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Texas A&M Baseball

Jim Schlossnagle ready for Year 3 at the helm of Texas A&M baseball

January 25, 2024

Texas A&M baseball officially begins full-team practices this week as Opening Day at Blue Bell Park is just 22 days away. On Thursday morning, head coach Jim Schlossnagle spoke to TexAgs Radio about his ball club as the 2024 season is quickly approaching.

Key notes from Jim Schlossnagle interview

  • I think we’ve made the most of our opportunities with the weather. We’ve been able to get inside and do some things. Baseball coaches are as good as anybody at working around that. College baseball can be a cold-weather sport early in February too. We’re used to it, but you can’t figure out your team in a bullpen or a batting cage. You have to play the games. We should be able to get out there some this week, and we’ll have some intrasquads to figure out who can do what. We really need to get a feel for our pitching.
  • In some ways, I still feel new, but at the same time, I feel like I have a good grasp on Texas A&M, Aggieland and Bryan-College Station. I just bought some land out west of town. It definitely feels like year three.
  • Braden Montgomery is certainly going to play the outfield and be in the lineup almost every day. From a pitching standpoint, how much he pitches will depend on how well he pitches. That goes for everybody. I’ve been watching his bullpens, and we had one simulated game. The overall quality of his stuff is better, and Max Weiner has done a good job of working with him. Montgomery has a great feel for his offspeed pitches. We need to compete and get him involved along with everybody else.
  • In our sport, people talk about the transfer portal too much. For most of my career, you’ve had open transferring in college baseball. It was just the last 10-12 years where they treated players like football and made them sit out. Now it’s just an open waiver wire with a website or whatever. What has changed in college baseball is the 20-round draft and fewer minor-league teams. There are fewer jobs in professional baseball, so there are more good players coming to college and staying in college. I believe this is the golden age of college baseball. Regarding the portal, most A&M fans want us to have a great team with a chance to win every year. What we’re trying to do is mesh the portal with high school recruiting. The more traditional recruiting classes we can stack on top of each other, we can cherry-pick the portal as opposed to building a team around it unless we have to. If high school players can’t tell me they’re taking their name out of the draft, we might have to go get a portal player at that position. It’ll vary from year to year.
  • Defensively, if Jace LaViolette is going to play center field, which he would if the season started today. That’s a different spot for him than last year. With his size, he’s not going to sneak up on anybody. He’s a confident player and works hard. The baseball gods can hit anybody at any time, but baseball-wise, he has to manage the strike zone. That’s the same thing with Montgomery. No good player goes to the plate hoping to walk. A walk is the result of waiting for your pitch and passing the baton when you need to. You have to pitch to somebody in this lineup. That’s where our offense has the chance to be great.
  • Our leadoff hitter will depend on who wins which job. The old-school leadoff hitter was the small, fast guy who drew walks and stole bases. In a good lineup, you want your 1-9 guys to be good hitters who can also get on base. Hunter Haas was a great leadoff hitter because he got on base and could really hit. He got paid half of a million dollars because of it. If a guy can draw walks and run but can’t hit, that’s not a good leadoff hitter because he’ll be wasting RBI opportunities.
  • The preseason scrimmages aren’t the end-all because you’ll give a veteran player the benefit of the doubt. I would bet LaViolette or Montgomery will win a job. Then you have to look at the overall benefit for the player and where they fit in, like a guy like Gavin Grahovac. I’ve never written a lineup. The players write the lineup by how they perform, practice and what kind of people they are. We have to get through the next three weeks. The lineup in the last game of the season rarely looks like the one on Opening Day.
  • Do the players have the patience to sit and realize they’re not in the lineup on the first day? We don’t have open substitution like other sports. You only play four games a week, and they all count. The midweek games count. If you look at the most successful seasons at A&M, you’d be like 20-5 in the midweek games.
