The Lincoln trip was a moderate success. Good points include excellent (if windy) weather, an enthusiastic crowd at Haymarket Park, a great baseball environment, and a well-played (if exhausting) Friday night game.
The main downside was the gigantic crowd. Lincoln has "berm" seating, which means that all general admission tickets are for grass surfaces on the foul lines and in the outfield. This is nice for families, but lousy for scouting. There were no box seat tickets available, I was unable to acquire a media pass, and with the huge standing-room-only crowd, it was hard to see. I'm short, and there are apparently an awful lot of tall people in Nebraska. I got some pictures and some scouting impressions, but if you watched these games on TV, you saw them better than I did. Still, it was a fun way to begin the scouting season.
Nebraska won the Friday night game, 4-3. Texas won the Saturday match 11-4.
Here are some photos and some impressions. I will send more detailed scouting reports to my subscription newsletter subscribers later this afternoon.
The guy everyone wants to know about is Nebraska third baseman Alex Gordon. He's big and strong, hits the hell out of the ball, and controls the strike zone. He also looks like a pretty sharp defender at third base. . .I'd definitely endorse him as the top college prospect in the draft this year.
Also drawing draft notice is Texas catcher Taylor Teagarden. I like his defense; I'm not sure how much power he will hit for, although he does control the strike zone well.
Nebraska's starter Friday was a strong-legged righthander named Joba "Jabba the Heat" Chamberlain. He's a sophomore, and I like him as a draft pick for next year.
Another '06 draftee is Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs. His best tool is speed, and he's also a fine defensive outfielder. He needs better strike zone judgment though.
The best name besides "Joba" belongs to Nebraska outfielder Brandon Fusilier. He's got some pop and should get drafted this year, although he is not in the same class with Gordon as a prospect.
Nebraska starting pitcher Zack Kroenke was hit pretty hard Saturday, but he's another draft prospect and a classic college lefty with some polish.
I also liked Texas starter Adrian Alaniz, who shut the Huskers down effectively on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams are fundamentally sound and well-coached. Texas plays with a confidence that crosses the border into outright arrogance at times. They need to watch that or the hubris will bite them. Nebraska's coach Mike Anderson seems to like one-run strategies...bunting, hit and run, stealing, etc.