Analyzing The Top 2021 College Baseball Recruiting Classes
Below is a breakdown of the top recruits and names to know in each of the best recruiting classes in the country. To see our 2021 Top 25 recruiting classes, click here.
Recruiting coordinator: Bryant Ward
Top recruit: Thatcher Hurd, RHP (No. 44)
Overview: UCLA has long stood out for its recruiting prowess under head coach John Savage. Now, for the first time in the 22-year history of the recruiting class rankings, the Bruins have the top-ranked class in the nation. They had the third-ranked class after signing day and after losing just one of their recruits to the draft they climbed to No. 1. Both the depth and high-end talent of the class stand out.
Hitters: Outfielder Malakhi Knight (72) is an excellent athlete, a plus runner and is an advanced defender in center field. He has an unconventional swing and had some swing-and-miss issues this spring but excelled this summer in the West Coast League. If he finds consistency at the plate, he has five-tool potential. Outfielder Nick McLain, the younger brother of former UCLA shortstop Matt McLain and Arizona State outfielder Sean McLain, and shortstop Cody Schrier both ranked in the top 125 of the BA 500 before formally removing themselves from the draft. McLain is a switch-hitter with power potential, especially from the right side, has plus speed and has a strong arm. While Matt McLain played center field for UCLA as a freshman before moving to shortstop, Nick figures to stay in the outfield, teaming with Knight for a premium defensive tandem. Schrier has a strong track record of performance on big stages in high school and a solid set of tools. He drives balls to all fields, has plus speed and his glove plays well up the middle. Catcher Jack Holman has a physical frame at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and a powerful lefthanded swing. He’s big for a catcher and will need to improve his throwing, but is a steady receiver, giving him a chance to develop behind the plate. Infielder Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek comes from excellent bloodlines—his mother, Danielle Martin, played softball at UCLA and his father, Mark Grudzielanek, is a former all-star and Gold Glove winner. Martin-Grudzielanek is still growing into his 6-foot-2 frame but has a good righthanded swing and will fit somewhere on the infield, likely either as an offensive second baseman or third baseman. Shortstop Ethan Gourson was a late addition to the class after the coaching change at Arizona, where he had previously been committed. He’s a good defender, has a solid track record of hitting and runs well.
Pitchers: Hurd (44) was a catcher earlier in his prep career before moving to the mound as a sophomore. Listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, his fastball sits around 90 mph, touching 94, and he projects to add more velocity in time. He has good feel for his secondary offerings, especially his downer curveball, and he fills up the strike zone. Gage Jump (57), a 5-foot-11, 180-pound lefthander, doesn’t stand out for his physicality, but has a good fastball-curveball combination. His fastball sits around 90 mph and touches 96 and plays up thanks to its movement. He pairs it with a hard curveball and a promising changeup. Alonzo Tredwell (338) and Josh Alger (342) have both been limited by injury over the last two years but provide two-way ability as righthanders/first basemen. Tredwell has a big, 6-foot-7, 225-pound frame and the upside to match. When he’s healthy he has an easy delivery and a promising three-pitch mix that figures to take a step forward as he physically matures. Alger this spring touched 97 mph before an injury ended his season and is already filling out his 6-foot-3 frame. His athleticism and power arm make for a promising package. Righthander Luke Jewett was high school teammates with Jump and Schrier and has a projectable 6-foot-4 build. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he pairs it with a good slider. Righthander Nate Liebold missed much of the last year due to injury, but this summer was back on the mound in the West Coast League. He has a projectable 6-foot-3 frame and a good fastball-slider combination. The class also includes righthanders Kelly Austin and Caedon Kottinger, a pair of junior college transfers who add further depth to the group on the mound.
Recruiting coordinator: Craig Bell
Top recruit: Pierce Coppola, LHP (No. 90)
Overview: Florida’s class last year ranked No. 1 on signing day, but three members of that group were drafted in the first 30 picks. The Gators slipped out of the top spot as a result, but still extended their record streak of top-five recruiting classes to nine years.
Hitters: Outfielder Michael Robertson (92) has elite speed and is one of the fastest runners in the draft class. He’s a strong defender in center field and isn’t afraid to drag bunt or slap the ball the other way to get on base, where he is impactful. He gets the most out of his speed and should quickly give the Gators’ offense an added wrinkle. Outfielder Ty Evans (187) impressed last summer, showing the ability to consistently hit against top-tier competition, but he didn’t match that same level of consistency in the spring. His all-around tools are impressive, starting with above-average power and the chance to also hit for average. He has above-average speed and has proven to be a solid defender since moving to the outfield. Catcher Rene Lastres (262) has a strong 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame and offers both a strong arm behind the plate and a powerful righthanded swing. He worked with premium pitching talents in high school, and he has solid defensive skills. Outfielder Corey Robinson (376) offers above-average speed and athleticism with a chance to add power in time. Infielder Deric Fabian, the younger brother of Florida center fielder Jud Fabian, has good athleticism and a long, lean 6-foot-3 frame that portends more power.
Pitchers: Lefthander Pierce Coppola (90) has a big 6-foot-8, 230-pound frame that gives him good extension and projection. His velocity can fluctuate, at times touching as high as 95 mph, but more typically sitting around 90 mph. He throws a lot of strikes and has a wide array of secondary offerings. There’s a lot to dream on with Coppola, whose physicality might remind some Florida fans of A.J. Puk. Lefthander Phillip Abner (106) has a solid three-pitch arsenal and stands out for his physicality (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) and his fastball command. His fastball gets into the mid 90s and he creates a lot of groundball outs with it and his changeup. Jac Caglianone (122) has two-way ability as a lefthander and first baseman, but this spring impressed scouts the most on the mound. His fastball gets up to 97 mph and his big 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame offers a lot of promise. He also has impressive lefthanded power at the plate, giving him a chance to develop as either a hitter or a pitcher—but he first will be recovering after in June having Tommy John surgery. Righthander Brandon Neely (154) can run his fastball into the mid 90s and he has a trio of promising secondary offerings. His approach on the mound, athleticism and stuff make for an exciting overall package, though he still needs to refine his command. Righthander Karl Hartman (312) is listed at 6-foot-4, 213 pounds and runs his fastball up to 95 mph. He throws a big, powerful curveball as well, and offers exciting upside. Righthander Kyle Larsen reclassified from the 2022 class and has a strong frame with advanced pitchability.
Recruiting coordinator: Mike Baxter
Top recruit: Davis Diaz, SS (No. 68)
Overview: The Commodores again land an elite class, as this is their fifth straight to land in the top five. Vanderbilt joins Florida as the only programs to bring in so many consecutive top-five classes.
Hitters: Diaz was drafted in the 12th round by the D-backs but did not sign and instead now headlines the Vanderbilt newcomers. He has an advanced feel for the game and a well-rounded skill set, doing a bit of everything on the diamond. He has a compact swing, a good understanding of the strike zone and is a consistent defender in the middle of the infield. He also has some experience catching and his overall aptitude for the game and versatility will help him get on the field quickly for the Commodores. Jonathan Vastine (207) is a good athlete with the tools to play up the middle, either on the infield or in center field. He has a good feel for the barrel and is an above-average runner. Matthew Polk has well above-average speed and is a good athlete who can play all over the diamond. He has a quick, compact righthanded swing that gives him offensive upside. Shortstop Rob Gordon offers a bit more projection as he physically matures. He’s rangy, has good instincts in the infield and has upside offensively. Anthony Migliaccio is a switch-hitter with power potential and offers defensive versatility, showing the ability to play in the outfield or behind the plate.
