Tuesday, February 28, 2012

STAT of the Union (Week 2)

 

 



 





We have good news and bad news in this week's look at Auburn's stats. The good news? The offense has steadily improved, thanks to an impressive outpouring against Alcorn State. The bad news? Getting steamboated by Arizona plummeted AU's Pitching Staff to the bottom of the SEC in almost every major statistical category. The Tigers have given up the most hits, have the 2nd worse ERA, and have the worst Opponent's Batting Average against. The hits issue is the most disturbing. 51! That's almost a 200% increase. When the ERA raises nearly a full point? There are issues.

 



Around the league, a tend is starting to emerge. Carolina still has a dominant pitching staff and Arkansas still has a brutal offense. Perhaps surprisingly are two teams (like Auburn) who are trying to establish themselves out of the cellar with 2 different styles of offense. Kentucky with power and Tennessee with speed. UT and MSU are probably the closest teams offensively to Auburn so when those teams hook up, it will be interesting to watch.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

SEC Preview: Week 2

ALABAMA vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff (AUPPL Prediction UA 3-0): The Crimson Tide tries to get back on track and welcomes SWAC Cupcake UAPB to the Capstone. It's a Tide team searching for answers and hoping to find them in their pitching staff. Since the Golden Lions are hitting a modest .185 as team should help Alabama gain some confidence before a road trip to New Orleans next weekend. Alabama will still rely on two Freshman Lefty arms (Taylor Guilbeau on Friday/ Justin Kamplain on Sunday) in the rotation. There's not really a doubt that the Tide bats can heat up it's a battered pitching staff they need to refocus in order to tread water in the SEC.


ARKANSAS vs Valparaiso (AUPPL Prediction UA 3-0): Another essentially "non-test" for the Razorbacks. Even though the visiting Crusaders won their opening series for the first time since 2009 they are in the just starting a road trip that won't put them back in Indiana until March 23rd.



FLORIDA vs William & Mary (AUPPL Prediction UF 3-0): After a tough opening slate which featured 2 Nationally Ranked opponents and 2 in-state rivals, Florida finally catches a break. The Gators have looked impressive so far, going 4-1. The visiting Tribe may put up some fight (the almost upset Virginia in a midweek tilt recently. Keyword: Almost) but Florida should keep one eye on the Green & Gold and another on their next series when they travel to Coral Gables to face Miami.



GEORGIA vs Winthrop (AUPPL Prediction UGA 3-0): One surprising part of the Bulldogs this year has been their rotation which has been solid. The visiting Eagles are hitting only .152 as a team so that's probably not going to go south this weekend. We're still a few weekends out from that big UCLA/UGA tilt so until that key series from the team out West, the Red and Black will just pad their resume with the likes of Western Illinois, Western Carolina and this weekend, Winthrop. Georgia hopes to get off to their best start since 2009 when they opened 14-0.



KENTUCKY vs Buffalo (AUPPL Prediction UK 3-0): While the rest of Big Blue Nation is focused on Hoops, the UK Baseball team is quietly putting together a solid offensive attack. The visiting Bulls haven't played a game yet and Kentucky is finally getting to play on their Home Field. One stat to keep an eye on is the UK defense. The Wildcats are the only SEC team who has yet to make an error this season.



LSU vs Appalachian State (AUPPL Prediction LSU 3-0): LSU is steadily improving and App State isn't exactly a team of world beaters. This game will probably let LSU test out and tweak some different lineups.


Actually, looking over the other SEC Games on the schedule, there really aren't any other games besides the Auburn/Arizona series that stand out. Here's a quick rundown of the other action:



OLE MISS vs UNC-Wilmington (AUPPL Prediction UM 3-0)


MISSISSIPPI STATE vs Kansas/MS Valley State (AUPPL Prediction MSU 4-0)


CAROLINA vs Elon (AUPPL Prediction USC 3-0)


TENNESSEE vs Seton Hall (AUPPL Prediction UT 3-0)


VANDERBILT vs Oregon (AUPPL Prediction UO 2-1): Now here's a series that has upset written all over it. The Commodores face another Pac-12 Foe, but this time gets to do it in Nashville. Tyler Beede is out of the rotation (for now) and VU will hopefully be able to cut down on some terrible fielding they've were plagued with in the Stanford series.






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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Around the SEC (2/21)

One weekend in the books, another gearing up to go. It’s midweek time and a chance for some good solid tuneups. Before we get into that, let’s see how the predictions worked out last week

Team Prediction Actual SCORE
Florida (vs CSUF) 2-1 2-1 3-0
UGA (vs Presby) 3-0 3-0 3-0
UK (Upstate Tourney) 3-0 3-0 3-0
SC (vs VMI) 3-0 3-0 3-0
UT (vs N. Illinois) 3-0 3-0 3-0
Bama (vs FAU) 2-1 0-3 1-2
LSU (LSU Tourney) 3-0 3-0 3-0
Vandy (at Stanford) 1-2 0-3 2-1
Ole Miss (at TCU) 1-2* 1-1 2-0
MSU (vs Wazzou) 2-1 2-1 3-0
Ark (vs Nova) 3-0 3-0 3-0


FLORIDA: Next up for the Gators is a midweek series with a couple of in-state foes, Bethune-Cookman (and their new head coach), and Central Florida. Bethune is already off to another solid start, after taking 2 of 3 from Florida Gulf Coast. UCF had little trouble with Long Island, completing a 3 game sweep. Next up for the Gators? A good tune-up homestand against William & Mary before traveling to Coral Gables for a big in-state brawl to kick off March. AUPPL Prediction: 2-0



Georgia: The Bulldogs had little trouble with Presbyterian and really don’t have any true test on the schedule until UCLA comes to Athens on March 9th. However, this is the same UCLA team that just dropped a series, at home, to Maryland. The Dawgs only have one midweek game (vs Georgia State): AUPPL Prediction: 1-0



Kentucky: The Wildcat offense really clicked this weekend. They scored 10 runs in their first 2 games and completed a weekend sweep at the USC-Upstate Tournament after dispatching the host school Spartans 6-0 yesterday. UK has no midweekers this week.

Carolina: It was touch and go for a while for the defending National Champions. 2 Close games against the visiting Keydets (2-1/3-2) but the bats came alive in the Friday finale as the Gamecocks exploded for a 13-1 victory. No Midweekers for USC this week either.

