College baseball recruiting

I’m not a recruitnik when it comes to any sport.  I believe that when it comes to recruiting, you should trust your coaches.  Of course, this requires a wait-and-see attitude, and a lot of people don’t like waiting.  This was true before the internet age, by the way.  The veteran South Carolina radio host Phil Kornblut, to give one example, has made a living as a “guru” since the mid-1980s.  I used to regularly listen in the early evening as callers would phone in to ask Kornblut about some hot prospect (the sport in question was almost always football) who was considering South Carolina and/or Clemson.  Phil would rarely fail to put a positive spin on the chances of South Carolina and/or Clemson landing the player.  Kornblut had to be as diplomatic as possible if the choice was actually between the two schools.  (Of course, if the kid was actually good, he usually wound up at someplace like Florida State or Auburn.)

There are people who seem to care more about “winning” in recruiting than having success on the field or court.  It’s a little scary.

Having said that, I still peruse recruiting stories from time to time.  Today I took a look at Baseball America‘s list of college baseball’s Top 25 recruiting classes (accompanying story here; the Top 25 capsules are “premium content”).

I have to say that nothing jumped out at me as being really surprising.  I wasn’t really expecting to see a Top 25 recruiting class featuring, say, The Citadel (although that would have been cool).  Nevertheless, there were some things that interested me.

  • Louisville took advantage of its surprise CWS appearance from two years ago to sign the #20-rated class for this year.  The Cardinals brought in ten players (nine high schoolers and one JC transfer), including an intriguing 6’7″ lefthander from Massachusetts, Keith Landers, who reportedly throws 88-92 mph with a good breaking ball and has “composure” on the hill.  Landers was an 18th-round draft pick of the Orioles.  Also, my brother would want me to mention that Chris Lemonis is Louisville’s recruiting coordinator.

(Special Louisville factoid/cheap excuse for me to mention the ’90 CWS:  Cardinals head coach Dan McDonnell was the primary leadoff hitter for The Citadel in 1990, when the Bulldogs reached the College World Series.  McDonnell only hit .206 that year, but managed a .401 OBP thanks to 62 walks (in 60 games).  He was also hit by 7 pitches, stole 38 bases, and recorded 11 sacrifices.  McDonnell also managed to reach base at least three times after striking out on a wild pitch.  In short, he was as good a .206-batting college leadoff hitter as you will ever see.)

  • Duke has the #25-rated class, not bad for a school that hasn’t made an NCAA regional since 1961.  I’ve always thought Duke was an underachiever in college baseball (not UCLA-level of underachievement, of course).  In recent years, Duke has struggled to stay out of the ACC basement.
  • LSU, North Carolina, and South Carolina are not among the 11 SEC or ACC schools in the Top 25.
  • Defending national champ Fresno State brought in 23 players (six JC transfers), and that’s not even counting any potential tranfers from four-year schools.  I wonder how many of them expect to play right away…

One other thing:  North Carolina State (#23-rated class) signed two kids from The Hun School.  The school’s teams are known as the “Raiders”.  I was mildly disappointed when I found that out, as I was hoping for something unique, like “The Scourge”.

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