2021 Big 12 College Baseball Recruiting Classes Breakdown
Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program in college baseball. After presenting the Top 25 recruiting classes and the 10 classes that just missed the cut, Baseball America is breaking down every class in several of the biggest conferences in the country.
Presented here is team-by-team analysis for the Big 12. Texas Christian had the conference’s top-ranked class and Oklahoma State made the next 10 classes. Links to full breakdowns for those teams can be found below, as well as a snapshot view of the class. Full breakdowns for the teams that didn't make the rankings can be found here.
Player rankings refer to the 2021 BA 500, which included all draft-eligible players. Players transferring from four-year schools were not considered for the recruiting class rankings.
Recruiting coordinator: Mike Taylor
Top recruit: Mason Marriott, RHP
Baylor has consistently landed solid recruiting classes under head coach Steve Rodriguez and the Bears have another one this year. Marriott is the highest-profile player in the group and brings tremendous upside to Waco. His fastball sits in the low 90s and his slider can be a swing-and-miss offering that he throws in any count. He also throws a changeup and curveball and could develop into a weekend starter.
Righthander Max Miller was a late addition to the class after he decommitted from Arizona State following the coaching change in Tempe. He has a strong frame at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and offers intriguing projection. His stuff isn’t overwhelming—his fastball sits in the upper 80s now—but he gets good life on his fastball and an excellent spin rate on his breaking ball. If his velocity ticks up, he could take a big jump. An injury this spring sidelined righthander Cody Howard, but he’s a good athlete and adds another high-end arm to the class.
Catcher Cort Castle stands out for his advanced ability behind the plate and strong arm. Shortstop Cody Grebeck does a lot of things well on the diamond and has a smooth lefthanded swing. Infielder Chase Pendley has a strong track record for hitting in high school and the righthanded batter creates good bat speed.
Recruiting coordinator: Ritchie Price
Top recruit: Kolby Dougan, RHP
The Jayhawks bring a solid, well-balanced class to Lawrence. Dougan is coming off a strong freshman season at Cloud County (Kan.) JC and could make an immediate impact at Kansas. He’s undersized at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, but he has a fast arm and can run his fastball into the low 90s. Righthander Knolton Clark gives the class another junior college transfer on the mound. He attacks hitters with a fastball-slider combination and can run it into the low 90s.
Infielder Tyler Gerety is a good athlete who also played basketball and football in high school. On the diamond, he stands out the most for his righthanded swing and feel for the barrel. He can move around the infield, which will help him find a spot in the lineup. Outfielder Chase Jans was one of the fastest players in the prep class and also stands out for his athleticism. That combination plays well in the outfield and the righthanded hitter has exciting upside. Shortstop Payton Allen has good infield actions and a strong arm. A righthanded hitter, he produces consistent contact at the plate.
Jonathan Cymrot has a long track record of success in high school and can do a bit of everything on the diamond. His biggest upside is on the mound and the righthander has a good three-pitch mix and advanced feel for his breaking ball. He also has a strong righthanded swing with some power potential. The class also includes Devin Neal, who is also playing running back for the Kansas football team. On the diamond, his speed, athleticism and righthanded swing play well.
Recruiting coordinator: Ryan Connolly
Top recruit: Jackson Wentworth, RHP (No. 476)
K-State this spring had an older team and then lost five players in the draft, so it has a large group of newcomers this fall. The Wildcats brought in some experienced players, both through the transfer portal and the junior college ranks, and their freshmen, led by Wentworth, also add exciting upside. Wentworth has shown good control and feel at times but will need to add more consistent velocity to reach his ceiling. His fastball has reached 94 mph and he combines it with a good, deep curveball and a promising changeup. He’s advanced enough to quickly settle into a role on staff and has Friday night upside.