Pitchers: Lefthander Carter Holton (133) has a smaller frame at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, but runs his fastball up to 95 mph with feel for both his breaking ball and changeup. While he doesn’t offer much physical projection, his stuff plays well now, and he has an advanced mindset on the mound. Righthander Greysen Carter (165) is a premium athlete and also stood out on the basketball court in high school. He’s not as advanced as Holton, but has exciting upside thanks to his athleticism, mid-90s fastball and frame. Lefthander Devin Futrell (304) doesn’t have the velocity of some of his classmates, as his fastball typically works in the upper 80s, but he projects to add more velocity as he grows into his 6-foot-5 frame and his pitchability helps his stuff play up now. He can throw his full four-pitch arsenal for strikes and has good feel on the mound. Lefthander Ryan Ginther (329) saw his velocity jump in the last year, with his fastball reaching the mid 90s to go with a promising breaking ball. His frame (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) doesn’t offer much physical projection, but his fastball-slider combination plays well. Righthander Miles Langhorne (390) has a big 6-foot-4 frame and a promising four-pitch mix, especially his fastball-curveball combination. His upside is clear, though he still needs to hone some of the rough edges to his game and throw strikes more consistently.
Recruiting coordinator: Nate Thompson
Top recruit: Peyton Stovall, SS (No. 33)
Overview: The Razorbacks continue to recruit well and this year their class is headlined by Stovall, the second-highest ranked prep player on the BA 500 not to sign.
Hitters: Stovall came on strong all spring as he continued to build an impressive track record for hitting, rising into first-round consideration for some teams. Ultimately, he opted to uphold his commitment to Arkansas and figures to make an immediate impact in the lineup. The lefthanded hitter has a smooth swing, uses the whole field to hit and has above-average power potential. It will be interesting to see how Stovall fits into the Razorbacks infield. His arm strength led many scouts to believe he profiles best at second base, but he’s mostly been a shortstop to this point. Shortstop Drake Varnado (195) is a good athlete with plus speed and the tools to play somewhere up the middle. He has solid offensive upside, but still has to work out some rough edges to his swing. Outfielder Gabriel D’Arcy (463) has a big frame at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and a powerful righthanded bat. Like most young power hitters, he has some inconstancies to his swing to work on, but his physicality and power give him upside. Kendall Diggs profiles best at third base thanks to his strong arm and powerful bat. He has quick hands and power potential. Catcher Max Soliz has a big righthanded bat and generates a lot of power with his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame.
Pitchers: Lefthander Hagen Smith (168) last summer was sidelined while he recovered from Tommy John surgery he had in 2019, but this spring made a sensational return to the mound. He has a physical frame and can touch 96 mph, but more typically sits in the low 90s. He has good feel for his changeup and is working to develop a pair of breaking balls. Righthander Nick Moten (287) was a late addition to the class, committing to Arkansas in March. He has a strong, physical frame and can run his fastball up to 95 mph with solid secondary stuff. He’s a good athlete and throws a lot of strikes. Righthander Brady Tygart (407) came on strong last summer and has an athletic build. His fastball gets up to 95 mph and he pairs it with a hard slider. Like Moten, righthander Jack Faherty was a late addition to the class and has made an impressive jump over the last year and offers even more upside. He has a big 6-foot-4 frame and a powerful fastball that this summer touched 97 mph. Righthander Vincent Trapani has long been a good strike thrower and now has seen his velocity tick up to the low 90s. Righthander Dylan Carter, a junior college transfer, saw his stuff make a jump this summer and now runs his fastball into the low to mid 90s, giving him intriguing upside.
Recruiting coordinator: Josh Elander
Top recruit: Chase Burns, RHP (No. 49)
Overview: The Volunteers have been recruiting well under coach Tony Vitello and Elander, who came to Knoxville in 2017. They broke through with a top-20 class in 2020, but their 2021 class takes it to another level. It is Tennessee’s first top-10 class since 2005 and comes at an exciting time for the program, following its first College World Series appearance since that same year.
Hitters: Shortstop Seth Stephenson (245), a junior college transfer, was one of the fastest players in the draft class and his speed and athleticism play well. He this season mostly hit righthanded after previously being a switch-hitter and showed above-average bat speed and the ability to hit for some power. He’ll likely stick in the middle of the infield for the Vols. First baseman Blake Burke (264) got in better shape following a disappointing performance in the summer of 2020 and produced an excellent spring season, showing off his big lefthanded power. Like most young power hitters there’s some swing and miss in his game, but he has a sound swing and good athleticism for his size. Chris Moore (298) has two-way ability but has stood out more at the plate of late. He has good bat speed that leads to impressive raw power and his hands, arm strength and athleticism play well on the left side of the infield. James McCracken also has two-way ability as an outfielder/lefthander. A righthanded hitter, he has some power and is a good hitter, while on the mound the lefthander can run his fastball up to 92 mph and competes well. Cross Jumper has two-way ability as an outfielder/righthander and is a very good athlete who was also a high school quarterback. He’s come along as a hitter, but also has a strong track record on the mound.
Pitchers: Burns (49) has the stuff to make an immediate impact in Knoxville. His fastball touches 100 mph and consistently gets into the upper 90s with riding life. He has two breaking balls to go with his overpowering fastball and has some feel for his changeup. He’s had some inconsistent control at times, but if he can harness his electric stuff his upside is significant. Righthander Kruise Newman is a good athlete with two-way potential thanks to his lefthanded swing. On the mound, he can run his fastball up to 94 mph and has a good feel for his breaking ball. Righthander Grant Cherry has some projection left to him, but already throws his fastball in the low 90s and shows feel for his breaking ball. Righthander Drew Beam has an athletic 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame and throws a lot of strikes. His fastball sits around 90 mph now, but his stuff figures to take a step forward as he physically matures.
6. Oregon State
Recruiting coordinator: Rich Dorman and Ryan Gipson
Top recruit: Jacob Kmatz, RHP (No. 136)
Overview: The Beavers haven’t had a Top 25 class since 2016, when Adley Rutschman arrived in Corvallis. While this class probably doesn’t have a future No. 1 overall pick in it, its standout players and balance of hitters and pitchers set Oregon State up well for the future.