Tennessee: A good start for new Head Coach Dave Serrano. The Vols took care of Northern Illinois in convincing fashion. Big Orange has 1 midweek game this week: 2/21 against Western Kentucky. AUPPL Prediction: 1-0

LSU: The Bengals looked impressive. Only giving up 2 Earned Runs the entire weekend (vs AFA twice, vs Alcorn once). They will head into a midweek game against McNeese without having allowed a run in 19 consecutive innings. AUPPL Prediction: 1-0



Ole Miss: The Rebels got a great start from Bobby Wahl on Friday and managed to upset the homestanding Horned Frogs. Rain cancelled one of the games. Still, just getting one was a good vote of confidence for UM. Ole Miss plays their home opener today vs Arkansas State, the only midweek game for UM. AUPPL Prediction: 1-0



Mississippi State: The Bulldogs almost completed a solid sweep of Washington State, but the Cougars forced a Saturday extra-inning upset. No midweek games for the Maroons as they prep for the Starkville Tournament against Kansas and Mississippi Valley State.

Arkansas: Smooth sailing for the Hogs as they absolutely destroyed Villanova by a combined score of 41-7. Double Digit run production in every game. Two midweek games against Northwestern State before another likely sweep vs Valparaiso this weekend. AUPPL Prediction: 2-0


Now we come to the teams that had absolutely horrible weekends. Vanderbilt and Alabama. Yes, Auburn losing a DH on Sunday was painful, but these losses by the Commodores and Tide were even worse.

Vanderbilt: The road trip to the Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto turned disastrous for VU. The Dores were outscored 35-13. Heralded Freshman Tyler Beede had a rough debut: 4.1 IP/9h/5er/1bb/2k/1hbp. Overall, Vandy pitchers hit 9 batters. Rough pitching start. The Dores have a midweek game against Oakland to get back on track before Oregon travels to Nashville. AUPPL Prediction: 1-0

Alabama:
Now, for the most shocking series of last weekend? Alabama. The Tide were swept by visiting Florida Atlantic and the Owl held UA’s bats in check for outputs of 2, 2, and 4 runs over the weekend. How shocking was it? :



Say It Ain't So Joe: Alabama was swept by Florida Atlantic at the Joe this weekend ... It marked the first time in 113 years that Alabama has been swept in a three-game, non-conference home series ... The Texas Longhorns were the only other team to sweep Alabama at home, taking all three games on April 17-19, 1899 ... The Longhorns won 9-3, 10-1 and 4-3 ... Alabama is 0-3 for third time in school history and the first time since 1952 ... The Crimson Tide also started 0-3 in 1946.


Alabama tries to right the ship next weekend when Arkansas Pine Bluff comes to town.



PREDICTION TRACKER: Only 3 incorrect picks made. Overall record: 29-3. Series Prediction Record: 9-2

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STAT of the Union: Week 1

 

The Sample size is small, but we can already see how Auburn compares to the rest of the SEC stat-wise:



The small-ball philosophy has taken full affect for Auburn. The Tigers have yet to record a Home Run, but still have a respectable amount of hits, and doubles. There is patience there at the plate and with the approach. Only 11 Ks and middle of the pack in BBs (12). The only statistical category Auburn is leading in (offensively) all come from the run game. Only Tennessee seems to be just as aggressive and small-ball oriented as Auburn.



Jay Gonzalez is currently tied with Tim Carver of Arkansas with 4 Stolen Bases. Blake Austin leads the SEC in Doubles (4).

 



Derek Varnadore’s impressive performance on Friday has set him apart from the SEC Currently. He leads in IP (7), Strikeouts (11), Batters K Looking (6). Impressively Daniel Koger is next on that list with 4 Backwards Ks himself.

Fielding-Wise, Garrett Cooper continues to stand out. A perfect fielding percentage, 2nd most chances, 3rd most put-outs.

 



Overall, it’s a good start stat-wise. Auburn isn’t really in the cellar in an category and there is obvious room for improvement. The hits are there, the chances are there, Auburn just needs to capitalize.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

The 5 Most Important Series of the 2012 Season

 

It’s hard to peg what qualifies as a “crucial series” but just look at the schedule in 2012, some games just jump out and could be considered must-wins. Of course, all that could change as the season progresses and importance could be placed else where;

 

1. Missouri

It’s the season opener and with a big roadtrip coming up the following weekend to Arizona, Auburn can’t really afford to start out in a 1-2 or even 0-3 hole. There is little room for error and Auburn will face a tough opener. With new faces in new roles, Auburn’s learning curve will be pretty steep.

 

2. Samford

I know it seems like Samford SHOULD be a win, but that’s the problem. In the past, Auburn has struggled with these midweek games. With Samford rising up the RPI and with its most talented team in years, a win over the Bulldogs would be crucial down the stretch.

 

3. Alabama

If just for the obvious reasons that it’s Alabama. This year, there’s an added bonus. Alabama and Auburn are in sort of the same boat preseason-wise. A series win would mean seperation and a leg up down the stretch.

 

4. Ole Miss

SEC Opener. On the Road. Plus, a dynamite Friday matchup between Derek Varnadore and Bobby Wahl. If Auburn can take this series, it will instill confidence down the stretch and definitely start the season off on the right foot.

 

5. Georgia

This series will come late in the year. Auburn needs revenge from last year’s Mother’s Day Meltdown. It could also either open the SEC wider or shut it for good.

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Could Auburn add Men’s Soccer?

This comes up for debate or is thrown around every now and then. Could Auburn add another varsity sport? Well, if the funds are there, sure. More than that though, you would need to weigh some key factors and components. The main factor being Title IX from the NCAA which states:

 

Q. How is Title IX applied to athletics?

Athletics programs are considered educational programs and activities. There are three basic parts of Title IX as it applies to athletics:

  1. Participation: Title IX requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play;                          
  2. Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation; and                          
  3. Other benefits: Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of: (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services and (k) recruitment of student-athletes.

 

Basically, you have to have an equal number of men's and women's athletic scholarships. With College Football taking up or adding 85 schollys, you have more women’s sports to equal that amount.

 

You need competition around you to play so we’ll see how many teams exist in Auburn’s border states (FL/TN/MS/GA). We’ll even throw in Louisiana and South Carolina for extra help. In theory you’d want at least 5 or 6 schools within that distance to keep travel restrictions down.

