Hall Signs With Yankees

The Yankees 25th round pick has signed with the team. After taking a physical, the Lee’s Summit, Missouri native will fly out to Staten Island and become part of the Yankees Low-A team.

Hall had a decent year this year, throwing the 5th no-hitter in school history and becoming the first Jayhawk to throw two CGSHOs since Pete Smart in 2000. He was an honorable mention all Big 12 player in 2009.

Honestly, this isn’t a huge loss for Kansas. Hall doesn’t have great stuff. I would have loved to see him come back to give Kansas a veteran at the top of the rotation, but I truly believe more talented kids are on the way for the Jayhawks.


Two Jayhawks Drafted On Day Two

Shortstop David Narodowski and LHP Shaeffer Hall have been drafted on day 2 of the MLB Draft.

Narodowski, drafted in the 15th round by Arizona really had a good year this year, with a .354/.434/.542 line and 33 walks compared with 46 strikeouts. He turned on his power stroke at the end of the year as well as he had a pair of homers in the Big 12 tournament. He is a good defensive player, but his arm has been called into question, leading me to believe that his path to the majors might be best served at second base. The 2009 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year might sign with the Diamondbacks, but I think he’ll be back as another good year should put him in the Top 10 rounds.

Hall, the Yankees 25th round pick, stepped into the Friday role for Kansas and did fairly well, with a 4.18 ERA and had 65 strikeouts. He exhibited great control as well, walking just 10 guys all year. His most noteworthy start was a no-hitter against Air Force in his first start of the year. KU head coach Rich Price has indicated that he expects Hall to sign in the offseason, but I would love to have him come back, seeing as he was drafted 2 rounds higher last year than he was this year.

In other news, former Jayhawk Erik Morrison will be in the South Atlantic League all-star game later this month. Morrison leads all Sally League first basemen with a 1.025 OPS.

And Sophomore 3B Tony Thompson has been invited to tryout for Team USA. Thompson is the first triple crown winner in Big 12 history.


Coastal Downs Kansas

Well, that certainly didn’t go well. The Chanticleers beat Kansas 11-3 today in Chapel Hill, and it is a long road back for the Jayhawks. I will pretty much guarantee that they beat Dartmouth tomorrow, but then they are going to need 3 straight victories after that to avoid the end of their season.

TJ Walz had an absolutely brutal day, giving up a 3 run homer in the first and walking a number of batters. The KU pitching staff hit 6 batters in the game, and was off their game from the start. Travis Blankenship did set the KU record for appearances in a season however, so congrats to him.

I’ll be out of town over the weekend, so unfortunately I won’t be able to update the regional scores, but I am assuming the KU season has, at most, 3 days left in it.


analyzing the chapel hill regional

Let’s start with the bad news: North Carolina was my preseason national title pick. They have probably the deepest weekend rotation in the country with Alex White, Adam Warren and Matt Harvey, and they have the best player in the country in Dustin Ackley.

We’ll get to the good news about UNC in a second, but first let’s talk some Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers (which, thanks to Rock Chalk Talk’s James Quinn is a type of bird) will send their Saturday guy, Nick McCully to the hill against Kansas. McCully, the righty, isn’t the team’s ace, although he does have the teams best numbers and is going to pitch to take advantage of KU’s righty-heavy lineup.

One player to watch for Coastal is Big South player of the year, who hit .389/.492/.750 with 20 homers on the year. Anderson had 43 walks to 50 strikeouts on the year. The Chanticleers aren’t just a one-trick pony however, as they have 6 hitters above .300, 5 regulars over a .400 OBP and are pretty strong defensively up the middle. Coastal will be gearing up for a rematch with UNC, who they lost to in the Super Regionals last season.

If the Hawks get passed Coastal Carolina they match up with a great UNC team. Beating tough teams is something KU is no stranger to this season, as they have won games at Arizona State and Arkansas, not to mention sweeping #1 national seed Texas. They are led by 1B/OF Dustin Ackley, who just missed hitting .400, had over a .500 OBP, stole 12 bases and oh yeah, hit a career high 20 home runs. Another Tar Heel player I love (as an aside, I think it’s weird that I admire UNC’s baseball program, as I have irrational man crushes on Ackley and Alex White and have always liked their players, but I hate hate hate everything else about that place) is Kyle Seager. Seager doesn’t have a ton of power (just 4 HR’s and a .580 slugging percentage) but he has a great eye at the plate, and puts the bat on the ball really well.

As I mentioned, Alex White, Matt Harvey and Adam Warren are a great rotation, and Brian Moran is a shutdown guy at the back of the bullpen. If Kansas can get past Coastal in game 1, I think they will have a shot against the Heels because UNC is so lefty heavy and KU can throw Shaeffer Hall. However, if they can’t beat Coastal in game 1 there is no way they will win the regional.

In the end I still think Carolina will win the national title, so I have to pick them to win the regional. But I do think Kansas will put up a fight and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them win the regional.


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Jayhawks Finish Pool Play 0-3

It was a disaster of a weekend for the Jayhawks in Oklahoma City. On Wednesday, a mistimed dive in centerfield led to a late Kansas State run, giving them the win. Saturday the Hawks were able to put the aluminum on the ball, but nothing carried as they fell to Texas.

Today, Baylor put up 3 runs in the first inning of Lee Ridenhour and then proceeded to put 3 up in the second off Cameron Selik. In the top of the 3rd, Sophomore Tony Thompson hit a grand slam to make it 6-4. Thompson’s homer also broke the KU single season record. It was his 19th of the year. Congrats to him.

Baylor ended up beating Kansas 8-4, which means Kansas finishes the Big 12 tournament 0-3. Selection day should be a bit more of a white knuckle affair for Kansas fans, but I expect them to solidly make the field. They have a very solid RPI (46) and were 13-11 in the regular season vs. Top 25 teams. I think they’ll probably get a 4 seed (although a 3 isn’t impossible) and just for poops and giggles I’m going to guess they are going to get sent to TCU’s regional.

I’ll preview their regional in depth once the field is selected, and if you are into that sort of tihng I’ll be previewing all 16 regionals for Major League Jerk


Big 12 Player Of The Year

When I first thought about writing this, I was going to go over 5 or 6 candidates before finally settling on my winner, but then I decided to hell with the formalities. It is a crime that Tony Thompson didn’t win Big 12 Player of the Year.

The Sophomore absolutely exploded onto the scene this year, hitting .362/.420/.711. Thompson also leads the Big 12 with 18 homers, 74 RBI and absolutely blows everyone away in total bases, with 155.

Oklahoma’s TJ Wise hit .375 to lead the conference. He ranked 2nd (to Thompson) in slugging and homers and was 5th and 6th in total bases and RBIs. Thompson led the Big 12 in both. Wise played good defense behind the dish, but Thompson played great defense at 3B for the Jayhawks, and third base is a much more valuable position in college baseball than it is in pro baseball, which narrows the defensive gap even more.

Frankly, Thompson’s best competition might have been his teammate Brian Heere. Heere had a better average (.363) and OBP (.463) than Thompson, but didn’t hit for near the power that Thompson did.

This is a bit of Big 12 South bias, as Oklahoma is much more of a baseball school than Kansas is. Having a player lead the league in homers, RBI (which are actually valuable in college baseball, unlike pro ball), slugging percentage and total bases not win the league player of the year is an absolute travesty. Hopefully Thompson takes out his frustration in regionals.