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College  | Recruiting  | 11/30/2022

Recruiting Notebook: November 30

Jheremy Brown      John McAdams     
Photo: Ariel Antigua (Perfect Game)
Aaron Hernandez, LHP, Class of 2026
National Rank: 243 | Commitment: Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are on a roll and seem to be snapping up high-level commitments left and right as of recent. Hernandez, a highly projectable southpaw out of Florida, is their latest commitment and he’s the second arm they’ve secured as he joins fellow left-hander Carson Bolemon, who committed a couple weeks back. At a long 6-foot-2, 160 pounds, Hernandez is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential and he’s come on strong towards the end of the summer and into the fall, showing an uptick into the mid-80s with the same command and strike throwing ability we’ve come to expect given his performances over the last year-plus. He shows comfort in both his breaker and changeup, giving a true three-pitch mix to go with the overall poise on the mound, making him an excellent get for Wake Forest. 

Theo Gillen, SS, Class of 2024
National Rank: 24 | Commitment: Texas

Gillen wasn’t on the scene at all in 2022 following an injury sustained in high school baseball, but he’s back and ready for a loud spring season which he’ll look to propel into an even bigger national circuit schedule. A two-time Select Festival alum and native of Austin, Texas, Gillen won’t have to travel far as he recently announced his commitment to the Longhorns and he adds to an already-impressive haul by Head Coach David Pierce and staff. He’s as physical as he is athletic, standing at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds, which means he still isn’t close to hitting his physical ceiling and that’s a scary thought for opposing pitchers. The bat-to-ball skills are an area of Gillen’s game that immediately stand out in any given look as he’s able to unlock all fields while working on a line with some serious thump and backspin to the gaps. Along with the offense, Gillen is a smooth defender in the dirt and currently finds himself No. 24 in the class, nationally. 

Ariel Antigua, SS, Class of 2023
National Rank: 118 | Commitment: Tennessee

Antigua is no stranger to the national scene as he played in the 2019 14u Select Festival and over the course of his Perfect Game career, he’s accumulated over 700 at-bats with a lifetime average of .381. Formerly a South Carolina commit, Antigua has long been a defensive standout in the dirt where he shows fluidity in his footwork and snatch in his hands that few can replicate in the class before showing off his arm strength (94 mph) across the diamond. After showing off his bat speed/strength combo over the years, the newly-tabbed Vol signee put an exclamation point on his PG career by earning MVP honors at the most prestigious tournament in the WWBA World Championship. During his time in Jupiter he finished with 7 hits, which included 2 doubles and a home run, drove in 5 runs, scored 9 of his own and also swept 3 bags while playing his usual high-level of defense. 

Gavin Knox, RHP, Class of 2027
National Rank: 11 | Commitment: Virginia Tech

Knox burst on to the national scene this past fall after making a big jump with his arsenal, though that’s not to say he wasn’t impressive up until that point either. A strongly-built 5-foot-11, 160-pound right-hander out of Virginia, Knox made a few appearances late this fall in which he solidified himself as one of the top arms in the class after sitting in the mid-80s throughout, working upwards of 87 mph while staying short and fast with his arm action and simplistic with his overall mechanical operation. The velocity at 14 certainly stands out as it should at this age, but the curveball is a real difference maker for Knox, as he spins the ball with serious intent, registering in the 2500s with its RPM while working in the low- to mid-70s. All signs point to Knox continuing his upward trend moving into next summer and for the Hokies, he marks their fourth commit in the 2027 class. 

Tee Southisene, RHP, Class of 2024
National Rank: 500 | Commitment: Southern California

Tracking players from the early stages of their travel careers until the time they graduate affords us an opportunity to watch the player grow and develop both on and off the field, and such is the case with Southisene, as he’s done nothing but make big strides and hone his craft on the bump. The Trojan coaching staff has been doing well on the trail lately and the 5-foot-11, 155-pound right-hander out of Nevada fits well into what they’re doing, especially when you factor in the projection still remaining. Southisene has long showed poise and control on the mound with feel for a complete repertoire, and still does, only now the fastball has a little more behind it as he bumped 88 mph in each of his three outings this summer/fall. As we saw in prior outings over the year, the newly-minted USC commit can land the breaking ball for strikes, pretty much at will, in the low-70s and used it to average a strikeout per inning.

