Nebraska Class of 2017 baseball recruits update

Discussion in 'Husker Baseball Board' started by Mike Matya, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. Mike Matya

    Mike Matya Nebraska Legend
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    This was in our Tunnel Talk feature last week and I thought I'd post it free here since people are discussing the future of the baseball program.

    For its signed Class of 2017, Nebraska was able to leverage ties to the state to be able to land a few of their incoming freshmen. Barring any late additions to this class, there are no in-state or junior college signees. But the committed Class of 2018 has several in-state stars locked up and we'll cover that in the next TT.

    There are three Class of 2017 recruits who were at one time verbal pledges to NU, but will be signing elsewhere for various reasons:
    SS/OF Jimmy McClenaghan; Modesto (Calif.) Joseph A. Gregori
    RHP Ben Probst; West Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling -- Iowa signee
    LHP/OF Jamie Young; Lincoln (Neb.) Norris -- Iowa Western signee

    Incoming Husker freshmen

    Mike Addante @mjaddante9
    Chicago (Ill.) Harry D. Jacobs

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: CF
    Current size: 5-9, 170

    Spring season: AVG = .321; OBP = .424; SLG = .628; OPS = 1.052; Fielding % = 100%
    "We just lost our regional game so we're done now. I think we were just about .500. I think we were 19-18 or 18-17. I think I batted around .350. I think I did alright. I hit well, I played the field well, but I've been working on my swing for bat speed. I hit more extra base hits and I've noticed that I have had more power than previous years. I want to make an immediate impact when I go to Nebraska next year. This spring, over half of my hits were extra base hits."
    Honors: The postseason honors teams have not been released yet.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "Yeah, I have been following them as much as I can. I mean, over the last couple of years they've only gotten better under Coach (Darin) Erstad. Watching them this season come in first and win the Big Ten conference, and look solid and look good. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do in the NCAA tournament coming up. I'm just excited to go play at a good program that is highly ranked."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I am going to play on a travel team before I go to Nebraska. I'm pretty sure I'm definitely going to college. I haven't heard much from major league scouts. My summer team is the Chitown Cream with a bunch of other college commits, and I will actually be going down to Nebraska on July 9 because I am going to be doing the bridge program. That starts July 10, so I will give a few classes out of the way."

    Additionally: "Before I was committed, it was between Nebraska and Northwestern. Well first, when I visited there, I loved Lincoln and it felt like a good place to be. The people are nice and the campus is clean and it just felt like a great place to be for four years.

    "It felt like home and having Coach Erstad there, who played center field in the MLB and is a lefty, I figured that he could definitely help me become a better player. The coaching staff is great and the fan base is unbelievable. I just felt like it would be a great place to go to school and to play baseball.

    "My favorite major league team is the Cubs. My dad has been a season ticket holder for 20 years and I always go to the Cubs' games. I have grown up watching them. My favorite player is between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Yeah, I did go to the first home game that they had in the World Series and it was unbelievable. It was so loud and, obviously, it didn't compare to any other Cubs' game I had been to because it was the postseason and it was just crazy. There's never going to be any other game like that, and then I went to the parade and it was even more crazy."

    Coach Jamie Murray's comments: "Obviously, he was a four-year guy for us. He's just a fantastic student athlete. He was out for a few weeks with a knee injury and he came back at the end and hit like .330 for us with a couple home runs. He didn't have an incredible season numbers wise, but I think his injuries slowed him down. I think he missed probably three and a half weeks of the season and came back at the end.

    "He started swinging the bat and getting his timing back, but he's just a natural. He's what I call a five-tool kid -- he can throw, he can run, and he can hit for power. He's an unbelievable center fielder and a sparkplug. You have an outstanding player coming to Nebraska next year.

    "So this was his fourth year and we didn't win a regional this year, but he was part of three of them that we won. We won a sectional title, the first in our school to do that, and a third place finish in the super sectionals. He was a big part of our program for the past four years and that's just not a kid you can replace. We lost a tough game 2-1 the other day facing against Bobby Miller who is going to Louisville and is a draft kid, and Mike got a hit against him and was 1 for 2.

