Final 2013 recruiting class rankings | Looking ahead: 2014 class rankings
Sometimes the rich just continue getting richer.
That’s precisely the case with the University of Florida, as head coach Kevin O’Sullivan and the Gators landed the nation’s top recruiting class for the Class of 2013. That class includes players who are now freshmen at their respective programs.
As with many programs around the country, the Gators had some major draft risks to deal with in this class. However, they also snagged several elite prospects, including Iowa native and two-way star AJ Puk, righthanded pitcher Brett Morales and talented in-state infielder John Sternagel, among many others.
While the Gators lead the charge when it comes to the nation’s top recruiting classes following the post-draft and post-fall rankings readjustments, in-state foe Miami is the closest program behind them with 99 points — Florida has 120 total points with an average of 7.06 points per player. By comparison, the Hurricanes have an average of 6.19 points per player.
South Carolina, North Carolina and Mississippi round out the top five, while LSU, Vanderbilt, Oregon State, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State make up the rest of the top 10.
Oklahoma State second-year coach Josh Holliday and his coaching staff made the biggest statement with a top-10 finish in the rankings, while recruiting coordinator Frank Damas and Florida International put together an impressive class that finished at No. 17 nationally. Also worth mentioning, led by first baseman Bryce Harman, East Carolina finished at No. 24 in our recruiting rankings.
Some notable programs finishing just outside the top 25 include UCLA, which still signed a very good class despite losing several prospects to the draft, Georgia, which reeled in a strong class despite a coaching change, Tennessee, which improved its situation with another solid class, and Texas A&M, which had a 5.38 per player average and landed a trio of talented prospects in outfielder Nick Banks, shortstop Ryne Birk and righthanded pitcher Mark Ecker.
With the final 2013 recruiting rankings released, look for the early period team recruiting rankings for the 2014 class early next week.
1. FLORIDA | Total points: 120, Average player points: 7.06
Quick take: The Gators absolutely weren’t immune to some draft headaches with righthanded pitcher Tyler Danish and others foregoing their collegiate careers to sign in the MLB draft this past summer. However, the Gators also struck gold with highly touted two-way star AJ Puk, righthanded pitcher Brett Morales and shortstop John Sternagel, among others, choosing to head to college this fall. The Gators have done a terrific job on the recruiting trail the past few years, and this class is yet another indication that Kevin O’Sullivan’s club isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
At a glance:
— High school commits: 17
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 3 — UT AJ Puk (23), RHP Brett Morales (40), SS John Sternagel (64)
— Class jewel: UT AJ Puk — You hate to anoint a player at the next star in college baseball, but Puk has the ability to be this guy. Puk has an impressive build with room to grow at 6-foot-7, 220-pounds. The former PG All-American can get up to 92 with his fastball from the left side, while at the plate, he has a lot of upside with an aggressive lefthanded swing with lift.
2. MIAMI (FLA.) | Total points: 99, Average player points: 6.19
Quick take: For once Miami head coach Jim Morris didn’t mind the MLB draft. The Hurricanes have a tendency to sweat out some high-profile draft picks every summer, but received somewhat of a reprieve from that this past summer. The ‘Canes did lose outfielder Matthew McPhearson to the Arizona Diamondbacks as a fourth-round pick, but otherwise were rather unscathed. Miami has several immediate impact prospects with this class, including 6-foot-3, 220-pound, catcher Zack Collins, along with outfielder Willie Abreu and righthanded pitcher Derik Beauprez, among others. The Hurricanes also got a nice addition in 6-foot-6, 225-pound, first baseman Bradley Zunica, who graduated early to become a member of the 2013 recruiting class.
At a glance:
— High school commits: 16
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 2 — C Zack Collins (31), OF Willie Abreu (66)
— Class jewel: C Zack Collins — The physical catcher was deemed a difficult sign, thus slipped all the way to the 27th-round to the Cincinnati Reds this past summer. Collins, a former PG All-American, is an advance lefthanded bat who displayed big-time power at PG National and other events throughout his high school career. Collins has good bat speed and good strength on contact, along with the ability to turn on high-velocity pitches. It would be somewhat of a surprise if Collins isn’t an immediate impact bat.