Hitters: Shortstop Mason Guerra (181), the Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year, has some impressive raw tools. He has plus raw power that plays to all fields and a plus arm, which works well on the left side of the infield. If he can show a bit more consistency at the plate, he has a big ceiling. Outfielder Tyree Reed (275) in 2018 starred for USA Baseball’s 15U National Team and was thought of as a potential first-round pick coming into 2021, but he’s been limited by injuries over the last year. When he’s healthy, he’s a good athlete with a powerful lefthanded swing that produces above-average power. He profiles best as a corner outfielder and if he recaptures his previous form, he will give the Beavers another premium talent. Infielder Travis Bazzana is an Australian native (and therefore wasn’t eligible for the BA 500) and played for the national team throughout his youth career. He spent this summer in the West Coast League and hit .429 to break Austin Shenton’s single-season record. Bazzana is a plus runner with good contact ability, making him a fit at the top of the lineup. Catchers Tanner Smith and Wilson Weber both stand out for their defense—especially their strong arms. Smith has an advanced approach at the plate and Weber offers more power. TJ Wheeler is coming off an impressive spring at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC, where he hit 21 home runs. He brings a potent lefthanded bat to Corvallis.
Pitchers: Kmatz stands out for his advanced pitchability and above-average control, traits which help his already solid stuff play up. His fastball sits around 90 mph and touches 95 mph to go with a pair of good breaking balls and a changeup. He has a strong frame at a listed 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and should quickly make an impact in Corvallis. Righthander Victor Quinn (414) has impressive arm strength, and his fastball reaches 98 mph. He’ll need to improve his control to reach his ceiling, but his pure stuff gives him premium upside. Oregon State tapped into the junior college ranks for some immediate impact on the mound. Righthander DJ Carpenter, listed at 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, has a big frame and a powerful fastball-curveball combination. His fastball gets into the mid to upper 90s and he closed for Central Arizona JC, the runner-up at the Junior College World Series. Righthander Sam Stuhr has the makings of a solid three-pitch mix and throws his fastball in the low 90s that could play well at the back of the bullpen. Righthander Braden Boisvert attacks hitters with a powerful fastball-slider combination and can touch 97 mph. That combination should make an immediate impact in the bullpen, but he also has shown two-way ability and his righthanded power could get him in the lineup as well.
Recruiting coordinator: Norberto Lopez
Top recruit: Lorenzo Carrier, OF/RHP
Overview: After landing the top-ranked 2020 recruiting class, Miami has another strong class in 2021. As they did with their 2020 class, the Hurricanes have some exciting arms in the group to go with some athletic position players teeming with upside.
Hitters: Carrier, the Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year, was ranked just outside the top 100 of the BA 500 before he officially removed his name from the draft, solidifying his commitment to Miami. He has two-way potential as an outfielder/righthander but his biggest impact is likely to come as a hitter. Long and lean at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, he’s a good athlete, a plus runner and has power potential. On the mound, his fastball sits around 90 mph, and he has good feel for his curveball. Outfielder Gabriel Gutierrez stands out for his feel at the plate as well thanks to his righthanded swing. He didn’t compete much on the national scene in high school, but his bat will play and he’s an average runner. Shortstop Ariel Garcia has loud tools—he’s a plus runner, has good hands and has some pop in his righthanded swing—to go with a projectable frame, but will need to get more consistent at the plate to reach his ceiling. Outfielder Edgardo Villegas is also a plus runner and has a strong arm, while also showing a promising lefthanded swing. Outfielder Zach Levenson and infielder Henry Wallen, both junior college transfers, add depth to the class. Wallen fits best at second base and has a good feel at the plate, while Levenson brings a powerful righthanded bat.
Pitchers: Righthander Karson Ligon (339) typically throws his fastball in the low 90s and had one of the best changeups in the prep draft class. He pitches with good control and as he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame should be able to add more velocity—he already touches 95-96 mph. Righthander Gage Ziehl (469) was drafted in the 11th round by the Cubs but did not sign. He has a strong frame at 6 feet, 213 pounds, and attacks hitters with a good fastball-slider combination that should play right away for the Hurricanes. Like Ziehl, lefthander Rafe Schlesinger (478) comes to Coral Gables from the Empire State. He throws from a low slot and gets good action on his fastball as a result. Righthander David Rossow has a projectable 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame, throws in the low 90s now and offers a lot of upside.
Recruiting coordinator: Matt Reida
Top recruit: Camden Hayslip, OF (No. 118)
Overview: The Crimson Tide have recruited well since coach Brad Bohannon arrived in Tuscaloosa. This class takes it to another level, however, as Alabama has its first top-10 class since 2012. It navigated the draft well, losing just supplemental first-rounder Noah Miller, and now has a group of newcomers ready to buttress a team that in June returned to regionals for the first time since 2014.
Hitters: Hayslip is an excellent athlete who drew scholarship offers as a football player before quitting the sport to focus on baseball. Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he has a powerful lefthanded swing and drives the ball with authority. His speed and athleticism give him a chance to play center field for the Tide, and he’s certain to find his way into the lineup quickly. Catcher Dominic Tamez began his college career at Arkansas before transferring to McLennan (Texas) JC. He has solid righthanded power and this summer in the Cape Cod League stood out for his defense, traits that will help him play right away for the Tide.
Pitchers: Righthander Luke Holman (204) is listed at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds and has the look of a future weekend starter. His fastball sits in the low 90s with a high spin rate. He has a big, 12-to-6 curveball with plus potential and the makings of a solid changeup. He’s a good athlete and could add more velocity as he gets stronger. Lefthander Brandon Clarke (233) had Tommy John surgery in 2019 but came back strong in the spring, touching 97 mph. His fastball sat around 90 mph before his injury, and he has a good breaking ball. A back injury this spring limited righthander Ben Hess, but he brings plenty of upside to Tuscaloosa. Listed at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he can run his fastball into the mid 90s to go with a hard slider. Righthander Hagan Banks has a projectable 6-foot-4 build and his fastball already touches 94 mph. He has the makings of a solid three-pitch mix. Righthander Kade Woods had Tommy John surgery this spring and will miss his first college season. Before his injury, however, he touched 95 mph and paired his fastball with a good slider. Lefthander Nathan Shelton has a physical build and a competitive mindset. His fastball sits around 90 mph, and he mixes in a good breaking ball. Lefthander Jake Leger, a junior college transfer, attacks hitters with a fastball-slider combination that plays well out of the bullpen.
Recruiting coordinator: Josh Jordan
Top recruit: Alex Mooney, SS (No. 65)
Overview: In eight years under head coach Chris Pollard and Jordan, Duke has leapt forward as a program. Their efforts in recruiting have played a key role in the Blue Devils’ rise and this year’s class takes it to another level. This is Duke’s highest-rated class, highlighted by Mooney, who is one of the highest-rated incoming freshmen in the country.
Hitters: Mooney is a heady, aggressive player with a well-rounded skill set that will play right away in college. He has a good feel for the barrel, makes a lot of contact and has an aggressive approach at the plate. He has solid power potential to go with above-average speed, making for intriguing offensive upside. He’s a steady defender at shortstop and has a good feel for the game. Jonathan Santucci (437) has two-way ability as an outfielder and lefthander, but he probably has more impact potential as a hitter. He has a good approach at the plate, makes a lot of contact and is growing into more power. On the mound, his fastball has touched 93 mph, but typically sits a tick below that. Outfielder Devin Obee comes from an athletic family—his father played in the NFL and his older brother played football at Western Kentucky—and he brings that athleticism to the diamond. He’s a plus runner with a powerful righthanded swing and profiles well in right field. Jimmy Romano has two-way ability as a third baseman and righthander and could fill a role similar to what Jack Labosky did for Duke. Romano has strength in his righthanded swing and can run his fastball into the low 90s. Outfielder Menelik Israel brings premium speed to the top of the lineup and covers ground well in the outfield. Infielder Tyler Christmas has above-average speed and a projectable build. Outfielder Sam Yelton has good feel at the plate and his lefthanded swing figures to translate well to college.