    "He's an incredible leader, loved by his teammates, and he works extremely hard. He was part of Justin Strong's elite program in the summertime and he's always working on his hitting. Teammates gravitate toward him so there's probably not enough adjectives to describe him. He's a winner in my book.

    "I mean, I just can't wait to see what he will continue to do because I think the sky's the limit for him. I think he will get there with Coach (Darin) Erstad and continue to do amazing things. What stands out is his defense, his strength of an arm for a center fielder, his power that he generates for his size.

    "He has incredible power. He hit three home runs this year and he hit a couple in a big park at Southern Illinois that were bouncing off the walls for triples. He can hit a fastball as good as anyone I've ever seen. He likes to swing for it and I think that will come for him with continued experience and the coaching he will get at Nebraska."



    Andrew Abrahamowicz @TheAbrahamowicz
    Elyria (Ohio) Catholic

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: RHP
    Current size: 6-3, 195

    Spring season: He started eight games and had a 7-1 record and one save. He pitched 53.2 innings giving up 31 hits, with a 0.522 ERA and a WHIP of 0.969. He struck out 83 batters while walking 21.
    Honors: He was named first-team All-Ohio all-state for the second year in a row, first-team al-district, the Lorain County Player of the Year, and he was voted co-Mr. Baseball for Lorain County.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "Yeah, I've been following them a lot. It's definitely been a great season in the conference and, hopefully, they will just build on it in the tournament. I've been watching and it's really exciting, and I'm definitely really excited to be a part of it."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I mean, I have talked to some people, but nothing substantial, really. I'll be at Nebraska this summer, so I'm not really looking to be drafted or anything. Yeah, I'm definitely going to go to college. I'm not playing this summer, I'm just going down to Nebraska for the summer bridge program. I'm mainly just going to be lifting and trying to get a lot stronger for the [next] season. I leave Ohio on July 7 or 8."

    Additionally: "I just really throw strikes and normally my slider is my strikeout pitch. So, just filling up the strike zone and if they hit it, weak contact and a weak fly ball. Just throwing strikes, really.

    "I just like Coach (Darin) Erstad in general and knowing he's the coach. The campus is crazy and Coach (Ted) Silva is an amazing coach. Just right when I visited there, I knew it was the right place.

    "I want to say that I like the [Cleveland] Indians, but my favorite baseball player is Robinson Cano. Just the way he plays the game, he is smooth. Everything he does is real smooth."

    Coach Bruce Lisicky's comments: "We were 20-4 and we finished 12-0 in our conference. We won our sectionals and lost in the districts in the first round. Andrew was phenomenal. He was 7-1. We are a Division III school and one of the smaller schools, and he beat Amherst Steele which was No. 8 in the state in Division I. They were one of the top teams in the area and he beat them.

    "Basically, he pitched all of our big games for us and was 5-0 in our conference. He had a 0.52 ERA and only gave up four earned runs on the season. Two of them were in our tournament game. He pitched really well. Last year, he was phenomenal too, but I would say his slider got a lot better this year and he tended to change his arm angles a lot more to kind of give the batters different looks and to get different movement on his fastball."




    Jaxon Hallmark @HallmarkJaxon
    Midland, Texas

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: INF/OF
    Current size: 5-10, 160

    Spring season: "We got knocked out [of the playoffs] a couple weeks ago. We were 20-13, I believe. Our season was pretty good. I swung it pretty well and played really good in the field. I was our district's defensive MVP and I hit .336, I believe, with 5 home runs, and I think 18 doubles. I didn't get pitched to a lot this year so my production numbers were down a bit. I had 27 walks this year. I was hitting about .400 once districts started and then I stopped getting pitched to and only got about one hit a game and that's when my batting average started to drop. I also pitched pretty well this year, played really good defense, and I thought I swung it pretty well too."
    Honors: District co-Pitcher of the Year, and district Defensive Player of the year for the second season in a row. He was voted the team MVP. He was also named to the Academic all-state first-team, but the rest of the all-state teams have not come out yet.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "I think they have been competing hard. They are probably not the most talented team in the nation, but it looks like they play the hardest of anybody I've seen this year. They've lost a few games here and there, but they always bounce back. They lost the first game at Penn State and they could easily have shut down, but they kept with it and took the next two to get the Big Ten championship. Yes, I'm definitely excited about the direction of the program."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I will be arriving for summer school on June 8 or 9. I have had multiple meetings with a few [MLB] teams and I have a couple camps coming up with a few different major league teams. I mean, I would like to go in the draft, but I would much rather go to Nebraska for a few years before, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to be going to college even if I get drafted."

