Sunday, November 20, 2005

Boston GM search continues: Mike Hill '93 mentioned

Peter Woodfork and the rest of the internal candidates for the Red Sox job haven't been mentioned much lately, but there is this new potentially interesting wrinkle from Saturday's Globe:

Michael Hill, the Florida Marlins' assistant GM the last three seasons, also is expected to be interviewed in the coming days. Hill, named to Black Enterprise magazine's 2003 Hot List of African-American executives under age 40, is a celebrated 1993 graduate of Harvard, where as a senior he was elected class marshal, led the football team in rushing, and captained the baseball team.

Hill, in an e-mail last night, said he had not yet been contacted by the Red Sox.
Flashback: Hill's Triple Threat: Run, Hit and Lead:
Hill's dignified leadership draws praise from his coach and teammates as well as votes from his classmates-Hill is also a Senior Class Marshal.

"Mike is as fine a captain as we'll ever have," Harvard Coach Leigh Hogan says. "He's an outstanding player and an outstanding person."

Fellow outfielder senior Juan Zarate agrees:

"He is a quintessential leader. On the field he does his job extremely well. Off the field, he's a person you can approach with any kind of problem. He just does things right and makes people feel good about being on the team."

Hill's low-key leadership manifests itself in the values he impresses on his team; teamwork, unity and shared sacrifice.

"This is my last year playing, and I really want the team to do well," Hill says. "This year we don't have the same personnel we had in the past, and we just have to bring everything we have together and focus on winning. We're trying to promote team unity. If we don't get contributions from all nine players, we won't have an Ivy League title."

"Mike is talented, classy, and a very hard worker," junior first baseman Dave Morgan says. "He's real interested in making us a team and is doing a good job so far as Captain."

Harvard is at a cross-roads-lacking the bats of Jim Mrowka '92, Dan Scanlan '92 and Nick DelVecchio '92 as well as the strong arms of Tom Hurley '92 and Scan Johnston '92-the team must find a new persona, a new way to manufacture runs and win games.

Hill is the team's triple threat; he can run, field, and hit. The second leading rusher on the football team this year (averaging 4.2 yards per carry), Hill has stolen 28 bases in three seasons for the Crimson. A good glove in right field, the stalwart holds a remarkable .963 fielding percentage over the last two years-and he was errorless in league play last year.

Flashback: The Harvard Independent, 2004
I: Fair assessment. Now a few things about your Harvard background. Did you ever feel as though there was a stigma in baseball attached to being an Ivy Leaguer?

MH: I've never really thought about that. I know what kind of person I am, I know my abilities. The fact that I went to Harvard, I would hope that nobody would ever stereotype me or label me as anything. My experiences are different from other Ivy Leaguers within baseball. There are Ivy Leaguers who are GM's, who never played the game beyond high school or junior high. I'm proud of the fact that I played in the minor leagues, I rode on the buses, and from that standpoint, I feel like I have a perspective in dealing with players that some other people may not have.
Bonus Flashback: The Crimson, 5/2005:
Hill, meanwhile, worked his way into baseball operations after playing for three years in the minor leagues. He now stands just a step away from joining DePodesta as Harvard alums as general managers.

“The toughest part is getting the opportunity,” says Hill of his experiences in baseball. “Then you have to make the most of it.”

Monday, November 07, 2005

Since You Been Gone...

Joe Walsh wouldn't have minded just one more season out of Mike Morgalis and Frank Herrmann. Image hosted by
Figured it was time we posted something on the current team for a change, even in the absence of real Hot Stove activity in Harvard baseball. We know who's gone. Last year's league weekend rotation consisted of righties Mike Morgalis, Frank Herrmann and Shawn Haviland, with a combination of Matt Brunnig, Jay Brown, Brad Unger and, really, whomever they could get innings out of, in the fourth spot.

Now, Morgalis has graduated, Herrmann has somewhat unexpectedly signed with the Cleveland Indians and Haviland finds himself the team's de facto ace.

In an unusual press release last month, Joe Walsh made it clear that he would likely depend on this year's freshman to fill at least one of those weekend spots:

Walsh, whose team began fall practice on September 23, is expecting big things out of a trio of freshmen pitchers in Adam Cole (Sudbury, Mass.), Ryan Watson (Ambler, Pa.), and Hampton Foushee (Winston-Salem, N.C.). Cole, a righty, led Lincoln-Sudbury HS to the Division II state title as a senior. "We are looking for Adam to step in right away," conceded Walsh. "He is a hard-throwing kid who has a chance to be in our weekend rotation with some hard work."

Cole, a two-time Dual County League MVP looks to be joined in the spring weekend rotation (Ivy League play) by Watson, a two-time first team selection of the Suburban One American Conference, at Upper Dublin HS. "We are hoping that Watson will give us something Harvard has not seen in a long time, that being a strong left-handed starter."
That Walsh would put such pressure on his freshmen so early in the year suggests that, at the very least, he is still entirely insecure with Matt Brunnig taking the mound in one of the weekend spots. (Brunnig's career in Crimson has been staccato bursts of brilliance and ambidextrous promise interspersed with injuries and other enigmatic developments.) It also suggests the very real possibility that Brad Unger, the other intriguing 6'7 hurler, is still very much a project. (Unger will soon begin his second Harvard hoops campaign as well.)