Pitchers: Righthander Ryan Higgins (457) has an advanced profile on the mound. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he throws a lot of strikes with it. He has good feel for his curveball and has the makings of a good changeup. Righthander Fran Oschell (499) has a big, 6-foot-7, 215-pound frame and was also a standout basketball player in high school. He’s plenty projectable but for now throws his fastball around 90-91 mph with a sharp downhill angle. Righthander David Boisvert also has a big frame at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds. His fastball touches 92 mph now and he also projects to add velocity in time.
10. Mississippi State
Recruiting coordinator: Jake Gautreau
Top recruit: Andrew Walling, LHP (No. 182)
Overview: Coming off the first national championship in program history, Mississippi State has another strong recruiting class under head coach Chris Lemonis and Gautreau. It’s full of athleticism, both among position players and pitchers.
Hitters: Third baseman Aaron Downs (422) has a strong, physical build at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds and a lot of upside. He’s been up and down offensively over the last couple years, but if he can put everything together, he has the raw tools to be a middle-of-the-order hitter. Matt Corder, a junior college transfer, is an excellent athlete and can play anywhere on the diamond except catcher. He has above-average speed, righthanded power potential and has two-way potential thanks to a good fastball-slider combination. Catcher Gray Bane has good defensive skills and a strong arm. His glove is ahead of his bat, though he has made strides as a hitter in the last year. Outfielder Trey Higgins played quarterback in high school and brings that athleticism to the diamond, though he is a little raw. A switch-hitter, he has power potential from both sides and above-average speed. Hunter Hines has a big 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame and produces plenty of lefthanded power. He fits best as a corner infielder, likely first base. The class also includes Sawyer Robertson, who is also playing quarterback at Mississippi State. His athleticism translates well to the diamond, where he covers ground well in the outfield and has a strong, powerful righthanded swing.
Pitchers: Walling (182) began his career at Oregon State—and faced Mississippi State in February 2020—before transferring to junior college. His stuff last fall made a jump and his fastball now sits in the mid 90s and touches 98 mph. He’s shown a pair of promising breaking balls and a changeup, and this spring pitched with better control, giving him a chance to jump right into the Bulldogs rotation. Lefthander Pico Kohn (265), the 2020 Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year, has a projectable 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame and a long track record of success. His fastball isn’t overpowering—it sits in the upper 80s and touches 90 mph—but it produces swings and misses and should add velocity in time. His curveball has made strides and could also be a plus pitch in the future. Righthander Jack Walker (489) missed last summer due to Tommy John surgery but got back on the mound this spring and was outstanding—winning a state title and earning Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year honors. He throws a lot of strikes with a fastball that sits around 90 mph with heavy sinking action, and he has feel for both his breaking ball and changeup. Lefthander Cole Cheatham saw his velocity start to take a jump over the last year and still has room for more growth. His fastball gets up to 92 mph now and he pairs it with a good breaking ball. Righthander Jackson Conn has a big 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame and the arm strength to match. His fastball reaches 92 mph now, with more velocity to come, and his breaking ball and changeup show promise as well.
11. North Carolina State
Recruiting coordinator: Chris Hart
Top recruit: Payton Green, SS (No. 112)
Overview: Hart has put together some impressive classes over the last decade as NC State’s recruiting coordinator. This year’s class has a chance to be as good as any of them, especially its group of position players, even after losing Kahlil Watson as the 16th overall pick.
Hitters: The Wolfpack have excelled at developing premium shortstops in recent years (Trea Turner, Will Wilson, Jose Torres) and Green could be the next in line after not signing as a 14th-round draft pick. He’s a good athlete, has a projectable build and both his bat speed and ability to square up balls should lead to more power in time. He has promising defensive tools as well, giving him the chance to develop as a shortstop. Third baseman Tommy White (163) has a strong, physical frame and the powerful righthanded swing to match. He has a long track record of hitting and can drive the ball out to all fields. While pro scouts mostly saw him as a future first baseman, his arm strength and hands give him a chance to stay at the hot corner. Catcher Jacob Cozart, the son of former High Point coach Craig Cozart, has a physical frame and a powerful lefthanded swing. He’s developed into a good receiver and has solid arm strength, giving him a chance to play right away behind the plate. Will Marcy is a good athlete and has a solid track record at the plate and above-average speed. His bat and defensive versatility will help him carve out a role in the lineup.
Pitchers: Lefthander Jacob Dienes has a projectable frame and good athleticism. His fastball sits around 90 mph now and he mixes in a good slider and changeup and has exciting upside. Righthander Sam Griesbauer has a physical frame and a good sinker-slider combination. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he also will mix in a changeup. Righthander Carson Kelly is an excellent athlete with a projectable frame. He offers good pitchability and throws a lot of strikes now, traits that will serve him well as he physically matures. He throws his fastball-slider combination from two arm slots and can run his fastball up to 91 mph over the top, while also dropping down to a sidearm look to add some deception. Righthander Brandon Hudson also has a projectable look and can run his fastball up to 91 mph. He offers good upside as he gets stronger and refines his approach on the mound. NC State tapped the junior college ranks for righthanders Logan Adams and Justin Lawson. Adams has a strong, physical frame and throws his fastball in the low 90s. He pairs it with a hard slider and a good changeup and figures to quickly make an impact. Lawson came on strong last year and attacks hitters with a low-90s fastball and good slider.
12. Texas Christian
Recruiting coordinator: John DiLaura
Top recruit: Thomas DiLandri, OF (No. 139)
Overview: 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.
Hitters: DiLandri is one of the toolsiest incoming freshmen in the country. He’s an excellent athlete who has premier raw power, speed and arm strength. To make the most of all those tools, he’ll need to get more consistent with his bat-to-ball skills, but he offers plenty of upside for TCU. Shortstop Hunter Teplanszky has a projectable look and this spring started to grow into some of his power potential. He’s a switch-hitter who shows some feel from both sides of the plate and has a plus arm that plays well on the left side of the infield. Outfielder Logan Maxwell has a quick lefthanded swing and makes good use of his above-average speed. He covers ground well in the outfield and has the on-base skills to one day hit at the top of the order. Shortstop David Bishop is a plus runner and has a solid approach at the plate.
Pitchers: Righthander Caedmon Parker (222) has a projectable, athletic build and offers significant upside. His fastball can touch 94 mph, but typically sits around 90 and both his changeup and curveball are promising. He repeats his delivery well and has good control, giving him all the makings of a future rotation member. Righthander Gray Thomas (467) provides a unique look on the mound. He has a funky, sidearm delivery and attacks hitters with a powerful fastball-slider combination. It’s an approach that will at least play in relief, but he has intriguing upside. Lefthander Hunter Hollan was drafted in the 15th round but opted not to sign and will come to TCU as a sophomore after one season at San Jacinto (Texas) JC. Hollan isn’t overpowering, but has a big, strong frame and good feel for his three-pitch arsenal. Lefthander Connor Oliver began his college career at Wichita State before transferring to junior college. He has a heavy low-90s fastball and pairs it with a powerful breaking ball that can be a swing-and-miss pitch. Lefthander Trip Banta attacks hitters with a fastball-slider combination and can run his fastball into the low 90s. Righthander Jake Kolkhorst has a projectable build and also runs his fastball into the low 90s.