    Additionally: "I mean, when I got there, it was like incredible facilities and the coaches treated me really good. The entire atmosphere just felt like home. I think that's what it was, a family home feeling.

    "My favorite major league team is the [Texas] Rangers and my favorite player would be Javier Baez because he plays the game with intensity. I mean, he's not a very big guy, but he plays like he's 6-6, 240. When he's out there, he knows that he's the best player on the field and he shows it with the way he plays.

    "I think I need to get bigger, so I will be spending a lot of time in the weight room. I'm still kind of undersized, I would say, so I want to get bigger."

    Coach Barry Russell's comments: "We got knocked out a week ago by a team that is playing in the regional semifinals. Fossil Ridge beat us in three games. We finished 20-16. We were district champs and area finalists, and got beat in the second round of the playoffs.

    "When we did our all-district nominations, which are like all-conference or whatever, Jaxon also pitched for me and was pretty dang phenomenal as a pitcher. He got co-pitcher of the year, and then when it came to defensive player of the year, all of the other coaches said the best defensive player in the district was Jaxon hands down. So he got two superlatives, which I have never seen before. This was the second year in a row he got defensive player of the year.

    "He didn't hit as well as he did last year, but he hit .340 still. I think last year he hit around .390, but he was trying to learn to switch hit a little this year. I think it kind of messed with him a little bit, but he did well. He pitched well and he hit well.

    "He led us in stolen bases with 18 stolen bases. He led us with most hits [38], most doubles [14], most triples [4], and he led us in home runs [4]. He had 34 runs scored and his slugging percentage was .643. He had 22 RBI and that was down from last year because people pitched around him a lot. Last year, he had 37 RBI. He also set our school record for walks with 27, which was interesting for a three-hole guy. It was hard for him because he wanted to hit, but he took his walks when they were giving it to him.

    "I don't know if Nebraska wants him to pitch or not, but he was pretty darn good. He throws it 3/4 and runs it up there about 88 [mph]. He was 6-4 with a 1.20 ERA. He struck out 64 and walked 21 in 74 innings. Our team also selected him our most valuable player this year. He's like No. 30 out of 640 in his class, so he's pretty smart too.

    "Plus, he's so stinking fast. He runs like a 6.35 sixty. I have had some fast kids, but he's the fastest kid I've ever had who can play baseball. He can flat go. We've got him at shortstop, but his first year here he was in the outfield. We moved him to shortstop as a sophomore. He's a fast kid, he can pitch, play in the outfield, and he can play anywhere in the infield. He's pretty talented. You've got a good one!"





    Gunner Hellstrom @ghelly13
    Thousand Oaks (Calif.) Grace Brethren

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: C/1B
    Current size: 6-4, 215

    Spring season: He is batting .539 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs and 42 RBI. He was 8-11 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs in the CIF playoffs.
    "Yes sir, we actually just made it to the CIF playoffs. This is the best season I've had so far in my high school career. We are actually 23-4 and, statistically wise, this is the best I've ever hit. I think, just personally, offensively I have always been fundamentally sound. Growing up, I had been a base hit and doubles hitter, but now I have developed into a true power hitter. My average has always been going up, but over the years my power has continuously grow as well."
    Honors: He was voted the team's and the Tri-Valley Leauge MVP, but none of the other postseason honors lists have been released yet in California.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "I think it's amazing just how they were able to get the first Big Ten championship under Coach Erstad and it's pretty exciting to be coming in next year after that. And they are still going. Who knows how far they can go? We get some of their games, some rare games, so I have watched a couple. I am super excited with how they are doing. They are playing really great right now."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I will be heading out to do the bridge program in July. I'm going to be taking calculus and, I believe, we get on the workout routine with all of the other incoming freshmen just to prepare us for the upcoming season. I believe I will be arriving somewhere between July 7 and July 9. I was getting talked to earlier in the year by the Twins, Nationals and Padres, but I haven't heard anything more yet. But I will be going to Nebraska no matter what happens in the draft."

