Ann Arbor, Mich. — — After an appearance in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, a successful draft, and active summer ball, the University of Michigan baseball team is back and starting practice in preparation for the 2018 season with 15 new players.
The 2017 MLB draft, in which 11 Michigan players were selected in the biggest draft class of the year and in Wolverine history, left the program with gaps on the field, in the lineup and on the mound. With five starting position players and six pitchers selected in the draft, the incoming 2018 class will likely make an immediate impact on the field. This incoming group of 15 is ranked No. 10 in the nation by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, which marks the highest ranking a Big Ten class has ever earned. With eight of Perfect Game’s Top 400 Incoming Freshman, this crew promises to bring a lot of excitement to Ray Fisher Stadium.
The well-rounded group of 13 freshmen and two junior transfers includes five new pitchers, four outfielders, five infielders and a catcher. The Wolverines return 21 players, including one redshirt freshman, eight sophomores, seven juniors and five seniors.
Coach Erik Bakich, who is entering his sixth season with the Wolverines, has the program moving in a positive direction and his experience recruiting quality players is evident by the team’s recent success, as well as this incoming class. In the 2017 season, Bakich guided the team to its first 40-win season since 2008 and saw a program-record eight players named to All-Big Ten teams. After missing the NCAA Tournament in 2016, the 2017 team made its 23rd NCAA appearance, receiving its first at-large berth since 2008.
The complete list of newcomers:
Blake Beers | Fr. | RHP | California
Jack Blomgren | Fr. | IF | Wisconsin
Jeff Criswell | Fr. | RHP | Michigan
Joe Donovan | Fr. | C | Illinois
Ben Dragani | Fr. | LHP | Wisconsin
Jesse Franklin | Fr. | OF | Washington
Jordan George-Nwogu | Fr. | OF | Michigan
Blake Nelson | Jr. | IF | Washington
Isaiah Paige | Fr. | RHP | California
Logan Pollack | Fr. | IF | California
Zack Semler | Fr. | IF | New York
Matthew Schmidt | Jr. | IF | Colorado
Angelo Smith | Fr. | LHP | Illinois
Cameron Tomaiko | Fr. | OF | New York
Danny Zimmerman | Fr. | OF | California