 

Men’s Soccer

 

Scholarships Required: 9.9

Competition: Alabama A&M, Centenary, Clemson, Charleston, ETSU, FAU, Florida Gulf Coast, Furman, GA Southern, Georgia State, Jacksonville, SC Upstate, Presbyterian, North Florida, Memphis, South Carolina, USF, UAB, UCF, Belmont, Mercer, FIU

 

Really, Auburn’s best chance for success in Men’s Soccer would be to join Conference USA like Kentucky and South Carolina have (men’s soccer only members). It would give the Tigers an in-state rival (UAB) and keep the travel restrictions down. One thing I wouldn’t recommend? Going independent. That hasn’t worked out so well for Alabama A&M:

 

The Alabama A&M men’s soccer team will play its final contest, Wednesday, when they take on the Tigers of the University of Memphis at 6 p.m. at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.

The Bulldogs enter the match at 0-10-0 in 2010. The Division I independent program is on the verge of extinction, with rumors swirling that the program is in its final year of competition in collegiate athletics.

It hasn’t been a happy year for Maroon & White, who have been outscored 59-7 in its 10 matches so far this season.

 

 

Soccer is probably the only men’s sport that Auburn could feasibly add. Lacrosse is a hot sport, but no one really plays it in-state and the closest competition is Mercer. Wrestling has history at Auburn, but has moved into a more Midwestern base. If Auburn was to try and add Men’s soccer, they would need a female counter sport. Sadly the doesn’t really exist. Maybe Bowling? However, that’s only 5 scholarships. There aren’t many other women’s sports left that could get female students to Auburn AND have enough scholarships to justify men’s soccer. For now? It’s just a hopeful dream.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tiger Taxonomy: Damek Tomscha

 

 

 

  • Class: Incoming Junior
  • Hometown: Sioux City, IA
  • Previously: Iowa Western CC
  • H/W: 6'4/ 225lbs
  • B/T: R/R
  • Position: RHP/IF
  •  

     

     

    A unique name and a unique talent. Tomscha is one the top JUCO Prospects in America. He’s already been drafted twice (once by the Phillies in 2010 and last year by the Marlins). He’s a combination RHP/SS/3B that brings a great offensive approach to the plate. He was the Gatorade Iowa player of the year coming out of High School:

     

    The 6-foot-3 Tomscha led the Stars to a 36-7 record and the Iowa Class 4A state championship last season, the first in school history. Tomscha batted .456 with 11 home runs, 48 RBIs, 52 hits and an .897 slugging percentage. A 2009 all-state Super Team selection and Louisville Slugger preseason All-American, Tomscha batted .667 with nine runs scored and six RBIs in three state tournament games.

     

    You will hear the term “sleeper” thrown around a lot when it comes to Tomscha. Drafted twice, you can see how he’s slowly climbed up the radar of MLB Scouts:

     

    Tomscha is a deep sleeper who has plenty of fans within the scouting community. I’m not a member of said community, but count me in as a fan all the same. As a high school guy without high school ball in Iowa, Tomscha’s upside was severely underrated this spring. He’s a really good athlete with a pretty swing, plus arm, and good raw defensive tools. My high pre-draft ranking was probably a bit of overcompensating for his lack of national love on my end, but it should definitely be noted that this your typical 50th round flier. Tomscha’s legit.

    So what do those same scouts say about Tomscha?

     

    Damek Tomscha is a 2010 3B/SS with a 6'2'', 200 lb. frame from Sioux City, IA who attends Sioux City North HS. Square shouldered build, good present strength. Outstanding arm strength at 3B, good athletic actions, needs improvement on footwork/balance, 6.93 runner. Very good raw bat speed, calm balanced stance, lacks ideal hitting rhythm now, line drive swing plane, ball jumps off bat well. Also pitched, different arm stroke than at 3B, upper 80's fastball, some sharpness to slider. Very interesting unrecognized talent with a high ceiling. Signed with Iowa Western CC

    So how did a kid from Iowa end up at Auburn? Weather and Competition mostly:


    "The biggest thing was that the SEC is the best baseball conference in the country," said Tomscha, who led North to its first Class 4A state title as a junior. "I like the warm weather and coaches, too. They have told me I will have an opportunity to play third base right away and maybe pitch a little, too."

    "The past two years, they have had 18 guys drafted, so that was one of the reasons they were down a little last year," said Tomscha.

    Tomscha had offers from Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Western Kentucky and Florida International. He visited Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Florida International before making a visit to Auburn last week.

     

    Oh and hey, we actually have VIDEO of Damek:

     

     

     

    Looks pretty good.

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    College Baseball and the MLB CBA

    One storyline for the 2012 Season will be how Major League Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement will affect College Baseball. Before, fans and coaches would anxiously wait the MLB Draft and watch as one by one their top recruits are enticed by the lure and dollars of professional baseball. College Baseball is weird when it comes to its pro brother. Unlike Football where the 3 years in College time is seen as needed for development or the NBA which has to now put caps on when a player can turn pro, baseball is a waiting game. Very rarely does a player get drafted and have an immediate impact. At best? They spend 2 to 4 years in the Minor League getting adjusted. Rarely do guys come straight from the draft to the pros. In fact, only one comes to mind, Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds. So, in college baseball, teams used to have to consitently deal with teams overpaying for players (above slot is term thrown around) and guys will normally take the money and go pro instead of enrolling. Now, things are a bit different.

     

    “The release of the new CBA, no doubt, was a big day for college baseball,” an agent said. “I absolutely think college coaches benefit a great deal. The new CBA ends the confusion of trying to figure out if a player is showing up to campus in August. In turn, MLB teams will be forced to pick their spots in the draft a little better. I think the new CBA definitely will lead to more kids deciding to go to college.”

    There are other pieces to the CBA college coaches love, such as the new draft tax, which we’ll get to later. But the new signing deadline is music to the ears of several coaches, especially Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan and LSU’s Paul Mainieri, both head coaches of programs that recruit a huge crop of highly-drafted prospects each year.

    Mainieri is extremely pleased with the new signing deadline. Two summers ago, he and the Tigers were left at the alter at the signing deadline by talented prospects such as Zach Lee and Garin Cecchini. Meanwhile, right-hander Kevin Gausman opted to attend LSU despite some intense moments leading up to the deadline.