    Additionally: "I committed to Nebraska after they were my first offer. Well, personally growing up, my family is from Lincoln, so I have always been a huge Nebraska fan like my whole life. It's a cliché, but it's always been a dream of mine to play there and, when Coach (Darin) Erstad offered me, I accepted it right in his office. My dad personally never grew up in Nebraska, but his dad and all of his relatives are still out there in Lincoln and a small city called Stromsburg."

    Coach Barry Tolli's comments: "We're still playing and we had a big win yesterday, and Gunner actually had two home runs. He is 'the guy' and he's real special. It's just his game awareness, and his presence on the field, behind the plate, and at the plate as a hitter. He's just got an amazing eye, great hand-eye coordination, a great approach at the plate, and a flat-out great swing.

    "So you combine all those different things and you've got a really special player. He's a special hitter, the best hitter I have ever had by far. This is my sixth year here and 15th overall coaching. I did a lot of travel ball before that too, so I have seen them come and go, and this kid is a very special hitter. He's a very, very special hitter.

    "I played in the Tigers' organization, as well as the Angels, so I have been around a little bit and, like I said, the sky's the limit with Gunner. I believe that as a baseball player, if you are a natural God-given hitter and you have an approach that can continue that, that's going to always be the most important thing as a baseball player. And again, as I look at Gunner, he will always hit.

    "He's a great kid to boot. He's a great kid and just a leader on the field, the clubhouse and everywhere he goes. He lights up the room and he's just the all-around package. And he's great defensively as well, but as a hitter, he is on another level. As a catcher, he's got a great awareness of the game and what the pitcher is doing. So he's a great help to me as a manager. He knows what to look for in the batters' approach and how to approach them.

    "So he does a great job as a catcher, he's got a great pop time and a great arm. He's just a vacuum back there, as far as receiving and blocking everything, but I also think as he continues to move his way up, it wouldn't surprise me if he plays first base and he could play some outfield. He's a very good athlete and everywhere he goes he just looks right. The way he hits, they will always find a place for him.

    "He will be player of the year in our league. He'll be all-conference, all-CIF, and I think he will get all-state, all-county, and all the rest of those honors. He's been very dominant -- very dominant."






    Max Schreiber @MaxSchreiber22 [** no relation to current Husker Scott Schreiber]
    Highland, Ohio

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: RHP
    Current size: 6-5, 180

    Spring season: "This spring, we had a young team, so we started off kind of rocky. People were still finding their roles, but after the season went on we started playing better and better baseball. We won, I think, 10 out of our last 12 games, and then, we advanced to our district finals in the tournament."
    Honors: The postseason honors teams have not been released for him yet.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "As for Nebraska’s season, I think that after starting the year off with a handful of losses, they have done nothing but improve and play better and better baseball. They were extremely tough in B1G play which led to a conference championship. I always enjoy watching them on TV because they have a true blue collar approach. In my mind, they deserve a shot in the NCAA Tournament and I look forward to seeing how they compete."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I'm going to college for sure."

    Additionally: "I'm taking the summer off per Coach (Ted) Silva's request, and then, I'm going to the bridge program in July and that's when I'll get started at Nebraska. I will arrive July 9.

    "So I'm going to be shut down until I arrive. I have actually been emailing with the strength coach for the baseball team at Nebraska and over the past couple of days we have been trying to figure out what lifts I should be focusing on and things like that.

    "I really don't watch too much major league baseball, but I kind of root for the [Cleveland] Indians.

    Coach Don Kline's comments: "Max started the season off a little slow because he is a multi-sport athlete. He's our quarterback and he played an integral role in the basketball team's success and, of course, transitioned to us. So he had a little bit of shoulder soreness at the beginning of the season and his numbers don't reflect the season he had, but he really finished very strongly.