3. SOUTH CAROLINA | Total points: 86, Average player points: 4.78
Quick take: The Gamecocks put together a recruiting class to remember. Sure, they’re without catcher Nick Ciuffo, third baseman Travis Demeritte and righthanded pitcher Cory Thompson, who all opted to sign in the MLB draft this past summer, but the positives far outweigh the negatives with this group. South Carolina has a strong freshman class, which includes several immediate impact players, such as hard-throwing righties Wil Crowe and Matthew Vogel in addition to rising lefthander John Parke, who had a strong fall for Chad Holbrook’s club. The Gamecocks also snagged some legitimate junior college talent, including Spartanburg Methodist transfers, OF/INF Elliott Caldwell and pitcher Cody Mincey, who very well could serve as the closer in the spring.
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 1 — RHP Wil Crowe
— Class jewel: RHP Wil Crowe — The Gamecocks are ultra excited about what their freshman arms can accomplish in the spring, but they’re especially excited about Vogel, and particularly, Crowe. Crowe showed big-time stuff during fall workouts, flashing a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s with advanced overall stuff. Crowe is physical and durable at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds.
4. NORTH CAROLINA | Total points: 80, Average player points: 5.71
Quick take: Recruiting coordinator Scott Jackson and pitching coach Scott Forbes put in a lot of hours during the summer, and it once again showed with a strong freshman class. As completely expected, lefthanded pitcher Robert Kaminsky, ranked No. 2 overall out of high school by PG, was a draft casualty. However, the Tar Heels otherwise have a very good class with a lot of balance. Righthanded pitcher Chris Oakley leads the way for his freshman class, while first baseman Joe Dudek showed advanced skills during the fall and should be an immediate impact type of player. Overall, there’s a lot to like about this recruiting class.
— High school commits: 14
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 1 — RHP Chris Oakley
— Class jewel: RHP Chris Oakley — Some other freshmen have received some rave reviews this fall, but there’s no doubt the former PG All-American has major upside. Oakley has a mature 6-foot-7, 220-pound, frame with a fastball that sits anywhere from the low-90s with the ability to reach into the mid-90s. Oakley also possesses a two-seam fastball in the upper-80s, along with a mid-70s curveball with consistent spin and slurve-style break.
5. MISSISSIPPI | Total points: 76, Average player points: 5.85
Quick take: From the start of each summer until the very end, chances are good you’ll see Ole Miss recruiting coordinator Cliff Godwin at tournaments all around the country. Godwin and pitching coach Carl Lafferty did a very good job in assembling this balanced class, which included few serious draft risks. The Rebels got their prized recruit on campus in outfielder J.B. Woodman, while shortstop Errol Robinson and others showed signs of greatness during fall workouts. The Rebels also dipped into the junior college ranks for some prospects, nabbing Delgado CC lefthanded pitcher Christian Trent and others.
— High school commits: 13
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 1 — J.B. Woodman (85)
— Class jewel: OF J.B. Woodman — I had an opportunity to see Woodman on a few occasions throughout his high school career, and there’s little doubt Rebels fans will fall in love with this prospect at some point in his collegiate career. Woodman, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, is the ultimate scrapper. He’s very athletic with some strength and projects well at not only this level, but the professional level as well.
6. LOUISIANA STATE | Total points: 74, Average player points: 5.29
Quick take: The Tigers got through the MLB draft without too much trouble, though, losing Boston Red Sox 30th-round pick Nick Longhi stung a little bit. Outfielder Justin Williams was expected to sign the entire way through the negotiation process, while the rest of the class pretty much stayed intact. Third baseman Danny Zardon impressed observers during the summer circuit, while lefthanded pitcher Jared Poche and others should provide quality depth from the get go. Particularly on the mound, the Tigers will need some of these young players to rise to the occasion come the spring.
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: INF Kramer Robertson (98)
— Class jewel: INF Kramer Robertson — The Tigers had quite the impressive freshman last season in shortstop Alex Bregman. Could Kramer Robertson step in and be a big-time player, too? The talent to do so certainly is there. Robertson isn’t a big guy at just 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, but has quick actions, good footwork and has improved tremendously from a defensive standpoint over the past year or so. Robertson has good bat speed with an aggressive offensive approach, too.