    “Any signing deadline that was pushed earlier than where it was would be looked upon favorably by all college coaches. I wish they would’ve gone all the way up to July 1, but it’s better than August 15,” Mainieri said. “The old rules just put college coaches in such a difficult position leading up to the deadline. This gives coaches a much better idea of what they’re working with when the fall semester begins.”

     

    So what changes? In a nutshell, you can now think of the 10th round of the MLB draft as a cut off point for college baseball. Anything above and these guys will get big money thrown their way. Anything below? The player might be better off enrolling in college. There are now penalties and caps puts into place that will prevent teams from overspending and most MLB clubs would rather use the money they have on their upper round picks. The other big change? The signing deadline:

     

    The Draft signing deadline will move from August 15 to between July 12 and July 18, depending on which day the MLB All-Star Game is. This will allow college teams to better manage their scholarship percentages and rosters. High picks normally wait until the last second to sign, so this just takes out some of the dead time that is far from necessary. It will also give Division I schools an opportunity to purge junior colleges to replace any players that sign professional contracts.

     

    With three guys (and probably more) in the incoming Auburn recruiting class that will be drafted fairly high, the Tigers will have to keep a close eye on the draft, the round, and hope (fingers crossed) that the majority of this incoming class will stay intact.

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    A Mini Auburn Baseball Bucket List

    Auburn baseball games are a special event. My love for them is already pretty well documented. Even though it’s hard to narrow it down; I think there are 5 things that every Auburn baseball fan should do at least once this season.

    1. Buy a scorecard from Mr. Campbell (or a Diamond Doll)

    Scorecards are one of the lost arts of baseball. They are personal, functional, and practical. Say a buddy of yours went up for a soda and comes back. First thing he asks? “What did I miss?” Well, with the scorecard you can tell him exactly what he missed. Plus, it will keep you engaged in the game. Don’t let this happen to you:

    2. Catch a game from the Upper Parking Deck

    It’s a pretty sweet set up. Park your vehicle. Watch a game. Chill Out. It’s a unique way to watch an Auburn game, if just for a couple of minutes or more. Personally, I have to be a bit closer to the action but for the younger crowd, the Upper Parking Deck seems ideal.

    3. Join the Diamond Club


    Now, this is something I’ve put off for way to long. Thankfully, and thanks to my brother’s awesome Christmas present, I’m now a member of the AUDC. Check them out and ask a member what they are about.

    4. Say Hey to the Diamond Dolls


    Probably the most enthusiastic group of fans, made up of students, and they do more than just cheer at the games. They’re involved in philanthrophy, spirit, and comraderie. So what do they do? Let’s let one of them explain:

    Katie Campbell is a junior from Auburn, AL, majoring in communication. When Katie graduates she would like to pursue a career in sports marketing or sports event planning. “Being a Diamond Doll provides me with a snapshot from behind the scenes of what a baseball program is like,” Katie explains. She goes on to tell that her interest in baseball began when she was young. Her brother played baseball for years and therefore, it was something she grew up around. In high school, she served as a Diamond Doll, which made her love for baseball grow even more.

    Katie has been involved with Auburn’s Diamond Dolls for two years and is actually the graphic designer for Diamond Dolls. “I am in charge of ordering all of our uniforms, and designing t-shirts for our organization. On top of my officer duties, I also help out in the coach’s office when needed, decorate the locker rooms, assist in helping with marketing promotions throughout the game, and of course offer support to our team throughout the season,” Katie says. She explains that through this experience, she has learned time management skills, which has helped her in many aspects of her life.

    5. Skip a Sunday game and go catch the Opelika Miracle League.

    I would recommend an away game, obviously, but the Miracle League is a wonderful organization to lend and afternoon helping. How can you help? Just by coming out and cheering. Check them out

    Any other recommendations? Leave them in the comments.

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    The Varnasaur

    Sometimes inspiration hits in some of the most unexpected places. Such as a typo on the AuburnSports.com message board:

    Varnasore you say? Such as maybe a cross between Derek Varnadore and Carnosaur, the terribly awful Roger Corman movie about a genetically altered and very hungry dinosaur who reeks havoc on a local desert town? Hmmmm. Well, Varnadore does have a sort of "saurian" delivery. Perhaps we should commemorate this inspirational blessing? But, how? Oh yes, like this:

    I dig it. Well, let's take it a step forward. How about Plainsman Park: Where Opposing Hitters Go Extinct? Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Now if only we could get Derek Varnadore to change his introduction music to the great 80s Hit by Was (Not Was), "Walk the Dinosaur". One can only dream.

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    Twitter and the Tigers

    Twitter is a great way to follow college baseball. It's a tool I use to stay connected, interact, and update fans during the game. (Psst...follow here: @AUPPL). If you do follow, you can easily tell what is going on during the Auburn baseball games, as long as you know how to read a box score or score card.


    Twitter is also a way to hear back from other Auburn fans and get their reaction/thoughts on a "Tweet of the Week" that I try to throw out every Tuesday. Such as this past Tuesday's "What Auburn Baseball Series are you Most Looking Forward To". I got a couple of good responses such as:




    The Missouri series because it's opening weekend!



    See? Fun. Exciting. Interactive.I'll try to keep this up during the season


    Of course, I'm not the only one on twitter. I'd recommend a follow to the Auburn Diamond Dolls and the Official Auburn Tiger Baseball Feed. There are also a few Auburn players on Twitter. Now, I'm not going to list all of the current (and some former) players that I could find on Twitter because I don't follow every single one of them. However, if you are so inclined and want to know, you could just check out who the Official Twitter follows. You'll find the majority of them there. Now, a lot of guys use their Twitter for their own personal business. They have locked accounts for a reason. Keep that in mind and realize that some (if not many) of these are private accounts for a reason. Please respect that. Don't be a butt on twitter to the players.

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    Tiger Taxonomy: Matt Schultz



    • Class: Incoming Freshman
    • Hometown: Plainfield, IL
    • Previously: Oswego East High School
    • H/W: 6'2/ 200lbs
    • B/T: R/R
    • Position: RHP


    Schultz makes up part of Auburn's highly anticipated 2012 Signing Class. A powerful RHP from Illinois, Schultz shows that Coach Pawlowski and his staff aren't afraid of recruiting outside the Southeast. He's a Perfect Game prospect from the Chicago area who is already topping 93 on his fastball. PG had this to say in his profile:



    Chicago Land RHP Popped Up with 92 Velo at Area Codes Before Popping a 93 at Jupiter. Strong, Sturdy Build Arm Works Very Well.



