- Javier Lopez (1998 4th round, Diamondbacks) – former college starter pitched in just 11 2/3 big-league innings for Boston last year after signing a 1-year, $1.35 million contract last January. Has appeared in 10 games this season for Pittsburgh, posting a 3.38 ERA.
- Andrew Dobies (2004 3rd round, Red Sox) – southpaw went 2-3 last year in 30 relief appearances for Salem (high A) and Portland (AA), striking out 42 in 44 1/3 innings with a 3.86 ERA. Recently called up to Charlotte (AAA) after being traded to the White Sox.
- Joe Koshansky (2004 6th round, Rockies) – first baseman spent all of last year in Nashville (AAA, Milwaukee), batting just .218 but totaling 24 HR and 80 RBI. Marked his third straight season with 20+ HR at the AAA level Played in 35 games for the Rockies in 2007-08, hitting .180 with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Hitting .200 with 4 HR in the 20 games this year for the Sounds.
- Mark Reynolds (2004 16th round, Arizona) – 2009 All-Star Fan Vote finalist hit .260 with 44 HR, 102 RBI, and a MLB single-season record 223 K (breaking his own record). 7 HR, 20 RBI and 24 K in 20 games thus far in 2010. Singed a 3-year, $14.5million contract last month.
- Ryan Zimmerman (2005 1st round, Washington) – “face of the franchise” won the NL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards last season at the hot corner, hitting .292 with 33 HR and 106 RBI. Currently day-to-day (hamstring) but hitting .326 with 2 HR and 10 RBI in 14 games played. Signed a 5-year, $45million contract last April.
- Matt Avery (2005 9th round, Cubs) – former started appeared in 28 games for Harrisburg (AA) last year in the Nationals organization after playing 3+ seasons in the Cubs organization.
- Jeff Kamrath (2005 11th round, Devil Rays) – righty last pitched in 2008 for Montgomery (AA), finishing his minor league career with a 7-26 record and 5.45 ERA. Now offering pitching clinics at Total Performance in Charlottesville.
- Tom Hagan (2006 39th round, Pirates) – former punter last played for the Hickory Crawdads (A) in 2008. Hit .269 with 7 homers and 45 RBI in 87 games, his only season in single-A.
- Mike Ballard (2006 14th round, Rangers) – lefty made 22 starts last year between Frisco (AA) and Oklahoma City (AAA), going 8-8 with a 3.98 ERA. Is 2-0 in four starts this year for the RedHawks.
- Sean Doolittle (2007 1st round, Athletics) – former college pitcher was injured most of last year (knee), but did total 14 RBI in 28 games for Sacramento (AAA) and find time to blog on mlblogs.com. Had a breakout 2008 with 22 HR in 91 RBI for Stockton (high A) and Midland (AA) combined. No timetable for his return, according to Baseball America.
- Brandon Guyer (2007 5th round, Cubs) – outfielder was promoted to Tennessee (AA) mid-season last year after batting .347 in 73 games for Daytona (high A). Hitting .283 with 8 SB in 19 games this year for the Smokies.
- Casey Lambert (2007 6th round, Cubs) – former closer was moved to the starting rotation last year, starting one game at Iowa (AAA) after going 6-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 13 starts for Tennessee (AA). Began this season for the Smokies on the disabled list after Tommy John surgery.
- Beau Seabury (2007 13th round, Rockies) – catcher posted average below .240 in both 2007 and 2008 at Asheville (A), but was promoted to Modesto (high A) for the start of the 2010 season. Hitting .160 in 9 games this year for the Nuts
- Mike Mitchell (2007 25th round, Rockies) – outfielder hit .226 in 118 games for Modesto (high A) last season, stealing 34 bases one year after swiping 45 for Asheville (A). Has only played in one game this year for the Nuts, going 2 for 3 with two singles and a SB.
- Greg Mclat (2008 5th round, Orioles) – shortstop played 111 games at Delmarva (A) last year, hitting just .228 with 22 RBI and 25 steals. Currently on the disabled list for Frederick (high A).
- David Adams (2008 3rd round, Yankees) – second baseman split 2009 between Charleston (A) and Tampa (high A), batting above .280 at both stops and totaling 75 RBI. Hitting .314 with 11 RBI in 18 games for Trenton (AA) this year.
