Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bats need to come alive this weekend

Since Jim Schlossnagle took over the TCU baseball program, the Frogs have taken on the same offensive identity as the Major League neighbors over in Arlington. While TCU has enjoyed more pitching consistency than the Rangers, neither team has ever really wanted for production at the plate. That is, until this year.

Only once in Schlossnagle's nine seasons in Fort Worth have the Frogs batted less than .300 as a team- when they hit a collective .294 in 2004, his first season at the helm. That '04 team had six regulars hitting above .300, though, as opposed to just two* on the current squad that is hitting .244 collectively. Four of this year's regulars are hitting below .200 to start the season- most notably catcher Josh Elander, whose current .192 average is barely half of the career .345 clip he brought into his junior year.

To put things in a perhaps unfair perspective, the Frogs' current team slugging percentage (.330) is four points shy of the .334 batting average that the Omaha team of 2010 produced. I don't think it's unfair to say, though, that their average of 3.57 runs per game so far is not enough to sustain success with their current team ERA of 3.90. You don't need to be a stat geek to recognize that this team needs to start hitting the ball better. Quite a bit. Soon.

Every team- and certainly every player- will go through slumps from time to time. So perhaps just seven games into a long season is a little early to start panicking- especially since some of the Frogs' best hitters (Brance Rivera, Jantzen Witte and the promising freshman Kevin Cron) have missed part or all of the opening stretch of 2012. They can't afford to wait on those guys to get healthy, though, with this weekend's series against Oklahoma State kicking off a stretch of seven straight against future Big 12 opponents. It looks like it's going to be warm and sunny, so be sure to grab some sunscreen along with your rally-cap on your way out to Lupton.


*- Jason Coats and the pleasantly-surprising Kyle Von Tungeln, who are each batting .345. Rivera and Cron both currently hold averages of above .300, but with only a handful of at-bats under their belt so far this season.

Tank at the NFL Combine

We've been so busy with the baseball team's early struggles and the basketball team's surprising success that we've failed to give Tank Carder and his adventures in his transition to professional football their proper due. He recently took part in the NFL Draft Combine- the only Horned Frog to do so this year- and here are his results:

-40 yard dash: 4.69 (11th best among linebackers)
-Bench press: 19 reps of 225lbs
-Vertical leap: 34.5 inches
-Broad jump: 121 inches
-3 cone drill: 6.89 seconds (2nd best)
-20 yard shuttle drill: 4.18 seconds (4th best)
-60 yard shuttle drill: 11.53 seconds (3rd best)

So I guess now NFL scouts know what we've already known for a long time: Tank is a good athlete. We also know that he's an incredible football player, but what do the so-called "experts" think about Tank as a draft prospect?

-ESPN grades him as a 5th round pick.
-CBS Sports grades him as a 6th round pick.
-The Sports Exchange grades him as a 6th round pick.
-NFL.com grades him as an undrafted free agent.

Really? I mean, I get that he's not huge by NFL standards and that he's had some injuries over the years. But Tank is just a baller, and I don't understand how anyone couldn't see that. If he's still around in the 5th round (or later), someone is going to get an absolute steal of a linebacker. Every single NFL team whiffed on drafting David Hawthorne after his incredible career at TCU, so you'd think they might've learned their lesson about overlooking Horned Frog linebackers.

I guess you could say that I'm pretty biased, but I do think some of these draft gurus take way too much stock in measurables and look sight of the actual game of football. At the end of the day, though, their overrated opinions mean about as much as mine. It's really up to the talent evaluators on each individual team to decide how good an NFL player Tank can be. But he's got his own opinions on things, and has been keeping his own NFL Draft diary for the folks at walterfootball.com. Enjoy reading it:

Tank Carder's Draft Diary.

Get-well wishes for a future Frog

It's not doubt been a scary week for future Frog Zach Jackson. The safety from Snellville, Georgia was taken to the hospital on Monday when he passed out after complaining of chest pains. There are a lot of things we joke about on this site, but a heart-related emergency is definitely not one of them. So far, all of his tests have come back normal, but we're hoping his doctors have more good news for him in the coming days, weeks and months as he prepares to move to Fort Worth.

From all of the contributors and readers of Spit Blood, Zach, we hope that you start feeling better ASAP.

Morning Dump

Basketball:

Lady Frog star's career ends prematurely Star-Telegram


Other Sports:

Chris Del Conte's Notes on a Scorecard gofrogs.com

Women's Tennis downs UTA, 6-1 gofrogs.com