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Best Recruiting Classes

By Allan Simpson

Unsigned picks from first 10 rounds of draft

Based primarily on draft picks who did not sign, here’s how Baseball America rates college baseball’s best recruiting classes. The number of drafted recruits who ended up in school is indicated in parentheses.

1. Clemson (4). The Tigers’ 18-man recruiting class is significant because they didn’t lose a single player to pro ball–even two-way standouts Jeff Baker, the Indians fourth-rounder who was MVP of the World Junior Championship, and Jarrod Schmidt, a 23rd-round pick of the Marlins and MVP of the Connie Mack World Series.

2. Southern California (3). With the exception of C Alberto Concepcion (Padres, second round) and third-round pick Pat Manning, who signed with the Braves, few big league clubs even bothered to go head-to-head with the Trojans on their top recruits. RHP Chad Clark (Brewers, 22nd) was considered a first-round talent, while RHP Anthony Reyes and OF Eric Verbryke went undrafted altogether. Manning’s loss was offset by the transfer of Vanderbilt freshman All-Americans Mark Prior, a 1998 first-rounder, and Aaron Fausett.

3. Stanford (4). The Cardinal lost only B.J. Garbe, the fifth overall pick by the Twins, but retained Garbe’s high school teammate, OF Jason Cooper (Phillies, second)–the highest unsigned pick in the draft. They also got three other talented players: LHPs Ryan Gloger (Devil Rays, eighth) and Tim Cunningham (Dodgers, 22nd), and OF Darin Naatjes (Rockies, 22nd).

4. Florida (7). The Gators were hammered for a second straight year by the draft, losing six players who were selected in the first two rounds. They still brought in more drafted players than any other four-year school. SS Ryan Raburn (Devil Rays, 18th), 3B Pat Osborn (Angels, 22nd) and two key junior-college recruits from California, 2B Aaron Davidson (Cardinals, 11th) and 2B Mark Kiger (Red Sox, 27th), should make an immediate impact.

5. Texas A&M (4). The Aggies will look to RHP Todd Deininger (Cubs, fifth) and LHP Grant Gregg (Twins, ninth) to replace departed first-rounders Chance Capel and Casey Fossum. But their biggest catch was 6-foot-6, 235-pound 1B Travis Wong (Reds, 13th), one of the nation’s top power hitters and a key player for Team USA as it won the world junior crown.

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