7. VANDERBILT | Total points: 71, Average player points: 5.46
Quick take: The Commodores had some real MLB draft risks in this recruiting class, but escaped in good shape this past summer. Righthanded pitcher Jordan Sheffield was the most high profile recruit for the Commodores, and chose to attend college despite getting drafted in the 13th-round by the Boston Red Sox. An injury certainly played a part in that, but still, a huge pickup for the ‘Dores. Meanwhile, lefthanded pitcher John Kilichowski, with a fastball up to 90, catcher Karl Ellison and two-way player Aubrey McCarty are intriguing prospects to watch develop over the next few years. As usual, the ‘Dores put together an impressive, balanced class.
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: RHP Jordan Sheffield (38)
— Class jewel: RHP Jordan Sheffield — There's a very good chance the Commodores still would've gotten Sheffield on campus, but a forearm injury kept the talented righty from being too hot of a commodity in the draft. Even with those two strikes against his signability, the Boston Red Sox still took a chance on him in the 13th round, to no avail, showing just how valuable of an arm he projects to be. Sheffield has a fast, loose arm, and was up to 98 at times in Perfect Game events. Sheffield also possesses a good, hard slider/cutter, along with a downer curveball with tight spin.
8. OREGON STATE | Total points: 68, Average player points: 4.86
Quick take: The recruiting classes assembled by the Beavers and rival Oregon just goes to show just how much talent there is in the Pacific Northwest. Washington product and shortstop Trever Morrison could very well have an immediate impact, while on the mound, the Beavers expect immediate innings from righthanders Jake Thompson and Kevin Flemer, who each did some nice things during fall workouts. There’s also Utah product and righty Tanner Draper, who was ranked No. 288 out of high school and has a fastball in the upper 80s, low 90s, along with good spin on a mid-70s curveball. This should be a very impactful recruiting class.
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: RHP Chandler Eden (94)
— Class jewel: RHP Chandler Eden — Though the Beavers were disappointed to lose catcher Tyler O’Neill to the MLB draft this past summer, they struck gold by getting the talented righthanded pitcher on campus. Eden was deemed a tough sign, thus slipped to the 36th round. But don’t let that fool you, he has a premium arm and could be one of the nation’s elite freshman arms in 2014. Eden, a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder, showcased a big-time arm this fall, sitting anywhere from 90-94 with his fastball with good overall stuff.
9. GEORGIA TECH | Total points: 66, Average player points: 4.13
Quick take: The Yellow Jackets assembled a solid recruiting class with balance. Danny Hall’s club had to deal with the departures of outfielders Josh Hart and Terry McClure from the recruiting class after the duo signed this past summer. However, shortstop Elliott Barzilli, Pabst, infielder Connor Justus and others showed enough this fall to be considered for significant playing time in the spring. With the Jackets replacing several key cogs from last year’s club, this class couldn’t come at a more important time.
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 0
— Class jewel: C Arden Pabst — The Yellow Jackets had one of the nation’s elite catchers last season in two-way star Zane Evans. However, he has since begun his professional career, thus leaving quite the vacancy for the Jackets. Tech could look to Pabst to replace Evans. Pabst, ranked No. 235 out of high school and hailing from California, showed maturity and a lot of potential during fall workouts.
10. OKLAHOMA STATE | Total points: 64, Average player points: 5.82
Quick take: Head coach Josh Holliday and his staff made a statement in their first campaign by reaching the NCAA postseason. Now, they have a class of newcomers with much balance and the ability to be an immediate impact. The Cowboys have a true bell cow in lefthanded pitcher Garrett Williams. Williams, a Louisiana product, was ranked No. 50 out of high school and had a strong fall, while righthanded pitchers Thomas Hatch and Tyler Buffett are top 500 high school recruits who appear to be advanced. Outfield Ryan Sluder (345) is a physical and athletic outfielder at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, while the Cowboys also hit the junior college ranks very hard, landing second baseman Tim Arakawa, shortstop Hayden Cronenbold and third baseman Hunter Hagler. The Cowboys also landed former Clemson Tiger Kevin Bradley, though, he won’t be eligible to play until 2015, per transfer rules.
