The Wolverine

August 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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AUGUST 2020 THE WOLVERINE 55 BY AUSTIN FOX F our Wolverine baseball players, all juniors, heard their names called on day two of the MLB Draft June 11, signifying the first time since 1968 that Michigan saw at least four of its prospects selected within the event's first five rounds. Shortstop Jack Blomgren, pitcher Jeff Criswell, and outfielders Jesse Franklin and Jordan Nwogu were this year 's selectees. U-M has now had at least one player chosen in each of the last eight MLB Drafts under head coach Erik Bakich. Criswell was the highest Wolverine taken of the bunch, with the Oakland Athletics grabbing him in the sec- ond round with the 58th overall pick. He was also the highest Michigan player to come off the board since catcher David Parrish went No. 28 overall to the New York Yankees in 2000. Nwogu, meanwhile, went in the third round (88th overall) to the Chicago Cubs, while Franklin was picked just nine spots later by the Atlanta Braves. Blomgren rounded out the group when he heard his name called in the fifth round (140th overall) by the Colorado Rockies. The infielder con- cluded his Michigan tenure with 137 starts at shortstop in a possible 141 games, finishing with a .276 batting average, a .399 on-base percentage and 71 RBI. Criswell wrapped up his U-M ca- reer with a 2.88 ERA, a 10-4 record and three saves in 50 appearances and 162⅓ innings pitched. Franklin departed Ann Arbor with a career batting average of .287, 23 home runs and 102 RBI in 115 games (109 starts). Nwogu ended his collegiate tenure with an impressive .334 batting aver- age, a .430 on-base percentage and 20 home runs while primarily serving as the Wolverines' leadoff man. ZACH PUTNAM IS RELEASED BY CHICAGO WHITE SOX The 33-year-old right-handed re- lief pitcher was released on June 26 by the Chicago White Sox, the same organization he thrived with from 2014-17. The Rochester, Mich., native missed the entire 2018 campaign while recovering from Tommy John surgery and had been fighting to make it back to the majors ever since. He spent the 2019 season on the in- jured list of the Boston Red Sox's Triple-A minor league affiliate, and signed with Chicago this past March. Putnam's two best seasons with the White Sox came in 2014 and 2016, when he posted a 1.98 ERA in 54⅔ in- nings in the former and a 2.30 ERA in 27⅓ innings in the latter. RYAN LAMARRE OPTS OUT OF CONTRACT WITH TAMPA BAY RAYS Outfielder Ryan LaMarre opted out of his minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays July 18, despite being included on the club's 60-man roster June 30. He had spent the majority of summer camp with the organization. The 31-year-old signed a mi- nor league deal with Tampa Bay Jan. 13, after having spent the 2019 campaign in the Minnesota Twins' organization. LaMarre has been with five differ- ent teams throughout his five-year MLB career, and has compiled a .236 batting average, four home runs and 21 RBI in 119 games. TREY BURKE INKS DEAL WITH DALLAS MAVERICKS The Dallas Mavericks signed vet- eran guard Trey Burke July 1, mark- ing the 27-year-old's second stint with the team (he appeared in 25 games with them last season). Burke's initial tenure with the Mavericks was somewhat successful, with the former Wolverine averaging 9.7 points and 2.6 assists in 17.4 min- utes per game throughout the second half of the 2018-19 campaign. Burke arrived at the NBA's Or- lando bubble July 22 and immedi- ately entered a quarantine period. He will have to submit two negative coronavirus tests before he can begin MICHIGAN IN THE PROS Four Wolverines Are Selected In The 2020 MLB Draft For the first time since 1968, the Wolverines had four prospects selected in the first five rounds of the MLB Draft. Among them was junior outfielder Jordan Nwogu, who was taken in the third round (88th overall) by the Chicago Cubs. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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