2017 Recruiting Rankings: The Next 10
SEE ALSO: Top 25 2017 Recruiting Classes
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With 298 Division I college baseball programs, it isn’t easy to break into the Top 25 recruiting class rankings. Narrowing down the field is a difficult task that always leaves some impressive classes off the list. With that in mind, here are 10 more teams that fell just outside the Top 25, listed in alphabetical order.
Central Florida The Knights lost to the draft or graduation 15 players from last year’s team that won the American Athletic Conference championship. UCF will reload with a 20-man class that went heavy on junior college players to replace some of the experience it lost. Righthander Jordan Spicer (No. 144 on the BA 500) leads the junior college transfers. His lively fastball sits in the low 90s and he pairs it with an above-average slider. Righthander Jarrett Montgomery has a solid four-pitch arsenal and has a competitive makeup that could play well either as a starter or reliever. Outfielder Brody Wofford and infielder Tyler Osik, the son of former big leaguer Keith Osik, helped Chipola (Fla.) JC win the national championship this spring. Wofford has a smooth lefthanded swing, while Osik adds pop to the lineup. Righthander Daniel Litchfield comes to UCF as a sophomore after a solid spring at St. Johns River (Fla.) JC and winning the Florida Collegiate League’s Cy Young award this summer. He throws in the low 90s and has an athletic, projectable build. Among the prep players in the class, outfielder Dalton Wingo (No. 461) stands out for raw tools. He has a mature approach at the plate, at least average raw power and plus speed, giving him a chance to quickly make an impact in the lineup.
Coastal Carolina The Chanticleers loaded up on pitching and wound up with one of the best recruiting classes in program history. Lefthander Scott Kobos and righthander Zach McCambley (No. 262) lead Coastal’s newcomers on the mound. Kobos started his college career as an outfielder at UNC Asheville. He transferred to St. Johns River (Fla.) JC and converted to pitching. He throws in the upper 80s, touching 92 mph, with intriguing upside. McCambley’s velocity has made a jump since the spring, a combination of getting back to full health and improved conditioning, and he is now throwing in the low 90s to go with his above-average curveball. He figures to quickly take on an important role in the bullpen or possibly get into the mix in the rotation if he continues to progress. Lefthander Dylan Gentry also looks ready to help the Chants thanks to a fastball that sits around 90 mph and a good breaking ball, while righthanders Shaddon Peavyhouse and Joey Salvato offer intriguing upside. Tor Sehnert (No. 482) is a raw, toolsy outfielder with a solid combination of power and speed. First baseman Zach Biermann, a transfer from Polk State (Fla.) JC also brings physicality to the lineup, and shortstop Parker Chavers is a plus runner whose athleticism plays well up the middle.
Georgia Tech For the second year in a row, the Yellow Jackets’ class lands just outside the Top 25 and is headlined by a righhander/shortstop. Last year, that was Xzavion Curry, who became Georgia Tech’s Opening Day starter. This year, it is Oscar Serratos (No. 313), an unsigned 14th-rounder. Serratos, unlike Curry, is a position player first, with quick hands and a line-drive approach at the plate. He could quickly take over as Georgia Tech’s shortstop. Outfielder Colin Hall joins his older brother Carter in playing for their father’s team. Colin Hall has a solid approach at the plate and likely will start his career as a corner outfielder, with a chance to also pitch some. Baron Radcliff turned down offers to play quarterback from Power Five Conference schools and will now focus solely on baseball for the first time. He is raw and toolsy, but projects as a prototypical right fielder once he gets more reps on the diamond. Righthander Hugh Chapman and lefthander Brant Hurter give the Yellow Jackets a pair of pitchers who can quickly take on important roles.
Mississippi The Rebels landed the top-ranked class last year after not losing any players to the draft. They weren’t quite as lucky this year, as two recruits were drafted in the second round and went on to sign. Even after those losses, Ole Miss still has a solid group of newcomers. Lefthander Jordan Fowler (No. 209) has a projectable frame and already has a good feel for his craft. His fastball sits around 90 mph and has a chance to have three average-or-better pitches once he physically matures. Tim Elko (No. 248) is an advanced hitter with above-average power. Questions about whether he was limited defensively to first base helped push him to school, but he has a chance to take over at third base this season for the Rebels. Shortstop Anthony Servideo increased his profile with a strong spring and has a skill set that should play up the middle. He is an above-average runner and has good on-base skills. Jacob Adams, a transfer from Crowder (Mo.) JC, could also factor into the Rebels’ infield plans after they lost two starters from last year’s team. Outfielder Carl Gindl has some feel for the barrel and adds speed to the Rebels’ lineup.
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North Carolina A year after bringing in a bumper crop of high school pitchers in the No. 2 ranked class, the Tar Heels’ class this year leans more toward position players and serves to deepen the roster in some key areas. While the strength of the class is with hitters, it is headlined by another high-end prep pitcher. Righthander Joey Lancelotti (No. 190) is undersized at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, but he is athletic and runs his fastball up to 95 mph and locates it well. He mixes in a good curveball and has enough pitchability to compete for innings right away in college. Infielder Ben Casparius, the Connecticut Gatorade player of the year, is a solid hitter who fits well at third base. He could also see some time on the mound, where he throws in the low 90s. North Carolina also brought in a few junior college transfers who could quickly push into the lineup. Jackson Hesterlee was the junior college player of the year in Alabama and is likely to quickly take over one of the corner outfield spots thanks to his lefthanded power. Second baseman Dylan Enwiller and shortstop Dallas Tessar were teammates last season at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC. Tessar is a solid defender and Enwiller has above-average speed that plays well on the bases.
