Wednesday, June 30, 2010

baseball recruits, part 2

Picking up where we left off yesterday, hopefully with better Google results....

Justin Nicolino

...but not with better news. Nicolino was projected to be a 3rd or 4th round pick in the MLB draft and planned on going to college all the way. Would have been a big deal. He went in the second, and will be going pro instead. Blame the Toronto Blue Jays. They have til August 16 to sign him, but don't sit around hoping it won't happen.

Mark Podlas

One of the few prospects who doesn't pitch for his high school team, Podlas plays the other usual position: center field. (It's a best-athlete thing. Like with quarterbacks in football, high school baseball teams like to get the ball in their best athlete's hands on every play. Or in the place where they have the most space to run.) Podlas was rated the 6th-best player in New York by Perfect Game, and thought of as a first-ten-rounds guy in the draft. He wasn't drafted at all, though; around that time, if a kid's sending out college waves, teams back off.

Being from the Northeast, Podlas knew he'd have to get out around the country to showcase himself, so he hit the camp circuit hard and played his travel ball all the way out in California. (That's a pretty good one-on-one interview in that second link, by the way.) He's a lefty batter, fast for his height (6'2"), and a good enough batter to be called the best left-handed high school bat in the country. High praise. And as is always important at UVA, a hard worker in the classroom too.

Mitchell Shifflett

It'll be interesting to see how Shifflett does on the basepaths against college catchers, because high school catchers couldn't do anything about him. He hit well over .400 (most any college prospect will) and even though the vast majority of his hits were singles, "a single is a double" in Shifflett's world. Even his college decision was fast: Shifflett also had a UNC offer, among others, but selected UVA way back in October of 2008.

Shifflett's hot hitting carried his Cosby team to the AAA state semifinals; until the season-ending loss to Woodbridge, he went 12-for-17 in four games and stole second just about every time he got on base. He was nearly perfect on the season in that regard, getting thrown out just once. (Must've had an untied shoelace.) In all he averaged a little shy of two SBs a game in his senior season.

Tyler Skulina

With size that makes pro scouts drool (6'6", 235, and he's grown a touch since being a 6'4" freshman) and a low-mid 90s fastball, about 92-93 when he's on (and touching 96 on one occasion), Skulina was the guy on draft watch for UVA baseball fans. Maybe he told everyone he was set on UVA or maybe it was the back injury (muscle strain) earlier this season, but Skulina didn't get drafted until very late, setting him up for his arrival in Charlottesville.

Skulina earned a boatload of accolades (All-American, player of the year in the state as a junior, trivial things like that) pitching for one of the nation's powerhouse programs - Walsh Jesuit has made three straight trips to the state championship game in Ohio, losing the last two. Skulina achieved perfection on his own, though: he never lost a game in four years of pitching. If there's one freshman to watch for playing time next year, this is the guy.

Austin Young

Listed at pitcher like most of the rest of the prospects, it's probably Young's bat that's carrying him to UVA. First base is where he made his mark enough to earn an honorable mention for the AAA all-state team, where you'll also notice Mitchell Shifflett among the first-teamers. First-team all-region and all-academic, too. Um, he also hit two home runs in a game once....otherwise, Austin Young is another name that just about might as well be John Smith to a search engine. That and/or there's less hype out there. Young is a big dude, though, at 240 pounds, and with that kind of size and nowhere near the pitching credentials of most of the rest of the group, is likely a first baseman all the way.

One piece of miscellaneous news is the announcement on the official site of a 2013/2014 series with a football program that only exists on paper at the moment. UTSA has DI-A aspirations and because Craig Littlepage is apparently in a charitable mood, we agreed to a home-and-home. Washington & Lee must have been all booked up.

The series is added to the future schedules page. It's a big disappointment, I think. Blown opportunity to find a real opponent for a '12/'14 home and home series, as our road schedule is now pretty much booked up through 2015. Unless we're planning on playing 6 road games in a year, which I sure hope not. I guess recruiting is one way to rationalize the trip, but even Baylor would have accomplished the same thing.

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