    "He's a competitor, he's a righthander, and he throws in the mid to high 80s. He just does a really nice job. As our season progressed with a very young team, his senior leadership was pretty pivotal. He was part of the reason we had success toward the end of the year. He's a very, very good pitcher and he's going to have a good career in Lincoln.

    "We finished up 15-11 and we started the season at 3-7 at one time because we graduated nine seniors last year, so we were a very young team that was kind of finding our offensive identity. So to have a pitcher like Max come along at the end of the season, along with another young man we had, he did a nice job with the development of our staff. I think those two boys were real pivotal in the success we had.

    "We started slow, but we finished real strong and a lot of that was due to Max. His last two starts he was one of the most dominant pitchers in Central Ohio. We lost in the district semifinals this year after we won a couple games in the tournament. We lost to a powerhouse 2-1 and Max pitched that game. He pitched six strong innings and did a nice job there. The week before, he beat another powerhouse, Saint Francis De Sales, and he went six strong innings with zero earned runs.

    "He really found his stride about the last 1/3 of the season and did a really nice job. There will be a lot to work with for Coach Erstad in Lincoln. He was also our starting shortstop and had a real nice season. Last year, he had a really good year and it was kind of hard to live up to that. I think the focus for him was his development as a pitcher, so he didn't have the same statistics as he did last year. But again, he's just a really good athlete. He was our quarterback on the football field and he was our quarterback on the infield. He was the one senior who started every game and to have a senior lay the foundation for our leadership was a really good deal for us."



    Kennet Sorenson @ksorenson17
    Atlanta (Ga.) St. Pius X

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: C/OF
    Current size: 5-11, 192

    Spring season: "Things were going pretty well for the first month and a half, but then I broke my hamate bone in my wrist. I had surgery to get it removed because it doesn't do anything. That was two weeks ago, so now I'm just doing physical therapy and letting the wound to heal and all of that. I think I should be good in about two weeks to play again.
    "I played 19 games at catcher and in the outfield. I did really well. I think I hit .455, I had four home runs, seven doubles, two triples, and I was seeing the ball really well. I was hitting for a lot more power this year than I had in the past. I worked a lot on my swing in the off-season and put on a couple pounds of a muscle. I think it really came together."
    Honors: He was voted first-team all-county, Scholar Athlete of the year in the county, county player of the month for March, Team MVP, and Gold Glove team in the county. The all-state teams have not been announced yet, but he expects to be listed among the honorees.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "It's pretty exciting! This is their first year of winning the Big Ten and, since joining the conference, I think they have been the most consistently good team in the Big Ten. I think they have a chance to win a regional this year, and maybe even a super-regional. It just depends on how hot they can get. It's really exciting!

    "I mean, everything about it has been fantastic! I've been a life-long Husker fan. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and my mom grew up there. Both of my grandparents on my mom's side went there. So I have always been a Husker fan. I really like the coaches, the atmosphere, and the focus on academics. I'm big on academics, so it was just a really good fit. I've been living in Georgia for the past 16 and a half years. My dad came down here to get his MBA."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I am going to college. I think I am going up there in early June and doing the summer classes."

    Additionally: "Nebraska likes it that I can play both catcher and outfielder. Part of my game is that I'm athletic and I'm pretty fast. I can do a lot of things. I think I'm just going to continue to build on the stuff that helped me have so much success this year. I'm going to continue working in that direction with my swing, and still putting on muscle while keeping my flexibility. I think there's a lot left in me than I can still get out of it.

    "Coach (Darin) Erstad is awesome! That was like one of the biggest selling points for Nebraska for me. Just that he's a really cool guy. A lot of college coaches aren't like that. I'm really excited to get to play for him.

    "My favorite team is the Seattle Mariners because my dad's side of the family is all from Washington. My favorite player of all time is probably Ted Williams because he's the best hitter of all time and he really committed himself to the craft and everything. I wear No. 9 after him.

    Coach Chad Garrison's comments: "He actually got 20 games in this year before breaking the hamate bone in his right hand, but he was having a great season, a big season, for us. He hit .455, had four home runs and lead our team in RBI. He was doing a great job behind the plate for us and he also played some right field.

