Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More Frogs selected in MLB Draft


Four more current TCU baseball players and six more recruits were drafted today on Day 3 of the 2012 MLB Draft.  Amongst the guys preparing for the Super Regionals out in Los Angeles, Kevin Allen (23rd round to the Royals), Tyler Duffie (27th round to the Brewers), Jason Coats (29th round to the White Sox) and Kaleb Merck (33rd round to the Twins) have signing bonus checks waiting for them when the current season ends.

Coats, of course, is a senior and is obviously gone.  You've got to feel for him, having returned to TCU for his senior year to improve upon his signing bonus potential after being drafted in the 12th round by Baltimore a year ago.  His .326 average and team-leading 45 RBI may have done just that, but the torn ACL he suffered in the regular season finale has clearly been extremely costly in more ways than one.

Allen, Duffie and Merck join Josh Elander (6th round to the Braves) and Kyle Von Tungeln (13th round to the Rockies) in having to decide whether or not to forgo the rest of their collegiate eligibility for a payday.  While it's possible that one or more of them may decide they can improve their draft stock with another year at TCU, the undoubtedly disappointing situation facing Coats is likely serving as a warning to them to seize the day.  I wouldn't be shocked if any of them returned, but I'm certainly not counting on it.

Does it feel weird to celebrate the fact that some TCU players weren't selected?  I certainly hope these guys eventually get their shot in pro ball, but I'm also thankful for another year of watching guys like Jantzen Witte, Regional MVP Justin Scharf, and Davy Wright play for the Frogs.


Joining Austin Aune (2nd round to the Yankees) and Jake Thompson (2nd round to the Tigers) in being Horned Frog commits to be selected by MLB teams today were Austin Fairchild (16th round to the Royals), Kody Eaves (16th round to the Angels), Tejay Antone (22nd round to the Mets), Paul Hendrix (32nd round to the Indians), Alex Young (32nd round to the Rangers) and Mitchell Traver (39th round to the Astros).

While Aune and Thompson are somewhere between very likely and absolutely certain to sign with the clubs that drafted them, there is a feeling that the Frogs have a good chance of retaining the rest of these guys- many of whom are capable of making the kind of impact in 2013 that this year's fantastic freshmen had on the current season.  The deadline for players in their position to decide between going pro or going to college has traditionally been in August, but this year it was moved forward to July 13th.  So we should know sooner rather than later who will end up wearing purple next year.

In other Horned Frog baseball news, we recently learned that TCU assistant coach Randy Mazey has accepted the head coaching position at West Virginia, effective after the current season ends.  As was the case with Todd Whitting's departure to Houston two years ago, this is a big loss for TCU but you've got to be happy for the guy.  We hope he's still wearing purple on one last trip to Omaha, but wish him all the best in Morgantown and expect that the Lupton crowd will give him a warm reception every time the Mountaineers visit Fort Worth.

Tight End bender

Photo credit: Matthew Reagan of purplemenace.com, via Bryson Burtnett's twitter feed

If getting tight end commits got you drunk, Coach Patterson and his staff would be passed out in a ditch somewhere right now.  They added members #5 and #6 to the Frogs' 2013 recruiting class in the past 24 hours with two tight ends that will not have to travel far when they move into the dorms at TCU about this time next year.

First was Springtown's Bryson Burtnett (pictured above working out with GP watching) tweeting last night that'd he'd made his decision to be a Horned Frog.  A long-time family friend of former TCU & current 49er safety Colin Jones who started attending TCU games as a kid, the 6'5" 225lb Burtnett also plays defensive end and deep snaps for Springtown.  His 4.7 speed, when combined with that size make him a prototype versatile Patterson recruit that could end up at any number of positions once he's wearing purple. 

Next was Charlie Reid of Fort Worth's All Saints Episcopal School, who tweeted mid-morning that he'd made the long-awaited decision to commit to TCU.  Reid, who measures in at 6'4" 225lb and runs a 4.58 forty, has caught for 1,093 yards as a sophmore and junior at All Saints to go along with 8 touchdowns.  Rivals ranks him as the 25th-best tight end in the nation, but he's expected to have a big senior year and schools like Ohio State, UCLA and Oregon have been scouting him as of late.

