Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Baseball

Schlossnagle provides fall update ahead of Friday's ballgame with HCU

October 5, 2023

Texas A&M baseball will open the gates to Blue Bell Park on Friday night for a fall scrimmage with the Houston Christian Huskies. Ahead of the ballgame, head coach Jim Schlossnagle joined TexAgs Radio to provide an update on his club as the fall rolls along.

Key notes from Jim Schlossnagle interview

  • We're really excited to get on the field, see somebody else and have the fans in the stands. We played a fall game my first year here and had like 4,000 or 5,000 people in the ballpark. It's free and open to the public. It should be a lot of fun. I'm excited to see the new guys who haven't played under the lights and in front of a crowd. I'm excited to see them compete and how they handle it.
  • I don't think there is a better assistant coach than Nolan Cain. He has long been known for his recruiting success. He's a really good coach. Having played at LSU, he didn't play for Skip Bertman, but he's still part of that tree. We want to keep him here as long as we can, and he's the associate head coach for a reason. He knows how to run a program and has a great feel for it. I don't know how I would have handled the first four weeks after the regional without him with recruiting, the portal, the coaching changes and the MLB Draft. There were so many moving parts. Cain is an elite coach with a great feel for the game. When we had those press conferences, one of our associate athletic directors texted me and told me that Cain looked and sounded like a head coach. He is a future head coach, but we don't want him to go somewhere unless it's a super great place.
  • Watching the pure talent of these freshmen is something. Talent to me is the five tools, and when you watch how they take those tools into a ballgame or how they handle the challenges I put in front of them, it's impressive. How does Gavin Grahovac handle facing this tough lefty? How does Jack Bell handle not playing shortstop? He's inquisitive and asks questions. Caden Sorrell played centerfield in high school, but he might not do that immediately in college. I'm very confident in who they are as people, and they're already talented.
  • Braden Montgomery has been way more than I expected. I didn't know him. I didn't want a transactional relationship with a player. I want this to be a transformational thing, and I wanted him to dive into being an Aggie. Every guy that was on our team last year that is now in pro ball, they miss this and college baseball. Montgomery has dove into his teammates. He's in Max Weiner's office every day, and we've given him every chance to develop as a pitcher. He's going to get all the swings he needs, and he'll run the bases enough to learn the system. He's going to pitch, and we'll get through fall to see where he's at. He's the ultimate team guy, and Aggies should be excited about that.
  • We're trying to keep Ryan Targac bouncing between second and first base. He has made some awesome swing adjustments. Max Kaufer has caught well and put together good at-bats too. He's infinitely stronger and more confident. Kaeden Kent is bigger and stronger. His arm has gotten better. He has outstanding tools, but he's a true gritty baseball player. He can play just about any position on the field. We know who Jace LaViolette is. Travis Chestnut has been impressive, and I'm going to challenge him moving forward to make sure he faces some of the best arms on our staff. He's playing an awesome centerfield. When he gets on base, he can change games. This is a tough team to play on, so a lot of what we do will be determined by a lack of ego and willingness to wait your turn.
  • Coaches think they know. I think I know. All you can do is go off what you see and your past experiences. This time last year, we were considering cutting Evan Aschenbeck, but who has ever cut a strike-throwing left-handed pitcher? In the season, he became our most reliable pitcher and excelled. We're super thankful that he's on our team.
  • Todd Whitting and Houston came up here in the fall a couple of years ago, so he reminded me that we owed them a game. When I found out he wanted to play the night before Houston plays Texas at home, I felt like that would be great. We have a lot of A&M fans in the Houston area, so hopefully, we'll have a good crowd there on Oct. 20.
  • Nothing has changed with my thoughts of Max Weiner. If anything, it has gotten better since I've gotten to work with him every day. He's super positive, but not "Pollyanna." He's optimistic. He's very knowledgeable. He knows all of the new-age stuff, which is fine in the bullpen. In the game, it's about winning the game and getting people out. Does the pitch shape and spin rate get the hitter out? There is a difference between development and winning. At the end of the day, the scoreboard is what counts.
  • All of the stuff is dependent on the pitcher. Aschenbeck, we know, will throw strikes. We know Justin Lamkin can get hitters out with his fastball, but for him to step into a high-round projection, it has to be more than the fastball. If we get the right guys out there that give us a chance, we're going to play good defense.
  • Weiner has a wealth of experience. When he says that 94 percent of the time that you throw the ball over the plate, you're going to get the ball back with it either being a strike or an out. If I say that, it's like, "What do you know?" With Weiner, it gives them a lot of confidence.
  • I've seen Chris Cortez throw. He obviously throws hard. That helps, and it's sexy. The shape of his breaking ball is better. His changeup is outstanding. He has harnessed that, and he has thrown enough strikes. Cortez isn't walking people, but he has gotten hit some. I'll take my chances with that. As he makes his pitches better and is more in the strike zone, I'm still his biggest fan. He'll start the game tomorrow night.
  • Tanner Jones has exceeded my expectations because my expectations only came from watching him on video. His velocity is up, and he has added another pitch. He's a great guy to be around, and he brings a Southern mentality to the ballpark. He's fun to be around.
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Schlossnagle provides fall update ahead of Friday's ballgame with HCU

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