The Dandy Dozen: Top 12 Recruiting Classes
By Will Kimmey
These are the nationís top 12 recruiting classes. For 2005 draft picks, the team and round are in parentheses. Asterisks denote junior college transfers.
Recruiting coordinator: Erik Bakich. Key recruits: Pedro Alvarez, 3b (Red Sox, 14); Nick Christiani, rhp; Ryan Flaherty, ss; Diallo Fon, of (Yankees, 49); Brett Jacobson, rhp (Diamondbacks, 11); Josh Zeid, rhp.
Alvarez, Fon, Flaherty, outfielder Kurt Lipton and transfer catchers Parker Hanks (UCLA) and Matt Meingasner (Broward, Fla., CC) should offer instant improvement to an offense that ranked 11th in runs scored among SEC teams and 202nd nationally. An influx of power arms should help maintain a staff that led the SEC in ERA and ranked 17th nationally.
2. ARIZONA STATE
Recruiting coordinator: Jay Sferra. Key recruits: Ike Davis, of/1b/lhp (Devil Rays, 19); Matt Hall, 2b/ss (Angels, 8); Preston Paramore, c (Mets, 22); Ryan Sontag, of; Jeff Urlaub, lhp (Devil Rays, 26); Brett Wallace, 3b (Blue Jays, 42).
Arizona Stateís second strong recruiting haul in as many years will cushion the loss of Travis Buck, Tuffy Gosewisch and Jeff Larish from the 2005 College World Series team. Davis, who led Chaparral High of Scottsdale, Ariz., to two top-10 final national rankings and was the MVP of the 2004 Aflac All-America game, could join Hall, Paramore and Wallace as lineup regulars as freshmen. Sontag was the Big 10 Conference freshman of the year at Michigan State a year ago.
Recruiting coordinator: Tommy Harmon. Key recruits: Jordan Danks, of (White Sox, 19); Joey Parigi, lhp/of; Kyle Russell, of; Brad Suttle, 3b (Angels, 21), Kyle Walker, lhp.
Texas filled needs of lefthanded pitching (signing seven lefties), infielders and catchers. It also added tremendous power to the outfield with first-round talents Danks and Russell. Transfers Chais Fuller (Sacramento City College) and Steve Clevenger (Southeastern Louisiana) will vie for the vacant shortstop position while two more newcomers Preston Pehrson (Jacksonville) and Brett Lewis (Texas-Arlington) look to fill the catching void.
4. SOUTH CAROLINA
Recruiting coordinator: Jim Toman. Key recruits: *Robbie Grinestaff, 3b; Reese Havens, ss (Rockies, 29); DeAngelo Mack, of; *Trent Kline, c; Justin Smoak, 1b (Athletics, 16).
Smoak, a high school teammate of 2005 freshman All-American Matt Wieters of Georgia Tech, and Havens are good friends who each won state titles as seniors and were among the top 50 prep prospects in the 2005 draft class. That duo along with Grinestaff should offer an immediate offensive upgrade. Lefty Alex Farotto (Greer, S.C.) should become a factor on a staff that lost three senior weekend starters.
Recruiting coordinator: Pat Shine. Key recruits: Ryan Babineau, c (Brewers, 13); Brandon Crawford, ss; Cody Decker, 1B/DH; *David Huff, lhp (Phillies, 19); Tim Murphy, lhp/of (Angels 11).
Coming off a 15-41 season, the Bruins needed a large, talented class and got just that. Huff will slot into the weekend rotation while JC transfer Tyson Brummett and freshman lefties Andy Suiter and Robert Dickman should also contribute. Murphy will become a factor out of the bullpen and as the everyday right fielder. Babineau, Crawford and Decker should all join him as regulars in the lineup.
Recruiting coordinator: Rod Delmonico. Key recruits: Tony Delmonico, ss; *Deunte Heath, rhp (Angels, 23); Josh Lindblom, rhp (Astros, 3); *Ty Pryor, rhp; *Brian Van Kirk, of.
Last yearís class wasnít large, but boasted two of the nationís best freshmen in J.P. Arencibia and James Adkins. This class could be better because of its power arms. Lindblom, the highest-drafted player to attend a Division I school, will join Heath and Pryor in fighting for rotation spots. Delmonico, the son of coach Rod Delmonico, makes for an even more interesting story. Heíll graduate from high school early and should step right in at shortstop in a season when he normally would have been battling for position in the draftís first two rounds.
