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Baseball: Top prospects on KU schedule

ESPN baseball prospect blogger Keith Law published his list of the top 60 amateur baseball players for the upcoming season.  These lists are always interesting, especially for those who follow college baseball and like to catch players before they join the professional ranks.

No KU players made the list.  In fact, only two Big-12 players are listed.  KU has not released their 2008 schedule but there are several players listed who the Jayhawks might very well face next season:

  1. Tim Melville (RHP) - Holt High School in Wentzville, Mo.  Melville has made no commitment to a college yet, nor has he signed a professional contract.  There is some chance the Jayhawks might face him in 2008 or 2009 if he plays college ball.  Is there any chance he might come play at Hoglund?
  2. Aaron Crow (RHP) - University of Missouri.  MU will visit Hoglund this year.  Barring injury Kansas fans will have an opportunity to scout this pitcher.  MU seems to be producing quite a few good pitchers lately.
  3. Brian Forsyth (3B) - University of Arkansas.  I believe KU will have the Razorbacks on their schedule again this year.  Most likely the series will be in Fayetteville.
  4. Roger Kieschnick (OF) - Texas Tech.  TTU will visit Hoglund this year so this is another player we will be able to scout first hand.
  5. Connor Gillaspie (3B) and
  6. Aaron Shafer (RHP), both play at Wichita State.  The Jayhawks and the Shockers always play a home-and-home series.  Some years two games are played, some years four are on the schedule.  These games are mid-week games so the Jayhawks may not see Shafer on the mound, but we will see Gillaspie in the field.
I think the most important of these pre-season prospect lists is the top-100 NCAA players list put out by Baseball America in January.  For anyone who follows baseball closely catching games these young players at the NCAA level is well worth the effort. I still have good memories of a game back in 2005 when the Jayhawks ripped Joba Chamberlain while he was pitching for the Corn Huskers.  Chamberlain was chased in the fifth inning.  On that day he was at best the fourth best pitcher in the park.  Things change.

One other KU Baseball note.  Former Jayhawk Mike Zagurski was named the best pitcher in the Philadelphia minor league system for last year.  Zagurski actually spent much of the year with the big league club.  While in the minors he complied an ERA of 1.32.  His season was cut short by injury but clearly Zagurski is in the mix to make the Phillies opening day roster this spring.