    Pretty impressive and pretty solid for Auburn to get a player who's competed in the prestigious area code games. That 93 mph? That's coming after he had Tommy John surgery going into his junior year:



    "He threw 50 pitches and it was probably the most effective 50 pitches I've ever seen," Vera said. "I think (the injury) helped him in two ways. No. 1, I think it helps him see the difference between pitching and throwing. When you're dealing with a kid as talented as Matt, he's probably for most of his life been able to just get by with throwing the ball by guys and just overmatching guys. I also think it's helped him basically appreciate the effectiveness of his pitching, whereas in the past he could get by with going deep into counts because he knew he could come back into counts and strike them out."



    I would recommend checking out that entire story from The Ledger Sentinel. It is a bit dated, but it serves as caution for overusing high school arms so soon. Schultz is a pitcher reborn and a guy who almost had his entire future taken away from him.


    So how did an Illinois kid come home to the Plains? He wasn't that highly recruited for a while and many colleges were coming to see his travel ball teammate Bret Lilek (Arizona State commit) instead of him. Still, Schultz turned heads and Auburn won him over:



    "I fell in love with it when I went down there," Schultz said of his trip to Alabama. "It's really hot down there, so right off the get-go it's good weather for a pitcher. I didn't throw that much this spring due to the cold weather, so the heat is a huge factor. It's a really nice campus and all the people down there are like the nicest person you ever met in your life. It's more like a family. All the athletes are like a family. That's what they try to achieve. I liked the atmosphere, a nice campus, they have an amazing facility."



    The MLB could come calling but he might have a better chance at Auburn as scouts might shy away from his arm history and not take a risk given the new CBA. Auburn can't do anything to change that. For now it's good to know Schultz has his Auburn priorities in order:



    Every kid dreams of playing professional baseball and I'm no different. I have established a plan to attend Auburn, pursue my college degree and continue to develop my pitching talents under a great coaching staff. I am very excited about the future at Auburn University and the opportunity they have given me. I want to help them beat 'Bama!!! However, if the opportunity to play in the MLB presents itself, I would evaluate all factors and consider it a great honor, and accomplishment, to be entered into the draft.



    War Eagle and Welcome Matt.

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    Around the SEC


    Ah, opening weekend. It's (almost) here and the SEC has some great match ups on deck. The three biggest match ups this weekend are Florida vs Cal State Fullerton; Ole Miss vs TCU; and Vanderbilt vs Stanford. Here's the Full Slate for Friday:


    SEC TeamOpponent
    Floridavs Cal State Fullerton
    Georgiavs Presbyterian
    Kentuckyat Wofford
    South Carolinavs VMI
    Tennesseevs Northern Illinois
    Auburnvs Missouri
    Alabamavs Florida Atlantic
    Arkansasvs Villanova
    LSUvs Air Force
    Ole Missat TCU
    Vanderbiltat Stanford
    Mississippi Statevs Washington State




    Florida vs CSUF: One of the top games of the weekend. The Gators will try to improve on a program best 53-19 record last year and an impressive rotation of Hudson Randall, Karsten Whitson, and Brian Johnson should be the key. This is the first meeting between the two schools and will be the first for new CSUF Titans Head Coach Rick Vanderhook (his predecesor Dave Serrano is now at Tennessee). The Titans have brought home four NCAA titles (1979, 1984, 1995, 2004), made 16 trips to the College World Series, totaled 33 NCAA Regional appearances, earned 10 Super Regional berths and captured 25 conference championships since beginning their program in 1975. It's College Baseball Royalty versus 2012's Favorite Team. AUPPL PREDICTION: UF 2-1




    Georgia vs Presbyterian: The Bulldogs get a nice tuneup with the visiting Blue Hose and own an 8-0 mark all time against the Boys from Clinton, South Carolina. They shouldn't be tested too much this weekend, but one thing to watch out for is Michael Palazzone and an injury revamped rotation. Tyler Maloof (the 18 save closer) is sidelined until Match, so previous #3 starter Blake Dieterich moves to the bullpen and Taylor Hicks make his Red and Black debut on Sunday. AUPPL PREDICTION: UGA 3-0




    Kentucky vs Wofford (Tournament): The Big Blue has to prove themselves. First order of business is taking care of the teams it SHOULD beat. Thankfully, they have 3 of those opponents in the Update/Wofford Tournament in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Wildcats will face Wofford, Eastern Michigan, and South Carolina-Upstate in a three game mini-tournament. The Wildcats will open the campaign in South Carolina for the fourth consecutive season, also making season-opening trips to Coastal Carolina and the College of Charleston. UK owns a 57-31-3 all-time record in season openers, with a loss at No. 20 COC last year snapping a school-record seven-game winning streak. UK opened up the 2009-10 seasons in Myrtle Beach, facing Coastal Carolina and opened up the 2007 season at Furman in Greenville. AUPPL PREDICTION: UK 3-0




    Alabama vs Florida Atlantic:The Tide face the Blue Wave in a pretty intriguing match up, if just for the fact that both of these teams have a little bit of history. UA and FAU met three times during the 2002 season, with the Crimson Tide winning two of the three games. The series against FAU will mark the first time the two schools have played a three-game series. UA posted an 8-3 win over the Owls in the Hormel Foods Classic at the Metrodome. The teams met later in the season when they squared off in the finals of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. UA won the first game, 7-2, before the Owls defeated the Tide, 6-5, in the deciding game. Florida Atlantic enters the season with 20 returning players and 15 newcomers. FAU posted a 32-25 record in 2011 and finished tied for fourth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 17-13 record. The Owls return two starting position players and three starting pitchers. Head coach John McCormack is in his fourth season and has a 99-75 overall record in three years. Last season, FAU posted a .297 team batting average, with 35 home runs. On the pitching side, the Owls had a 4.58 team ERA, while holding opponents to a .283 average. AUPPL Prediction: UA 2-1