K-State sent out some of its incoming freshmen to play in the Futures League this summer and shortstop Kaelen Culpepper and outfielder Brendan Jones turned in standout performances in the league. Culpepper has exciting upside thanks to his defensive ability and impressive track record of success at the plate. He has a strong arm and easy infield actions to go with good feel as a righthanded hitter. He this summer in the Futures League hit .301/.423/.391 with 11 stolen bases. Jones hit. 336/.434/.478 with 21 stolen bases. He has plus speed and uses it well, both on the bases and with an offensive approach that is geared toward contact.
The Wildcats’ junior college transfers bring impact potential to Manhattan. Shortstop Cash Rugely put up impressive offensive numbers while at Navarro (Texas) and was drafted in the 40th round by the Cardinals in 2019. He also is a solid defender with good actions on the infield. Righthander Landry Wideman this spring served as the closer for McLennan (Texas), helping the Highlanders to win the national championship. His fastball reaches the mid 90s to go with a good changeup and slider. Righthander Blake Corsentino also has a good three-pitch mix and is coming off a solid summer in the Northwoods League.
Recruiting coordinator: Clay Overcash
Top recruit: David Sandlin, RHP (No. 356)
Oklahoma this year has a large, deep class. The Sooners dipped heavily into the junior college ranks for this class, including Sandlin and lefthander/first baseman Chazz Martinez, who went unsigned after he was drafted in the 12th round by the Pirates. But they also brought in a big crop of prep players as well, balancing the class.
Sandlin, listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, is still raw on the mound but comes with plenty of upside. He was a late bloomer and made a jump in the last year that saw his velocity spike. His fastball gets up to 98 mph and sits around 93, and his splitter plays well off the pitch. Martinez began his college career at UC Santa Barbara, where he appeared in four games as a hitter in 2019. He transferred to Orange Coast (Calif.) JC, where he tapped into his two-way ability and impressed the Pirates on the mound. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he pairs it with a good slider. He has power as a lefthanded hitter and could help the Sooners as a hitter, though his biggest upside is on the mound. Righthander Griffin Miller and lefthander Carter Campbell give the class two more impactful junior college transfer pitchers.
First baseman Max McGwire, like his father Mark McGwire, has a powerful righthanded swing. He’s still learning how to consistently get to his big raw power in games but once he does, he has significant upside. Shortstop Brock Daniels stands out for his athleticism, defense and above-average speed. His well-rounded skill set could quickly see him carve out a role for the Sooners. Righthander Aaron Calhoun is undersized at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, but he’s a good athlete with a powerful arm. His fastball gets up to 94 mph and he pairs it with a good curveball that he can throw for strikes.
Recruiting coordinator: Justin Seeley
Top recruit: Roc Riggio, 2B/OF (No. 176)
Ranking: Next 10
The Cowboys again bring one of the best classes in the Big 12 to Stillwater. They also this summer played heavily in the transfer portal, ultimately injecting a lot of new talent into the roster. Riggio, who was drafted in the 11th round by the Brewers, figures to be one of the best incoming freshmen in the country after a standout prep career. Infielder Zach Ehrhard (Red Sox, 13th round) and lefthander Ryan Ure (Rangers, 17th round) were also both drafted but opted not to sign. Erhard has a good feel for hitting to go with defensive versatility and Ure has a projectable build and good feel on the mound.
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Recruiting coordinator: Sean Allen
Top recruit: Josh Stewart, RHP (No. 198)
After landing three straight top-10 classes, Texas this year missed the rankings but still brings in a strong group of newcomers. Stewart, a prototypical Texas prep righthander, headlines the class and gives the Longhorns a premium pitcher to add to the staff. He has a projectable 6-foot-4, 210-pound build and can run his fastball up to 96 mph with a high spin rate, though it typically sits around 90 mph now. His slider also has plus potential, and he has a good feel for pitching that gives him a chance to make a quick impact.
Gavin Kash has a strong, 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame and plenty of tools. He has power potential in his lefthanded swing and has a track record of success against top prep pitching. His athleticism plays well defensively, and he has the versatility to play an infield or outfield corner. Ace Whitehead is an elite athlete who was a star quarterback in high school, earning all-state honors in Texas. He has two-way ability and could end up as either a lefthander or outfielder for the Longhorns. He has well above-average speed and a good lefthanded swing, but can also reach the low 90s on the mound.
