PDA

View Full Version : Next year we could be a Great team if..........



gold04
05-31-2009, 09:08 PM
Macallam and Decker stayed on. Our offense would be down right explosive. Our Bullpen will be stellar with Matayas, Rassmussen, Sexton and Ryan back. I think guys like Bechstien and Isaksson could turn a corner next year and really help in long relief. The only question would be our starting pitching. I do think with Rosin, Oakes, Lubinsky, Fern and Dustin our starting pitching will be better next year, especially on the midweek where we were terrible.

Plus you know all our games are going to be at the dome next year with the Twins gone. That will give us a big advantage. The dome is definetly big enough to host a region. If Decker and Macallam came back, I think we could be a one seed and host a region.

gopherguy05
05-31-2009, 09:13 PM
I don't think there is much of a chance Decker comes back....Unless he plays absolutely horrible in football and really decided he wants to play baseball, he's gone. Either he signs in baseball this summer, which is not terribly likely, or he is training for the NFL Draft and then going to minicamps, etc. No chance Decker plays next spring...

gold04
05-31-2009, 09:52 PM
I agree about Decker. Macallum is definelty a bigger lose but they both are probably gone!

Friend of Gophers
05-31-2009, 10:37 PM
"The only question would be our starting pitching."

There's the biggest issue with Big Ten baseball, right there. All the talk that Northern teams can't play because it's too cold is just a cliche, and it doesn't make any sense when you consider that Northern teams play well early in the season (and that teams like Maine, Wichita State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Oregon State, all had very powerful programs within the last couple of decades).

The problem is a lack of recruiting of enough great arms, plain and simple. Early in the season, nobody is pitching all that well, and that is why an Illinois can hang with an LSU, and a Minnesota can hang with a TCU. But by May, the pitchers with great talent have worked themselves into much better form, and the whole complexion of the game changes.

I was at the game tonight, and getting 5 hits off our All-American pitcher shouldn't be considered unusual. He's an All-American for a reason. The Gophers just lacked the pitching depth to come out of the loser's bracket in a hostile environment.

What I'm saying is, I hope people don't get overly discouraged because the Big Ten teams got beaten up a little bit in the playoffs after they ran out of pitchers, because you might be getting kind of a distorted picture. Ohio State beat the UGA Dawgs, who almost won the national championship last year, and were #1 for a little while this season too; but performing well in game 4 was just a bridge too far.

Just build the facilities, recruit more arms, and everything else can fall into place.

Congrats on a great year.

JohnnyGopher
06-02-2009, 02:38 PM
I think the differences are a little more than that. The system isn't the same as it used to be when Northern teams went to and won in the college world series, it is now set up for the Southern teams to dominate and they usually do. Look at Ohio State, they played more games in Florida this year, 25, then they did at home, only 21. I would like to see how most southern teams would react if they had to go through the travel and amount of road games that northern teams do every year. It's a fact of life and we are used to it so it is what it is, but it's hardly a level playing field. As for pitching, it is a huge difference but i think it is more complicated than just recruit better pitching. Most of the players in the north play mutlitple sports so they don't focus on baseball until spring and alot of times the good pitchers either sign porfessionally or when they do go to college, they are usually pretty raw and some don't start to develope until they are almost done with college. Look at Reid Mahon, he was barely noticable as a Gopher and now he is close to making it with the Diamondbacks. No matter how great of facilities are built, we will never attract baseball talent from the south so we are all kind of stuck with what we have. The southern schools don't give a damn if all northern teams just folded up, which isn't that far away at the current pace, so we are stuck with what we have.

gold04
06-02-2009, 04:25 PM
When I say the Gophers could be really good next year the big response is always how much better southern schools are then northern schools. That is correct and there is no doubt about that. SOMETIMES there comes a season where all the pieces fall into place and a northern school is able to go toe to toe with the southern schools. Eastern Michigan did this for two years in the early 1980's where they had enough talent to compete with southern schools. They made it to the college world series two years in a row and finished in second place one year.

There is no way the Gophers can compete with southern schools year in and year out, BUT sometimes the peices fall into place and you have that magical run for a season or two. Next year I see that potential especially if Maccallum and Decker come back. It's probably not going to happen so it's a mute point anyways.

Goldy7
06-02-2009, 05:04 PM
It's McCallum....please spell our best player's name right. Decker and McCallum are both gone IMO.

As for the Northern/Southern thing and pitching arms goes I do not think there is that big of a difference. The Gopher staff is usually pretty deep and uses about 12 pitchers each year that throw over 20 inn. Look at baylor...they had absolute garbage in their pen during the game against the gophers and let's think.....they are from Texas. So I do not think that is as big of an issue as people make it out to be.

Lincoln gopher
06-02-2009, 05:24 PM
It's McCallum....please spell our best player's name right. Decker and McCallum are both gone IMO.