— High school commits: 11
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 1 — LHP Garrett Williams (50)
— Class jewel: LHP Garrett Williams — The Cowboys couldn’t be happier to have Williams in the mix, and for good reason. The advanced lefty has a chance to be a big-time arm from day one. The lefty would’ve been a very high draft pick, but his commitment to the Cowboys caused him to slide to the San Diego Padres in the 33rd round. Williams sits anywhere from 91-93 on the radar gun, touching 94, while also displaying future plus curveball potential.
11. LOUISVILLE | Total points: 62, Average player points: 3.88
Quick take: The Cardinals might’ve lost infielder Tucker Neuhaus to the MLB draft this past summer, but otherwise, it’s impressive just how good of a job recruiting coordinator Chris Lemonis did in putting together another excellent recruiting class. Lemonis and the Cardinals have an impressive and athletic outfielder in Corey Ray (176), while righthanded pitcher Zach Burdi, the brother of current hard-throwing reliever Nick Burdi, is a talented arm who sits in the low-90s. Seven of Louisville’s 16 high school commits are pitchers, with two of them being lefthanded. The Cards assembled another recruiting class that will help them stay in the mix for the ACC regular season title moving forward, along with more trips to Omaha.
— Class jewel: OF Corey Ray — The talented outfielder was considered a tough sign, thus went in the 33rd round to the Seattle Mariners. But make no mistake about it, his tools certainly play up better than a 33rd rounder. Ray, though only 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, is a good lefthanded bat with good present strength, quick hands and a good line-drive swing. He’s also a good runner with a 6.76 60-yard-dash time at this past summer’s PG National Showcase.
12. ARKANSAS | Total points: 61, Average player points: 3.81
Quick take: In what was his final recruiting class before taking the head coaching job at Wichita State, Todd Butler put together a solid recruiting class that minimized the draft risks. Right on point with the way Arkansas does business in recruiting these days, the Razorbacks snagged a high school class with 16 recruits, 11 of them pitchers. Catcher Jon Denney, as fully expected, was a draft casualty, but the Hogs are more than happy with the trade in getting righthanded pitcher Dominic Taccolini on campus. Taccolini is a physical 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, who has a chance to be an immediate impact guy. Meanwhile, outfielder Andrew Benintendi is the highest ranked position player to arrive on campus with a good overall skill set. Benintendi was a 31st-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds this past summer.
— Class jewel: RHP Dominic Taccolini — The versatile athlete could help the Razorbacks both as a pitcher and hitter. Taccolini had a power bat in high school that helped him earn a ranking as the No. 114 prospect in the country in his final season. On the mound, the physical Taccolini sits in the low-90s with his fastball, along with a curveball and slider.
13. STANFORD | Total points: 60, Average player points: 5.45
Quick take: To no surprise at all, the Cardinal put together yet another solid recruiting class. The Cardinal very seldom loses guys to the MLB draft, but talented infielder Ryder Jones, a second-round pick to the San Francisco Giants was an exception this past summer. Otherwise, the Cardinal is in very good shape with this recruiting class, with talents such as righthanded pitchers Cal Quantrill (119), Brett Hanewich (127) and Chris Viall (171) all making it to campus. Talented outfielder Jack Klein (169) is the highest rated position player to make it to campus, while catcher Alex Dunlap and righthanded pitcher Tyler Thorne are a pair of Texas products who could make an immediate impact. Of the 11 high school recruits on campus, eight of them are pitchers.
— Class jewel: RHP Cal Quantrill — At 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, Quantrill still has plenty of room to grow as he embarks on his collegiate career at Stanford. The son of former big leaguer Paul Quantrill, Cal went from an upper-80s pitcher to a guy sitting in the low-90s and even touching the mid-90s in the past year. Quantrill has potential for two above-average breaking balls with a slider and promising changeup.
14. AUBURN | Total points: 59, Average player points: 5.90
Quick take: New Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway inherited some very solid talent this fall. The Tigers got through the MLB draft this past summer relatively unscathed, landing a trio of highly touted prospects in OF Anfernee Grier (55), RHP Keegan Thompson (63) and RHP Kevin Davis (81). The Tigers also have a good one in shortstop Brett Binning, while righthanded pitcher Bailey Chesser is an arm with a lot of upside, including a fastball in the upper-80s. Golloway couldn’t have been dealt a much better hand as he ushers in the AU tenure.
