Recruiting 101

Bo Martino, Assistant Coach, Northeast Texas JC

Martino

Walmsley

Wamsley

Stroop

Stroop

Bo Martino, Assistant Coach, Northeast Texas CC  CJ Wamsley, Assistant Coach, Ohio University Stephanos Stroop, Assistant Coach, St. Petersburg College
Rank the following: exit speed, velo from position, 60 time Exit speed off tee, velo from position, 60 time 60 times, velo from position, exit speed. In order of importance: 60 times, exit speed, velo from position
What is a must-have for players you recruit? Feel for the game. Easier to refine skills then teach them. It’s one thing to be athletic but to have feel, it takes a recruit to the next level. For me, it’s feel. On the field, phone, in person. Could be knowing the game or returning phone calls/ texts in a timely manner. Effectively communicate. Competitive nature
What is the biggest ‘red flag?’ A big red flag in potential recruits is when they talk bad about previous coaches they have had in their playing career. One is a kid telling the Twitter world every offer they get.  Another is parents not understanding their role, which should just be supportive and informative. If they can’t look me in the eye

Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina

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Gary Gilmore led his Coastal Carolina Chanticleers through a gauntlet of challenges to the 2016 national title. Down to its last strike in the Raleigh Regional, the Chants dug down deep to upend North Carolina State. The following weekend, CCU traveled to Alex Box Stadium and upset the perennial powerhouse LSU Tigers. Their award for advancing to the College World Series was a first round matchup with the Florida Gators, the nation’s top seed.

A 1980 Coastal Carolina alum himself, Gilmore has been a head coach for 27 years at the college level, 21 with the Chanticleers. His 1,100th win as a head coach was one that claimed the 2016 national championship trophy. We chatted with “Gilly” recently about the “stepping stones” that his program took on the way to the top (including living in a camper just beyond the outfield fence during his first year at CCU), his family life, and how his team “monkeyed around” in the dugout this past year… all the way to a national championship. Continue reading

Top Coach Podcast preview: Mike Rooney- the voice of college baseball

topcoachA former player at Notre Dame and coach at the NCAA Division I (Arizona State), NJCAA (Phoenix College) and high school (Malvern Prep) levels, Mike Rooney is now one of the foremost college baseball analysts the game has to offer. In addition to being one of the more entertaining Twitter follows (@Mike_Rooney) out there, “Roons” is as tuned in with the college game as anyone. He recently sat down with Top Coach Podcast and our friend Jack Warren. Here’s a sneak preview of the interview: Continue reading

Brian O’Connor on culture and competing

summer16The head coach at the University of Virginia since 2004, Brian O’Connor is a five-time ACC Coach of the Year and three-time national coach of the year. In addition to bringing the 2015 NCAA title to Charlottesville, O’Connor boasts the third-highest winning percentage of all current head coaches in Division I baseball and the 14th-best mark all-time. O’Connor is the second fastest ACC coach to reach 500 career wins and has ushered a boatload of talent into professional baseball, including the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, Sean Doolittle, and several others.

He came to Virginia after nine years at Notre Dame (1995-2003) under current LSU coach Paul Mainieri, where he was named the 2001 National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Baseball America and was AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003.

Inside Pitch recently visited with the Cavaliers’ head coach to talk about how he manages his clubs, his staff, and the winning culture he has developed at UVA. Continue reading

The shift is on!

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The phenomenon of the defensive shift has been making its rounds through the higher levels of baseball.

Many collegiate teams are employing Diamond Charts, a company that has streamlined the process of creating spray charts at the NCAA level. During their first season last year, more than one-third of Division-I programs used Diamond Charts, who sends spray charts of clients’ opponents each week during the season. Included in the charts are left and right split sprays, pitcher per plate appearances, ground ball-to-fly ball ratios and more.


Diamond Charts
Founder Kellen Hurst shared his thoughts on defensive shifts with Inside Pitch:

Diamond Charts sample“As shifts prove to significantly reduce the BABIP [batting average on balls in play] of dramatic pull hitters at the major league level, we envision college teams slowly adopting these more aggressive shifting methods.  However, due to lack of pitcher command at our level, dramatic defensive shifts will be used less.  Other factors (e.g. runners on-base, hitter speed, bunting ability) should be considered when deciding to dramatically shift or not.  I think the ultimate future for dramatic defensive shifts in college baseball is that it will be used sparingly for only a select few players, similar to what we’ve seen recently.”

“We’re continuing to grow approaching the 2015 season.  Our system is more focused on saving coaches’ valuable time while preparing scouting reports as we provide data to help make more decisions than simple shifts; our data helps with areas such as pitching strategy, hitting approach, platoon/substitution match-ups, game strategy, and more; however, we have had feedback that marginal shifts, against certain players, have shown to gain a couple of outs each game.  Sometimes this is the difference in one-run games.”

There are a wide range of opinions out there when it comes to shuffling the defensive deck, including some who wonder if shifts should be allowed at all. MLB Reports chief writer Hunter Stokes is calling for a rule that prevents the third baseman and shortstop from being able to shift to the other side of second base (and vice versa). “With the new approach of the players not caring about strikeouts,” Stokes adds, “it would cause them to make an out on a more frequent basis than just trying to plow through the shift.” Continue reading

“Change up” the Season

FODspring15Instead of warmer temperatures and sunshine earlier this spring, Mother Nature taught the majority of the country a new vocabulary word- polar vortex.

Waves of arctic air dropped high temperatures 10 to 20 degrees below average across the United States, and subzero temperatures were recorded in parts of 26 states in March. Record lows were also set in several southeastern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Also known as the Siberian Express (the suspected origin of the air mass), the polar vortex shattered 647 record lows across the U.S.

For years, there have been a few voices calling for a change to the season to late spring/early summer. After the coldest early spring (by far) since college baseball’s common start date in 2007, those voices are getting a little louder.

Minnesota head coach John Anderson proposed the idea a few years ago for the Big Ten alone, believing that it would be the best move for the conference even if its schools would’ve essentially been eliminated from consideration for NCAA Regionals and ultimately the College World Series.

Recently, West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey has come up with his own proposal for pushing back the college season.

“The fan interest is so minimal compared to Major League Baseball,” Mazey said of the college game in a recent D1baseball.com podcast. “[We’re] not even on the radar; the interest in lower levels of minor league baseball is better than the highest levels of college baseball.”

Mazey’s proposal would make the college season look much more like a professional one- with pitchers and catchers beginning training in mid-February, hitters starting around the second week of March, and opening day penciled in for the first week of April. The proposal is even complete with a “rivalry week” during July 4th weekend to finish the regular season. Continue reading

New Approved Hit by Pitch Rule Could Change Approaches

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Former Arizona State star Andre Ethier is the Dodgers’ franchise leader in HBP (Click here for Los Angeles Dodgers tickets)

By Justin Brown

“Hold up!”

This spring there could potentially be a drop in one statistic across the country. How significant remains to be seen, but there is a new interpretation taking place that could effect on base percentages across the college landscape- the hit by pitch.

In previous years, if a batter was hit by a pitch while in the batter’s box, he was awarded first base by the umpire as long as the pitch was not deemed to be in the strike zone. This allowed the batter to lean in to pitches in an attempt to reach base. Often in the thrills of a close game if an inside pitch just missed the batter, chants of “wear it!” riddled the hitter as teammates in the dugout wished the batter would have actively attempted to get hit by the pitch in order to reach base, keep the rally going, and score runs to win the game. This is known by many as “taking one for the team” or “wearing” pitches. Continue reading