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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Minor leaguers, college players get creative to stay ready

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Andre Nnebe hollers over the breeze coming off the bay behind home plate and announces to the group, “First pitch, 2:10!”

The Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer thanks college catcher Eamonn Lance for showing up because now there can be live batting practice, something Nnebe hasn’t done since the coronavirus put a sudden halt on sports.

“You saved the day,” Nnebe tells Lance.

For this informal simulated game last week at a noted high school field, the catcher isn’t the only player wearing a mask. Nnebe stands in wearing a protective face covering, and same with the guy waiting in the on-deck circle.

Another piece for those curious about how current events affect players on levels other than MLB.

 

QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, minor leaguers, players

Thursday, April 09, 2020

College baseball talent level to go up with change to draft

As disappointing as it’s been to have the college baseball season shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Michigan coach Erik Bakich sees a silver lining.

“I do think the coming years will be the deepest college baseball has ever been,” he said.

Division I programs stand to benefit because of two factors. First, the NCAA is allowing all players to return in 2021 with the same eligibility standing they had in 2020. Second, and perhaps more important, Major League Baseball is shortening its draft, going from 40 to as few as five rounds, and capping signing bonuses for undrafted free agents at $20,000.

Last year, 87% (131 of 150) of players taken between the sixth and 10th rounds were from four-year colleges, with juniors receiving bonuses between $125,000 and $250,000. Seniors typically get less because they lack leverage.

A consideration of what the 2021 college baseball season may entail.

 

QLE Posted: April 09, 2020 at 01:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, draft

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

NCAA throws baseball coaches a curve with added eligibility

For those curious as for how the current situation is affecting the college game:

Widely hailed as the right thing to do for student-athlete welfare, the NCAA’s decision to extend spring sports athletes’ eligibility a year because of the coronavirus pandemic is causing consternation for baseball coaches.

Ohio State’s Greg Beals said Tuesday he isn’t worried about 2021, when the 35-man roster limit will be relaxed to accommodate seniors choosing to return for another season.

The problem comes in 2022, when the limit is back in force. Beals has 11 freshmen coming in this fall, and they will join nine players who will be reclassified as freshmen because the 2021 season ended abruptly March 12.

“So I have a freshman class of 20, and that class is going to stay with me for the next four years,” Beals said. “So there’s some challenge there. We’re going to be able to work through it. There’s going to be some tough conversations while the roster is thick and strong. The lineup card still only has nine slots on it.”

QLE Posted: April 01, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, eligibility, ncaa

Monday, February 17, 2020

Jacob’s Ladder; Stallings’ persistence pays off for Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — The son’s stay in town has outlasted the father’s. The irony isn’t lost on Jacob Stallings.

It wasn’t necessarily supposed to be this way. Stallings was still a catching prospect — and not necessarily a young one — in the Pirates’ organization four years ago when his dad Kevin left a successful run as the men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt to take on the same job at the University of Pittsburgh.

The marriage between the elder Stallings and the Panthers lasted all of two nightmarish seasons. By the spring of 2018, Pitt moved on. It seemed the younger Stallings might meet the same fate. Pittsburgh designated for him assignment several times as he pogoed between the minors and the majors after making his debut in 2016. The odds of him ever sticking in Pittsburgh seeming to grow more and more remote as his mid-20s turned into his late-20s.

Yet rather than worry about it, Stallings buried himself in the game. When he spent the first half of 2019 as the third catcher while Elias Diaz and Francisco Cervelli battled with injuries, Stallings won over members of the starting rotation with his willingness to do whatever, whenever on the off chance the two might find themselves working together when it mattered.

Or, Two Men In Another Town

 

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, fathers and sons, jacob stallings, pittsburgh

Monday, January 27, 2020

Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli died in Kobe helicopter crash

A single bouquet of flowers sat on home plate as dozens of Orange Coast College former and current baseball players and coaches, and their family members and friends filed into Wendell Pickens Field on the school’s Costa Mesa campus Sunday.

Under ominous gray skies, with an early afternoon chill in the air, they hugged each other tightly, cried on each others’ shoulders and prayed together as they tried to come to grips with the tragedy that claimed their baseball coach Sunday morning.

John Altobelli, 56, who guided the Pirates to four California community college state championships and racked up more than 700 victories in 27 seasons at Orange Coast, was among the nine victims in the helicopter crash that killed former Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

...

Altobelli was named national coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2019 and Orange Coast won state titles in 2019, 2015, 2014 and 2009. Yet what brought him the most joy, Johnson said, was seeing his players move on to Division I programs. Approximately 10 Pirates off last year’s state championship team received scholarships to four-year schools.

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2020 at 12:23 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, john altobelli, obituaries, rip

 

 

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