-- High school commits: 10
-- PG Top 100 commits on campus: 3 – OF Anfernee Grier, RHP Keegan Thompson, RHP Kevin Davis
-- Class jewel: RHP Keegan Thompson — The elite righthanded pitcher is another star player who made a very strong commitment to the college he inked with. Thompson is the type of guy who could be an immediate impact for the Tigers, as the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, has a big-time arm with a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s. Thompson also could help the Tigers as a hitter, though, his power arm is the most coveted aspect of his game.
15. MISSISSIPPI STATE | Total points: 58, Average player points: 3.87
Quick take: What a year to remember it was for the Bulldogs. In addition to reaching the CWS Championship Series, the Bulldogs also landed one of the nation’s elite recruiting classes last fall, and were able to get a vast majority of those guys on campus. Losing outfielder Cord Sandberg absolutely was expected, but otherwise, State entered the fall rather unscathed in that regard. Catcher Gavin Collins (225) is the highest rated prospect to make it to campus, while talented outfielder Joey Swinarski surprised some when he decided to enroll a year early. The 6-foot-3, 192-pounder, has a lot of upside and could be an immediate contributor for the Bulldogs. Nine of State’s 15 signees are pitchers.
— High school commits: 15
— Class jewel: C Gavin Collins — The Bulldogs don’t have a class loaded with extremely highly rated prospects, but it’s a very solid class with good players and balance. Collins is the most heralded prospect in this class. Ranked No. 225 out of high school, Collins has a strong, athletic build with very good bat speed and the ability to hit the ball to all sides of the field.
16. FLORIDA STATE | Total points: 58, Average player points: 5.27
Quick take: It’s another year and yet another solid recruiting class for the Seminoles. FSU recruited few major draft risks in this recruiting class, and that showed by a vasty majority of the class showing up to campus this fall. FSU lost shortstop Oscar Mercado (18) to the draft, but that was very much expected. Meanwhile, it got righthanded pitcher Taylor Blatch (132) and infielder Ben DeLuzio (237) , along with other highly rated players such as RHP MT Minacci (260), RHP Ed Voyles (290) and RHP Jim Voyles (RHP), among others. Only one prospect, shortstop Hank Truluck, was ranked outside the top 500, making this a very valuable class for Mike Martin Jr., and Inc.
— Class jewel: INF Ben DeLuzio — The Seminoles have a good one on their hands in the talented infielder the next couple of years. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, was a hot commodity in the draft, getting selected in the third round by the Miami Marlins. However, his commitment to FSU was too strong. DeLuzio had a very impressive fall for the Seminoles, showing impressive athleticism with a good, consistent bat. DeLuzio has a good speed, as evidenced by his 6.56 60-yard-dash at the PG National Showcase last summer. DeLuzio absolutely is an instant impact player for FSU.
17. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL | Total points: 57, Average player points: 4.83
Quick take: Panthers recruiting coordinator Frank Damas did a terrific job with this recruiting class. As a matter of fact, if FIU doesn’t lose Joe Jimenez, Nestor Cortes and Brandon Diaz to the MLB draft this past summer, there’s a great chance this is a top-10 recruiting class. FIU has high hopes for freshman third baseman Juan Escarra, who was ranked No. 210 out of high school, while righthanded pitcher Cody Crouse could be an immediate impact guy with a projectable frame at 6-foot-6, 186 pounds, along with a fastball sitting in the low-90s. Crouse turned down overtures from the Mets as a 19th-round selection this past summer. Last but not least, the Panthers also snagged some solid junior college recruits, including righthanded pitcher Robby Kalaf, who’s expected to have an immediate impact in the spring.
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 1
— Class jewel: 3B Juan Escarra — The Panthers are expecting immediate contributions from Cody Crouse and others, but keep an eye on Escarra. Escarra is physically mature at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, and has some pop in his bat to go with his lefthanded swing. In the field, Escarra has good footwork with a loose arm across the diamond.
