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Alumni Week

Publication Date: April 23, 2002

Who's Churning Them Out?

I'm a big believer in the strength of the college game in its own right; I love professional baseball as well, but I believe there are factors that make the college game uniquely wonderful. Every now and then, though, it's nice to see how guys you used to watch play on campus are doing on down the road. Not everyone uses college as an entry to the pros, or even intends to, but most college players would jump at the chance to play pro baseball, the same as the rest of the population would. This week, I want to look at what schools have cranked out the best crop of current pros. Some of you may have already seen this in another forum, but it's a subject I've been wanting to hit for a few weeks, so you guys can skip on down to the pitch counts.

Last year, I did all-star teams of former collegians and straight-to-minors guys for comparison: . USC was the only team to get three guys on the college team, although one of those was Bret Boone, and the alien seems to have lost interest in possessing him this year. That leaves them Johnson and Zito until Prior starts making All-Star teams. At the "guys I wouldn't cut my first day as GM" level, they also have Jeff Cirillo, Morgan Ensberg, and Geoff Jenkins.

Arizona State was the only other school to put two on that team with Barry Bonds, who's been worth about as much as anyone else can claim all by himself for the last year-and-a-month, and Paul Lo Duca, who was great last year and has been serviceable so far this year. That's about all they've got that's worth anything, though, unless you're particularly smitten with Fernando Vina.

Cal State Fullerton has a reasonable set of talent out there: Nevin's the only real All-Star, but Kotsay, Brandon Duckworth, and Jeremy Giambi are all worth having and could still be better than that, and Mike Lamb will be a pretty good catcher in three years if he gets the playing time he needs.

Arizona has a decent set of names, but they're all really old -- Scott Erickson, Trevor Hoffman, Kenny Lofton, and J. T. Snow. Auburn has Tim Hudson and Frank Thomas and nothing else. Florida doesn't rank on this list just yet, but between Eckstein, Fogg, and Wilkerson, they may be first in about five years.

Florida State, who I would have expected to do better, has J. D. Drew and a whole bunch of adequacy -- Luis Alicea, Doug Mientkiewicz, Jeff Tam, and Paul Wilson.

They're not deep, but I think the best top three may actually belong to Georgia Tech with Garciaparra, Varitek, and Kevin Brown.

Surprisingly, LSU's their current crop is somewhat lackluster since Belle retired -- Todd Walker and Kurt Ainsworth are probably the best of the bunch. Similarly, Miami really doesn't have any current All-Stars -- Burrell and Charles Johnson are probably the best of the bunch.

Proving something, although I'm not sure what, Seton Hall is quite competitive here, with Biggio, Matt Morris, Mo Vaughn, and John Valentin on their list.

Stanford, on the other hand, ends up fairly mediocre here, with Mike Mussina being the only real standout. He's joined by Jeffrey Hammonds and Rick Helling in the worth mentioning column, I suppose.

Texas has Clemens, Swindell, and Shane Reynolds, none of whom you'd be embarassed to have on your roster, and one of whom is one of the five best pitchers of all time (note tangential long argument bait).

UCLA, lest we forget them entirely, has Glaus at the All-Star level and Conine, Karros, and Zeile at the most-people-have-heard-of-them level.

Who's best is going to depend on what game you're playing (career value, future value, total amount of value added, ...), but for a top five I'd take USC, CSUF, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, and Arizona State.

As a side note, if you're in the Lubbock area, I'm scheduled to do an interview on KKAM on Friday, April 26 at 11:30.

Pitch Count Watch

Rather than keep returning to the subject of pitch counts and pitcher usage in general too often for my main theme, I'm just going to run a standard feature down here where I point out potential problems; feel free to stop reading above this if the subject doesn't interest you. This will just be a quick listing of questionable starts that have caught my eye or, on the other hand, starts where pitchers were pulled according to plan early despite pitching extremely well in close games.

Date Team Pitcher Opponent IP H R ER BB SO AB BF Pitches
Apr 19 Nebraska Aaron Marsden Oklahoma State 8.0 9 2 2 5 6 30 38 150

Just one this week, because I wanted to highlight the following quote from Coach van Horn:

He's a horse, he's in incredible shape. He could run on our cross country team. That many pitches is not that much for him.... We figured 140 pitches going in if he gave us a chance and he did.

Some days my faith that these are good men who just need to be more aware is sorely tested.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Alumni Week About the author, Boyd Nation