    "It was a big loss for us when he went down. We had trouble rebounding from the loss of his bat. He's got a very high baseball IQ, he never gets cheated at the plate, but then he's smart at the plate also. He does a very good job of seeing pitches and spoiling pitches when he needs to in order to stay in the counts.

    "He's got just a solid swing and he's quick out of the box. He does a great job on the base paths and he's got really good speed. And he's a strong kid, too. He does a real good job in the weight room for us. He's very solid defensively and does a good job sliding when he's trying to block the ball. He calls a good game and has a good sense of what needs to be called for the pitcher. He knows their strengths. We did not call pitches, we let him do that.

    "Again, losing Kennet hurt us not only at the plate, but behind the plate. The kid has got a rocket. He's very strong from behind the plate, and then, from the outfield he has thrown out numerous runners over the last couple of years playing right field for us. He has a very strong arm. Nebraska, I think, has been his number one choice from day one. He's got some family ties out there and is truly excited about going out there."



    John Swanda @john_swanda
    Des Moines (Iowa) Roosevelt

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: RHP/SS/3B
    Current size: 6-2, 185

    Spring season: Iowa does not have a high school spring baseball season, so he played on a Perfect Game select team this spring.
    "It went really well. I mean, I really didn't play much of a position, but I kind of focused on my stuff on the mound as far as pitching. It went really well. I added velocity to my fastball and I was up to 93 [mph] three weeks ago. I think Nebraska has been talking about me doing some relief pitching."
    Honors: He was named Iowa's Gatotrade Player of the Year.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "I saw that they won the conference and I've been watching them the last couple of days in the Big Ten tournament. It's been impressive. I mean, they have a good record and they have played good ball."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I plan to play for my high school team this whole summer and then head over to Nebraska after that. We usually get done around mid-June. Yeah, I have gotten some pro attention with scouts coming to my games and talking with some area scouts. Some of the ones who seem more interested are like the Padres, the Phillies, and the Angels. Mostly those three. If everything works out, I would like to start a pro career right after high school because I think that's a big advantage. But if it doesn't work out, I'm good to go with Nebraska."

    Additionally: "I chose Nebraska mainly because of family ties. I have a sister there [at UNL] and another sister in the state of Nebraska at Creighton. When I went down and visited there, everything fell good and I felt comfortable. I just liked the atmosphere at the games, which was probably the biggest factor. I can hopefully get some time as a freshman in talking with the coaches and it just fell right.

    "I would say that Max Scherzer is my favorite player and my favorite team is the Royals, I think. Max Scherzer just because he's a guy who came out of college and he has a bulldog mentality. It's fun to watch him pitch. He has amazing pitches and he's solid. And the Royals just because my dad kind of got me on their side by going to some of their games and just watching them on TV. I like how they play. They just look like they are having fun out there on the field all the time.

    "On the mound, I would just say, I look really smooth and low effort, which is probably my biggest thing. I have a good sinking fastball, a four-seam and a two-seam. I have a hard-breaking ball that falls off the table a little bit. As a fielder, I go back to that smoothness. I feel like that's one of my biggest strengths, as well as my arm strength. I can get it up to 95 throwing across the field which is good for making tough plays. I can also hit pretty well and hit to the opposite field."

    Coach James' [Perfect Game] comments: "I mean, he had a good season for us. He was working out probably a little too hard early on and he was doing too much, so he had to shut it down a little bit because his shoulder got a little tight. Once he came back after that he was really good. He pitched at 88-90, and one weekend he was pretty steady at 90-91 while touching 93. His breaking ball was also getting better.

    "When he was playing a position he always hit. So he swung the bat really well. He took it easy this spring on the defense at shortstop to save his arm for the pitching stuff for the pro side. Depending on what weekend it was, some weekends there were 20 scouts watching him and some there was just a handful.

    "Obviously, his best tools are his arm strength and just the way his frame is. He's going to throw pretty hard someday. His body is going to be really good here in a few years when he puts on some weight. The second weekend back after he took a little time off, he threw against the Wisconsin Hitters and he was 88-90 while throwing three pitches for strikes. That Hitters team has a couple future high round picks on their team and he just threw really well against them."







