Category Archives: SEC

PerfectGame.org’s Top 7 Early Period Recruiting Classes

Patrick Ebert of PG Crosschecker checks in with his early signing period standout classes. You can read his full review here. In alphabetical order (with three of each class’ top names), Ebert notes:

  • Arkansas, led by Austin Wright, Bobby Bundy and Tyler Sample.
  • Florida, with Ryan Weber, Nick Maronde and Jerico Weitzel.
  • Georgia, featuring Brett DeVall, Michael Palazzone and Xavier Avery.
  • Kentucky, boasting Alex Meyer, Andy Burns and Daniel Webb.
  • San Diego State, lining up Isaac Galloway, Ryan O’Sullivan and Matt Lollis.
  • UCLA, landing Gerrit Cole, Clark Murphy and Chris Amezquia.
  • Vanderbilt, snaring Sonny Gray, Jack Armstrong and Jason Esposito.

Rivals.com Releases Top 5 Storylines for 2008

Kendall Rogers, baseball editor for Rivals.com, kicks off his top storylines of 2008. Prime among those are OSU’s efforts to produce the coveted Three-Peat.

Also featured are the Pac-10 race between ASU, UCLA and OSU; the Longhorns efforts to make it back to Omaha; Vanderbilt’s high octane offense and Miami’s charge in the ACC.

The full article may be read here.

Top Outfielders by Doug Kroll

CSTV editor Doug Kroll checks in with his weekly article about the top players in the country. This week he focuses on outfielders. His top outfielder is Dominic De la Osa of Vanderbilt followed up by Kyle Russell of Texas. The full article is available by clicking here where he also lists Jack Rye (FSU), Tommy Baldridge and David Sappelt (Coastal Carolina), and Mark Sobolewski (Miami, FL).

Bulldogs, Sun Devils Get Fall Recruiting Accolades From B.A.

Aaron Fitt of Baseball America gave out some props for the big Fall signings in baseball.  Leading the way were the stacked classes at Georgia (21 total, with seven of BA’s top 100 signees) and Arizona State (24, four of the top 100).  Fitt noted that both UGA and ASU went the aggressive route, taking risks with prospects who could be draft day casualties.  But the CBB says, dream big or don’t dream at all.  Recruiting top notch players is good for a program and good for the game in general.

Fitt polled several coaches informally, who listed UGA, ASU, Vanderbilt, UCLA, Kentucky, UNC, Texas and Oregon State as the big winners in the early signing period.  Fitt noted that Vandy’s class stands out for the likelihood that top 100 players like Sonny Gray, Grayson Garvin, Jason Esposito and Matt Marquis may bypass the draft.   The CBB also likes UK’s class.  If they can keep some of the big time arms they’ve recruited, UK could quickly ascend among the SEC elite.

 The entire article can be read here.

Doug Kroll’s checks in on Third Basemen

Doug Kroll of CSTV checks in this week previewing the top third basemen in the country. Pedro Alvarez is listed as the top prospect which is expected since he has been one of the top players in the entire nation for his first two seasons with Vanderbilt. He also talks about Logan Forsythe of Arkansas, Matt Hague of Oklahoma State, and a few other players from around the nation. The full article is available here.

Doug Kroll’s top first basemen

Doug Kroll continues his preview of the top players for the 2008 season. This week he checks in on the top first basemen with Brett Wallace (Arizona State) taking the top spot. Wallace had a tremendous 2007 season where he was named the PAC-10 player of the year and led the Sun Devils to the College World Series. Dustin Ackley (UNC) is put into the second position but is the only sophomore listed on Kroll’s top five. Justin Smoak (South Carolina) comes in at the third spot which is a surprise as he will be a top five pick in the 2008 draft. Yonder Alonso (Miami FL) and David Copper (Cal) round out the top five. The CBB thinks Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest) should be considered a top five player but who should get off the list though? The full article is available here.

Vandy Closes Out Early Signing Period with 14

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Vanderbilt baseball announced the addition of 14 players for the 2008-2009 school year today.

The Commodores class includes six pitchers and eight position players with 12 high schoolers and two junior college transfers.

“We are excited about this class and its future potential,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “The class was compiled to help offset the loss of our upperclassmen to graduation and the draft. The incoming group are very talented players and we look forward to seeing them on campus next fall.”

The 14 member class is made up of student-athletes from nine different states, including three ranked as the top player in their state. Below is the list of signees with brief information on each. Rankings were taken from Perfect Game Crosschecker and Baseball America.

