Archive for the ‘virginia baseball’ Category

Baseball Recruiting, 8-Month Update

February 14, 2011

Of the nine recruits who committed to HC Brian O’Connor and staff (according to – list below), only seven are on the current roster

 Name Pos Ht Wt B-T High School Hometown State
Ryan Ashooh  LHP 6-2 175 R-L Centreville Clifton VA
Kyle Crockett  LHP 6-0 150 L-L Poquoson Poquoson VA
Derek Justice  LHP 5-10 169 R-L Orange Unionville VA
Artie Lewicki  RHP 6-1 190 R-R St. Joseph Regional Wyckoff NJ
Justin Nicolino  LHP 6-2 155 L-L University Orlando FL
Mark Podlas  OF 6-2 190 L-L Westhampton Beach Remsenburg NY
Mitchell Shifflett  OF 6-1 170 R-R Cosby Midlothian VA
Tyler Skulina  RHP 6-6 235 R-R Walsh Jesuit Strongsville OH
Austin Young  RHP 6-4 240 R-R Atlee Mechanicsville VA

Nicolino’s path is relatively well-known.  He was selected in the second round of the MLB amateur draft, and reportedly received a signing bonus of $615,000 from the Toronto Blue Jays.  He was “actually at a car shop getting my engine looked at” when he got the call.  Slated to debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2011.

As for Skulina, he took the path less-traveled.  He spent the fall in Charlottesville, and started Games 2 and 7 of October’s “Orange & Blue  World Series,” earning a win in both outings.  In Game 2, he threw five scoreless innings, yielding only two hits while striking out 5.  In Game 7, he went 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and 2 runs (1 earned) in Orange’s 9-8 series-winning victory.

Three months later, he was at Kent State, looking forward to “a fresh start,” according to his high school coach:

Former Walsh Jesuit standout pitcher Tyler Skulina is returning to Northeast Ohio.

And, presumably, Kent State couldn’t be happier about it.

After spending the fall at the University of Virginia on a baseball scholarship, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound right-hander has transferred to KSU for the second half of the school year and the foreseeable future.

”It’s absolutely true,” Walsh Jesuit baseball coach Chris Kaczmar confirmed to the Beacon Journal. ”He is now enrolled at Kent State and is on the team, all moved in and looking forward to a fresh start at Kent.”

Skulina, who was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 46th round (1,385 overall) of the 2010 major-league draft, will sit out this season, but will have four years of eligibility intact, Kaczmar said.

Virginia did provide him with a release, he said.

Calls to Skulina were not immediately returned.

The right-hander never lost in his high school career and struck out 221 batters with a blazing fastball that often reached 95 mph.

With a firm commitment to Virginia, Skulina fell in the major-league draft.

Once on campus, Skulina realized Virginia was not the right fit for him in the long term, Kaczmar said.

He will now be eligible to get drafted again as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.

At Kent State, Skulina will be reunited with left-handed pitcher David Starn. The two combined to help lead Walsh Jesuit to a Division II state championship in 2008.

”A lot of his teammates have had a lot of success at Kent State and he felt comfortable there,” Kaczmar said.  


A Text to the Bullpen

June 9, 2010

A developing trend in pitching rotation management?

CAA Tournament

VCU’s ace, sophomore right-hander Seth Cutler-Voltz from Henrico High, was persistent about wanting to pitch in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament final despite one day of rest.

Cutler-Voltz threw 108 pitches in a complete game in the Rams’ opening win Thursday. After the Rams won again Friday, Keyes said Cutler-Voltz texted him Friday night, asking when he was going to pitch in the championship round Saturday.

UNC Wilmington had to beat VCU twice, and Keyes had determined he would use Cutler-Voltz only if a second game became necessary.

With the Seahawks up 5-0 in the middle of the first game, Cutler-Voltz approached Keyes again. Near the end of a 10-0 loss, Keyes decided Cutler-Voltz would start.

Cutler-Voltz (8-3, 3.20 ERA) gave up five runs – one earned – in four innings. He left trailing 5-1, but VCU rallied for a 7-5 victory in 12 innings.

“I felt like they had so much momentum, we had to throw our best guy out there,” Keyes said. “He said, ‘Coach, I don’t want to know about pitch count. When you don’t think I can get’em out anymore, just let me know and take me out.'”