13. Wake Forest
Recruiting coordinator: Bill Cilento
Top recruit: Josh Hartle, LHP
Overview: Coach Tom Walter and Cilento have elevated Wake Forest’s program over their 12 years in Winston-Salem, reaching super regionals in 2017 and producing first-rounders in back-to-back years. This year, the Demon Deacons have taken a step forward on the recruiting trail and have put together their best-ever class—ranking in the Top 25 for the first time.
Hitters: Shortstop Daniel Corona (267) has a solid all-around skill set and an advanced feel for the game. The lefthanded hitter has good feel at the plate and actions in the infield, which gives him the look of the Deacons shortstop of the future. Catcher Mark Black, a junior college transfer, stands out most for his righthanded bat. He offers power potential and has experience catching high-end pitching. Nick Kurtz has a big, athletic build and offers big offensive upside—especially as a lefthanded power hitter. He has a strong arm and would profile well in right field. Infielder Tommy Hawke has a solid track record of success in high school. He runs well, has a good feel for the game and his on-base skills play well. Chris Katz and Troy McGirt have strong righthanded swings and long track records of hitting who could quickly work their way into the lineup. Catcher Gio Cueto stands out for his defensive ability. Outfielder William Ray is a bit raw now, but his lefthanded swing and athleticism give him a projectable look.
Pitchers: Wake Forest got a big boost when Hartle decided to remove his name from draft consideration. Prior to doing so, he had ranked as a top-50 prospect and was getting first-round consideration. Instead, the Demon Deacons get perhaps the best prep pitcher to make it to college. Hartle has advanced pitchability to go with solid stuff and some projection. His fastball sits around 90 mph and ticks up to 94 to go with a changeup and slider. Righthander Carson Cotugno throws a lot of strikes with his three-pitch mix. His fastball gets up to 90 mph now and if he’s able to add velocity, he has exciting upside. Righthander Zachary Lewis has a similar profile to Cotugno, as he attacks hitters with a fastball that gets up to 90 mph and mixes in a hard curveball. Elie Kligman has two-way ability as a righthander/catcher and was drafted in the 20th round by the Nationals. On the mound, he has a three-pitch mix and can run his fastball up to 90 mph and also has power potential as a switch-hitter. Notably, he observes the strict rules of the Jewish sabbath and will not play from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday and this spring told The New York Times his goal is “to become the first Shabbas observant player in Major League Baseball.”
14. Louisiana State
Recruiting coordinator: Dan Fitzgerald
Top recruit: Luke Leto, SS (No. 277)
Overview: The Tigers took a hit in the draft, losing four high-profile commits, but new head coach Jay Johnson still has a strong group of newcomers in his first season. While LSU this summer hit the transfer portal hard, the high school and junior college recruits primarily were recruited by the previous staff before Paul Mainieri’s retirement.
Hitters: Leto rose to prominence early in his prep career for his two-way exploits but now his best position seems to be as an infielder. He’s a strong all-around hitter with lefthanded power who would profile well at third base should he need to move off shortstop. Connor Simon (418) also had two-way talent in high school, though an elbow injury limited him this spring. He stands out for his defense and feel for the game, and he has solid offensive upside thanks to his plus speed and power potential. Josh Pearson, the younger brother of Braves prospect Jacob Pearson, has plus speed and an impressive track record of hitting. He could quickly work his way into the Tigers lineup, perhaps at left field or second base. Outfielder Joshua Stevenson is the younger brother of Nationals outfielder and former LSU star Andrew Stevenson and is more physical and a better hitter than his older brother at the same age, though he is a tick slower. Infielder Brennan Holt has gotten stronger over the last year and now offers an intriguing power-speed combination.
Pitchers: Righthander Grant Taylor (381) has a powerful 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame and a promising fastball-curveball combination. His fastball has long shown the ability to reach the mid 90s, but typically sits in the low 90s and he pairs it with a big, downer curveball and a developing changeup. LSU got former ace Kevin Gausman out of the Colorado prep ranks and it went back in the Centennial State for righthander Cale Lansville (468). Lansville has a strong 6-foot, 205-pound frame and good three-pitch mix. His fastball sits around 90, touching 94 mph, and he pairs it with a promising curveball. Righthander Samuel Dutton has a shorter build and an energetic delivery. He comes right after hitters with a four-pitch mix that should quickly play at the next level. LSU also tapped into the junior college ranks for righthanders Jason Bollman and Dawson Gause. Bollman has run his fastball up to 97 mph in short stints, but in longer outings pitches in the low 90s and has good feel for his changeup. Gause has a physical frame and throws his fastball in the low 90s to go with a good changeup and slider.
Recruiting coordinator: Scott Daeley
Top recruit: Dylan Ross, RHP (No. 114)
Overview: Georgia was one of the big winners of the draft with powerful righthanders Ross and Coleman Willis (120) making it to campus—as well as righthander Jonathan Cannon returning for his third season. When combined with their 2020 class, which ranked No. 12, the Bulldogs are building an impressive array of young talent.
Hitters: First baseman/lefthander Cole Wagner had a star turn in the 2015 Little League World Series, leading his team from Pennsylvania to the U.S. championship. He showed impressive power then and the lefthanded hitter continues to slug home runs. He didn’t pitch this spring due to Tommy John surgery, but when he’s healthy he offers good pitchability. Glenn Green is an excellent athlete and has a lot of upside both as a righthander and third baseman. On the mound, he attacks hitters with a fastball-slider combination and runs his fastball into the mid 90s. Third baseman Chaz Salter, a junior college transfer, has a good, line-drive stroke and can drive the ball well. He’s a solid defender with a strong arm. Catcher Garrett Madliak is a good defender with a strong arm behind the plate. The righthanded hitter has some power, especially to the gaps. Infielder Dylan Taylor is a good athlete and is a solid defender up the middle with some promising lefthanded power. Daniel Braswell is a physical lefthanded slugger who can play first base or in an outfield corner.
Pitchers: Ross was one of the top junior college pitchers in this year’s draft class. He has a big, physical frame and a powerful fastball that often touched the upper 90s. He pairs it with a power slider and a split-change, both of which have plus potential. He still needs to refine his control to make the most of his big stuff, but there’s no question he can make an immediate impact for the Bulldogs. Willis has a big frame as well but hasn’t yet filled it out, giving him a more projectable look. His fastball gets up to 94 mph with a deep curveball and a promising changeup. He took a step forward in the last year, but there’s more to come as he develops at Georgia. Like Ross and Willis, righthander Chandler Marsh has a big, physical build. He doesn’t throw his fastball quite as hard as his new teammates, with the pitch getting into the low 90s with late life. His big curveball has a high spin rate, and he also works in a changeup, giving him a full arsenal to work with. As a hitter, he has an intriguing combination of power and speed. Righthander Jake Poindexter stands out for his pitchability and feel for a solid three-pitch mix.