So what of the new guys? Here are some online scraps on Cole and Watson:


Boston Globe:
A senior, Cole returns to the All-Scholastic team after an 8-1, 1.10, ERA, 98-strikeout campaign for the Warriors. He has led the team to back-to-back North sectional championships. For his career, he posted a 23-2 record with an ERA under a buck. He is a three-time Dual County League All-Star and two-time league MVP. In the classroom, Cole was an L-S Scholar in all four of his years at L-S, gaining admittance to Harvard University. Cole will continue his baseball career this summer as a member of the Summer Legion Post 191.
Here, Cole throws 141 pitches in 10 innings and hits 87 on the gun in winning the state championship. And here is evidence that he is probably not on the juice. Which is, you know, good to know:
Glenn Cole's son, Adam, led Lincoln-Sudbury to the Div. 2 baseball state championship. The pitcher is headed to Harvard in the fall. Cole believes communication and education are two of the keys in helping keep their kids away from steroid use. Like many of the other parents, he also is keen to the warning signs.
``I try to be as aware and talk to him as much as I can. A lot of times, we talk about it,'' Cole said. ``Hopefully, they stay on the straight and narrow. But a lot of times, you never know. You cross your fingers.''
Also, if you happen to subscribe to the Milford Daily News, let us know what this is all about.


...has a less colorful baseball paper trail. Some resume items prior to his senior year here:
Ryan Watson - LHP/1B/ - 2005
HT: 6'2" - WT: 185 - GPA: 4.6 - PSAT: 1130 - SAT: 1350
B: L - T: L
HS stats: Bat Avg. .330 - RBI 15 - HR 2 - SB 1 - 60 Time 8.00 - Pitching W-2 L-2 - ERA 2.50
Career Highlights
1. Ft Washington Generals
2. Legion 10 Baseball
3. Pre-Season All-American Candidate with Baseball Factory
4. All American Baseball Training
5. Baseball at It's Best Program with Pitching Coach Rob Keu, Joe Cziepietro
4. High School Team Won Division for first time in thirteen years
5. 8-1 with a 1.33 ERA – 69 strikeouts in 63 innings
6. Selected first team Suburban one pitcher and second team 1st baseman where posted a .391 batting average
7. Selected to All-Area Team as a pitcher
8. Carpenter Cup participant All Star Tournament Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware areas
9. Legion season 7-1 with a 1.70 ERA
And some stuff from an archived version of Upper Dublin's decent-looking website.

Could we see a Haviland-Cole-Watson front three against Ivy opponents? It would've been some time since two freshman pitchers made the weekend rotation.

Here are some other notable recent seasons from freshman weekend starters:

Shawn Haviland, 2005: 7-1, 3.10 (9 starts, 14 appearances).
Matt Brunnig, 2003: 4-3, 3.55 (6 starts, 9 appearances).
Kenon Ronz, 2000: [can't find the numbers online, but I seem to recall an ERA below 4.00, his best season aside from his senior season]
Ben Crockett, 1999: 5-1, 4.88 (4-0, 3.69 in league starts, League Co-ROY)
John Birtwell, 1998: Scoreless through his first 20 innings, missed the next month with a virus, won NCAA Regional Play-In Game.

Reasons for optimism.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

For the Harvard baseball fan in your life who has everything...

...why not consider the recently released How They Got into Harvard : 50 Successful Applicants Share 8 Key Strategies for Getting into the College of Your Choice for the holidays? In this paperback gold mine, several Harvard students share their experiences getting into Harvard, including former Crimson second baseman Zak Farkes. Farkes, who appears as evidence of "Strategy 1: Flaunt Your Talent and Get Recruited," talks about being recruited by Harvard in an article that includes his SAT/GPA splits and high school extracurricular breakdown. It's fun for the whole family, folks.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Make Way for Jeff Bridich!

As someone pointed out in our Comments section, Jeff Bridich '00 has been promoted within the Rockies organization. Congratulations to the new Director of Baseball Operations.

Athlete of the Week, 1999.

Harvard Rumors Swirl in Epstein's Wake

After losing the Texas Assistant GM derby, former Crimson third baseman Peter Woodfork has already been mentioned for the newly vacant Boston GM spot. By no means a favorite at this point, he's still getting a lot of mention. mentions both Woodfork and recently available Paul DePodesta '95:
Paul DePodesta: Abruptly and somewhat surprisingly, the Dodgers relieved the young general manager of his duties Oct. 29, with three years remaining on his five-year contract. DePodesta, who made a name for himself as Billy Beane's assistant in Oakland for six years, is a big believer in numbers and has a Harvard education.
Critics in Los Angeles say that his weakness was interacting with the players. The Dodgers did go to the postseason in his first season. However, year two (71-91) wasn't nearly as successful, ultimately leading to his departure.
Red Sox owner John W. Henry and Lucchino both adhere to sabermetric philosophies, possibly making DePodesta an appealing candidate. However, if DePodesta landed in Boston, he would likely have to make a bigger commitment to his PR skills, something Red Sox ownership also places a priority on.

Peter Woodfork: Another longshot because of his youth, the 29-year-old Woodford is the director of baseball operations and assistant director of player development for the Red Sox. He recently interviewed to be the assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers, but lost out on that position. A graduate of Harvard University, Woodfork came to the Red Sox in 2003 after working in the labor relations department for Major League Baseball and assists with the arbitration process and contract negotiations.
In the NY Times:
Epstein surrounded himself with a young, educated front office, and it is expected Lucchino will look at Peter Woodfork, the director for baseball operations; Jed Hoyer, the assistant to the general manager; and Ben Cherington, the director for player development.
The Globe, meanwhile, mentions another recent Harvard alum, Dave Forst:
Beane has an Epstein-like assistant in David Forst, the former Harvard baseball captain. Forst is on the fast track to becoming a general manager, but he recently turned down an offer to become GM of the Diamondbacks, a job that went to Byrnes, and appears in no hurry to end his apprenticeship with Beane. There is a good likelihood, in fact, that Forst winds up as Athletics GM in another year or so if Beane moves upstairs.
The favorite at this point is probably the Padres' Kevin Towers, but this situation bears watching.