SEC Tournament

[LSU pitcher Anthony] Ranaudo, who pitched 7 2/3 innings in winning the opener against Florida, texted Mainieri the night before to say he could pitch in relief if needed. Mainieri was preparing Matty Ott to pitch the ninth after Alabama tied the game at 3 in the eighth. But the second rain delay hit and Mainieri decided to go with his ace, who used the additional time to get ready.

“I’m a competitor; I want the ball,” Ranaudo said. “I told Coach if anything weird happened I’d be available. I’d been preparing the last three days in case something happened.”

Ranaudo didn’t allow a hit but walked two batters in the 10th, one of them reaching third base as the winning run with two outs. But Ranaudo retired Jake Smith on a fly ball to deep right field.

With one out in the 11th, LSU’s Matt Gaudet singled and went to second when Mikie Mahtook was safe on an error with two out. Fury, whom the players call ‘Rudy’, ran for Gaudet before Hanover ripped his third hit past shortstop Josh Rutledge. The former Rummel Raider steamed home and slid in headfirst, well ahead of the throw.

Charlottesville Regional

Sunday night, long after Davenport Field had cleared and the reality set in for Virginia that it would need to win an elimination game the next day to keep its season alive, Cavaliers coach Brian O’Connor sent a text message to Kevin Arico, his junior closer.

“I just told him, ‘hey, you’re our guy, and you need to be ready at any point for an extended outing,’” O’Connor said. “The plan was that if we got into a difficult situation where the game could potentially be on the line anywhere after the fifth inning, that we were going to come to him.”How’s this for difficult? Virginia was clinging to a three-run lead in the sixth against a St. John’s team that was peskier than anyone anticipated, and Jeremy Baltz was at the plate, the same freshman who hit two home runs on Sunday, including the two-run shot that beat the Cavs in the eighth inning. The bases were loaded. The crowd of 4,801 on hand, though supportive, was nervous.

Arico hadn’t pitched in nine days, meaning he was the freshest arm UVa had available. The situation, understandably, was tense.

“It’s easier to get a little more amped up in that situation,” Arico said.

Two of those runners scored, but Arico avoided disaster. He left the inning with the lead and finished the game, going 3 2/3 innings, the longest outing of his career. The Cavaliers held off the Red Storm, winning 5-3 Monday to advance to the super regionals for the second straight year.


Cavaliers in the Pros

April 29, 2010
  •  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  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).

An Unhappy Oak

April 16, 2010

In Pray for Rain: A College Baseball Story, Jason Wuerfel wrote that “midweek games are tough all around; it’s hard to get up for them because you’re spent from the weekend series, neither team has any pitching left, and some of the overworked position players are usually given the day off.  In other words, the games can get a little sloppy.”

In The Road to Omaha, Ryan McGee described the regular season strategy of Fresno State in 2008: “They sacrificed victories in their midweek nonconference games… in order to save their strength for their in-conference weekend sets.”

This week, in documenting top-ranked (in at least one poll at the time) Virginia’s loss at VMI, Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Michael Phillips described the games as “a demonstration of exactly how midweek baseball can be a great equalizer.”

Perhaps, but try telling that to the coaches.  Last month, after losing a home mid-week contest to Oral Roberts, legendary Texas coach Augie Garrido was “visible irate” said the following:

“I don’t know what they were thinking about or where they were in their own mind, but they were not focused on competing inning-by-inning, pitch-by-pitch. They absolutely abandoned the plan… You’ve got to come out and compete. When you make assumptions that something less than a best effort is good enough, then you set yourself up for what happened tonight.”

After the aforementioned VMI loss, Virginia skipper Brian O’Connor fumed: “We have some guys that need to make adjustments. Some guys are stubborn and unwilling to make adjustments, and you can’t have success in this game doing it that way.”

Dough Doughty of The Roanoke Times noted that “an animated O’Connor could be overheard raising his voice in a meeting with his team following the game,” Virginia’s worst loss in nearly two years and second to VMI in the last two meetings between the schools.

Oak told the media that “had we won tonight’s game we get bonus points from the RPI system because VMI is in the top 50 in the RPI. We lost a golden opportunity to get a top 50 win on the road. We didn’t do it.”