16. South Carolina
Recruiting coordinator: Chad Caillet
Top recruit: Michael Braswell, SS/RHP (No. 111)
Overview: South Carolina lands another solid recruiting class, anchored by some exciting, high-upside position players. The class was largely recruited by Trip Couch and Skylar Meade, who were both hired away in the offseason with Caillet coming in as recruiting coordinator.
Hitters: Though Braswell has two-way ability, his biggest impact is expected to come as a position player. He doesn’t have the flashiest tools, but he’s a solid defender with the hands, athleticism and instincts for shortstop. He has a consistent approach at the plate and as he physically matures, he could grow into more power. He offers good pitchability on the mound and attacks hitters with a fastball-slider combination. Outfielder Thaddeus Ector (325) is a switch-hitter with an exciting tool set and plenty of upside. He has above-average power potential, good feel for the barrel and is a plus runner. Infielder Vytas Valincius (485) has a big 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame and the powerful righthanded bat to match. He’s athletic for his size, giving him a chance to stay at third base, but his bat would play at first base if he had to move across the diamond. Infielder Carson Hornung has a powerful lefthanded bat that will play in a corner. He has a projectable 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame and might profile well at third base. Catcher Cole Messina has long played on big stages in travel ball and built a long track record for hitting. He has solid power potential in his strong, 6-foot, 215-pound frame and has made strides as a defender, though he is still bat over glove. Outfielder Dariyan Pendergrass flew under the radar because he mostly played American Legion ball, but he could prove to be a solid find for the Gamecocks. He has above-average speed, can play center field and is adding strength, which is helping the lefthanded hitter at the plate.
Pitchers: Righthander Aidan Hunter has a projectable 6-foot-4, 195-pound build and offers good upside. His fastball gets into the low 90s now and he has good feel for his breaking ball. Righthander Sam Simpson also has a projectable frame with a fastball that reaches 93 mph and a promising slider. South Carolina has effectively tapped the junior college ranks for pitchers in recent years and did so again this year, bringing in lefthander Michael Esposito from Chipola (Fla.) and righthander James Hicks from Crowder (Kan.). Esposito was limited this spring as he came back from Tommy John surgery, but has plenty of upside and Hicks stands out most for his pitchability and control.
17. Southern California
Recruiting coordinator: Ted Silva
Top recruit: Eric Hammond, RHP (No. 97)
Overview: After putting together a Top 25 class a year ago in Jason Gill’s first season at USC, the Trojans have another solid class this year. In addition to a strong group of incoming freshmen, USC hit the junior college ranks hard for more immediate impact.
Hitters: Infielder Caiden Huber (217) made a leap this year when he put on 20 pounds and began to grow into his promising lefthanded power. He has good feel at the plate and more offensive upside to tap into. He profiles best at third base, where he’s a solid defender. Outfielder Harrison Feinberg is a standout athlete who comes to USC from the Connecticut prep ranks. He has a strong, physical frame, a powerful righthanded swing and the speed to play center field for the Trojans. Outfielder Cole Gabrielson, a junior college transfer, has solid all-around tools with good on-base skills. He can play anywhere in the outfield and figures to quickly work his way into the lineup. Nick Lopez, a junior college transfer, has the versatility to play second base or an infield corner. He’s a switch-hitter with good power potential.
Pitchers: Hammond was one of the best prep pitchers in Texas in this year’s draft class and combines solid present stuff with projectability. His fastball can touch 95 mph, but more typically sits around 90 mph. He has two solid breaking balls and a promising changeup to go with average control—an arsenal that gives him the look of a future starter for USC. Matt Keating (412) has two-way ability as a righthander/infielder. He pitched at the back of the bullpen and hit in the middle of the order in junior college and could have a similar role for USC, but his biggest upside is on the mound. His fastball reaches 97 mph, and he profiles well as a closer or setup man. USC is light on lefthanders on its roster but adds a pair of high-upside southpaws from the prep ranks in Evan Clark and Will O’Neill. Clark isn’t overpowering with a fastball that sits around 90 mph, but he pitches with deception and should be able to quickly help out of the bullpen. O’Neill has starter upside and comes to USC with a solid track record. Righthander Josh Blum has a solid three-pitch mix, good athleticism and a long track record of success in high school. Righthander Fisher Johnson was this season limited by injury, but his athleticism and projection give him solid upside.
18. Dallas Baptist
Recruiting coordinator: Cliff Pennington
Top recruit: Ryan Johnson, RHP/1B (No. 188)
Overview: Under coach Dan Heefner, DBU has become a consistent NCAA Tournament team. Never before, however, have the Patriots had a recruiting class as talented as this one. DBU brought in some high-profile prep players and a large group of talented junior college transfers.
Hitters: Catcher Kevin Bazzell (320) has a strong build and stands out for his offense. The righthanded hitter has above-average power and shows good feel at the plate. He’s not as advanced defensively but has a strong arm and moves well behind the plate. Shortstop Luke Heefner (494), the son of Dan Heefner, has grown up around the game and it shows in his high baseball IQ. The lefthanded hitter has a simple swing and produces solid power to go with a strong arm on the infield. Infielder Miguel Santos this spring helped lead McLennan (Texas) JC to a national championship and adds a strong righthanded bat to the DBU lineup. He mostly played second base for McLennan but could move around the infield. Infielder Tyler Small and outfielder Mathieu Vallee were teammates at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M JC and now come to DBU together. Vallee has strong on-base skills, and his speed makes him a threat on the base paths and a solid defender in center field. Small is a disciplined lefthanded hitter with some power and the ability to play up the middle. Outfielders Josh Fitzgerald and Jarrett McDonald, both junior college transfers, add some more pop to the lineup.
Pitchers: Johnson has two-way ability as a righthander/first baseman, but he’s expected to make his biggest impact on the mound. He has a big, projectable frame and can already touch 96 mph with more consistent velocity expected to come in time. His slider can be a swing-and-miss offering and he has some feel for his changeup and if he’s able to harness all his stuff as he grows into his body, he has significant upside. Righthander Connor Mackay (493), a junior college transfer, shows advanced feel on the mound and should be able to quickly step into a significant role at DBU. His fastball gets up to 94 mph with riding life and he mixes his offspeed stuff in well. Like Santos, lefthander Brady Rose this spring helped McLennan to the national championship. He uses his 6-foot-5 frame to his advantage and his fastball is difficult to square up.
19. Florida State
Recruiting coordinator: Mike Metcalf
Top recruit: Jackson Baumeister, RHP (No. 83)
Overview: Florida State again got a top-100 draft prospect to campus to headline its class, with Baumeister joining the likes of Drew Mendoza and Carson Montgomery in recent years. But this class also has solid depth, as the Seminoles loaded up on athletic, versatile position players and pitchers that have a combination of solid present stuff with some projection remaining.
