With recruiting news beginning to pick up as prospects make official and unofficial visits during football season and as the early signing period for the 2014 class (Nov. 13–20) nears, this seemed like a good time for a baseball recruiting update, especially one focusing on 2014. Since I first posted the chart showing the 2014 commits in April, there have been two changes:
Michael Hendrickson: committed to the Wolverines in July (see Hello post).
Brandon Hughes: decommitted from Michigan and then committed to Michigan State in August. Hughes was the last of the Michigan commits who had originally pledged to former coach Rich Maloney, so this wasn't that surprising a development.
In the revised 2014 chart (posted in a reply for technical reasons), Hendrickson takes the place of Hughes, and the class remains nine-strong. I've updated the rankings as much as possible (lacking access to the pay-walled Perfect Game rankings, the only ones listed for that site are a couple that were reported at the time of the player's commitment). Michigan has three commits in PBR's overall top 50, covering a ten-state region:
- #18 Grant Reuss (#1 in Michigan)
- #46 Jayce Vancena (#7 in Ohio)
- #48 Rahman Williams (#11 in Illinois)
The chart includes a few new scouting reports (viewable by cursoring over the underlined text in the rightmost column), including this one for Williams, posted by Perfect Game in July:
Medium build with good strength in his lower half. Switch hitter, natural right hander, short rotational swing right handed, pull line drive contact, has some strength and bat speed. Open stance left handed, stays on his back side, short swing, contact approach. Sound infield actions, feet work well through the ball, light on his feet, shows good body control and range to the ball, good arm strength.
At least two of Michigan's commits appear to be in the conversation as potential 2014 MLB draft picks. Reuss is one, as PBR indicated in a June article on ten 2014 players "creating buzz on summer circuit":
Reuss continues to climb on Major league boards. . . . Really high ceiling. Arm works well. Up to 89mph for us. Command needs to improve to really be considered elite. Still feeling out his mechanics. Breaking ball spins well (71mph). Potential to be swing and miss pitch. Should be a high follow for major league scouts this coming spring.
Another is Drew Lugbauer. At the Nine Baseball site, Jeff Sullivan placed Lugbauer at #38 in his top 100 high school prospects for the 2014 MLB draft. Kiley McDaniel, a national baseball analyst for Scout, ranked Lugbauer #13 in his list of high school MLB draft prospects from the Northeast, projecting him as a potential 5th-rounder. Lugbauer was also included in Jonathan Mayo's rundown of top performers at a recent showcase hosted by the Mets at Citi Field:
Left-handed hitting catcher with power. Big and strong, good arm strength, other parts of his defense are developing.
Finalist for Ockimey
Michigan apparently still has scholarship money left for the 2014 class as they are in the final three for a top uncommitted prospect from Philadelphia, Josh Ockimey. A 6-4, 220-pound first baseman out of Neumann-Goretti H.S., Ockimey had originally committed to Arkansas but decommitted in August when the Razorbacks' associate head coach, Todd Butler, left to become the head coach at Wichita State. Not coincidentally, Wichita State is one of Ockimey's finalists, and he'll take an official visit there this coming weekend. He officially visited Michigan this past weekend and Indiana the weekend before. According to what he told Chris Webb in this blog post, Ockimey will choose from those three by October 5.
PBR has Ockimey ranked #6 in Pennsylvania and #53 overall, and they offered this assessment in a hot list posted earlier this month:
Ockimey is a physical beast in the box, standing at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He has some holes in his swing, but shows raw power and is athletic. He has capable actions at first base with the potential to put it all together and be a run producing, middle-of-the-order hitter at next level.
He's also slotted at #98 in that Nine Baseball list of top high school prospects for the 2014 MLB draft.
That post from Webb mentions some 2016 prospects who have visited Michigan recently, including Dion Henderson (see PBR profile), a left-hand pitcher out of Dearborn Divine Child ranked #4 in the state by PBR. He's planning to make his college choice by the end of 2013. He holds a Michigan offer, with other possible destinations including Kentucky, LSU, and Vanderbilt. Another prospect recently offered by Michigan is Henderson's high school teammate Collin Goslin (PBR profile), also a lefty but in the class of 2015. PBR has Goslin ranked #3 in the state and #41 overall.
Note on title: The usual "Baseball Recruiting Update" for the main title seemed boring, so I tried to come up with something different. Also considered "Fishin'"—any thoughts, other ideas?
The state of Illinois is proving to be very fertile recruiting ground for Erik Bakich and company. After landing Nick Kowalczuk and Keith Lehmann in the 2013 class (see this roundup), the Michigan baseball staff has received nods from two more—highly touted—prospects from the Land of Lincoln, members of the class of 2014. Overall, Michigan now has eight 2014 commits—plus one from 2015.
EDIT: I forgot that Charlie Donovan, the one Michigan commit so far for 2015, is also from Illinois. PBR currently has him ranked #1 in the state (up from #2 at the time of his commitment) and #6 overall in their eight-state coverage area. I'm not sure where Perfect Game has him ranked, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's in their top 500. (His Hello post is here.)
Hello: Bryan Pall
RHP, Carl Sandburg H.S. (Orland Park, IL) — 6-1, 190 lbs.
Committed: November 2012
- Perfect Game: #343 nationally, #9 in Illinois
- PBR: currently #10 in Illinois; was ranked #47 overall in PBR's eight-state region at the time of his commitment
Scouting Report: from his PBR profile:
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander is one of the hottest names in Illinois’ Class of 2014. We first saw Pall come out of the pen early in his sophomore year last spring, pumping 83-85 fastballs with a hard and sharp 78-80 mph slider. As expected, Pall’s stuff continued to improve, and this fall he’s been up to 88 with a filthy 80-82 mph slider. The slider is a plus pitch, a true swing-and-miss pitch at the next level. Pall is yet another high-level arm in Illinois’ loaded 2014 class.
Hello: Rahman Williams
SS, Morgan Park H.S. (Chicago) — 5-11, 170 lbs.
Committed: March 2013
- Perfect Game: #139 nationally, #3 in Illinois
- PBR: #25 in PBR's eight-state region; #7 in Illinois
Scouting Report: from his PBR profile, dated 2/17/13:
Athletic build, shows some strength, body still shows projection, 5-foot-11, 170-pound switch hitting middle infielder. Feet work well, shows athleticism, 6.94 60. Defensively shows an advanced prowess with the glove, confident fielder. Soft hands, excellent body control, highly athletic defensive actions. Arm works well across the diamond, shows carry, stays true to target, 85 mph arm strength across infield. Offensively hits from both sides of the plate. Hits from an open stance, short stride. Bat speed is present, hands work well from both sides. Right handed, pull side approach, slightly more pop. Left handed swing shows good balance, works the middle of the field well. High level middle infield prospect.