7. LOUISIANA STATE
Recruiting coordinator: Turtle Thomas. Key recruits: Jarred Bogany, of (Pirates, 15); Louis Coleman, rhp (Braves, 28); Robert Lara, c (Twins, 17); Jason Ogata, ss (Padres, 50); Derik Olvey, rhp.
The normally well-stocked Tigers might need a handful of fresh faces to step right in to key roles after fielding a junior- and senior-dominated squad in 2005. Ogata, the best prep player in Oregon, intrigues with his power bat and could immediately fill the void at shortstop. Boganyís raw skill set reminds scouts of Torii Hunter because of his combination of speed and power in center field. Olvey, a Notre Dame transfer, brings a much-needed power arm to Baton Rouge.
Recruiting coordinator: Kevin McMullan. Key recruits: David Adams, inf. (Tigers, 21); David Caldwell, c; Jeremy Farrell, 3b (Rockies, 41); Shooter Hunt, rhp (Rangers, 34); Jacob Thompson, rhp.
Brian OíConnor enters his third season with his second strong class. Adams rated as Floridaís No. 6 prospect last spring, but slipped in the draft because of his desire to attend college. Farrell stands 6-foot-4 with good power and baseball bloodlines (his father John is the Indiansí farm director). Either player could replace Ryan Zimmerman at third base, with Adams capable of handling a middle-infield slot as well. Hunt and the 6-foot-6 Thompson both reach 90 mph with solid breaking balls.
Recruiting coordinator: Dean Stotz. Key recruits: Joey August, of; Jeremy Bleich, lhp; Jason Castro, c (Red Sox, 43); Brent Milleville, c (Angels, 39); Sean Ratliff, of/lhp; Austin Yount, of.
A commitment to Stanford tends to scare teams away from expending picks on a player, so thatís not a vital measuring stick for a Cardinal class. Bleich and Ratliff helped USA Baseballís junior national team to a silver medal at the Pan Am games in September. Milleville rated as the draftís second-best prep catcher for his size and power bat. Yount is the nephew of former Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount.
Recruiting coordinator: Chris Finwood (now coach at Western Kentucky). Key recruits: Mike Bianucci, of/inf.; Justin Bristow, 3b/rhp (Royals, 22); Evan Crawford, lhp; Luke Greinke, ss/rhp; Bryan Woodall, rhp.
Draft status says little about this class, starting with Bristow, a potential second- or third-rounder who slipped because of signability. He and Greinke, the younger brother of Royals starter Zack, should slot into the left side of Auburnís infield immediately. Each also reaches 90 mph off the mound. Bianucci led the Clark Griffth League in home runs last summer. Crawford rated as Alabamaís top prep pitcher.
Recruiting coordinator: Dan McDonnell. Key recruits: Phillip Irwin, rhp; Lance Lynn, rhp (Mariners, 6); *Craig Rodriguez, lhp; Cody Satterwhite, rhp (Indians, 37); *Garrett White, lhp.
Mississippi lost five pitchers who accounted for 77 percent of its innings a year ago and responded by signing a deep class of arms. Satterwhite attended Hillcrest Christian School in Byram, which also produced former Rebels Stephen Head and Seth Smith. He and Lynn both reach the mid-90s. Rodriguez, White and fellow JC transfer Matt Rozier, a righthander, will add a veteran influence on what looks to be a young staff.
12. SAN DIEGO
Recruiting coordinator: Eric Valenzuela. Key recruits: Scott Denault, rhp; Brian Matusz, lhp (Angels, 4); Ricardo Pecina, lhp; Josh Romanski, lhp (Padres, 15); *Anthony Siama, rhp.
All but one starter returns from 2005, so it makes sense that pitchers highlight San Diegoís list of newcomers. Matusz is the highest draft pick to ever attend USD and second-highest pick to land on a Division I campus this fall. He and Romanski work in the low 90s and should contribute quickly. Pecina was an all-state performer as a San Diego prep while Siama earned all-California juco honors as a closer at Santa Ana JC.
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