  • I feel good about the freshman arms, but we’re trying to manage their workload. Brett Antolick has taken a real jump. Isaac Morton and Kaiden Wilson are incredibly talented. Weston Moss was out most of the fall, so we’ve tried to build him up. He’s showing signs of maybe pitching this year at some point. It would be awesome if the older pitchers could step up; guys like Tanner Jones and Zane Badmaev or guys like Justin Lamkin, Shane Sdao or Chris Cortez could carry the load early in the season.
  • Ryan Prager is doing great. He’s really throwing well. He’s thriving with Weiner in the bullpen and learning some new pitches. I’m really excited.
  • Badmaev pitched against us last year at Tarleton, and he’s a strike-thrower. He’s certainly going to have a role.
  • Jaxson Appel is a neat guy. He’s a Penn graduate, so he’s a super smart guy. He had been playing through bone chips in his elbow over the last three years, and we convinced him to have surgery in December to fix it. He’s getting stronger. With him and Max Kaufer and Hank Bard behind the plate, I think Appel will play a lot. If Montgomery, Ryan Targac and Appel are in the same lineup, I don’t think I’ve ever had a lineup with three switch hitters.
  • Weiner has made some changes with Evan Aschenbeck to make him even more effective. His performance in games and his stuff is even higher than it is in bullpens. He’s so dependable. I trust him. How many times last year did I change the pitcher in the middle of the count to bring in Aschenbeck? He’s really good with his offspeed stuff, and he throws strikes.
  • Weiner is a very unique guy and a very special person. He’s a hard worker and incredibly excited to be in college baseball. He is infinitely intelligent and understands all of the new-age stuff, but he’s incredibly simplistic in presenting to the players what they need to know. He’s good at eliminating things that aren’t relevant. His use of analytics and statistics is impressive. For example, if you just throw a strike on the first pitch of the at-bat in the SEC, 94 percent of the time, you get the ball back in your glove as a strike or an out. Just throw it over the plate and give us a chance. If you're doing it with decent stuff, then you can do more. Young pitchers can be afraid to throw the ball in the strike zone because they’ve never gotten hit before, but if you give up free bases, you’ll lose the game.
  • I don’t have all the answers, but I’m always hoping to be a better coach tomorrow than I am today. I am always trying to learn from an analytical standpoint. I process the information, and we have a plan going into the game. From that point forward, it’s about the instincts of the game and which players I trust. Does a coach’s decision have to work to mean it was the right decision? I’ve always wanted to ask OB that.
  • In 2000, I was at TCU. Buck Showalter was the manager of the Rangers at the time, and I got to know him well. I admire him. We were getting ready to play Utah one weekend, and they had a hitter named C.J. Cron, who has spent a decade in the big leagues. Under no circumstances were we going to let him beat us. In the final game of the weekend, we were up four with the bases loaded, and I intentionally walked him. The next guy, who had actually hit a couple of home runs against us, grounded out to end the game. I could not wait to call Showalter because he had intentionally walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded. I’ll never forget what he told me: “Just because it worked out doesn't mean it was the right decision.”
  • The game management of the game is just figuring out what gives us the best chance in this spot. Is it putting down a bunt? Is it bringing in this pitcher? Just because a guy made a decision to start this player or call this play, it means the coach thought that gave them the best chance at that time.
  • I’ve been dating the same girl for three years, and she doesn’t come with children. She comes with horses and ranch dogs. I bought a few acres and some tractors. I’ve been learning to feed some horses. They’re her animals, so I have to make sure I don’t kill them. I’m 53 years old, and I don’t go home and watch Netflix. I want something to do, so now I have this little farm out in Snook. I’m loving it.
Discussion from...

Jim Schlossnagle ready for Year 3 at the helm of Texas A&M baseball

5,251 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by chick79
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Excited to see what the Ag's can do this season. A trip to Omaha would be nice!
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Really, really like Coach Schloss! Very excited for the season to begin and see this team perform.
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Love to hear coach Schloss talk ball.

Gig em!
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Just win !!!!
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We're relying on you coach to pull us out of the misery that the football and basketball programs have given us.
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