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 classes across the country.
Presented here is analysis of notable classes for teams in mid-major conferences. With the draft limited to five rounds and major conference schools holding on to more of their recruits than normal, breaking into the rankings was more difficult than ever for the mid-majors. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t many that merit recognition. These 10 schools brought in strong classes relative to a normal recruiting class at their school or in their conference.
All rankings are according to the 2020 BA 500, which included all draft-eligible players.
The Black Knights have been a program on the rise under coach Jim Foster and this recruiting class delivers another injection of talent at West Point. Ruta drew free agent interest following the draft and was initially reported to have signed with the Padres, but he stuck to his college commitment. Listed at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, he has a loose, easy lefthanded swing and projects to develop solid power. He’s a good all-around defender with arm strength that plays on the left side of the infield.
The class also includes several promising pitchers. Righthander Mark Lehman has excellent size (6-foot-6, 214 pounds) and athleticism. His fastball touches 93 mph, and he projects to add more consistent velocity as he physically matures and gets more experience on the mound. Righthander Mike Ruggieri has a physical 6-foot-6, 260-pound frame and uses his height to create a difficult angle for hitters. His fastball can get into the low 90s and he pairs it with a hard curveball.
Righthander Tanner Gresham has a strong 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame and his fastball touches 94 mph. He’ll need to refine his control, but he offers a lot of upside. Righthander Joel Rubin also can run his fastball into the low 90s, pairing it with an effective breaking ball. Lefthander Sean Dennehy isn’t as physical as some of his classmates at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, but he can also run his fastball into the low 90s and should quickly carve out a role on staff.
Florida Gulf Coast
Landing Miller is a coup for the Eagles who bring a premier pitcher to Fort Myers. Miller this year was the 14th-ranked prep player to go undrafted and arrive on campus and has high-end upside. Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he has excellent size and his velocity was ticking up this spring, touching 93 mph. His curveball, at its best, was one of the best in the entire draft class and he shows solid control. Miller has all the raw tools to become a frontline pitcher at FGCU.
Righthander/outfielder Najer Victor doesn’t have quite as much upside as Miller, but he offers plenty of his own. Listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, he’s an excellent athlete and a well above-average runner who has two-way ability. His velocity has increased, reaching 95 mph, and he pairs his fastball with a good curveball, giving him more promise on the mound.
Ian Farrow has a powerful righthanded swing and can turn on balls well. He’s athletic, versatile and has a strong arm, which allows him to move around the diamond and will help him quickly find a spot in the lineup. Outfielder Jahlani Rogers has a lot of athleticism and a powerful righthanded swing. He’s still a bit raw but has the tools to develop into a dynamic hitter at FGCU. Alejandro Figueredo put together a strong track record offensively in junior college and figures to step right into the Eagles’ lineup as a corner infielder.
Brad Stromdahl previously brought in some strong recruiting classes in his old role as Georgia State’s recruiting coordinator. Now, as he begins his second year as the program’s head coach, the Panthers have perhaps their best ever group of newcomers.
Sweatt began his college career at Auburn before transferring to junior college and now Georgia State. The Georgia native has impressive raw stuff and an athletic, projectable 6-foot-3 frame. His fastball gets up to 94 mph and he has promising offspeed stuff, giving him the look of a future weekend starter. Righthander Mason Patel is the top prep arm of the group. He’s got some projection and throws a lot of strikes with his four-pitch arsenal, an overall package that gives him a chance to become a weekend starter. Righthanders Jet Kern and Jacob Riordan, both junior college transfers, figure to pitch important innings out of the bullpen. Kern is a converted shortstop with a good fastball-curveball combination and Riordan’s fastball can reach 97 mph. Georgia State also added righthander Dylan Matela, a transfer from Furman, who should slot right into the rotation.
Outfielder Dalton Pearson combines premium speed and athleticism. The righthanded hitter makes a lot of contact and his well above-average speed plays well both at the top of the order and in center field. Outfielder Lavoisier Fisher, a junior college transfer, also stands out for his speed and athleticism. His speed plays well on the bases and he offers upside as he refines his hitting. Second baseman Ashby Smith began his college career at Presbyterian before transferring to junior college and now Georgia State. He’s a solid all-around hitter and will step right into the Panthers’ lineup.