- Jacob Thompson (2008 5th round, Braves) – ‘07 All-American went 7-9 last year for Rome (A) and Myrtle Beach (high A), striking out 119 but posting a 4.25 ERA. Mississippi (AA). 1-2 this year at Mississippi (AA).
- Jeremy Farrell (2008 8th round, Pirates) – infielder hit .248 in 73 games for West Virginia (A). Batting .323 with 16 RBI in 18 games this year for the Bradenton Marauders (high A).
- Pat McAnaney (2008 8th round, Diamondbacks) – lefthander started 28 games for the Visalia Rawhide (high A) last year, going 10-8 with a 4.41 ERA and 146K in 147 innings. Won his first start for Visalia this year and was called up to Mobile (AA). Has gone 0-2 in two three starts with a 6.43 ERA for the BayBears.
- Michael Schwimer (2008 14th round, Phillies) – closer went 4-2 with 20 saves out of the pen last year for Reading (AA) and Clearwater (high A) with a 7.20 ERA in 53 appearances. 0-0 with 2 saves and a 0.93 ERA in 8 appearances this year for Reading, striking out 13 in just 9 2/3 innings.
- Andrew Carraway (2009 12th round, Mariners) – last year’s Saturday starter went 8-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 70 K’s in 64 2/3 innings in single A last summer for Everett & Clinton. 1-1 in three starts this year with 12 K in 14 innings for High Desert (high A).
- Robert Poutier (2009 29th round, Padres) – pitched in 5 games out of the pen at Rookie level last year.
- Jeff Lorick (2009 20th round, Braves) – has pitched in one game this season for Rome (A), after starting the season in Danville (Rookie).
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
The word is simple enough, used by the Greeks (murias) as the name for the number ten thousand. In modern English it’s used to refer to a large number of anything and can be used as either a noun or adjective (debate here). But it’s popularity among regional sportswriters is surprising:
-Free Lance-Star’s Steve DeShazo (October 18): “With myriad factors stacked against it yesterday, Virginia turned to a pair of grizzled but relatively anonymous senior leaders.”
-Free Lance-Star’s Steve DeShazo (October 27): “Last night’s nationally televised bludgeoning by the Philadelphia Eagles exposed the Redskins’ myriad problems.”
-Washington Post’s Rick Maese (November 20): “In the Redskins’ myriad defensive formations, Orakpo often stunts and doesn’t always rush the passer from the edge.”
-Daily Progress’ Jay Jenkins (November 23): “That revolving-door policy, among myriad other contributing factors, has made life complicated for Virginia coach Al Groh during the program’s worst slide in two decades.”
-Virginian-Pilot’s Kyle Tucker (November 24): “There are myriad reasons for the Cavaliers crashing as the Hokies have been cruising.”
-Richmond Times Dispatch’s Paul Woody (November 30): “And every university the size of Virginia has programs where academically-challenged athletes can earn a degree, provided they are diligent students and take advantage of the myriad support services available.”
-Daily Progress’ Jerry Ratcliffe (November 30): “A big reader, Groh had an impressive collection of books covering a myriad of life philosophies.”
-Washington Times’ Ryan O’Halloran (December 4): “The state of the Redskins’ offensive line has impacted Campbell’s confidence more than the myriad offensive systems he’s had to learn (three) and play callers he’s had to work (three) with since taking over the starting role in November 2006.”
-Washington Times’ David Elfin (December 3): “Despite Williams’ myriad blitzes, New Orleans is tied for 10th in the league in sacks with 26. However, no team comes close to the Saints’ 22 interceptions or 32 turnovers. And they’ve taken a league-best seven takeaways to the house.”
-Free Lance-Star’s Steve DeShazo (December 14): “But considering the myriad problems the Redskins have to fix in the off-season–and Snyder’s notorious impatience to win–is it really worth it to start from scratch yet again?”
This week alone, Virginia HC Al Groh has:
- Been nicknamed “Jeezy” by his players
LB and team captain Denzel Burrell: “We call him ‘Jeezy’ after the rapper, ‘Young Jeezy.’ “I believe he actually does understand the reference. He references hip-hop at times. He knows Kanye West and a couple of the other guys we really like. He actually may know the reference, but that’s basically one of the main ones we call him. But we’ll probably stay away from Mr. October.”
