Friday, February 22, 2008

Opening Day!

Today is opening day for College Baseball.  The Hoosiers have been taking good steps the past few years under Tracy Smith to become a competitive team, and eventually nab an appearance in the College World Series.  It is great that Indiana has decided to broadcast ALL of their games for free online (audio online), check out the page here.

Last year before the season I picked Evan Crawford as a Freshmen to watch, and he ended up shining in his first year of college ball.  With a solid Sophomore season he could begin to put himself on the map as prospect for the majors.   So without further ado, this years pick to watch:

Kyle Leindecker (LHP).  So this is an easy one.  As opposed to last season where we didn't have any truly projectable players coming in, Kyle Leindecker has all the makings of a pitcher who will make an impact his freshmen year.  Drafted by the Indians in the 25th round, he opted to go to school in his home state instead, and hope to boost his draft status over the next few years.  

So let's go Hoosiers!  

First up, LSU...
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kyle Taber - A Hero Obscured By Tragedy or Come On Folks, Kyle Taber Is Playing Pretty Well

An unfortunate consequence of Kelvin Sampson's recruiting violations is the fact that Kyle Taber, all 6'7", 228lbs of him is getting lost in the mayhem.

It's not that he is a superstar possessing NBA potential, it's that this largely forgotten player sidelined by injuries his freshmen year has come on over the past few weeks to play an important role on this team. I went about gathering stats on his performance but have opted not to include them, as honestly, they don't do him justice, as they are fairly paltry due to his limited playing time (although I did tinker with extrapolating his stats/playing time for the equivalent playing time of White/Gordon/Ellis and he came out 3rd on the team in rebounds!).

Normally I am NOT one to speak a lot about intangibles, I like looking at statistics to evaluate players, but from watching Taber the last few games it's clear he is making his time on the floor count. It's not that he is scoring tons of points, getting every rebound, or blocking every shot, it is simply that he is there on every play, thus when he gets an opportunity he does follow through and make the play. I remember vividly yelling "Taberrrrrrrr!" out of excitement several times during the Purdue game when he made a great follow-through lay up and a jumper, not to mention some good board coverage.

In what may be the best part of the story though is that if you listen, you can hear chants of "Ky-le Ta-ber" coming from the crowd on occasion. IU fans have always loved to support the guy who comes from no where, or is a native son who worked his way up through the ranks. The last guy who got this treatment was Errek Suhr, the most recent to get it, and lose it due to the fickleness of the fans was Sean Kline. Let's hope Taber continues to play well, and IU fans keep supporting the former walk on from Evansville.
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