18. TEXAS | Total points: 54, Average player points: 5.40
Quick take: The Longhorns didn’t sign a massive class, but it’s one with a lot of impactful players. UT obviously lost lefthanded pitcher Trey Ball to the MLB daft this past summer, but otherwise got through the MLB draft in very good shape. Shortstop/third baseman Andy McGuire (52) has a chance to start from day one for the Longhorns, while gritty infielder Zane Gurwitz put together an impressive fall and has a chance to make a statement in his first season. Also keep an eye on physical catcher Tres Barrera, while righthanded pitcher Blake Goins (299) has a chance to close for UT as a freshman, a position previously held by Tigers signee Corey Knebel. Last but certainly not least, the Longhorns have a good one in junior college righthanded pitcher Lukas Schiraldi. Schiraldi put together a solid summer at the Cape Cod League, and could very well be in the weekend rotation in the spring.
— High school commits: 10
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 2
— Class jewel: SS Andy McGuire — The Longhorns made a statement by snagging McGuire out of the State of Virginia. McGuire would’ve gotten drafted much higher than the 36th-round if not for his strong commitment to the ‘Horns. McGuire, ranked No. 52 out of high school, is a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, with an impressive overall skill set. He’s a good athlete with the ability to turn on inside fastballs. In the field, McGuire possesses a strong arm and could play shortstop or third base during his collegiate career.
19. OREGON | Total points: 53, Average player points: 5.42
Quick take: The Ducks put together another solid recruiting class and received a couple of early Christmas presents when big-time lefthanded pitcher Matt Krook, a first-round supplemental pick of the Miami Marlins, opted to head to college. Krook, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, should be an immediate impact type of arm with a fastball up to 91. UO did receive a little bad news this past summer when outfielder Dane McFarland, first baseman Cody Bellinger and catchers Jacob Sweaney and Chance Sisco decided to sign professional contracts. The Ducks also received some bad news when highly touted catcher Francis Christy, ranked No. 85 nationally, opted to head to a junior college. With that said, keep an eye on stocky 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, pitcher Trent Paddon, who's a physical arm with the ability to get up to 92 with his fastball.
— PG Top 100 commits on campus: 1 -- LHP Matt Krook (16)
— Class Jewel: LHP Matt Krook — UO would love nothing more than to see Krook meet his high expectations by the end of fall and going into the 2014 campaign. In addition to having a fastball well into the 90s, the talented lefty often utilizes a curveball and changeup, the curveball sitting in the low-80s.
20. CLEMSON | Total points: 53, Average player points: 5.30
Quick take: The Tigers consistently put together solid recruiting classes, and this one was no different. Clemson didn’t ink a lot of major draft risks outside of talented outfielder Austin Meadows. Meadows, of course, was a first-round pick and signed this past summer. Otherwise, the Tigers entered the fall in very good shape with catcher Chris Okey (20) and lefthanded pitcher Alexander Bostic (174), among others, choosing to attend college. The Tigers also got a good one in shortstop Weston Wilson, who was ranked No. 228 out of high school by PG.
— Class jewel: C Chris Okey — Clemson has high hopes for Okey and it’s easy to see why. The former PG All-American is 6-foot, 180 pounds and has elite defensive skills. He has plus arm strength with a quick release. At the plate, he has good power for his size and impressive overall bat control.
21. VIRGINIA | Total points: 53, Average player points: 5.89
Quick take: The Cavaliers assembled yet another solid class, which was held back a little in terms of overall point total because of the smallish nature of it. With that said, this is an elite class that, of course, is led by RHP Connor Jones. Meanwhile, though the Cavaliers lost LHP Austin Nicely to the draft, they did reel in catcher Matthew Thaiss (105), RHP Jack Roberts (181) and SS Daniel Pinero (312), among others. UVa. already has a team chocked full of talent. Now, yet another impressive class has a chance to make a statement in the spring.
— High school commits: 9
— Class jewel: RHP Connor Jones — Out of all the teams on this list, Virginia was the easiest team when it came to choosing the crown jewel. The Cavaliers got a huge boost this past summer when the talented righthander decided to honor his college commitment. To say the least, Jones is an immediate impact type of arm. Jones, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, is a physical pitcher with the ability to sit 91-93 with his fastball, and up into the mid-90s at times. Jones had a strong fall for the Cavaliers and should have an important role in the spring.
