The good news keeps pouring into the Cal baseball program. Not only did the team pick up a commitment from a key 2011 recruit, but they also received encouraging news from several juniors. Plus, another member of the team’s ranks joined professional baseball.
First of all, we’ll talk about Chris Paul. The New Orleans point guard…oh wait, never mind. This Paul is a 6-2, 180 product from Laguna Beach high school who can play the middle infield and pitch. Paul wanted to attend Cal before the program was cut, so he instead signed his letter of intent to UC Santa Barbara. After their coach was fired, and Cal baseball was reinstated, Paul made the decision to head back to his dream school. Certainly a good story.
Paul is not likely to pitch, topping at 86 with his fastball, but his position playing career is bright. Defensively, he’s got good arm strength and good hands. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up playing the outfield because the middle infield is pretty full with Derek Campbell and Tony Renda. He’s a line drive hitter who hits plenty of doubles, with some pop to do more damage. He hit .495 as a senior, with 6 home runs. Paul has the potential to crack the line-up early with his bat, even if the Cal current line-up is stacked.
In more good recruiting news, Michael Jordan will be eligible right away. Apparently, he was given a release from his letter of intent to Pepperdine. He could slot into a starting role right away in the Bears rotation.
We’ll have some more good news later, but for now let’s congratulate Erik Johnson, who signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox. As a second round pick, the odds of him returning were low and I never really considered it a possibility that he could return. We wish Erik the best in the pros and thank him for his great junior campaign.
In more bad news, Louie Lechich, one of Cal’s many lefty arms and an outfielder, is likely transferring to San Diego. Ryan Gorcey’s sources say it’s all but a done deal. I projected him as the Tuesday starter next year and getting spot starts in the outfield next year, but I’m guessing that this decision had little to do with playing time. It’s a shame that Cal loses a talented ballplayer, as the team does take a hit. Louie made the decision he thought was best for him, and we wish him well in San Diego.
In much more encouraging news, it appears that catcher Chadd Krist and closer Matt Flemer may be returning to the team (this according to the twitter of Ryan Gorcey). It’s impossible to underestimate how huge their returns would be; with Krist back, Cal’s offense returns everybody but Austin Booker and Marcus Semien. That is incredible for a college baseball team to return that much. As for Flemer, it’s also big news. The impact of a lockdown closer is huge, and now Cal will (potentially) benefit from having Flemer around to do that job one more year. Of course, their return is not final, but this is very big news.
Overall, the Cal baseball keeps getting good news. While Lechich and Johnson will be missed, at least one of their departures was expected. Getting Paul and Jordan, plus the return (?) of Krist and Flemer, is more than enough to keep this Bear baseball fan happy. Hopefully the good news keeps flowing in. Go Bears!