Image credit: Bend catcher Beau Sylvester (Photo courtesy of the West Coast League)
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. Four teams from the conference ranked in the Top 25 and one more 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 four teams that didn’t make the rankings can be found here.
The recruiting class rankings take into account all players from the high school and junior college ranks and were compiled following many conversations with coaches and scouts. Four-year transfers were not considered for the ranking. All player rankings are from the top 500 draft prospects list, which includes all draft-eligible players.
The Bears this summer turned over the roster significantly as a result of the coaching change. Coach Mitch Thompson and Dillon brought in a large class of newcomers that’s especially deep in junior college transfers. With the new coaching staff’s background—Thompson was hired away from McLennan (Texas) JC and his assistants both have experience in the junior college ranks—that approach could be a fruitful one for the Bears.
McKinney leads the freshman class. He has a projectable build at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and a lively, low-90s fastball. He pairs it with an above-average curveball that he has good feel for and can also mix in a changeup. He throws a lot of strikes and offers a lot of upside. Catcher Walker Polk has a strong frame at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and the switch-hitter has a powerful swing. He’s a steady defender behind the plate. Infielders Kolby Branch and Jordan Medellin both stand out for their athleticism and speed. Medellin is a switch-hitter and has a strong arm that plays well at shortstop. Branch has a quick righthanded swing and was one of the top performers this spring in the Dallas prep ranks.
Among the junior college transfers, Gavin Brzozowski gives the Bears an exciting two-way talent as an outfielder and lefthander. He missed this spring due to injury but got back in action during the summer. He has a quick lefthanded swing with some power potential and a big arm that plays well on the mound. Righthander Gabe Craig has a big 6-foot-6 build and a big arm to match. He can run his fastball up to 97 mph and could be a weapon out of the bullpen. Righthander Andrew Petrowski also brings a powerful arm to the staff. His fastball gets up to 98 mph and sits in the mid 90s to go with a sharp slider. Infielder Casey Sunseri began his college career at Texas State before transferring to junior college and now Baylor. He’s a good athlete with a good feel at the plate. Outfielder Hunter Simmons has a powerful righthanded bat and some exciting speed on the bases.
Recruiting coordinator: Jon Coyne
Top prospect: Jackson Cobb, SS
The Jayhawks this summer hit the transfer portal hard as new coach Dan Fitzgerald took over the program. The Jayhawks brought in 13 four-year transfers and that group ranked No. 25 among transfer classes. They also have a large traditional recruiting class, thanks in part to keeping their freshman class together, despite the coaching change.
Cobb is one of several key junior college transfers. The lefthanded hitter is a good athlete with a simple, easy swing. His defensive tools play well in the middle of the infield. Outfielder Janson Reeder has a strong build at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and a smooth lefthanded swing. He has a good approach at the plate and some power potential. Outfielder Mike Koszewski is a lefthanded hitter with a disciplined approach at the plate. He’s an above-average runner who uses that speed well on the bases. Righthander Hunter Cashero could slot right into the bullpen for the Jayhawks. Cashero has a fastball that reaches 96 mph to go with a good slider.
Kansas has had success recruiting the Hawaii prep ranks in the past and the Jayhawks went back to the islands in this class for righthander Parker Grant and catcher Kodey Shojinaga. Grant stands out for his pitchability and four-pitch mix. He has a projectable build and a fastball that gets into the upper 80s. Shojinaga came on strong last fall and has an easy righthanded swing. He has a strong arm behind the plate and the athleticism to play a variety of positions. Righthander Owen Millar, a Canadian native, has a strong build at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. His fastball gets into the low 90s and he pairs it with a sharp slider. Meanwhile, righthander Ike Cobb is a Lawrence High product who chose to stay home for college. Listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he has a big frame and a good fastball-curveball combination.
Kansas State brings in a solid class of newcomers that’s especially deep in athletic position players. That starts with Bennett, who has well above-average speed. The lefthanded hitter has a good feel for the barrel and makes a lot of hard contact. His speed plays well both on the bases and in center field.
Outfielder Carson Queck has a compact righthanded swing and puts the barrel on the ball consistently. He’s an above-average runner and has a strong arm. Catcher Jayden Lobliner has a strong build at 5-foot-9, 190 pounds and a promising righthanded swing. He’s a good defender behind the plate and has a strong arm. Dalton Beck, a junior college transfer, has two-way ability as a lefthander and outfielder. On the mound, his fastball sits in the upper 80s and he mixes in a curveball and changeup. At the plate, he has a smooth lefthanded swing and solid power potential. Outfielder Lawson Knight, also a junior college transfer, is an above-average runner who covers ground well in the outfield. The lefthanded hitter has a skill set that fits at the top of the order.