The Antelopes have a strong recruiting class with some big league flavor. Outfielder Homer Bush Jr., shortstop Jacob Wilson (Jack Wilson) and catcher Tyler Wilson (Steve Wilson) all are the sons of former major leaguers. But it’s Zaborowski that is the top-rated newcomer. He has a powerful 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame and produces big righthanded power. He has a good approach at the plate and can drive the ball to all fields.
Bush Jr. stands out for his athleticism and is a plus runner, tools that play well in the outfield. He has good bat speed now and figures to develop more power as he physically matures, giving him a lot of upside. Jacob Wilson, like his father, is an excellent defensive shortstop. He has a strong arm and has good feel at the plate with some upside as he gets stronger. Tyler Wilson was born in Taiwan where his father finished his playing career. He’s an athletic switch-hitter who has a lot of offensive upside.
Righthander Carter Young is the rare Division I product from Wyoming, a state that does not sponsor high school baseball. He has a smaller frame at 5-foot-11, but attacks hitters with a solid fastball-curveball combination. Lefthander Connor Markl has a strong track record of success in high school thanks to his three-pitch mix. Lefthander Sasha Sneider, a junior college transfer, could soon take over a spot in the rotation. His fastball sits in the upper 80s and he mixes in a good changeup and slider.
Recruiting coordinator: Trey Stover
Top recruit: Jared Burrows, RHP/SS
Hartford has had a lot of success during coach Justin Blood’s nine-year tenure. This recruiting class, however, may be its best yet in that time. Burrows, the Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year, has true two-way ability and can make an immediate impact. He has good feel on the mound with a fastball that sits around 90 mph and he could soon step into a spot in the rotation. He’s also a good defender with offensive projection who could make an impact in the lineup as well.
Ben Anderson, the 2019 New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year, has two-way potential as a first baseman and lefthander. He has a physical 6-foot-2, 215-pound build, uses the whole field to hit and drives the ball well. He doesn’t have as much upside on the mound, but his fastball-curveball combination and competitiveness play well. Dan Burnett also has two-way potential as an infielder and righthander. He has a good approach at the plate and offers some righthanded power. His fastball-curveball combination gives him the chance to get on the mound as well.
Righthander Coleman Picard has been on an upward trajectory over the last year and now runs his fastball into the low to mid 90s. He’s still refining his game, but his athleticism and upside give him impact potential. Righthander Colin Blake can run his fastball up to 94 mph and throws a lot of strikes. He has a lot of upside as he continues to get stronger and refines his offspeed stuff.
The Bears have been one of the best programs in the Southern Conference since joining the league in 2015 and this recruiting class will help them maintain that position. Hancock has a big, physical 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame and can be an impactful two-way player. On the mound, he has a powerful fastball-curveball combination. He’s a good lefthanded hitter as well.
Wesley Franklin also has two-way potential as an infielder/righthander. He has a strong 6-foot-3 build and attacks hitters with a good fastball-curveball combination. He’s got power as a righthanded hitter as well and fits well at third base. Infielder Trevor Rider has a long, projectable 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame and will grow into more power as he physically matures. He has good arm strength and plays solid defense.
Righthander Declan Champey has good pitchability and throws a lot of strikes with his three-pitch mix. He’s not the most overpowering, with a fastball in the upper 80s, but he attacks hitters and had a good track record of success in high school. Righthander Leo Giannoni is a sidearmer with a good fastball-slider combination. The Bears have had a lot of success with similar pitchers in the past and Giannoni figures to be an important piece out of the bullpen. Righthander Grant Sloan has a projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame and a good slider. He’s a good athlete with plenty of upside.
Recruiting coordinator: Justin Dedman
Top recruit: Dalton Back, C
The RedHawks have become adept at finding and developing pitchers under coach Danny Hayden, with third-year sophomore ace Sam Bachman the latest example. This recruiting class, however, mixes a strong crop of position players with upside on the mound.
Back is an excellent athlete who is a plus runner and was named honorable mention all-state honors as a wide receiver. He’s a strong defender behind the plate, combining good receiving skills with a strong arm. He has a quick righthanded swing and with power potential. Infielder Jacob Hensor stands out for his feel for hitting and above-average speed, tools that play well at the top of the order. He’s a solid all-around defender who can play in the middle of the diamond. Third baseman Nick Clark is a strong lefthanded batter and has the hands and arm to stay at the hot corner.