I wish I could find video of both to show you, but here are Reid's highlights from this past fall:



Big 12 Orientation: Baylor Baseball

A bed-time favorite for every Baylor baseball player

Baylor Baseball at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1902
-Overall record: 2,129-1,520-6
-3 College World Series appearances (1977, 1978, 2005)
-18 NCAA Tournament appearances (most recent: right meow)
-5 conference championships (3 Big 12)
-3 conference tournament championships (most recent: 1993)

History with TCU: Given their proximity and the fact that they were conference rivals for so long, it's not surprise that the Bears and Frogs have met quite a bit on the diamond.  305 times, to be exact.  Baylor holds the all-time advantage with a 158-143-4 record against TCU, but the Frogs hold a 12-10 advantage since Jim Schlossnagle took over the program in 2004.  They met twice this season, with Baylor winning 7-1 in Waco in February and TCU winning 9-4 in Fort Worth in March.

Notable former Bears:

  • Jason Jennings- He won the Golden Spikes Award at Baylor in 1999 and the NL Rookie of the Year with the Rockies in 2002, but I'll always remember him for the terrible month he spent with the Rangers in April of 2005, when he lost all five of his starts and had an ERA of 8.65.  

  • David Murphy- I've got nothing bad to say about Murph.  
  • Kelly Shoppach- Grew up in Fort Worth, played at Baylor, lost to the Rangers in the playoffs twice with the Rays.

  • Drayton McLane- He used to own the Astros.

Recent History: Like TCU's program under Schlossnagle, Baylor's has thrived in recent years under head coach Steve Smith.  He took over a struggling program in 1995, and four years later had his first 40-win season and made his first NCAA Tournament appearance.  Since then, the Bears have made the NCAA field 13 years out of 15, went to Omaha in 2005 and have been to the Super Regionals three times including this current postseason.  They've also ended the year ranked in the Top 25 eight times under Smith, a figure that will most likely increase to nine here in a couple of weeks.  They went 20-4 in the Big 12 this year, winning the regular-season conference title and earning themselves the #4 national seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Like the Frogs, they lost the first game of their regional , and then came back to win four straight to advance.  This weekend, they'll host fellow former SWC rival Arkansas in the Super Regionals.

Outlook for next year: The top six batters for Baylor (who hit .312 as a team and scored 6.6 runs per game) are all hitting above .300, but five of them (and seven of the starting nine in the order) are either seniors or draft-eligible juniors.  Their pitching staff, which posted a team ERA of 3.14 and held opposing hitters to a .239 average, is also dominated by juniors and seniors.  If the Bears can limit the number of juniors that leave, they have a chance to be pretty dominant again next year. 

Miscellaneous:  Before Baylor basketball players started murdering each other, the baseball team was famous for murdering cats.   If you are interested in reading about the incident and Baylor's super moral reaction to it, come back to Spit Blood later in the week for another post in our "What a Dick!" series.


Holaday called up by Tigers


I suppose I could've just included this story in this morning's dump, but I figure it deserves a stand-alone post.  The day after TCU's current star catcher was drafted by the Atlanta Braves, their previous star catcher, Bryan Holaday, was called up to the big leagues by the Detroit Tigers.  He'll join fellow recent call-up from Triple-A Toledo, Omir Santos, in backing up new starter and former Ranger Gerald Laird after original starter Alex Avila was sent to the disabled list. 

It's always good to see former TCU players doing great things in professional baseball, but I'm especially excited to see my favorite Frog ever get his first shot in the show.

Morning Dump



Baseball:

Brance Rivera's positive attitude wouldn't let season end in College Station Star-Telegram

Two Frogs taken on Day 2 of MLB Draft gofrogs.com

TCU's Josh Elander selected by Braves in Round 6 Austin American-Statesman

Rockies select TCU's Kyle Von Tungeln in 13th round SB Nation Denver