SEE ALSO: BA 500 Players Headed To College
In the long run, Vanderbilt and Florida recruit like no one else.
A half-dozen top schools are getting their highest-rated recruit in years following the latest draft including Florida, Louisiana State, South Carolina, Arkansas, Miami, and Auburn. However, the largest benefactor from 2017’s recruiting efforts is Vanderbilt, which sees 10 ranked players on their way to Nashville.
That’s by far the largest ranked incoming class since the expansion of Baseball America’s draft rankings to 500 players in 2012, and the only class to ever feature more than eight members, the previously-held record set by Vanderbilt in 2015. In total, coach Tim Corbin’s squad has brought 30 BA 500 players into the fold over the past six years.
Florida’s 26 ranked players are the second-most and include players such as Alex Faedo and Logan Shore, who went on to become All-Americans. But none of the Gators’ well-regarded recruits came as highly rated as shortstop Brady McConnell, the 39th ranked player in this season’s list. Vanderbilt’s highest-ranked recruit to make it to campus was Donny Everett, who ranked No. 21 in 2015. He tragically died in 2016. Other highly ranked recruits include Walker Buehler, Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson, all of whom were picked in the first round in 2015.
During the BA 500 era, Vanderbilt and Florida have also fared especially well in recruiting rankings. The Commodores and Gators have combined for three No. 1 recruiting classes in the last five years, and both have ranked every year. Those classes have helped produce two national champions and five College World Series appearances between the two schools.
The highest-ranked player to go unsigned was lefthander Brady Aiken. The top-ranked player in the 2014 draft, Aiken briefly played with IMG Academy’s post-graduate team following his infamous contract dispute with the Astros.
2017 boasts the most prep players heading to college in BA 500 history. In total, 136 high schoolers will be enrolling with a university or junior college this fall, nine more than last year.
There were two stages in generating these school rankings. At the outset, the harmonic mean is found for each school based on the rankings of past players that committed there. The harmonic mean is a type of average that more heavily weights lesser numbers, which applies in this case because the pool of draftable players is exponentially more talented at the top, and because lower-ranked players should still make a positive impact on a class.
To illustrate this point, imagine if Vanderbilt only recruited the No. 1 and No. 500 players. The arithmetic mean would be 250.5. Now, if they were to recruit the No. 250 and No. 251 players, that average would be exactly the same despite having, as a whole, less talented recruits.
The rankings wouldn’t be complete without finding the frequency at which a school adds a ranked player to its program. So to finalize the ranking, the count of ranked players is multiplied by a transformation of the harmonic mean to get each school’s index.