Notre Dame The Fighting Irish’s class got a big boost in March when righthander Joe Boyle became the first player to use a new clause in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement to officially opt out of the draft, locking him into his Notre Dame commitment. Listed at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, Boyle cuts an imposing presence on the mound and can run his fastball up to 96-97 mph to go with a promising, but inconsistent curveball. His control is still inconsistent as well, but he has the tools to take over a spot in the Fighting Irish’s rotation. Righthander Brian Morrell also figures to throw significant innings this spring. He throws plenty of strikes with his solid three-pitch mix. Lefthanders Tom Sheehan and Tommy Vail add depth to the staff and should be able to help out of the bullpen. Among the position players, outfielder Niko Kavadas and catcher David Lamanna stand out. Lamanna is a little undersized, but has solid catch-and-throw skills and hits a lot of line drives. Kavadas has big power potential and profiles well as a corner infielder. The class’s X-factor is Cole Kmet, who is playing football for the Irish. He was rated the No. 3 tight end in the 2017 class and his baseball experience was limited to his high school’s season. As a result, he was not well known in baseball circles. But his profile rose after he helped St. Viator High to an Illinois state title this spring, and he’ll also play baseball in South Bend. On the diamond he has significant raw lefthanded power and would likely profile at first base. He also could see time on the mound as a 6-foot-5 lefthander with an upper-80s fastball.
Oregon State The Beavers have one of the strongest group of returners in the country this year and add to that another solid recruiting class. Righthander Kevin Abel (No. 216) has a chance to be Oregon State’s next star on the mound and could work his way into an already crowded rotation. He combines a high baseball IQ and advanced pitchability with impressive stuff. He commands his fastball well and his changeup, curveball and screwball all have plus potential. Kyler McMahon has the tools to be the Beavers’ shortstop of the future. This year, his athleticism and strong arm give him a chance to play third base or in the outfield. Zach Clayton was a three-sport star in high school and was named Wisconsin’s athlete of the year by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He adds a powerful bat to the lineup in the mold of former Beavers’ slugger Dylan Davis. Righthander Nathan Burns and lefthander Christian Chamberlain give the class a pair of high-upside arms. Burns is projectable and already does a good job of throwing strikes with his lively fastball, while Chamberlain has an advanced three-pitch mix and good athleticism.
San Diego State The Aztecs hauled in one of their deepest classes ever, headlined by righthander Daniel Ritcheson (No. 187) and third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 388). Ritcheson is big and physical, and saw his stuff take a jump this spring. He has a heavy fastball that has touched 96 mph to go with a slider that has plus potential. He is still relatively new to pitching after mostly catching while growing up, but has the makings of a frontline starter for SDSU. Schmitt profiles well at third base thanks to his above-average power, arm strength and infield actions. His power comes with some swing-and-miss, but he should be ready to help the Aztecs offensively. Outfielder Sean Ross has big tools and upside, but remains raw. Ross and Schmitt both can hit 90 mph off the mound and, while they are better offensively, have a chance to be two-way players, possibly helping out of the bullpen. Righthander Garrett Hill, a transfer from Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC, has the experience and pitchability to step right into the Aztecs’ rotation. Lefthander Christian Winston offers plenty of upside and projectability, and could in time develop into a weekend starter as he refines his three-pitch mix.
Stanford New coach Dave Esquer inherits a small but talented group of newcomers as he takes over his alma mater following the retirement of longtime coach Mark Marquess. Sluggers Christian Robinson (No. 236) and Nick Brueser (No. 288) highlight the class and have a chance to provide immediate impact. Robinson has a compact lefthanded swing and produces above-average bat speed. He profiles well as a corner outfielder. Brueser packs plus raw power (he won MLB’s Junior Home Run Derby at Petco Park in 2016) and also has good feel for the barrel. He is a solid defensive first baseman. Outfielder Tim Tawa had a stellar prep career in baseball and football, and was named MaxPreps’ male athlete of the year, joining previous winners such as Lonzo Ball, Kyler Murray and Anthony Alford. Tawa is a good runner and showed improved power this summer in the California Collegiate League. Brendan Beck, the younger brother of ace Tristan Beck, adds an intriguing two-way player to the class. Brendan had mostly been an infielder early in his prep career, but has made strides on the mound. He throws his fastball in the upper 80s, but fills up the strike zone and should add more velocity as he physically matures. Righthander Carson Rudd also throws in the upper 80s now, but his 6-foot-5, 175-pound frame offers significant projection.
UC Riverside The Highlanders’ class is led by outfielder Dean Miller, righthander Cole Percival and third baseman Nathan Webb, all of whom went to local schools and were drafted this year. Percival (No. 442), the son of coach Troy Percival, offers significant upside and projection. Listed at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, his fastball sits around 90 mph, with more velocity likely to come, and he has an above-average changeup and a developing curveball. Webb has an exciting set of tools and the versatility to catch and pitch in addition to playing third base. For now, he is best defensively at third, and his power and arm strength profile well at the position. But his plus arm and athleticism give him intriguing potential as a catcher if he is able to refine his defense at the position. Regardless of where he settles defensively, Webb can be a cornerstone in the Highlanders’ lineup. Miller, a transfer from Riverside JC, is toolsy and athletic. He profiles best as a right fielder in pro ball, but his above-average speed gives him a chance to play center field for UCR. Infielder Robert Cruz and righthander Abbott Haffar have a chance to make an immediate impact and the tools to develop in time into solid prospects.