Image credit: Brett Baty (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Breaking into the recruiting class rankings isn’t easy, and narrowing down the field is a difficult task that always leaves some impressive classes off the list. With that in mind, here are five more teams that fell just outside the top dozen 2019 recruiting classes, listed in alphabetical order.
To see our initial ranking of the best 12 recruiting classes in college baseball, click here.
Recruiting coordinator: Ben Greenspan
Top recruit: Glenallen Hill Jr., SS (No. 26)
After bringing in a smaller class in 2018, Arizona State has a larger 2019 group, headlined by Hill, whose father played 13 years in the major leagues. Hill is smaller than his father at a listed 5-foot-9, but he’s a premium athlete with well-above average speed and impressive bat speed. He plays shortstop now, but he profiles better at second base or in center field. Catcher Michael Carpentier is one of the best catchers in California, and his defensive skills give him a chance to quickly contribute. Sean McLain, the younger brother of 2018 first-rounder and UCLA freshman Matt McLain, is a versatile, competitive player. He isn’t as polished as his older brother but has a similar righthanded swing, and he has the mentality and athleticism to carve out a role on the field.
Righthander Seth Tomczak (49) is the top pitcher in the class. He has an athletic, projectable 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame and has a fastball that has touched 95 mph to go with an 85 mph slider. He’s still a little raw and his secondary stuff can be inconsistent, but he offers significant upside. Lefthanders Cooper Benson and Justin Fall both have impact potential. Fall, currently at Brookdale (N.J.) JC, is coming off a strong summer in the Atlantic Collegiate League and has a low-90s fastball to go with a good breaking ball. Benson isn’t overpowering but has advanced pitchability and a solid fastball-changeup combination.
Recruiting coordinator: Noberto Lopez
Top recruit: Hylan Hall, OF (No. 20)
Miami went pitching heavy this year as much of its lineup this season is anticipated to be freshmen and sophomores. But the Hurricanes still have some impact bats in the class, led by Hall. Toolsy and athletic, Hall is a plus runner and has a quick swing. He is still raw defensively but has the tools to develop into a solid center fielder in time. Matthew Lugo, a Puerto Rican native, is also very athletic and can play up the middle, either in the infield or the outfield. Third baseman Mykanthony Valdez has big raw power but is still learning to get to it in games.
On the mound, righthander Alex McFarlane (50), a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, leads the way. He has a projectable frame, a quick arm and a solid three-pitch mix. Righthander Jason Diaz attacks hitters with a good sinker-slider mix and can run his fastball up to 94 mph. Righthander Austin Thomas, a former football player, has a prototypical frame for a power pitcher at a listed 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and a strong arm to match. Lefthander Yordani Carmona isn’t overpowering but has advanced pitchability and consistently throws three pitches for strikes.
Recruiting coordinator: Carl Lafferty
Top recruit: Jerrion Ealy, OF (No. 8)
The Rebels this fall brought in a strong recruiting class, headlined by unsigned supplemental first-rounder Gunnar Hoglund. Whether the Rebels can get another elite talent like him to campus remains to be seen, but they’ll have a chance with some of the high-level players in their 2019 class. Ealy is a dynamic athlete who is committed to Ole Miss for both baseball and football, and he is currently ranked as the No. 3 running back in the 2019 recruiting class, according to 24/7 Sports. Ealy has publicly said he will not sign in football’s early signing period next month and is still considering other schools.
Despite being a two-sport star, Ealy is not raw on the diamond. He is one of the fastest players in the draft class, produces plus bat speed and has excellent hand-eye coordination. Connor Walsh also provides plenty of athleticism and is a plus runner who figures to fit in up the middle of the field. Catcher Hayden Dunhurst, a lefthanded hitter, has a powerful bat and arm. Outfielder Hayden Leatherwood, currently at Northwest Mississippi JC, gives the class another solid lefthanded hitter.
Righthander Andrew McDaniel leads the way on the mound. He has a good feel for spinning the ball and runs his fastball into the low 90s. Righthander Harrison Dorsett is projectable with a good fastball-slider combination. The class also includes a trio of players with two-way potential in Ben Gilbert, Trey Lafleur and Zack Smith. Lafleur is the best of the bunch but perhaps also the hardest to figure out. He stood out on the mound before his junior year, but this summer hit in the heart of a very good lineup for the East Coast Sox. Whether he ends up more as a lefthander or an outfielder, he figures to make an impact for the Rebels.
Recruiting coordinator: Sean Allen
Top recruit: Brett Baty, 3B (No. 10)
The Longhorns loaded up on pitching, especially lefthanders in their 2019 class. But they still got some high-end hitters, led by Baty. The lefthanded hitter has some of the best raw power in the prep class and can drive the ball out to all fields. He’s improved defensively but questions remain about whether he fits better at third or first base. Sansone Faltine (29) is perhaps the most versatile player in the country. He can play anywhere on the field except catcher and he figures to be a two-way player for Texas. Catcher Silas Ardoin, the son of former big league catcher Danny Ardoin, is an advanced defender. Outfielder Douglas Hodo and infielder Brenden Dixon are big-time football players who bring plenty of athleticism to the diamond.
Texas has several high-end pitchers in the class, including righthanders Andre Duplantier, Jared Southard and William Swope. Duplantier, the cousin of D-backs prospect Jon Duplantier, has two-way potential but his future is likely on the mound where he spins the ball well. Southard has a big arm and touches 94-95 mph with his fastball but typically pitches a tick lower. Swope pounds the strike zone with a fastball that sits around 90 mph but has been up to 94 mph. Lefthanders Peter Hansen and Austin Wallace offer projection. Hansen doesn’t have overpowering stuff now, but it plays up thanks to the spin rates he gets on both his fastball and breaking ball. Wallace is more physical and gets good sinking action on his upper-80s fastball. He also has two-way potential and produces good bat speed.
Recruiting coordinator: Kevin McMullan
Top recruit: Jack Kochanowicz, RHP (No. 27)
Virginia has another solid recruiting class filled with athletic position players and plenty of promising pitchers. Outfielder Chris Newell (46) leads the position players. He has all the tools necessary to play center field and has put together a solid track record of performance. Catcher Tate Ballestro is a switch-hitter with a projectable frame that portends solid power once he fills out his 6-foot-4 frame. He’s a good athlete and even played shortstop last year for his high school. Outfielder Evan Slight is strong and physical and also excelled at football and hockey before focusing on baseball.
Kochanowicz stands out on the mound. He has a projectable 6-foot-6 frame, gets great extension and has an intriguing three-pitch mix. He mostly throws in the low 90s but has touched higher and there should be more velocity to come as he physically matures. Righthander Jayson Hoopes has good athleticism and a three-pitch mix that he throws from multiple arm slots. Griffin Agee and Jake Baldino give the class a pair of solid lefthanders. Agee can run his fastball up to 93 mph, and Baldino has advanced pitchability and a projectable frame, though he has been banged up recently.