- Eloquently explained a wardrobe (hat) change during last week’s game
“Normally, they put multiple hats in the locker room. One got wet, so I put on the other one.” Burrell added: “I’ve never questioned his hat choice.”
- Dropped “circumstance” once after the win at Maryland
That was a magnificent effort by our players,” Groh said. “They dealt with everything that we encountered today, whether it was guys having to step up [for] circumstances within the ballgame. They refused to be distracted by any issues.”
- And ten (10) times in his weekly press conference
“we were the beneficiaries of some turnovers during the course of the game that clearly helped us out in some circumstances”
“whether we change it or not, we assess just what are our circumstances”
“we have a little bit of that circumstance on our hands right now”
“guys who play, they ought to be moving into more established circumstance; those guys who haven’t, hopefully they’ll move into a circumstance where they can go in the game”
“I guess there was one circumstance where they were willing walk him and to load the bases”
“there was a circumstance that characterized what was the ‘07 team”
“in circumstances where you have that collaborative attitude, or as it’s sometimes referred to as team chemistry or unity or whatever, there’s always a leadership-followership circumstance”
- Offered an opinion on the leg strength of 5-10 PK (field goals only) and seersucker fan Robert Randolph:
“You can look at him – there’s not a lot of muscle mass there. Let’s put it this way: They probably don’t make those yellow suits in big-man sizes.”
- Done his best Allen Iverson impression
“The week that precedes the game, the word practice is certainly accurate, but it’s not just practice like going and practicing the piano. It’s preparation for what’s coming on Saturday. So we’re trying to do whatever has us best prepared on Saturday. That might mean scrimmage every day. That might mean go bowling. I’m not trying to be smart, but whatever… Practice and preparation is part of every week, but also obviously practice, development of skills. That’s what players are supposed to do, and that’s what coaches are supposed to do for their players.”
- As well as the standard Groh / Belichick / Parcells / Saban / Crennel / Mangini impression:
“If I knew [the status of injured QB Jameel Sewell], I probably wouldn’t tell you.”
- Said ‘fumblers get benched’ in forty-four (44) words… [subtle dig at MJ]
“There are some players here in the past that have displayed a significant running skill but we couldn’t afford to play Russian roulette with. We just couldn’t afford to put them out there where they could do something that might cause us to lose.”
- Broke down Georgia Tech’s punt (yes punt, not triple-option offensive) formations
“We’ve spoken frequently with the development of really – I would say if I use the word alternative punt systems, that would be incorrect. Innovative and progressing punt systems. In other words, it’s a new era in terms of punting the ball. And it continues to grow that way, just as with many of the different offenses. Let’s say a few years ago when different elements of, A, the West Coast offense came up, it was one offense. Now there’s all sorts of things that fall into that category. We saw the spread offense; that was an offense. Everybody did the same thing that was in it. Now it’s really inaccurate to try to classify something just based on being a spread offense or a West Coast offense. It’s the same thing here now with that shield punt. It’s inaccurate just to say they’re in a shield punt. It can go so many different directions based on the personality and the philosophy of the team, and they have been very creative and progressive with what they’re doing with formations, and as a result of what they’re doing they have a very good idea how to deal with it on the other side. So it’s not just the punt team but things they’re doing with their punt return and punt block teams to combat those other teams that have it. They have some answers to those situations while other people are still searching for them.”
- Continued his lecture on roster math
After saying last week that “essentially 25 percent of your team is new every year anyway,” Groh offered this a week later: “In college football, 50 percent of your team is freshmen and sophomores.”
- Played jokester in explaining P Jimmy Howell’s -3-yard punt against Maryland
“Far be it from me to try and explain. It was our intention that he was going to punt the ball. Obviously, he saw some sort of aliens out there that none of us could see.”
- Revealed the layout and ‘inventory’ of a national book retailer
“You look at military leaders or industrial leaders or for that matter parents, and certainly football coaches, people who try and lead, they’ve got to believe, they’ve got to believe in a leader, they’ve got to buy in, they’ve got to see the value to them. That’s why if you go down to Barnes & Noble, you can probably spend the next three or four weeks just walking up and down the section of the stores that have books on leadership and management.”