Lefthander Cole Wisenbaker has a projectable frame at 6-foot-1, 160 pounds and does a good job of throwing strikes. His fastball gets into the upper 80s and his changeup and slider both show promise. Righthander Mason Buss has a promising three-pitch mix and an aggressive mentality on the mound. His fastball works in the upper 80s. Righthander Logan Dobberstein has a big 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame and was a three-sport standout in high school, playing basketball and football as well. His fastball gets into the upper 80s and there could be more as he focuses on pitching. Righthander Andrew Evans attacks hitters with a hard fastball-slider combination, touching 90 mph.
Oklahoma, the 2022 national runner-up, lost the most players to the draft this summer. To fill all those gaps on the roster, the Sooners bring a large recruiting class that’s heavy on junior college players, like Carsten and righthander Carson Pierce (427). Carsten has a projectable 6-foot-7, 235-pound frame and throws his fastball in the low 90s. Pierce also has a big frame at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and a solid three-pitch arsenal. His fastball has been up to 96 mph to go with a good slider and changeup.
The Oklahoma State class underwent some significant changes during the summer, as the Cowboys took advantage of some coaching changes to add premium talent. They also lost a couple players, most notably No. 1 overall pick Jackson Holliday, but the end result is a class that still ranks as the best in the Big 12. Sylvester was committed to Washington until Lindsay Meggs retired in June. The Hawaiian native instead comes to Stillwater following an impressive summer in the West Coast League that saw him hit eight home runs in 33 games.
Texas had a veteran-laden roster in 2022 and lost several players to the draft and graduation. As a result, the Longhorns brought in a large class that is especially strong among position players. Like the incoming class, Rodriguez is new to Austin himself, as he was hired this summer following seven years as head coach at Baylor. Flores has smooth actions at shortstop, soft hands and a plus arm—all the tools needed to play shortstop. He has a simple, easy swing and righthanded power potential. With Trey Faltine moving on to pro ball, Flores is positioned to succeed him at shortstop in Austin.
TCU has landed a top-20 recruiting class for eight straight years and this class fits right in. The Horned Frogs got a boost when Silva formally opted out of the draft, but the class also has solid depth. Silva was regarded as one of the best defenders in the prep class and could lock down shortstop for the Horned Frogs. He has good hands, instincts and arm strength and is an above-average runner, all the tools required to play up the middle. He’s not as advanced offensively but has a good feel at the plate and as he physically matures, he should grow into a more impactful hitter.
Texas Tech has a strong all-around class, bringing in some premium athleticism among the position players and an exciting group of pitchers, a few of whom made big jumps this spring. Curtis and Gage Harrelson (378) are two of the fastest players in the draft class and both can turn in top-of-the-scale run times. Curtis is a righthanded hitter whose quick hands give him above-average bat speed. He covers a lot of ground in center field and can be a plus defender. Harrelson, a lefthanded hitter, has a funky swing but he generates plenty of bat speed and has a long track record for hitting.
The Mountaineers brought in perhaps the best class in program history, highlighted by Van Kempen, who was drafted in the 20th round by the Cardinals, and Tre Keels, another highly rated recruit.
Listed at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Van Kempen has an athletic, projectable build and was one of the younger players in the draft class. His fastball sits in the low 90s, touching 95 mph, and he mixes in a curveball and changeup. He offers significant upside and looks like a future weekend starter. Lefthander Maxx Yehl also has a large frame at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds and throws from a difficult angle for opposing hitters. His fastball gets into the low 90s and he figures to add more velocity as he physically matures. Righthander Bryce Amos gives the Mountaineers another large pitcher, listed at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds. His fastball gets into the low 90s with room for more in the future and he has a good feel for spin. Righthander Robby Porco also fits the profile of a big, tall pitcher that West Virginia is loading up on. Listed at 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, his fastball touches 92 mph, and he pairs it well with a curveball.
Keels is a very athletic player who has the versatility to play on the infield or in the outfield. The righthanded hitter has a short, quick swing that produces plenty of bat speed, portending more power to come. He’s a plus runner and brings an electric skill set to the lineup. Outfielder Skylar King also stands out for his athleticism and was a standout football player as well. The lefthanded hitter has quick hands and a steady approach at the plate. West Virginia brings in a pair of catchers in the class in Zack Ramppen and Logan Sauve. Ramppen has a good understanding of the game and is a solid defender behind the plate. Sauve has good catch-and-throw skills and a steady righthanded swing.