All three active MLB Owls saw action with their big league clubs this week. Here’s the latest on the Rice Baseball alums in the pros.
Tyler Duffey was the only former Rice baseball player to make his debut in his team’s opening series. Since then, both Anthony Rendon and Brock Holt have made their 2020 debuts, each with a new team.
Jon Duplantier is in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ player pool but is currently rehabbing. There hasn’t been a clear indication yet as to when he might rejoin the team.
Anthony Rendon – Los Angeles Angels
It’s been a slower start for Rendon and the Angels. Rendon sent his first hit with Los Angeles over the fence for a home run, but it took him 14 games before his first multi-hit game. He accomplished that feat 55 times last season.
That hasn’t kept him from maintaining his usual sure-handedness in the field. Check out this slide grab on a Daniel Vogelbach foul ball.
Holy moly, Anthony Rendon. pic.twitter.com/RbhzhTA7Cr
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) August 6, 2020
Through August 12, Rendon is hitting .180 with five extra-base hits, 17 walks and 13 strikeouts. His OPS is .846.
Tyler Duffey – Minnesota Twins
It’s been all roses for Tyler Duffey this season. He’s kept his streak of seamless outings alive, and has yet to allow a run in any of his five appearances this season. A Fangraphs piece on his stellar start summed it up quite nicely: “By pretty much any conceivable measure, he’s the best reliever in baseball so far this year.” Not bad Mr. Duffey, not bad.
Through August 12, Duffey has a perfect 0.00 ERA. He’s averaging 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
Brock Holt – Milwaukee Brewers
Like Rendon, it took Holt a while to get things going with the bat with his new club. Holt picked up his first hit with the Brewers on August 7. His first RBI came a day later on August 8. So far, he’s started and finished just three of the eight games he’s appeared in.
Through August 12, Holt has two hits in 18 at bats. He has three walks, a hit-by-pitch and eight strikeouts.
The 2021 Rice Basketball recruiting class picked up its third member, adding local guard Elijah Lawrence from Bellaire High School.
Rice basketball has its third commitment of the 2021 class. 6-foot-1 guard Elijah Lawrence from Bellaire High School, just down the road from the Tudor Fieldhouse. Rice beat out fellow C-USA peer Old Dominion, who offered him earlier in the summer.
Lawrence’s commitment cements a three-player class. Also in the fold are forward Damion McDowell who was the first to commit in May and shooting guard Jaden Geron, who committed in July. Both of the prior commits are California natives. Lawrence represents the lone Texan in the class.
Rice had the distinct advantage of an existing relationship with Lawrence prior to restrictions on in-person visits that went into place earlier this year. He’d already had face time with head coach Scott Pera thanks in part to his close proximity. Fostering that relationship with face to face conversations made the decision easier for Lawrence this summer.
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Lawrence describes himself as a “true team captain on the floor” who can “defend at a high level and play offense at a high level.” His flexibility and versatility will be key as he assimilates into the Owls’ attack.
On the court, Rice is getting a fairly well-rounded player. He has a nice release and can get to the basket in a hurry. He’s not the biggest at 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, but he handles himself well and is able to cut through traffic. Overall a nice pickup for the Owls.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 have canceled their 2020 football seasons, launching a tidal wave of change across the college football landscape that was already in flux.
First it was UConn. Then it was the MAC and the Mountain West. Now the Big Ten, one of the largest and most financially incentivized conferences in the nation has called it quits on college football in 2020, per Bruce Feldman. Hours later, the Pac-12 also shut its doors. An idea that seemed unthinkable a few months ago has become the new reality.
With the first Power 5 conference cancellations out in the open, others will likely follow suit. What happens in the south, from the Big 12 to the SEC and ACC, remains to be seen.
The cancellation of non-conference games against the Big Ten was part of the decision making that led to the MAC cancellations. The remainder of the Group of 5 conferences find their financial situation more closely mirrors the MAC than it does the Big Ten.
Here’s the running tally of programs not playing football this fall:
- Old Dominion
- Mid American Conference
- Mountain West Conference
- Big Ten
That’s 53 of the 130 FBS teams, more than 40% of all FBS programs.
What’s next for Conference USA and the Group of 5?
Several programs, including Rice football, opted not to return to scheduled fall camp practices this week even though the calendar permitted them to do so. Others, like Louisiana Tech, returned to practice only to suspend it because of positive COVID-19 test results.
Whether there are sports this fall or not, there’s going to be plenty to process as everyone works to find a new equilibrium in college sports. Stay current on those updates and following the always-active recruiting cycle by subscribing to The Roost on Patreon today.
Rice Football took a proactive step to delay the start of its 2020 season, but the future remains as uncertain as ever in the midst of the COVID-19.
On Monday afternoon, Rice football announced the delay of its 2020 season. According to the current plan, that would set the Owls up to begin their 2020 campaign at home against Lamar. The Cardinals reside in the Southland Conference, which could very well fall in line with several other FCS conferences and postpone its season to the spring, at the earliest.
All of those concerns served as a rather bleak backdrop for a conversation with Rice Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard, tasked with explaining the unexplainable and navigating the unprecedented.
“Throughout the summer and up until this point we’ve wanted to do everything that we can to give ourselves the best shot at playing college football this fall,” he said. “We feel like delaying til the end of the month puts us in that position.”
Karlgaard indicated that Rice is still very much so the ultimate decision of whether or not Rice plays football during the fall “day by day.” He went as far as to say “circumstances could change… and that could happen to us and that could happen in a moment’s notice.” Per his own admission, optimism was greater coming out of the spring than it is right now.
For the time being, the plan is for Rice to start the season on September 26 against Lamar and try to fit a home game with Army or Houston in during the Owls’ open week (October 17) or potentially at the end of the regular season, possibly on December 5.
All of those dates seem so far away today in mid-August.
Half joking, half grimly-rooted in our new reality, Karlgaard ended a zoom with local media with a thank you and a promise to keep everyone up to date, signing off with a telling quip: “that could be five minutes from now.”
Sources within the program were equally pessimistic. One put the odds of Rice playing any football this fall at a 4 out of 10. Karlgaard himself said he wasn’t sure what the future holds. In his defense, none of us do.
From a logistical standpoint, Rice is pushing all the right buttons. They’ve been careful and calculated when it comes to there response to a challenging situation. But for now, Rice football and the rest of us will continue to wait.