- Played short-memory philosopher
“As we have said, there’s a reason why God put eyes in the front of our head and not in the back. So you can make progress by looking forward.”
- Not ‘tweeted’ a thing
It has certainly been an exciting October for all the Al Groh Drinking Game players out there.
A quick recap of the Al Groh Drinking Game rules:
- Take two drinks any time Coach Al drop’s his favorite word – ‘circumstance’
- Finish said drink if the word is used multiple times in a single response
- Take a single drink if you hear either his second-favorite (‘resolve’) or third-favorite (‘resilient’) word
- Finish two drinks if ‘circumstance’ is used in the same sentence with either ‘resolve’ or ‘resilient’
- Finish three drinks if the ‘circumstance–resolve–resilient‘ verbal trifecta is hit
- In breaking down the math behind college football rosters for the media: “Essentially 25 percent of your team is new every year anyway, so I think it’s a standard thing. It’s part of the life circumstance of college athletics.”
- In describing the current state of the offense as part-Mike Groh, part-Gregg Brandon: “I would say there is probably a good blend of the two circumstances right now.”
- In explaining the strategy behind PR Chase Minnifield never calling for a fair catch: “It’s not a question of Laissez-faire coaching but it’s not micromanaging the circumstance and allowing a player to use his skills.”
- In discussing Stafford native and Maryland standout Torrey Smith: “He’s – regardless of what the circumstance was in the past he’s a superior college football player.”
- In dismissing the impact of prior success against the Terps: “I think we feel positive about ourselves in those circumstances [but] I think it’s unlikely that any of us feel that previous games with Maryland have any bearing on how this game is going to go.”
- In spinning a yarn about the importance of completion percentage: “We’re in that circumstance and the teams that are scoring in our league are teams that either have high-talent quarterbacks or kids who have been in the system for a long time and have developed their skills and got the reads and know where to go with the ball and they’re proficient in their accuracy and that’s what produces points.”
This comes one week after Groh dropped his favorite word in last week’s presser five times:
- In pondering one of the thousands of what-if’s surrounding his favorite player: “You know, Vic — if it weren’t for the few – a couple of circumstances had gone a little differently, Vic would have caught a pass, thrown a pass, run the ball, had a sack and played on special teams. He was – on one of our pressures, he was the first one there, a sack eventually went to Nate Collins. He had a pass called back because of a penalty. He had his catch, I believe, and if one of the passes were thrown better he would have had two.
- In explaining the difference between a win and a loss in teaching football: “We now have graphic examples – the players have graphic examples just this season of how the result can be dramatically different as a result of those two circumstances. Do a real good job with it and you have a real good chance of a happy result. Don’t do such a good job with it and no matter how well you run your plays or run your coverages, you get the other result.”
- In discussing the psychology of booing: “The interesting thing is the psychology of that, if anybody believes that that helps anybody play any better – now if it makes thousands of people feel good, then I guess that’s good for thousands of people but what they want is for their team to play better, it doesn’t necessarily – I haven’t ever been around a circumstance where players were saying, sounds like they’re getting on us, so let’s play better!”
- In relaying how Brandon Woods handled being benched last year: “Very admirably… obviously that’s challenging circumstances for a player.”
- In using more words than necessary to avoid saying ‘academic suspension’: “We understand there might be mitigating factors in there that in some cases we would have preferred not to be there but that was the reality of it and one of the things we believe in is reality as opposed to fantasy, it was a reality with some of those circumstances.”
And four weeks after Groh dropped it nine times on the Monday after the TCU loss. Yes, nine:
- In reflecting on previous seasons’ turnarounds: “We have looked back at some of those circumstances… along the way in each particular case, there’s been some circumstances where just strategically and tactically we might have said, look, we are going to reshape things a little bit here at this particular time. So there’s been elements of all of those. Certainly not the same percentage to each particular circumstance”
- In relaying the background behind scheduling TCU: “We were looking at a number of circumstances to fill, because I think as we have detailed, we had made an arrangement with the MAC conference.”
- In a long-winded response to a question about distractions facing the team: “Sometimes if you just — in a circumstance where all of the chips get loaded in front of to you start with, you have to shuffle them around a little bit to get things back to the way you want them to be.”