Austin Greco has two-way ability as an outfielder and righthander. He has a good feel at the plate and covers ground well in the outfield. On the mound, his fastball sits around 90 mph and he pairs it with a good slider. Righthander Aaron Massie offers good pitchability and a four-pitch arsenal that will help him quickly carve out a role on the RedHawks’ staff. Righthander Zach Maxey and lefthander Brady McLean both have solid upside. Maxey has a projectable 6-foot-3 frame and a promising fastball-slider combination, while McLean has good feel for his offspeed pitches. Miami also added lefthander Kevin Napoleon as a grad transfer from Butler and will slot him into the bullpen.
North Dakota State
Recruiting coordinator: Tyler Oakes
Top recruit: Cade Feeney, RHP/INF
The Bison have a deep, talented incoming class that should be able to quickly make an impact. Feeney, the younger brother of NC State righthander Dalton Feeney, was the 2019 North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year and has two-way ability. He’s more advanced on the mound, where his fastball gets up to 93 mph and he pairs it with a good slider. He was a three-sport star in high school and his athleticism plays well on the diamond and he has some righthanded power.
Catcher Will Busch is a solid defender with good catch-and-throw skills. The righthanded hitter has some strength in his swing, which is geared for line drives. Shortstop Jason Chiu, a Canadian native, has good hands and infield actions and a disciplined approach at the plate.
Twin lefthanders Caden Edwards and Jaxon Edwards both have projectable 6-foot-5, 190-pound frames. Both are good athletes with plenty of upside as they physically mature. Jaxon is more advanced on the mound, while Caden has two-way potential as a first baseman. Righthander Shea Zetterman has a physical 6-foot-4 frame and his fastball-slider combination played well out of the bullpen in junior college.
The Toreros have a strong overall class that includes several newcomers who figure to quickly make an impact. Chief among them is Carr, who this summer was named freshman of the year in the San Diego League. He stood out as a hitter thanks to his easy lefthanded swing and power potential. On the mound, his fastball gets up to 95 mph and he has a good breaking ball. He has the ability to impact the game in a number of ways.
Lefthander Cole Colleran has a polished approach on the mound and his pitchability will play right away for the Toreros. He isn’t overpowering, with a fastball in the upper 80s, but he throws four pitches for strikes and does a lot of little things well. Righthander Ryan Robinson, a junior college transfer, throws from a deceptive three-quarter arm slot and has a good sinker-slider combination. USD also added righthander Kieran Shaw as a transfer from Harvard. He figures to take on a significant role for the Toreros.
Third baseman Kevin Sim, the son of Korean slugger Jong-soo Shim, who was nicknamed “Hercules,” has big raw power that stacked up well with any prep player in the 2020 draft class. He still needs to refine his approach at the plate, but his power will play right away. Outfielder Dustin Allen is a plus runner whose speed plays well both on the bases and in center field. Michael Davinni has two-way potential as an infielder/righthander. He has a powerful righthanded swing and, on the mound, attacks hitters with a fastball-slider combination that will play well in the bullpen. USD also added RJ Teijeiro as a transfer from UCLA. He has a good lefthanded swing and is a versatile defender.
As Randy Hood enters his second year as UNCW head coach, the Seahawks bring in a strong class. It has some impact prep talent, as well as some experienced transfers, including four from four-year schools.
Chenault has an athletic, projectable 6-foot-5, 190-pound frame. His fastball sits around 90 mph, touching 93 with more velocity to come as he physically matures. He pairs it with a good slider and uses his height well to create a lot of groundball outs. Ryan Calvert also brings a physical presence at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. He has two-way ability as a righthander and first baseman, offering power in both roles. He attacks hitters with a fastball-slider combination and has a powerful lefthanded swing.
Infielder Taber Mongero, a junior college transfer, has a solid all-around skill set and is a good defender around the infield. He’ll carve out a role in the Seahawks lineup. Third baseman Jack Howell has a powerful lefthanded swing. His glove and arm strength play well at third base. Lefthander Luke Craig and righthander Jacob Shafer both figure to get in the mix quickly on the mound. Craig offers pitchability and a three-pitch mix, while Shafer has a big 6-foot-6 frame that gives him upside to go with good competitiveness on the mound.