Texas went into the junior college ranks for a pair of big, powerful righthanders in Jace Hutchins and Zane Morehouse. Hutchins this spring was working his way back from Tommy John surgery but showed big stuff with a mid-90s fastball and a good changeup. He struggled with control at times this spring but if he can find more consistency as he gets back to full strength, he has significant upside. Morehouse has a big fastball that has reached 98 mph and sits in the mid 90s. He pairs it with a good slider and that combination will quickly help him earn innings for the Longhorns.
Recruiting coordinator: John DiLaura
Top recruit: Thomas DiLandri, OF (No. 139)
Ranking: No. 12
A coaching change that saw Kirk Saarloos promoted to head coach from pitching coach/recruiting coordinator after Jim Schlossnagle was hired away by Texas A&M didn’t slow down the Horned Frogs' recruiting. They fared well in the draft, losing just a couple commitments, and landed their seventh straight Top 25 class, the longest active streak in the Big 12. DiLandri was one of the toolsiest players in the prep class and offers plenty of upside. Righthanders Caedmon Parker (222) and Gray Thomas (467) combine both solid present stuff with intriguing upside.
Recruiting coordinator: J-Bob Thomas
Top recruit: Kye Robinson, RHP (No. 490)
Texas Tech took one of the biggest hits in the draft, as it saw five of its recruits drafted and sign for more than $2.8 million. Still, the Red Raiders bring a talented group to Lubbock, including some impact players.
Robinson comes to Texas Tech from Virginia and has an ultra-projectable 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame. At his best, his fastball sits in the low 90s and he mixes in a promising breaking ball and changeup. He was inconsistent this spring, but if he can add strength and continue to hone some of the rough edges of his game, he could develop into a weekend starter in time. Lefthanders Mason Molina and Logan Whitfield have deceptive deliveries that help their stuff play up. Both have fastballs that sit around 90 mph and play well off their curveballs and could take a jump with added strength. Catcher Hudson White has a strong arm and is a good receiver behind the plate. He has a strong righthanded swing and is a good athlete – capable of playing on the infield as well as catching.
As always, Texas Tech dipped into the junior college ranks to supplement the class. Righthander Bo Blessie was drafted by the Nationals coming out of high school and began his college career at Nebraska before transferring to junior college. His fastball gets into the mid 90s and he has plenty of upside. Righthander Shay Hartis began his college career at Dallas Baptist. His fastball works in the low 90s and he has a good feel for his four-pitch arsenal.
Recruiting coordinator: Steve Sabins
Top recruit: Grant Hussey, 1B/OF
The Mountaineers have a big group of newcomers primarily built around players from the region around Morgantown. They also supplemented their traditional recruiting class with a strong group of four-year transfers.
Hussey has a big, strong build at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and a powerful lefthanded swing. He produces easy power and figures to be a middle-of-the-order presence for the Mountaineers. He projects as a first baseman long term, but his arm strength and athleticism also play in an outfield corner. Infielder JJ Wetherholt has a good feel for hitting and this summer batted .414/.474/.569 in the Prospect League. The lefthanded hitter creates good bat speed and has some power potential. Third baseman Evan Smith also has a strong lefthanded swing and adds another hitter with power potential to the class.
Righthander Tommy Beam has a big, projectable frame at 6-foot-7, 190 pounds and can run his fastball into the low 90s to go with a promising curveball. He’s a good athlete and has plenty of upside as he physically matures. Righthander Chris Sleeper attacks hitters with a good sinker-slider combination from a three-quarters arm slot. His fastball can get into the low 90s with running action. Righthander David Hagaman has a big, strong build at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and he uses his size well to throw from a downhill plane. His fastball gets into the low 90s and he throws a lot of strikes, thanks in part to an easy, repeatable delivery.