As for the Northern/Southern thing and pitching arms goes I do not think there is that big of a difference. The Gopher staff is usually pretty deep and uses about 12 pitchers each year that throw over 20 inn. Look at baylor...they had absolute garbage in their pen during the game against the gophers and let's think.....they are from Texas. So I do not think that is as big of an issue as people make it out to be.

You are right, Baylor's staff was not better than the Gophers. That is why they were eliminated. They lost something like 17 of their last 22. Many argued they shouldn't have been in the tourney. There are 16 southern teams left out of 16. I watch southern teams all season, there is a difference. Can a northern team ever win, absolutely, but the south spends more money on baseball because it is important to them and has better talent for the most part. Take nothing from the Gophers this year, they had a very good season with a true star in McCallum. They were clearly a #1 starter and 2 or 3 other pitchers away from the next step. I hope the new pitchers coming in next year are ready to step into some significant innings right away.

BoogeyMan
06-02-2009, 05:30 PM
McCallum is gone. And you have brought up Eastern Michigan in the past, but really? That was in the early 80's, 25+ years ago. Things have changed. Northern teams used to compete nationally, but looked at the past 15 years, who, other than Nebraska and Notre Dame have made a splash on the national scence? And look at where they are at now, they had their flash in the pan, but they didn't last. I suppose those are both considered Northern schools, but in all honesty, they can play outside a lot earlier than us, have much better facilities and when they do travel to play teams, they can stay much closer to home.

As much as I would love for that to happen, I just do not see it happening. I know you keep saying things can fall into place, but it would be a miracle to make any sort of run without some of our best players. Buske (top starter this year), Nohelty (lead off hitter and catalyst to teh offense), McCallum (Best play in the conference, probably the best offense year in Gopher history), Decker (played pretty well this year, but I really am not all that worried about losing him), Handran (probably our 2nd best starter the majority of the year, before he fell off at the end, too many innings?) are all gone. I doubt that Maytas would go, but its a possiblity as well. You could argue that with all the young guys having a year under their belt, that they will all improve, but in all honesty, some will probably get better and some will probably get worse.

Also, the Gopher staff has to go 12 pitchers deep, but it doesn't mean that they are great pitchers. Baylor also generally doesn't have a ton in the pen, simply because they only have 25 guys on their roster. Its the only private school in the Big 12 and they cannot afford to have 35 players on the roster like the Gophers. But in general the pitchers from down south are much better. Not only do they generally have better stuff because they have been throwing a lot more since they were little, but they are just a lot more polished, and know how to pitch a little more and execute better. I know everyone was so excited about Rosin at the end of the year, and he did show a lot of improvement. But in reality he is just another pitcher in conferences such as Big 12, SEC and ACC. He throws 89-91 with a decent little curve and change, but thats kind of a dime a dozen when it comes to righties. Just wait until draft time next year and see where he goes. You will see what I am talking about.

As for the hitters, they are just more developed. You know why McCallum had such a good year? Because he finally developed into the hitter they expected. You know why the Gophers always have their guys hit for gap to gap power instead of homerun power? It's because you can teach that much quicker, and once the players get more advanced they start to develop the power numbers. The players down South come in as freshman doing that.

JohnnyGopher
06-02-2009, 05:59 PM
It also should be noted just how close McCallum came to playing hockey at the U, not baseball.

gold04
06-02-2009, 08:59 PM
Usually guys get better as they progress in college. They say athletes make their biggest jump forward from their Sophmore year to their Junior year. That's why I think the bullpen will be stellar next year with Maytas, Rassmussen, Sexton and Ryan. Plus you have Issaacson, Fern, and Bechstien in long relief, and I think all these guys will be much better next year.

Starting pitching seems to be the big question for next year. Rosin should be better next year. I think Lubinsky will be better next year then Handran was this year. I know Lubinsky struggled in the NCAA tournament but the guy pitched well all season against some very good offensive teams. Lubinsky shows much more promise then Handran did in his first year with the U. Replacing Buske will be tough but I'm banking on Oakes being a Glen Perkins type pitcher. It might be longshot but sometimes you have make those shots in order to have that breakout year. Our weekend starters should be better, because you could not get much worse then we did this year. I think Dustin will be much better and they might find another freshmen to fill in as the fifth starter.

Friend of Gophers
06-03-2009, 02:29 AM
Well, the black art of recruiting is a pretty complicated subject in and of itself, and it does present a sort of Catch-22 problem: How do you become great without first getting great recruits, and how do you get great recruits without first becoming great? This is not to say that the current Gopher pitchers are bad; rather, the program just seems to need to add a couple of additional stars to add into the current mix in order to be a winner in playoff tournament atmospheres.

