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Baseball America’s recruiting class rankings, compiled by national writer Teddy Cahill, are based on conversations with college coaches and pro scouts across the country this fall, as well as countless more discussions during the spring as a part our information-gathering for the 2017 draft. The rank column in the charts below refers to the 2017 BA 500 (which included all draft-eligible players). Draft references are for 2017 unless otherwise noted. The rankings do not consider transfers from four-year schools.
The Commodores escaped the draft with their class fully intact and hauled in a record 10 players from the BA 500. As a result, Vanderbilt tops the recruiting rankings for the fifth time (2005, '11, '12, '15) and extends its record streak of Top 25 classes to 13 years. This year's class was largely assembled by pitching coach Scott Brown and former recruiting coordinator Travis Jewett, who left to become head coach at Tulane last July. D.J. Svihlik took over from Jewett last year, before Baxter replaced him this summer. While the Commodores' coaching staff has had more turnover than usual in the last 15 months, the newcomers have stuck together and present a deep, talented class for Vanderbilt to build around for the next few years. Eder headlines the class and has frontline starter upside thanks to his size and arm strength. His fastball sits around 90 mph and he pairs it with a curveball that is inconsistent, but has the makings of an above-average pitch. Like Eder, Brown, Fisher, Gobillot and Hickman all have impressive size, standing 6-foot-4 or taller. Brown and Gobillot have the best arm strength of the group and have both touched 96 mph with their fastballs, but are still working to refine other parts of their games. Fisher provides the most projection and has a fast, loose arm that gives him a chance to eventually throw his fastball in the mid 90s when he fills out his frame. Hickman doesn't match his new teammates' stuff, but his pitchability, deception and durable build should allow him to immediately carve out a role on the Commodores' staff. Led by Clarke and Martin, the class' position players are also strong. Martin is an athletic, versatile player who has the tools to stay up the middle and with above-average speed and a feel for hitting. Clarke is a bat-first catcher, but his tools give him a chance to become a solid defender in time. Gonzalez fits the third base profile well thanks to his above-average power and arm strength. Davis and DeMarco are both above-average runners with good feel for the barrel. Davis is a slightly better runner, while DeMarco offers more power potential and is a little more advanced defensively.
|Rank||Name, Pos.||B-T||Ht.||Wt.||Drafted||Previous school|
|69||Jake Eder, lhp||L-L||6-4||210||Mets (34)||Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.|
|134||Austin Martin, ss||R-R||6-0||170||Indians (37)||Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville|
|167||Philip Clarke, c||L-R||5-11||190||Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville|
|213||Tyler Brown, rhp||R-R||6-5||220||Reds (26)||Crestview HS, Greenwich, Ohio|
|242||Jayson Gonzalez, 3b||R-R||6-2||210||Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif.|
|275||Joe Gobillot, lhp||L-L||6-6||240||St. John’s School, Houston|
|326||Hugh Fisher, lhp||L-L||6-5||185||Briarcrest Christian School, Memphis|
|364||Pat DeMarco, of||R-R||5-11||205||Yankees (24)||Winder-Barrow HS, Winder, Ga.|
|368||Cooper Davis, of||L-R||5-11||185||Blue Jays (25)||St. Aloysius Gonzaga SS, Mississauga, Ont.|
|437||Mason Hickman, rhp||R-R||6-6||230||Pope John Paul II HS, Hendersonville, Tenn.|