- In breaking down the impact of time of possession: “That also resulted in more plays for their team, greater time of possession and the result that we got. So clearly we can see how one circumstance dramatically affected the conduct of the game.”
- In repeating a team mantra: “We have a saying… that it’s all between the white lines. That’s all that really counts. Except in a few memorable circumstances, there’s not much history of anybody coming off the sidelines, much less out of the stands, to impact any particular play.”
- In explaining 3rd-and-long strategy in FG territory: “We had a third down and eight situation beforehand which doesn’t mean we don’t want to make the first down, but in those circumstances, a lot of times, first time down the field, it’s common for a lot of teams to say, at the very least, we want to protect the field goal.”
- In making an excuse (or perhaps not) for Ras-I-Dowling: ”There haven’t been very many balls up the field on him… It’s going to be difficult for any guy to get a lot of picks on that circumstance. But there have been some plays up the field that you know, I’m sure he would like to change, and then we are working with him to try to do that.”
*Social networking note: The above apply Groh’s actual Twitter feed (“what you can do for our team is react to every circumstance in the game with positive energy”), but not that of any imposter (“This afternoon we’re pracitcing the tip drill. We go to Applebees and I show them how to never leave more than 10% under any circumstances”).
No fewer than ten articles on this subject Tuesday… here are some highlights:
- The AP’s Hank Kurz (and everyone else) informs that Virginia coach Brian O’Connor grew up “just a few miles from Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha,” and attended “games there with his father and brother every year from the time he was 4 years old.”
- O’Connor played in the 1991 Series for Creighton, “absorbing a 12th-inning loss in his only appearance when a chopper up the middle bounced just out of his reach,” and coached in the 2002 series as an assistant to then-Notre Dame (and current LSU) coach Paul Mainieri.
- The two coaches talk 3-4 times a week in-season, and BOC says they agreed “that we would never play each other until the NCAA said that we need to play each other, and now it happened and it just so happens to be in Omaha. We’ll be friends up to the game, through the game and after the game.”
- The RTD’s Jeff White adds a 2007 quote from Mainieri: “I told Craig Littlepage he could search the world and never find a better young coach than Brian, and I think he’s proven I was correct.”
- Mainieri – the 2008 national COY – also channeled R.E. Lee during the conversation with the RTD, stating that “When he left, it was like I lost my right arm.”
- Back in 2003, he told The Observer that O’Connor’s departure generated “a tremendous sense of loss” and was “almost like a death in your family.”
- Sean Ryan of collegebaseballinsider.com relays a quote from BAC the fan on the CWS: “It’s more the experience of going to the game…taking your glove to the game and trying to catch a foul ball.”
- O’Connor and Mainieri “agreed to meet for a steak dinner when they arrive in Omaha and that the 1991 game O’Connor pitched in was ranked as the “third-best game in CWS history” according to the Omaha World Herald and at the time called the “best college game in history” according to O’Connor.
- Steven Pivovar of the World Herald focuses on the connection between the two coaches, current Chicago Cubs GM Paul Hendry. He was the Creighton coach in 1991, later “recommended that best friend Mainieri hire O’Connor to be the pitching coach at Notre Dame,” but got his start as an assistant to Mainieri’s father in the Cape Cod League for a team that included the younger Mainieri on its roster.
- Hendry on BOC: “In anything you do, you run across certain people that stand out. Brian O’Connor is one of those guys. After the first year I was with him, I knew that no matter what he did in life, he was going to be good at it. He had ‘it.’ He was a total team guy, an overachiever who wanted to compete at the highest level. He pitched in discomfort and never complained about it. He was an integral part of that ’91 team. Character-wise, he was way beyond his years. Even at 19 and 20 years old, you knew he was special.”
- Henry: “Paul didn’t know if he could do it… He said, ‘He’s awfully young, and I’m young myself.’ I told Paul to bring Brian in, and that once he met him, he’d feel differently.”
- Mainieri: “Jim said he had the perfect guy for me. I invited Brian over to South Bend, and I knew five minutes into dinner that Brian was the right guy… It was absolutely the best relationship possible. We were so on the same page. We had the same philosophy. We thought the same way. I don’t know if we ever had a disagreement the nine years we were together.”