It's not that Northern kids can't play baseball. If that were the case, then programs like LSU wouldn't feel the need to constantly recruit kids out of Northern high schools. Forgetting for a moment about the absurdly-talented Curt Leskanics and Paul Byrds and Brett Laxtons of the distant past ... in the last 6 years, half of LSU's top 6 pitching stars were from Northern states. Lane Mestepey, Jared Bradford, & Louis Coleman were from LA, AL, & MS, but Brian Wilson (still pitching for the SF Giants), Ryan Verdugo, & Anthony Ranaudo were from NH, WA, & NJ. Not that these places are anywhere near MN, but then again, they aren't anywhere near LA either.

In my opinion, the #1 problem the Gophers have in recruiting is a lack of interest in baseball in the conference as a whole at the higher levels of athletic administrations (and many West Coast schools have shown that it IS possible to have great baseball programs without having great home attendance figures). For a typical high school phenom pitcher living somewhere in Pennsylvania or Connecticut or Michigan or Colorado--Why go to a Big Ten school when you can play in the Big East or Big XII or Sun Belt? Somebody has to find a way to address this crucial question.

I don't mean to minimize the difficulty in the problems faced with Big Ten schools in recruiting, many of which are beyond their control. I'm just saying, if a Big Ten team like the Gophers were just able to find a way to recruit 1 or 2 big-name pitchers a year nationally--from outside the local areas--then that team would probably have a very good shot at making it into the CWS on a semi-regular basis.

In comparison, offense is not that big of a problem. As one example among many, Texas is the #1 national seed this year, and the Longhorn offense is absolutely atrocious--almost total garbage, in fact. They struggled to score 3 runs against the 7th-best ACC team in 25 innings, and weren't much better against 4-seed Army. (And, of course, getting Texas State--whom they didn't even play--as the 2-seed in their regional was a generous gift.) The Horns just have all the arms.

The Gopher team this year was really not that far away from making a super regional. One more win in conference play, and there may have been a Minneapolis regional instead of one in Louisville--and had you gotten Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt, & Indiana, as your competition like the Cardinals did (rather than having to play the best program in college baseball over the last 20 years at their own place), who knows? The Gophers might well be preparing for a super regional right now.

BOTTOM LINE: With such a venerable and stable coaching staff, it just seems to be me that all the Gopher baseball program is missing for even greater future success is the ability to go across the nation and pluck out a few choice arms-for-hire (from JuCos, if necessary) whenever the need arises. It would help, of course, if other Big Ten teams started doing the same thing.

LA GOPHER
06-03-2009, 07:01 AM
As for pitching, it is a huge difference but i think it is more complicated than just recruit better pitching. Most of the players in the north play mutlitple sports so they don't focus on baseball until spring and alot of times the good pitchers either sign porfessionally or when they do go to college, they are usually pretty raw and some don't start to develope until they are almost done with college.

As far as players participating in multiple sports, this is true everywhere in the country. In fact, there was an article here recently about nine of LSU's current players who played quarterback for their high school football teams. And that doesn't include Chad Jones (current safety for the LSU football team) and other players who played other positions in football and also participated in basketball/track/etc.

Personally, I agree with Friend of Gophers that college baseball programs will only thrive in places where they are supported financially by their institutions. If universities back their programs with state-of-the-art facilities, then players will follow (and hopefully fans, too). Case in point - Arkansas. I think the recent success they're having is in direct relation to the amount of money that has been spent on their facilities. I'm not saying ever school should go out and build a new stadium, but if they want a successful program then their going to have to pay for it. Although, I can see why institutions are a bit weary of doing so due to the fact that, historically speaking, baseball is not a revenue producing sport for the majority of NCAA programs. For what it's worth, I think the arms race that is going on in the SEC right now is a bit out of control.

In any case, the Gophers had a hell of a year and I hope they continue get better down the road.:drink:

JohnnyGopher
06-03-2009, 02:53 PM
But the problem most people have in the north is why fully fund a sport that is so lopsided toward the south and the chances of suceeding at the highest levels are slim, especially in bad economic times when most schools budgets are being cut.

Since the southern schools refuse to budge at all on the start dates, northern teams are forced to play 3/4 of there games on the road and that includes long early season southern road trips that get very, very expensive. Even if a northern team averaged 5,000 fans a game, it still wouldn't break even with the huge costs of travel that teams in the South don't have to go through. Most administrators see this as a no win situation which is why Northern Iowa decided to cut there program after this year. With Northern Iowa gone, Iowa State gone, Wisconsin gone, the Gophers don't have very many options for non conference games outside of the Dakota schools.

Baseball is extremely popular in Minnesota and surrounding areas, high school, Legion, heck Town ball is huge, the Saints are huge in St. paul, the Twins have a giant midwest following. I think alot of people just see college basbeall as a waste of time now days. They can look back at the great National Championship MN teams and talk about Molitor, Steinbach, Winfield and others from the glory days, but when they turn on the College World Series, it's the same teams every year from the same parts of the country and they don't give the current team more than a passing thought.