Hitters: Outfielder James Tibbs (382) has a smooth lefthanded swing, good feel at the plate and above-average power projection. He’s a solid athlete who profiles best as a corner outfielder. Catchers Jaime Ferrer and Satchell Norman give Florida State good depth at the position. Both have powerful righthanded bats and offer good athleticism behind the plate. Norman is a bit more advanced as a receiver, while Ferrer’s speed and arm also fit well in the outfield. Shortstop Mayes White is an excellent athlete who also stands out as a high school quarterback. The righthanded hitter has a good feel for the barrel and more baseball instincts than many dual-sport athletes, giving him a chance to quickly make an impact. Connor Moore stayed under the radar but has solid all-around tools, a good understanding of the game and the defensive versatility to move around the diamond. Treyton Rank has two-way ability as an outfielder and righthander but may be more advanced as a position player. The righthanded hitter has a good approach at the plate and can drive the ball to all fields.
Pitchers: Baumeister has two-way ability as a righthander and catcher. It’s a tough double to pull off and may ultimately require him to pick one position, though Florida State has experience in the area, as Buster Posey did both. Baumeister, listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, has plenty of arm strength that plays well at both positions. On the mound, his fastball typically sits around 90 mph and touches 94 and he projects to have more consistent velocity in the future. He has solid righthanded power at the plate and his athleticism gives him a chance to develop as a catcher. Righthander Brodie Chestnutt has a big 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame and exciting upside. His fastball can reach 91 mph with heavy life, and he has promising offspeed stuff. Righthander Dylan Jacobs also has a projectable frame at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. His fastball sits around 90 mph, touching 93, with late life. He has a good feel for his curveball and can manipulate its shape well.
Baseball America Prospect Report — August 31, 2021
Checking in on four intriguing names currently playing in rookie ball.
Recruiting coordinator: Eric Snider
Top recruit: Will Koger, RHP (No. 171)
Overview: The Cardinals did a good job navigating the draft, losing just 41st overall pick Daylen Lile. The result is a large class that is well balanced between pitchers and position players.
Hitters: Shortstop Noah Smith is a good athlete and stands out defensively thanks to his smooth infield actions, good arm and hands. He’s still physically maturing and projects to be a solid hitter in time. Infielder Kurtis Reid is more physical and has a short, powerful righthanded swing. He’s versatile enough to play anywhere on the infield and likely profiles best as an offensive second baseman or third baseman. Catcher Austin Bode is a good lefthanded hitter with some strength and power in his swing. He’s a good athlete behind the plate and has solid arm strength. Will Cook and Jack Tinberg both have two-way potential as infielders and pitchers. Cook is more advanced as a hitter and has intriguing power potential. Tinberg is more likely to end up on the mound as a lefthander with good feel. Outfielder Camden Jordan is a good athlete who had several mid-major football offers before settling on baseball, where his above-average speed plays well on the bases and in center field.
Pitchers: Koger got stronger over the winter and then this spring took a step forward. His fastball reached 95 mph to go with the makings of a plus breaking ball that he has good feel for. He’s still only just beginning to reach his potential and he brings significant upside to campus. Righthander Kade Grundy was a three-sport star in high school and brings a competitive, mature approach to the mound. His fastball sits around 90 mph and he mixes in his breaking ball and changeup well. Righthander Carson Liggett also has a similar profile to Grundy, though his track record isn’t as lengthy. His fastball works in the upper 80s, reaching 93 mph, and he has a four-pitch arsenal. Jason Davis has two-way potential as a righthander and outfielder. He’s further ahead on the mound and can run his fastball up to 94 mph. Righthander Kyle Walter has a big 6-foot-5, 235-pound build and he uses his height well on the mound. His fastball gets up to 92 mph and he has good feel for his changeup. Righthander Landen Looper, the son of former big leaguer Braden Looper, has a strong 6-foot-3 frame and a solid three-pitch mix. His fastball reaches 91 mph.
Recruiting coordinator: Lance Harvell
Top recruit: Drew Christo, RHP (No. 151)
Overview: After this spring winning the Big Ten in head coach Will Bolt’s first season in Lincoln, the Huskers are carrying that momentum on to the recruiting trail. With Christo and Chase Mason (191) leading the way, Nebraska has a Top 25 recruiting class for the first time since it ranked No. 11 in 2013.
Hitters: Mason was a four-sport star during his prep career in South Dakota and was one of the toolsiest players in the draft class. The lefthanded hitter has well above-average raw power—with some scouts going so far as to grade it at the top of the scale—and plus speed. He’s still very raw, however, and putting it all together may take some time. Shortstop Core Jackson played with the Canadian Junior National Team and has an aggressive approach on the diamond. He’s a plus runner with a loose lefthanded swing and the defensive skills to handle shortstop for the Huskers. Like Mason and Jackson, outfielder Jason Arakaki has plus speed. He comes to Nebraska from Hawaii and the lefthanded hitter has a good approach at the plate, where he sprays balls from gap to gap. Catcher Josh Caron has a strong build and the righthanded hitter can drive the ball to all fields. He has a strong arm behind the plate. Outfielder Luke Jessen has a strong lefthanded swing and offers good speed. Third baseman Kyler Randazzo creates impressive bat speed and has a strong arm from third base.
Pitchers: Christo, the 2021 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year, has a strong, physical frame and a powerful right arm. His fastball gets up to 95 mph and typically sits in the low 90s with good life. His slider and changeup both play well off his fastball, and he also can manipulate his fastball to turn it into a cutter. He has some fine things to tune in his game, but he has all the makings of a stalwart in the Nebraska rotation. Righthander CJ Hood has hit 96 mph with his fastball and still has projection in his 6-foot-4 frame. He gets a high spin rate on both his fastball and slider, giving both the potential to be above-average offerings. He’ll need to refine his control and work on his changeup, but there’s plenty of upside in his overall package. Lefthander Jackson Brockett stands out for his pitchability and has a good four-pitch arsenal. He isn’t overpowering but has a solid track record of success against high-level competition. Righthander Jaxon Jelkin has an ultra-projectable frame and is already beginning to tap into his upside. His fastball now sits around 90 mph with room to add more velocity, and he has a promising slider.
Recruiting coordinator: Bradley LeCroy
Top recruit: Will Taylor, OF (No. 21)
Overview: The Tigers saw Bubba Chandler and Joe Mack sign for a combined $5.5 million after both were taken in the top 75 picks but still end up with a strong class, headlined by Taylor—the highest-ranked prep player not to sign.
Hitters: Taylor is an excellent athlete who in high school also stood out as a quarterback and wrestler and is now playing wide receiver for Clemson’s football team. While he has impressive physical tools, he also has more feel for baseball than many toolsy, multi-sport athletes. He has good bat-to-ball skills and well above-average speed. Some believe he has five-tool potential, while others question how much power he’ll have. Regardless, his speed, defense and feel at the plate will quickly make an impact for Clemson. Spencer Rich this spring led all Florida junior college players in batting (.438) and is a plus runner. He’s a versatile defender, capable of playing anywhere in the outfield or up the middle on the infield. Like Taylor, his tool set profiles well at the top of the order. Aries Samek is a bit rawer than Taylor but also has an exciting set of tools. He’s a plus runner, offers raw righthanded power, has a strong arm and the athleticism to settle into one of a few positions, likely second or third base. Gavin Abrams and Billy Amick are also good athletes who can move around the diamond. Abrams has a powerful lefthanded bat, while Amick has a good combination of righthanded power and speed.