    Keegan Watson @keeganwatson28
    Palestine (Ind.) New Palestine

    Status: Signed
    Position(s) at Nebraska: "That's a really good question. I am trying to do the two-way of pitching and position player, but I'm not exactly sure which position they want me to play."
    Current size: 6-3, 195

    Spring season: "It's doing pretty good. We're still playing right now and we are in sectionals, so I believe we are 19-6 on our season. In pitching, my record is 6-1 right now and I have a 1.25 ERA, I believe; with 40 innings pitched, 72 strikeouts and I'm not exactly sure how many walks I have. In hitting, I think I am batting .350 right now with six home runs. I think I have six or seven doubles, two triples and 25 RBI."
    Honors: Their season is still ongoing so no postseason honors teams have been released yet.

    Thoughts on Huskers' season: "They are doing excellent. You know, Coach (Darin) Erstad is the Big Ten Coach of the year and they were the Big Ten conference champions, which was their first title in like forever, I believe. Their record is very good and they are doing very well so far in the Big Ten tournament which I had tickets to. Luis Alvarado was my host during my visit there and he is doing well. I know he is pitching and hitting well. I know a bunch of their guys are doing well."

    MLB Draft possibilities: "I am hearing from just a few [MLB scouts] here and there. I've talked a lot with the Chicago White Sox scouts, and then, I have been in touch with a San Diego Padres scout who has set me a text message. And then, questionnaires from like the Mets, Nationals, and I forget who the last one was.

    "Well, as of right now, we're going to talk to the White Sox scout because they are fairly interested in me, but as of right now, I can't really say that I am definitely going to college or definitely taking the money. It just depends, really, what their offer would be. I am planning on taking the summer classes out there, so I will probably be there July 6 or 7."

    Additionally: "You know, the [Nebraska] coaches right off the bat are great. Coach Erstad played in the major leagues, and he knows what it takes to get you there. He's a great coach and an even better person off the field. Their pitching coach, Coach (Ted) Silva, and all of their other coaches are just excellent people to be around.

    "The facilities are incredible at Nebraska and it's a nice home town kind of feel. Pretty much everyone at Nebraska comes to watch them play. It was just a great environment when I was there. I wanted to commit on the spot.

    "I actually do not have a favorite [major league] team or player. I don't really have a favorite anything. Favorites are not my thing. I just like so many people and so much stuff that I don't have one specific team or player.

    "I'm definitely going to work on being in the weight room and their strength coach has sent me their strength program. So I'm probably going to incorporate that into my strength program this summer. I'm actually going to play on a travel team before I head out there which is called the Blue Jays, aka the Dirty Birds, here in Indiana."

    Coach Shawn Lyons's comments: "Keegan has played well for us. He's really excelled for us on the mound. I mean, from where he was his freshman year to where he is this year, his velocity is up. He is able to command the fastball in the zone, and he's got a nice change and a curve. He also mixes in a slider every once in awhile, so it's nice when he can command two or three pitches and they can't sit on one. He has had another good year on the mound for us.

    "He throws 89-90-91, right around there. Consistently, I would guess he's in the upper-80s, but he may have hit 91 a couple times this year, or so I've been told. When he doesn't pitch, he plays outfield. When we got him, he was an infielder and we had plenty of infielders, so we converted him to the outfield. It was kind of uncomfortable his freshman year and he grew into it. Now, he's a tremendous outfielder.

    "He's a workaholic in the weight room and his speed has just increased over the years to where he can now go chase it in center field with the best of them. And he has a tremendous arm. But he has improved the most on the mound. He controls the running game and he commands his pitches a lot better than he did last year."

     
  2. The Collective

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    Great workup Mike.

    TC
     
  3. CornStars402

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    Great stuff. See a lot guys with 4 or 5 homers in there, nice to see some incoming power. Really nice to get the Iowa player of the year.
     
  4. The Collective

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    He went pro.
     
  5. CornStars402

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    Damnit
     

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