Players and Their Bios:

Jack Armstrong • RHP/1B • Jupiter, Fla. (Jupiter High)
Armstrong is the # 1 ranked righthander pitcher in Florida and one of the top two way players in the nation. At 6’7”, he is extrememly athletic and also a Division I caliber basketball player. He is rated the No. 28 player nationally by Perfect Game. His father, Jack Armstrong, pitched at the University of Oklahoma and in the major leagues from 1988-1994 with Cincinnati, Cleveland, Florida and Texas.

Will Clinard • RHP • Cross Plains, Tenn. (East Robertson High)
Clinard is a 6’4” righthanded pitcher that consistently throws 88-92 mph. He is the fourth ranked high school prospect in Tennessee and the 218 ranked prospect nationally by Perfect Game.

Jason Esposito • INF • Bethany, Conn. (Amity High)
Jason is the #1 ranked overall player in Connecticut and one of the top infield prospects in the nation. His best tools are his defense, arm strength, and hitting ability. He is the ranked as No. 63 in Baseball America’s Top 100 High School Prospects.

Grayson Garvin • LHP • Suwanee, Ga. (The Wesleyan School)
Garvin is the #1 ranked lefthanded pitcher in Georgia and one of the top pitching prospects in the country.  He has outstanding command, a 86-90mph fastball and a very good changeup. He is the No. 55 ranked high school prospect in the country by Baseball America.

Sonny Gray    • RHP    • Smyrna, Tenn (Smyrna High School)
Gray is the No. 6 ranked high school prospect nationally by Baseball America. He is a 5’10” and has a power arm that tops out around 96 mph and a dominant 84-86mph slider. He is considered by many experts as the most talented Tennessee High School prospect since David Price.

Andrew Harris • INF • Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell Academy)
Harris, the brother of current Commodore infielder Brian Harris and son of former Commodore Robert Harris, is a very athletic infielder and a physical left handed hitter.  He is extremely motivated, driven and his competitiveness will stand out immediately.

Joe Loftus • INF • Savage, Minn. (Academy of Holy Angels)
Loftus is the #1 ranked position player in Minnesota and one of the premier power hitters in the nation. In three years of high school, he has already broken Joe Mauer’s (current Minnesota Twins starting catcher) Minnesota High School home run record. Perfect Game lists him as the No. 147 player nationally.

Matt Marquis • OF • Annandale, N.J. (Immaculata High School)
Marquis is the #1 ranked position player in New Jersey and one of the top hitters in the country. His best tools are his extrememly advanced hitting ability and natural power. He is listed as No. 67 in Perfect Game’s Top High School prospects list.

Adam Milligan • OF • Savannah, Tenn. (Walters State CC)   
Milligan is a returning First Team Junior College All-American at Walters State. He has been drafted twice already by the Atlanta Braves (28th round in 2006, 27th in 2007) and is a physical specimen at 6’3” 235lbs. Last season he hit .395 with 13 homers, 18 doubles and 58 RBIs as a freshman.

Navery Moore • RHP • Franklin, Tenn. (Battle Ground Academy)
Moore was considered by many as the nation’s No. 1 high school prospect before undergoing arm surgery last spring. He is expected to return to action in the spring for BGA. He is listed as the No. 3 prospect in Tennessee and the No. 155 prospect nationally by Perfect Game.

Dylan Pratt • UTIL • Gray, Tenn. (Walters State CC)
Pratt, a freshman this season, is another 6’2” 220lb physical specimen from Walters State along with fellow signee Adam Milligan.  He is versatile and can catch and play in the outfield. Pratt was a first-team All-State selection a year ago after hitting .480 with eight homers and 41 RBI at Daniel Boone High.

Riley Reynolds • INF • Lee Summitt, Mo. (Blue Springs South High)
Reynolds is an extrememly athletic middle infielder from the Kansas City area. He has natural raw hitting ability with smooth defensive actions and will progress quickly as he adds more strength. He is listed as the No. 3 prospect in Missouri and the No. 157 prospect nationally by both Baseball America and Perfect Game.

Ryan Westmoreland • OF • Portsmouth, R.I. (Portsmouth High School)
Westmoreland is the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Rhode Island and the top position player prospect in New England. His best tools are speed, hitting ability, and arm strength. Baseball America has him at No. 113 nationally among high school players.

Corey Williams • LHP •  Huntsville, Ala. (Madison Academy)
Corey is a very polished lefthanded pitcher who has great command of three pitches. He is the No. 4 high school prospect in the state and is ranked No. 327 nationally. He went 9-2 as a junior for Madison Academy with a 1.89 ERA. He struck out 68 with 19 walks in 63 innings.