-Jheremy Brown

Loud inning of work for Brighton Fontaine (’26 PA) today. Sat 85-87 mph w/ ride through the strike zone. Flashed a short, darting SL at 76 mph. Long levered w/ immense upside. @PG_Uncommitted #WWBAWorlds pic.twitter.com/unmvuQs6OV

— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) October 7, 2022

Brighton Fontaine, RHP, Class of 2026
PG Rank: 80 | Commitment: Alabama

Fontaine becomes the sixth commit for the Crimson Tide and Coach Bohannon in the class of 2026, as the coaching staff continues to identify premium talent across the country. The young right-hander has continued to impress each time out with steady velocity gains and refinement of his repertoire. It’s a fairly repeatable operation with good lower half movements down the slope. He is now into the upper-80s with his fastball now and possesses a swing-and-miss breaking ball that he tunnels well. He adds in a developing changeup that disrupts timing and has plenty more of feel for throwing it. There is a ton more physical projection for the athletic 6-foot-2, 190-pounder and would not be remised to see him work his way into the mid-90s by the time he sets foot on campus.
Brady Wardell, RHP, Class of 2025
PG Rank: 500 | Commitment: Maryland

Wardell becomes the latest commit for the Terrapins, as they continue to stockpile young talent from their immediate surroundings. Coach Vaughn and his staff do a great job of identifying both in-state and regional prospects early in the process, while continuing to bolster their rosters for the future. Wardell is another athletic right-hander with monster physical upside that has continued to impress each time we’ve gotten eyes on him. He works steadily in the mid-80s now and has peaked in the upper-80s as of late. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Delaware native repeats well despite his length and throws quality strikes with all three of his offerings. His breaking ball has the makings of a true swing-and-miss pitch with sharp bite to it and he has the feel to throw his changeup to both left-handed and right-handed hitters. The velocity will continue to climb for the young 2025 grad as he will assuredly add more strength to his already immense frame and it will be fun to watch his continued development as he inches closes to stepping on campus.

Devin Diaz, C, Class of 2026
PG Rank: 153 | Commitment: Miami

Diaz becomes the eight commit in the 2026 class for Coach Gino DeMare and his staff, as they continue to scour the entire country for young talent that can impact their future rosters. Typically lauded for his defensive acumen, Diaz has taken the next step with the bat as he has added some strength to his frame and smoothed out his swing. He firmly impacts the baseball well from gap-to-gap and has some burgeoning power potential that will only continue to grow. Behind the dish, he exhibits good lateral mobility and a strong arm that can thwart the running games pretty seamlessly. The New York native has good leadership skills and a high baseball IQ that aides in commanding a pitching staff well. Look for Diaz to continue expanding his offensive skill set over the next few years and provide the sure handedness behind the plate that we have become accustom to seeing.

John Podgorski, RHP, Class of 2024
PG Rank: 500 | Commitment: Villanova

Podgorski becomes just the second commit for Coach Mulvey and the Wildcats, as they typically are very selective when it comes to their incoming recruiting classes. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-hander has made steady gains velocity wise over the last calendar year and is now into the upper-80s comfortably with his fastball. He pairs it well with an abrupt two-plane breaking ball that misses bats and a faded changeup that he deploys to both right-handed and left-handed hitters. The projection within the New Jersey natives frame will lead to additional velocity as he continues to mature and it will be exciting to see where he can ultimately end up.

Jordan Serrano, OF, Class of 2025
PG Rank: 475 | Commitment: Wake Forest

Serrano becomes the latest Northeast product to commit to the Demon Deacons and Coach Tom Walters. Recruiting Coordinator Corey Muscara has deep ties to the region and continually identifies talent from the region extremely well. The twitchy outfielder was a consistent performer throughout 2022 with an intriguing power, speed combination that is going to only continue to explode as he fully matures. The right-handed hitting outfielder generates a ton of whip to his barrel and has the knack for finding the barrel, while getting to his power in-game. He possesses a legitimate threat to leave the yard at any moment, while not sacrificing his bat-to-ball skills by doing so. In the grass, he covers ground effectively from gap-to-gap and has more than enough arm strength to thwart extra bases. Look for Serrano to continue refining his overall skill set and should be fun to watch develop over the next few years.

-John McAdams