    South Carolina vs VMI: The Defending National Champions will have a celebratory opener as the Keydets come to town. Several pre-game festivities are planned for Opening Day at Carolina Stadium before the South Carolina and VMI baseball game on Friday. The South Carolina National Guard Band will perform the National Anthem with military representatives presenting the colors and the United States flag. It also will play a mini-concert behind the batter's eye near the main entrance when gates open at 1:30 p.m. In recognition of the back-to-back National Championships, there will be a brief video as well as the raising of the National Championship flag. 2010 College World Series Most Outstanding Player Jackie Bradley Jr. and 2011 College World Series Most Outstanding Player Scott Wingo will throw out ceremonial first pitches to former catchers Robert Beary and Brady Thomas. Those players will be accompanied by National Championship teammates Bryan Harper, Peter Mooney, Adrian Morales, Steven Neff andJohn Taylor .Baseball is at a fever pitch in Columbia this weekend and fans are hungry for as much baseball as popular. South Carolina set a record for season tickets sold this year with a total of 5,580 sold in the preseason, surpassing the previous record of 5,414 set last year. South Carolina's total attendance of 297,279 for 40 games last year at Carolina Stadium was second highest in the country. The Gamecocks own a 92-19 (.829) record since opening the facility on Feb. 21, 2009. AUPPL Prediction: USC 3-0




    Vanderbilt vs Stanford: The 'Dores travel to Palo Alto is another big marquee matchup. The Cardinal come in as the #3 Team in America and has one of the best pitchers in baseball with RHP Mark Appel. Vandy has some firepower of their own. The matchup I'm looking forward to most is the Saturday one. Talented Freshman recruit RHP Tyler Beede will make his Black and Gold debut. Beede was a first round pick (and the only one to NOT sign with his club) for the Toronto Blue Jays and headlined Baseball America's #1 Ranked Recruiting Class. Vandy will be replacing a ton of talent but they will restock just fine. They do have four Freshman All-Americans on their roster. AUPPL Prediction: Stanford 2-1




    Tennessee vs Northern Illinois: The Dave Serrano era begins in Knoxville. That's really all that can be said about this less than prime time matchup. Serrano himself hasn't really focused on the Huskies: "It's about what we do. I haven't even looked at their stuff. I know they're going two left-handers Friday, Saturday and throwing a right-hander on Sunday. They're probably coming out of colder weather than we have, but it's not about what they do. It's about what we do." UT will probably not face a serious test until February 28th against Middle Tennessee. AUPPL Prediction: UT 3-0




    Arkansas vs Villanova: The SEC West Favorites will take on 'Nova in another Sunshine matchup. One thing to look for is how the Razorbacks replace their entire outfield. Each of the outfield regulars for the Razorbacks from last season were drafted in the 2011 MLB Draft. Collin Kuhn and Kyle Robinsonwere each drafted by the Chicago White Sox with Kuhn going in the 17th round and Robinson in the 28th round. Jarrod McKinney was a 31st round selection of the Houston Astros. AUPPL Prediction: Arkansas 3-0




    Ole Miss vs TCU: If you have to watch one game of this series, keep an eye on the Friday matchup where Rebel starter Bobby Wahl take the hill. Wahl is a key cog for UM this year: Sophomore right-hander Bobby Wahl makes his first weekend start for the Rebels and only the second start of his career when he takes the mound on Friday night against TCU. Wahl served primarily as a closer in his freshman campaign, working 30.0 innings and combining for two shutouts. He made 18 appearances in 2011 with his lone start coming against Arkansas State on February 23 in a season-long 4.0 innings of work and took no decision. Wahl also picked up four saves on the season and was named SEC Freshman of the Week after picking up a pair of saves in a series sweep against Kentucky. This is a Top 25 Matchup and TCU Probably needs a good distraction after all the mess with the football team. It is the first meeting between the two teams since the 2009 season when weather cancelled two of the three games in the series. Ole Miss dropped the first game 13-19 on Friday night. Ole Miss last played at TCU in the 2008 season, going 1-2 in a three-game series with the Horned Frogs. AUPPL Prediction: TCU 2-1




    Mississippi State vs Washington State: The Bulldogs were a pleasant surprise in 2011, making it to a Super Regional and a #15 Ranking. The key for MSU will be its pitching as the Maroon returns 14 pitchers lead by preseason All-American Caleb Reed (12 Saves/ 1.55 ERA). Sophomore right-hander Ben Bracewell (Chelsea, Ala.) will open on the mound for the Bulldogs. It will be the first career start for Bracewell, who made 17 relief appearances as a freshman in 2010 before redshirting last spring. The Cougars, from the Pac-12 Conference, have tabbed sophomore righty J.D. Leckendy for starting mound duty Friday. AUPPL Prediction: MSU 2-1




    LSU in LSU Tournament: The Bengals will try to fight some nasty weather headed to Baton Rouge and will face an odd series where they take on Air Force twice and Alcorn State (who comes to Auburn next) once. There is a fun "student meets teacher" matchup with Air Force Head Coach Mike Kazlausky, who played for three years under LSU Skipper Paul Mainieri at AFA and also served as an assistant coach with Manieri for two years. AUPPL Prediction: LSU 3-0


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    The Opening Threat Level

    For those unfamiliar with the Threat Level. It's bascially a barometer for Auburn baseball and the expectations of the season. Here's a quick recap. Now, without further ado, the opening 2012 Threat Level:



    Yes, it's low. Then again, so are the expectations for the 2012 Season. Auburn was picked to finish dead last in the SEC West, has yet to crack any poll, or really place any player on any watch list or All-American Team. You can call it "flying under the radar" if you must, but honestly, the expectations aren't there because no one really knows what team Auburn will put out in 2012. Returning only 2 full time starters (and even then pushing one of those to the infield and having the other still in a position battle) doesn't exactly breed confidence. It breeds confusion and the unknown. Auburn's main task will be to show that they are a cohesive unit and that they can excel with all these new pieces in place.


    NEXT REVEVALUATION: February 27th


    WARMING TRENDS: What can Auburn do to raise the threat level? These first two weekends will be the biggest test. The threat level will rise if Auburn can take the opening series against Mizzou, sweep defending SWAC Champion Alcorn in the midweek, and take at least one game on the road at Arizona. That's a starting record of 5-3 at worst. Not ideal, but it would be a start considering the competition.

