a good sign for the stability of the head coach. Her point is that we are expected to be in a transition year having lost so many players (she has been harping on our lack of experience at linebacker and receiver all season) and Groh shouldn't be expected to produce. Most teams in a transition year did well the previous season. We, uh, obviously did not. Transitioning from bad to worse doesn't keep a coach's job.

Besides, she seems to think the wide receivers will be a sore spot. I'm here to say they won't. There is freaky depth there. I mean just insane depth, and plenty of speed and talent. I'm not worried about receiver. In fact it's too bad we can't move some of that depth at receiver to defensive end. I'll grant her the linebackers. But "the offensive coordinator is gone" is most emphatically NOT a weakness, Heather! The guy never took us to the top 100! That's like saying "oh crap, the Detroit Lions are screwed, they just lost their general manager and now he's doing television work."


Anonymous said...

Your suspicions about Patrick Slebonick's schollie are on the right track, but miss the mark. See Jeff White's article:

So that's how we get down to 85 schollies.

Brendan said...

Yeah, I probably said that the wrong way - not "leave" but just simply "not have a scholarship" would be correct.