22. TULANE | Total points: 52, Average player points: 3.47
Quick take: The Green Wave did a terrific job in assembling this class. Tulane limited its MLB draft risks and snagged one of the nation’s elite players in infielder Stephen Alemais, who was ranked No. 71 nationally out of high school. Meanwhile, righthanded pitcher J.P. France could be the surprise of the class. France was ranked as one of the top 1,000 prospects to watch on the national stage, and surpassed expectations with a strong fall. SS Hunter Hope (205), C Jake Rogers (311) and OF Lex Kaplan (423) are other intriguing prospects to watch out of this recruiting class.
— Class jewel: INF Stephen Alemais — The versatile shortstop is destined to have a solid collegiate career. Alemais, a 6-foot, 180-pounder, is a very good defensive shortstop with good feel for the game. He has a strong arm, 91 mph across the diamond at a showcase this year, and has potential at the plate as a switch hitter.
23. NEBRASKA | Total points: 52, Average player points: 5.20
Quick take: Indiana seems to be in control of the Big Ten in the immediate future, but could the Huskers be looking at a resurgence over the next couple of seasons? It’s certainly very possible, as Darin Erstad’s club put together yet an other solid recruiting class. The Huskers have an outstanding jewel in this class in outfielder Ryan Boldt, while Iowa native and righthanded pitcher Derek Burkamper is a potential immediate impact arm after having a solid fall. Also keep an eye on lefthanded pitcher Max Knutson (321), while Colorado native, lefty Grant Gamble is another talented arm who could factor into the equation on the mound in 2014. The Big Red also hit the junior college ranks hard over the summer, snagging an impressive pitcher in Chance Sinclair, who certainly will be a relied upon arm come spring.
— Class jewel: OF Ryan Boldt — The former PG All-American is as good as it gets as an outfielder, but a knee injury kept him from being an incredibly high draft pick. Still, the Red Sox took him in the 22nd-round and made a very serious run at signing him. Boldt has very good speed, running a 6.46 60-yard-dash in the last year, while he’s a lefthanded hitter with a loose, easy swing, along with quick hands and good extension.
24. EAST CAROLINA | Total points: 50, Average player points: 4.17
Quick take: The Pirates assembled a balanced class that should be filled with immediate impact type of players. First baseman Bryce Harman is a guy who can help from the start for the Pirates, while righthanded pitcher TJ McDonald (201) and lefthander Luke Bolka (244) both are guys with a lot of upside. Also keep an eye on lefty Evan Knuczynski. Knuczynski was rated as one of the top 500 prospects nationally out of high school, and has a projectable 6-foot-5, 185-pound, frame with a fastball already in the upper-80s. There’s room for more in that arm. Overall, this is an impressive class for Billy Godwin’s program.
— Class jewel: 1B Bryce Harman — Harman had a very strong commitment to East Carolina, thus he was drafted in the 27th round by the Washington Nationals. Harman is a physical 6-foot-6, 220-pounder, who also has potential as a pitcher for the Pirates. In addition to his offensive skill set, he has a fastball up to 91 on the mound. You’ll be hearing a lot about Harman over the next few seasons.
25. TEXAS CHRISTIAN | Total points: 50, Average player points: 5.00
Quick take: We really like the class the Horned Frogs assembled over the past year. Though it was pretty much expected that outfielder Billy McKinney would sign this past summer, the rest of the class definitely was up for grabs. The Frogs snagged one of the best lefthanded pitchers in Texas in Tyler Alexander, while outfielder Walker Pennington (162) is a gritty player who projects well at the collegiate level. Also keep an eye on imposing 6-foot-9, 192-pound, righthanded pitcher Brian Howard, who was ranked No. 270 out of high school and has a chance to be an immediate contributor in the spring. TCU also hit the junior college ranks hard, landing catcher Dylan Delso, talented outfielder Jeremie Fagnan and third baseman Connor Castellano, who began his collegiate career at Vanderbilt.
— Class jewel: LHP Tyler Alexander — If the season began today, there’s a very good chance Alexander would be in TCU’s weekend rotation. At the very least, the talented lefty will eat up some very valuable innings in 2014. Alexander was ranked No. 89 out of high school and has a fastball in the upper-80s and into the 90s. Alexander is a mature pitcher who has a good feel for the strike zone with the ability to move the ball around.