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    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Catching Up with Mighty Casey


    One of the biggest losses for the 2012 Season will probably be Casey McElroy. Not that many were expecting C-Mac to return for his Senior Year on the Plains. Replacing his bat and leadership will be a key task for Auburn this year.


    MadFriars.com has a pretty nice interview with McElroy as he prepares for his first full season in the minor leagues in the San Diego Padres organization. It's surprisingly open and discusses his work ethic, reasons for signing, and a possible position change to catcher. Here's a highlight:



    Casey McElroy: I have always played with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. In high school I put up good numbers and didn't really get as much attention as others who I thought I out performed.


    It's funny the first day I was taking batting practice in Eugene, and I was probably trying to hit them out to show off a little, Pat Murphy our manager came up to me and said that I should work on something else because he said I was a slap hitter.


    I let him know that I may be the smallest guy out here, but I am not a slap hitter. The next few weeks I put up some doubles and a few home runs and he came up to me later and said that he might have been wrong and I wasn't a slap hitter.


    So that was pretty cool.




    Oh, and if you were curious, that "Pat Murphy" that McElroy is referring to is the same "Pat Murphy" long time Arizona State Head Baseball Coach. Check out the full profile of Casey over at MadFriars.com

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    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Tiger Taxonomy: Ryan Tella



    • Class: Sophomore
    • Hometown: Fremont, CA
    • Previously: Ohlone CC
    • H/W: 6'/175
    • B/T: L/R
    • Position: OF
    • Twitter: @R_Tella4 (Private Account)


    Another new face that Auburn fans should really get accustomed to is Ryan Tella. A Sophomore from Fremont, California, Tella has tremendous speed and some gaudy numbers at previous stops that can hopefully translate to the SEC. A 34th Round Round pick by the Minnesota Twins; Tella comes from an Ohlone College Team that produced two other Division 1 Signees last year: George Asmus (Washington) and Matt Fontaine (Fresno State). Interestingly, those are two schools that Tella previously held offers from out of High School. However, coming to the South was a dream and Auburn has let him live it:



    Choosing Auburn over Washington after being offered by several prominent programs including Fresno State out of high school, Tella said the opportunity and lure of playing in the South and the SEC is what he's always dreamed of.


    "I have just always wanted to leave California and go to the South," Tella said. "That has been the case since I was offered by Fresno State, but missed one class to go there. I just took a step back and wanted to see what was new and different out there. I thought Auburn was the best choice for me."



    Tella was a spark for Ohlone and helped the Renegades to a Conference Crown and State Runner Up Finish:



    From watching the Renegades win the 2010 CCCAA State title a year ago, to being the leading hitter on the three-time defending Coast Conference Pacific champs, and defending state champion Ohlone Renegades baseball team, the last few months for sophomore outfielder Ryan Tella have been fun to watch. And for him, fun to play.


    Tella went from redshirt freshman to being ranked fifth in the state, first in Northern California, in batting average, hitting .425 with three home runs and 35 RBI's and riding a seven-game hit streak entering post-season play, as he started in the Renegade outfield in all 36 games this season.


    "He's our spark," said Ohlone head coach Julian Russell.



    It's that spark the led Tella to being named the 2011ABCA/Rawlings Player of the Year. He was also a pretty solid pitcher in High School, evident when he shut out and one hit the top ranked team in the East Bay.


    Tella has already impressed in the Fall and doesn't seem to have any hangover from California.



    OF Ryan Tella, transfer from Ohlone CC, showed his promising impact for the team on the base paths. With speed comparable to former Tiger leadoff hitter, Justin Fradejas, Tella shows his worth to the team in just the first day running out infield base hits.



    Link Jarrett also singled out Tella's speed and pedigree:



    "One of our new players from California, Ryan Tella, he was the West Coast, California, Oregon and Washington Junior College Player of the Year. His pedigree coming in here, and we got him through the draft and were able to get him to campus, is very high. He gives us another option.



    Here's to hoping that spark and speed will ignite Auburn's offense this season.

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    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Position Battles: Catcher

    NOTE: This Post Originally Appeared on CollegeAndMagnolia.com


    Auburn is stacked at catcher. Two veterans (Caleb Bowen and Blake Austin), a stud freshman (J.D. Crowe) and a talented transfer (Kody Ortman). This year, Auburn's battery is a veritable swiss army knife with each player bringing a unique skill set to the team.


    Auburn does bring some (if limited) experience to the catcher position. It's going to be hard to replace Tony Caldwell, who started and impressive 50 games behind the plate. However, Blake Austin (5) and Caleb Bowen (3) at least have some experience behind the plate in the Orange and Blue.


    What Auburn Needs at Catcher:


    Athleticism, Reaction, and a solid arm. With the push towards aggressiveness on the base paths in the college games, a solid college catcher will need to limit the damage and hold runners accountable. It's not an offensive priority, but a catcher will need to live and die by their defense. They are the field general and the leader every inning.


    AUPPL's Pick:


    For now its Blake Austin and Austin will probably start the season as the favorite. In his limited duty he managed to hit for average (.300) and had a clean fielding percentage. Someone is seeing something in Austin and he's at least turning heads. His early Cape Cod league invite can attest to that. He had a decent summer for the Harrisonburg Turks (.263 avg in 38 games) but the best thing about Austin has to be his attitude and the learning he received under Tony Caldwell:



    "You come in as a freshman and you expect a guy like that to teach you the ins and outs," Austin said. "You want them to teach you how to catch in the SEC and in some of the midweeks and how to get your body ready and to keep yourself healthy."


    ...


    "You have a guy like Tony who was hitting as high as he was in the SEC and he's thrown out the most runners for a career in Auburn history," Austin said. "You can't complain about what you're doing sitting behind a guy like that watching him play. He taught me how to block, how to throw, how to be accurate when you throw. It was a great experience for me."



    He'll hopefully bring that knowledge and an improved game to the position. Depending on how his fielding and bat hold up during the season, Austin might not let the position go.


    The Dark Horse:


    J.D. Crowe. Crowe, the Freshman from Oak Mountain, comes highly regarded out of High School. An Under Armour All-American, J.D. brings something few catchers have: solid speed. There are very few catchers who went 35 for 36 in stolen base attempts in High School. Crowe had an incredible Fall for Auburn. Coming a HR shy of the cycle in one game in the lead-off position. A Catcher. In Lead-Off. If there's an easy way for Crowe to come in and crack the lineup it's with his bat and speed.