- PM on the Virginia-Ole Miss rubber match: “When Virginia got the final out, I jumped off the couch, threw both fists into the air and yelled, ‘Yes!!!’ My next thought was, ‘Oh, no, we have to play them.”
- Hendry, on playing Mainieri’s Air Force team many years ago: “That was not a fun thing to do. When I coached against Paul’s team, I tried to forget that he was even on the field. That’s about the only way you can handle something like this. It’s going to be a tremendously emotional experience for both of them.”
- The Daily Press’ Norm Wood quotes O’Connor as getting just “two hours of sleep Sunday night… because I could not stop thinking about Saturday and that they do the lineups for the first game of the College World Series and it’s like the all-star lineups. Everybody lines up on the baseline. Well, I will be the last one introduced for our program. Then, they’ll introduce LSU, and coach Mainieri will be the last one introduced, and then those two managers shake hands at home plate. I just can’t imagine the emotion that I’m going to have.”
- BOC “told his team what to expect in Omaha — fans taking more than a week off from work so they can go to every game, standing ovations when players walk into restaurants, greeters at the airport, constant autographs.”
- BOC: “Did I learn a lot about him from a manager’s style as a coach? No question — from an inside-the-game standpoint. What I’m grateful for learning from him is nobody does it classier than this guy. I think he’s the best in college baseball… What I learned from him was how to deal with players the right way. How to treat them like men. How to handle them. How to develop them. I was fortunate for nine years to be able to witness it and work right alongside him. So, is it going to be emotional? No question. The guy is my best friend.”
- Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times adds yet another BOC quote: “I’ve had multiple conversations with a good friend of mine that I lived with back in Omaha. He kept saying, ‘This is the year, Brian. This is the year. You’ve got to coach a team in that stadium before they demolish it.'”
- And still another, this one about the 1991 loss: “It was the biggest crowd in the history of the game. We had beaten Clemson in the first round and I gave up the third run to lose the ballgame. I wish I could have it back. Jim Hendry tells me that, if I’d caught that chopper, we’d still be playing today,” O’Connor said. “I think, if I would have caught it, that we would have had a chance to win the national championship. Sure, you’re disappointed about the loss, but that was a long time ago.”
- Ken Trahan of neworleans.com is a bit more poetic, calling the game “a classic battle between teacher and pupil” and “to say that they know each other well would be an understatement.”
- He also notes that “LSU third base coach Javi Sanchez knows O’ Connor well, having played for Mainieri and O’ Connor at Notre Dame.”
- Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport Times also breaks out the teacher/pupil metaphor and quotes the former on the latter: “He’s really like a younger brother to me. I don’t like coaching against friends.”
- Randy Rosetta of The Advocate points out that “in the last two seasons at LSU, Mainieri has faced Michigan State head coach and former Notre Dame assistant David Grewe and Central Florida, coached by Terry Rooney and Cliff Godwin — the Tigers’ top two assistants last season, when they returned to the CWS. Grewe left Michigan State to join Mainieri’s LSU staff last June after Rooney took the head-coaching job at UCF. In those two showdowns against his former coaches, Mainieri is 5-0.
- PM on Omaha: “Make no mistake: Last year, when we went to Omaha, we went to win. Reality is, the first time you’re there, it’s an awe-inspiring place. …. Nothing feels normal. It’s hard to prepare for something like that. Now we have a lot of guys who have been there already, and I expect us to go there with a lot more comfort and confidence.”
- Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune provides insight into a recent electronic exchange from Mainieri: “I said (in text) ‘Remember, I taught you everything you know but not everything I know.’ I had to keep a few secrets back for this inevitable day. I was so ecstatic for him to get in because it validates his career. I’ve been telling everyone for six years he’s one of the best coaches in the country.”
- In addition to Sanchez, LSU assistant David Grewe is also “good friends with O’Connor, who stood in Grewe’s wedding and pushed him toward Mainieri at Notre Dame.” Grewe is quoted as saying “you hate playing a close friend. After the game, you feel like. … crap. He deserves to go to Omaha for all that he’s done and how he’s turned that program around. He walked into a good situation and made it better. He is getting rewarded. It’s going to be fun to see him.”