Doug Kroll’s top catchers

Doug Kroll of CSTV checks in with an article about the top catchers in the nation. He talks about Buster Posey of FSU being the top backstop in the nation. Posey is entering his junior season but only his second season behind the plate. The CBB will be checking out Posey this season when the Seminoles visit BC on April 11th-13th. Petey Paramore of Arizona State is listed in the second spot and should put up huge numbers in 2008 on one of the top offensive teams. Rounding out the top five is Tim Federowicz of UNC, Phil Disher of South Carolina, and Doug Hogan of Clemson. I am surprised that Ryan Lavarnway of Yale was not anywhere in his top five or on the players to watch list. The full article is available here.

CBB Top Position Players for 2008

Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt.
This hard-hitting, Junior third baseman from Horace Mann High School in the Bronx, New York is one of the pre-season favorites for the Golden Spikes Award and was the only 2007 Golden Spikes finalist to return in 2008. Alvarez is lethal at the plate, as a career .360 batter with an NCAA high 40 career home runs (among active players). In 2006, he hit .329 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI en route to earning National Freshman of the Year. In 2007, he improved to .386, 18, 68, which leading Vanderbilt to a number 1 ranking for the majority of the season. Alvarez is deadly from the left side of the plate and is protected in Coach Tim Corbin’s lineup by being sandwiched between another pair of returning all-America players, RF Dominic De la Osa (.378, 20, 62) and SS Ryan Flaherty (.381, 4, 57). Alvarez is also a spectacular fielder with cat-like reflexes and a cannon arm; however, Pedro’s flair for the dramatic defensive play also leads to his fair share of errors. Those errors and a tendency to strikeout too often will be the items Alvarez looks to improve in his swan song season.

Dominic de la Osa, Vanderbilt
Hitting in the coveted “Mickey Mantle spot” (in front of Pedro Alvarez, as Mantle did when Roger Maris hit 61), Dominic de la Osa exploded in 2007, proving to be one of the top speed-power guys in the nation. Entering last season with a .300 average and 16 home runs in solid, if unspectacular Freshman and Sophomore years, “of the Bear” set career highs with a .378 average, 65 runs, 23 doubles, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. A consensus first team All-America, de la Osa was expected to be a first day pick in the MLB draft before plummeting to the 10th round and the Tigers. An abysmal summer on the Cape left de la Osa with more to prove and he returned to man Rightfield as a Senior for Coach Corbin.

Justin Smoak, South Carolina
Joining Brett Wallace and Yonder Alonso as the elite first basemen in College Baseball, Smoak enters his Junior year in second place on the career homerun list among active players. As a Freshman, he hit .303 with 17 homeruns and 63 RBI. Smoak improved on those numbers last year, hitting .317 with 19 homeruns and another 63 RBI. Most impressive, however, is Smoak’s patience, with 94 walks against 79 strikeouts. The switch-hitting lefty is also thrifty with the glove, sporting a career .994 fielding percentage. Smoak is perfectly positioned for a true, breakout season in a good hitter’s ballpark.

Yonder Alonso, Miami

Alonso was named the top first baseman in the Cape Cod League in 2007. He hit an outstanding .338 for the summer after hitting .376 with 18 homers during the 2007 season for the Hurricanes. Alonso is a patient hitter as he walked 64 times during the collegiate season and 36 times in the CCBL. He only struck out 56 times combined. He needs to work on his defense as he is limited to playing only first base. He should develop more power before getting drafted in 2008 as he will become stronger and a better hitter. Alonso should be able to compete for many National Player of the Year awards in 2008 in addition to conference accolades.

Buster Posey, Florida State

Posey is one of the College Baseball Blog’s favorite players. He moved to catcher before the 2007 season as the Seminoles had an opening behind the plate. Buster hit .382 with 3 homers and 65 RBI at FSU while spending his summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox where he batted .281 as he struggled to adjust to the Cape Cod League pitching. One scout told us that Posey improved his draft stock with the move behind the plate but needs to refine his catching skills as he is raw at calling games and blocking pitches. Posey should be one of the top catchers in the ACC competing with Tim Federowicz for conference awards. The CBB will be seeing Posey this season when FSU comes to Boston College for a three game set. The CBB expects Posey to be drafted in the top five rounds of the 2008 draft.

Brett Wallace, Arizona State

Wallace led the Sun Devils back to the College World Series in 2007 where he hit an outstanding .404 for the season while hitting 16 home runs. He won the Pac 10 Triple Crown as was named the Player of the Year in the conference. Brett spent the summer of 2007 with the USA National team where he competed in the Pan-Am Games and the World Port Tournament. He hit .312 with two homers and 26 RBI for the summer. Wallace is a big guy as he is listed at 6’1 245 pounds so he struggles in the field and will likely be stuck at first base in MLB or moved to DH if he is put in the American League.

Thanks to NewYorkDore for helping out with some of the previews.