    The Wild Card:


    Kody Ortman. The brother of Auburn RHP Dillon Ortman, Kody brings a bit of power to the position and was singled out by Link Jarrett in an Inside the Auburn Tigers profile:



    "I think we're going to have some of the best catching in the country; they can all receive, they can all block, you know you've got a couple of them that have just got a phenomenal arm strength and quickness," Jarrett says.


    "Kody is a little more of an offensive type catcher, receiving, blocking outstanding and he's coming along with his throwing. You know we've got some physical guys. They're all strong. Blake and Kody are big, big guys. Bo (Bowen) is a very athletic, flexible type catcher who can really just catch and throw so our catching position is just deep.


    "With another freshman, J.D. Crowe, we've got four guys who can catch and I'll put that up against anybody we'll face in terms of that position as a whole," the coach adds.



    Depth. Much needed depth. Catcher at Auburn looks like its shaping up to be an all-year battle. That's definitely a plus for Auburn.

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    Baseball America Preview & SEC TV

    The first (of many) SEC previews is out and, as partly expected, Auburn doesn't register a blip. Baseball America has 9 teams making the NCAA Tournament: Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana State, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Kentucky.


    That means, according to Baseball America, only Auburn, Alabama, and Tennessee will be home come tournament time (but one of those will make Hoover)


    Wait. Back up. Kentucky? Why Kentucky? Basically it comes down an infield without question marks and optimism:



    Kentucky has plenty of reasons for optimism, from athletic 6-foot-4, 215-pound speedster OF Brian Adams (who doubles as a wide receiver on the football team, with eight career catches in two seasons); to LHPs Taylor Rogers and Jerad Grundy, both solid prospects, with Rogers coming off an all-star turn in the Cape Cod League; to a veteran infield led by Jr. 1B/C Luke Maile (.282/.361/.525, 9 HR) and Sr. 3B Thomas McCarthy (.371/.436/.581). In most leagues, that would get it done, but the Wildcats aren't in most leagues. Coach John Cohen-now at Mississippi State-won 44 games twice in three seasons from 2006-2008, but his successor, Gary Henderson, has yet to take Kentucky to Hoover for the SEC tournament, not to mention regional play. But the coaches believe this is the best team they have had since 2008, and that it will be a regionals team if its infield defense holds up.



    Those last lines are the more confusing. Kentucky hasn't been to Hoover, much less to the NCAAs since Henderson took over. He's had 3 seasons to get them there and talent let over from Cohen.


    I'm not entirely knocking Kentucky (well, maybe I am) but the Wildcats play an identical conference schedule to Auburn with the only minor differences being that Big Blue gets Alabama & Ole Miss at home and travels to Starkville & Tennessee (AU does the opposite) . The big difference is in the non-conference schedule.


    Auburn's non-con include Arizona, Purdue, South Alabama, Samford, and Missouri. Kentucky's has Wofford, Buffalo, and Illinois-Chicago. Boyd's World has Auburn's ISR at 10. Kentucky's at 48. They might win more games, but the overall RPI is going to be a big plus for Auburn.




    In other (slightly better news), the Auburn baseball team will appear on TV Seven times this season:



    • March 6th vs Alabama (7pm/CSS)

    • April 6th at Alabama (7pm/Fox Sports South)

    • April 7th at Alabama (3pm/CSS)

    • April 13th at Vandy (6pm/CSS)

    • April 21st vs Carolina (3pm/Fox Sports South)

    • May 4th at Georgia (6pm/Fox Sports South)

    • May 10th at Arkansas (6:30pm/ESPNU)


    This doesn't include any midweek games that may be picked up (AU/Troy was picked up by CSS last year) or any other late changes that may occur.

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    Tiger Taxonomy: Jarred Smith


    Quick Facts:


    • Class: Freshman
    • Hometown: Lake Wales, FL
    • Previously: Lake Wales HS
    • H/W: 6'/ 187
    • B/T: L/R
    • Position: IF (2B/SS/3B)
    • Twitter: None


    Smith, a true Freshman, has emerged as the favorite at Third Base; thanks in large part to an impressive Fall:



    Similarly, freshman IF Jarred Smith, also from Lake Whales, Florida, gave his contribution to the team mostly in small ball. Smith got the job done as far as moving players up, hitting a double here and there, and impressive base running techniques to allow runners to score. Though the box score might not show exemplary performance, the kid is smart in baseball.



    Smith comes to Auburn with his high school teammate and roommate Colton Davis (an Astros draft pick) and was originally committed to Florida Southern but decommitted soon after Davis chose the Tigers. I've seen scouting reports rave on both his offense and his natural baseball instincts, including a scouting report from the Head Man:



    "Jarred has played at the highest level of high school and travel baseball and has been extremely successful. Jarred is a talented infielder who will help us win games defensively and with his bat. His baseball player instincts are impressive and he has also excelled on the mound."



    That travel ball team (where he played with future Auburn signee Addison Russell) raved about his plate discipline.



    Jarred is a versatile player who can play all 3 INF spots and is mid to upper 80s on the mound. Jarred will have a shot to play early because of his advanced approach at the dish.



    Though many scouting reports project Smith as a 2B, Smith has the range and the instincts to play 3B. Smith's main plus is something he really doesn't have any control over: a LH swing. Jarred is one of only 6 Auburn batters who hit left handed (and will give Auburn added balance to the lineup). With Cullen Wacker, Ryan Tella, Bobby Andrews, and Jay Gonzalez (all LH Hitters) all competing for playing time, Auburn has the potential to deploy 5 southie batters and prevent holes in the lineup. Plus, he's pretty solid with that LH bat:



    There were a number of middle infielders who showed good actions and overall promise. Auburn-bound Jarred Smith (Lake Wales HS) is a lefhanded hitter with a very smooth swing. He's definitely an offensive-minded player, but one who should become a solid defender at second base.



    Here's video from Smith's Under Armour All American Tryouts (links not embeddable, sorry) where he was clocked at 93 mph arm strength and showed up off a big upper body swing. Thanks to impressive fall where he notched a SAC Fly, a bases loaded double, a pair of doubles (and almost 50% of the white offense), and a pair or RBIs, Jarred Smith showed his bat is one that deserves to be in the lineup.

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