The MINK League has attracted quality Big 12 talent in recent years, including Texas outfielder Jordan Danks and Nebraska righthander Charlie Shirek. Now it looks like the league is making a move to become the pre-eminent collegiate summer league in the Midwest.
The MINK announced it will expand from six teams to 10 for the 2009 season. The four new teams are the Sedalia (Mo.) Sluggers, the Joplin (Mo.) Outlaws, the Nevada (Mo.) Griffons, and the St. Joseph (Mo.) Mustangs. The Joplin and Nevada franchises left the Jayhawk League to join the MINK, citing travel costs. The St. Joseph franchise originally applied for membership in the Jayhawk, but withdrew that application and joined the MINK instead upon learning that Nevada and Joplin were taking that route. The 10 teams in the MINK will be split up into two divisions, helping to alleviate travel costs. There will be 34 league games followed by a playoff between the North and South divisions.
Meanwhile, the Jayhawk League will likely be left with a maximum of five teams next year, and the Texas Collegiate League already dropped to four teams last year. Expect to see plenty more talented players in the Midwest wind up in the MINK League.
Florida’s weekend rotation took a hit last week when it was announced that sophomore righthander Tommy Toledo would have arthroscopic shoulder surgery and miss all of the 2009 season. Toledo made 11 starts as a freshman this spring, going 4-4, 4.40 in 59 innings. An unsigned third-round pick of the Padres in the 2007 draft, Toledo would have competed for Florida’s Friday starter job.
Clearly Toledo’s loss is a blow to the Gators, but they’ve got enough pitching depth to cover it. Junior righty Billy Bullock and seniors Stephen Locke and Patrick Keating all made double-digit starts a year ago, and freshman lefthander Nick Maronde will be a star, perhaps even right away. Freshman righty Anthony Desclafani also could be capable of starting on weekends in the spring.
When the NCAA approved sweeping reforms last year aimed at improving the academic performance of Division I baseball players, critics claimed the changes were unnecessary because the sport was already making academic progress. On Tuesday, that point was driven home when the NCAA released Graduation Success Rates for the class that entered school in 2001.
Baseball’s GSR has climbed to 72.4 percent, up from 67.3 percent for the class that entered school in 2000. It’s a drastic improvement from five years earlier, when baseball’s GSR sagged to 63.9 percent. And baseball’s recent reforms are not reflected in the latest data. [...] Continue Reading »
We’ve got an interesting note from September to pass along. Oregon State second baseman Garrett Nash has left the Beavers to go on a two-year Morman mission. This is a big loss for OSU, which would have relied upon Nash to be the igniter in its offense. Nash, the No. 3 prospect in the state of Utah coming out of high school in 2007, was a key member of Oregon State’s third-ranked recruiting class last year. It was considered a boon for the Beavers when Nash elected to attend school rather than sign as a fourth-round pick of the Rangers.
With Nash’s departure, Canadian freshman Carter Bell has a chance to step right into Oregon State’s starting second base job. Here is John Manuel’s scouting report on Bell heading into the 2008 draft:
Carter Bell committed to Oregon State and has a chance to step right into the Beavers’ lineup next year. A shortstop in high school, he has the body control and athletic ability to play the position in college. His 7.0-second speed in the 60 and below-average range likely make a move to third a necessity for pro ball, and his bat is light for the draft at a corner spot. He has a nice compact swing, however, and a decent feel for hitting.
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