Baseball Notes: Former Jayhawks in the Pros and Big-12 Round-Up

KU Athletics has an updated version of "Jayhawks in the Pros" posted.  The story covers 14 former KU players now in professional baseball.  Les Walrond (PHI) and Tom Gorzelanny (PIT) are both up with their big league clubs while Travis Metcalf (TEX) probably rejoin the Rangers soon.  Metcalf impressed with solid defense and good power during his August call up.  He hit four homeruns in 35 at-bats and now has a season batting line of .214/.250/.530.

Some off season baseball news from across the Big-12:  The OU clubhouse continues to be an interesting place.  The Sooners lost Teddy Nowell, a highly regarded pitching prospect, after four days on campus

Dan Spencer officially took over the head coaching job at Texas Tech from future Hall-of-Famer Larry Hays in June.  In an interview with Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com Spencer attributes much of TTU's sucess in the 1990's to their abilty to recruit good JUCO players out of California, something that Ritch Price has done very well during his five years at Kansas.  Much of the current OSU coaching staff also came up as assistants at Tech.  Not surprisingly Spencer's rebuilding plan involves recruiting elite high school talent both in-state and across the nation.  I guess that is the plan for about 100% of all college baseball teams.  So how will Spencer get the job done at Texas Tech?  "We need to sell that Lubbock sunshine," in the Pacific Northwest.  Well, good luck with that.  I don't know how often Lubbock sunshine will trump the two shiny new national championship trophies in Oregon State's baseball office.

Staying with Kendall Rogers, he sees Texas and Texas A&M as the pre-season favorites to win the Big-12 in 2009.  Back in July Roger's graded the Big-12 team's 2008 seasons.  He gave A&M, OSU and NU "A's", MU and UT "B's", KSU and OU received "C's", Baylor got a "D" and, sadly, Tech and Kansas' seasons were both considered failures.  Given his criteria for an "F" ("a season to forget") I cannot disagree strongly.  The team's 30-27 overall record does not overcome their 9th place finish in the conference.  Before the season I had hopes for a fifth or sixth place finish.

The Andy Oliver drama continues in Stillwater.  Oliver is the ace starting pitcher who was declared ineligible during the NCAA tournament.  Oliver is still with the Cowboys and preparing to pitch next season.  Lawsuits, accusations, jilted agents, Jerry Tarkanian, unsigned memos and $133,000 bills.  Oh my.  The NCAA way of handling college baseball players and agents is non-functional.

As I am sure most of you already know Missouri ace Aaron Crow did not sign a professional contract before the deadline.  Even though Crow will not be pitching for the Washington Nationals next year Hawk fans do not have to worry about facing him in Big-12 action.  Crow did sign a professional contract with an independent team and thus will not be eligable for NCAA play.

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