Pitchers: Righthander Jay Dill has a strong build and attacks hitters with a good fastball-slider combination. His fastball typically sits in the low 90s, touching 95 mph. Righthander Billy Barlow was a prep football player and brings that competitive mindset to the mound. His velocity has improved over the last two years, and his fastball now reaches 95 mph to go with a good breaking ball. Lefthander Rocco Reid has good feel on the mound and a solid three-pitch mix. His fastball works in the low 90s and he built a strong prep track record that should transfer to success in college. Righthander Casey Tallent doesn’t have as much upside as some of his classmates, but he too has a skill set that will help him quickly get on the mound for the Tigers. He fills up the strike zone and attacks hitters with a fastball that sits around 90 mph—and has touched as high as 94 mph—and a sweeping slider.
23. Texas A&M
Recruiting coordinator: Nolan Cain
Top recruit: Chris Cortez, RHP (No. 220)
Overview: After Jim Schlossnagle was hired in June to take over the program, Texas A&M hit the transfer portal as hard as any program in the country. But the new staff also will get an influx of talent—especially on the mound—from this year’s recruiting class, which was largely put together by the previous staff.
Hitters: Shortstop Austin Stracener has a long track record of success and combines present tools with solid upside. He has a smooth lefthanded swing, can play anywhere on the infield and has above-average speed. Shortstop Ty Hodge has standout athleticism and is now coming into his own on the diamond. He has well above-average speed and a quick righthanded swing that gives him intriguing offensive upside. Robert Hogan, a junior college transfer, has two-way ability as a righthander/outfielder. Injury limited him last year, but he brings power both on the mound and as a hitter.
Pitchers: Cortez was committed to Arizona until the Wildcats’ own coaching change this summer and he wound up following pitching coach Nate Yeskie to College Station. Cortez has a fast arm, and his fastball reaches the mid 90s. He also has the makings of a plus slider and a developing changeup. Righthander Rawley Hector (413) pitched as an underclassman for USA Baseball’s 18U National Team in the 2019 World Cup. He stands out for his pitchability and solid three-pitch mix. His fastball sits around 90 mph with more velocity to come, and he shows feel for both his changeup and slider. Lefthander Ryan Prager has a prototypical build and stands out for his advanced pitchability. His fastball sits around 90 mph now, touching 95, and he has good feel for his big curveball and changeup. Righthander Will Rizzo has a strong, physical build and his fastball reaches 95 mph with riding life that makes it difficult to square up. Righthander Landon Ellington was another late addition to the class, as he was previously committed to Texas Christian and followed Schlossnagle. His velocity made a jump in the last year and now reaches 95 mph. Righthander Ty Sexton has a big, athletic 6-foot-6, 200-pound build and was a prep quarterback. His fastball sits around 90 mph, and he throws it from a steep downhill angle, mixing in a good changeup. He offers plenty of projection and upside, particularly once he is focused full-time on baseball. Righthander William Maynard was more of a position player early in his prep career but has come on strong on the mound. His fastball gets up to 93 mph, he shows an ability to manipulate his pitches well and is a good athlete, giving him intriguing upside.
Recruiting coordinator: Elliott Cribby
Top recruit: Max Debiec, RHP (No. 161)
Overview: The Huskies landed their first Top 25 class since 2016 with a strong mix of high-end prep prospects and junior college transfers. The class should be able to provide immediate impact and form more of a long-term core for UW.
Hitters: AJ Guerrero (475) stands out for his hittability, which this year was among the best in the Northwest. He this summer played in the West Coast League and hit .362/.458/.522 in 20 games and should quickly find a spot in the Huskies lineup. His bat is ahead of his glove and an outfield corner may end up being his best position. Like Guerrero, shortstop Cam Clayton spent the summer in the WCL and held his own. He’s a solid defender and has above-average speed. Outfielder McKay Barney began his college career at Brigham Young before transferring last year to junior college. He’s a plus runner and takes advantage of that speed with his on-base skills and base running. He spent the summer in the Northwoods League, where he hit .319/.426/.341 with 30 stolen bases. Outfielder Colby Wallace is an excellent athlete and has an exciting combination of power and speed. He also has two-way ability as a lefthander with a good breaking ball. Catcher Colin Blanchard got a lot of experience catching premium pitchers during his prep career and is a solid defender.
Pitchers: Debiec is the class’s headliner on the mound, but the Huskies will have to wait until 2023 to see him in action after he this summer had Tommy John surgery. He has a big frame with some projection left and has already run his fastball up to 98 mph with high spin rates. If he’s able to recover his form from the summer of 2020, he offers tremendous upside. Righthander Kyle Bender attacks hitters with a sinker-slider combination. His fastball sits in the low 90s and if he’s able to refine his control he could quickly make an impact. Lefthander Bryce Armstrong stands out for his pitchability and is coming off an impressive season in junior college. Righthander Colton McIntosh began his college career at Arizona before transferring to junior college. He’s a good athlete and he pairs his low-90s fastball with a good breaking ball. Righthander Jared Engman, another junior college transfer, offers intriguing upside as a converted infielder. He’s still raw but his fastball can reach 97 mph.
Recruiting coordinator: Carl Lafferty
Top recruit: Hunter Elliott, LHP (405)
Overview: With nearly every position player returning from this spring’s super regional team, Ole Miss went heavy on pitching in its recruiting class. While losing Jackson Jobe, the No. 3 overall pick, stings, the Rebels still have a lot of depth to this year’s newcomers.
Hitters: Outfielder John Kramer, the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, has a strong, physical frame and creates a lot of bat speed in his lefthanded swing. He’s an average runner who should be able to handle an outfield corner but could also man first base. Tywone Malone is the latest Ole Miss player to do the football-baseball double, joining Jerrion Ealy and John Rhys Plumlee. While Ealy and Plumlee are lightning-fast and use their speed in both sports, Malone is the rare first baseman/defensive end prospect. He’s listed at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds and has huge raw righthanded power that makes for exciting upside. Infielder Regan Buford and outfielder Banks Tolley are both coming off strong springs in junior college. Buford is especially intriguing thanks to his athleticism and ability to play up the middle.
Pitchers: Elliott has a strong frame at a listed 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and offers good pitchability. His fastball sits around 90 mph, and he pairs it with a promising changeup and curveball. He has a pretty good feel on the mound and has some deception in his delivery. Righthander Dylan DeLucia has a strong track record of success in junior college. He has a good feel for his craft and a solid three-pitch mix. Righthander Matt Parenteau, another junior college transfer, has a strong frame and his fastball reaches the mid 90s to go with a hard curveball. Righthanders Mason Nichols and Riley Maddux were teammates at Jackson Prep and now come to Oxford together. Maddux attacks hitters with a sinker-slider combination, typically throwing his fastball in the low 90s. Nichols also can run his fastball into that range. Righthander Brayden Jones slid under the radar but has run his fastball up to 97 mph. He throws a lot of strikes and can mix in an average slider.