For TCU Baseball, no shortage of future talent

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College baseball recruiting is, in all essence, an inexact science. With players transferring to other programs for any number of reasons, players leaving school early to the Major League Baseball draft and players graduating from school, it is hard to know for sure every gap that each individual team will need to have filled.

College coaches must prepare recruiting classes according to projections of what their rosters will look like several years down the road. TCU’s three straight college world series appearances come as no accident. Head coach Jim Schlossnagle, associate head coach, hitting coach Bill Mosiello and pitching coach Kirk Saarloos, display their coaching exploits well beyond the field.

The coaches are certainly at the top of the coaching profession when it comes to managing games and developing players, but they have an uncanny ability to attract the nation’s best high school and junior college recruits. TCU has reigned in top 40 recruiting classes (according to perfectgame.org) in every season since 2011, including No. 13 in 2011, No. 16 in 2012 and No. 8 in 2016.

The most of the recent classes were arguably better than the rankings suggest, as they do not include junior college transfers, who have been an integral part of all four College World Series teams TCU has had in the last seven seasons.  The Horned Frogs have had a junior college transfer finish in the top three in batting average each of the last five seasons including when Garrett Crain led the 2014 team and Cody Jones led the 2015 team.

For the 2017 high school recruiting cycle, TCU has signed the eighth best class in the nation and the top class in the Big 12 Conference.

2017 Recruiting Class (Rankings courtesy of perfectgame.org)

Caleb Sloan – RHP (6’3, 215 lbs.)

Hometown: Centennial, Colorado

Rankings: No. 21 overall, No. 1 in Colorado and No. 4 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American

Sloan participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego, California in July 2016.

Jacob Gonzalez – 3B (6’4, 210 lbs.)

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Rankings: No. 26 overall, No. 1 in Arizona and No. 1 3B

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American

Gonzalez participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego, California in July 2016.

Gonzalez is the son of former Major League All-Star Luis Gonzalez

Shane Baz – RHP, 3B (6’3, 190 lbs.)

Hometown: Cypress, Texas

Rankings: No. 29 overall, No. 3 in Texas and No. 7 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American

Baz participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego, California in July 2016.

Tyler Freeman – SS, 2B (6’0, 170 lbs.)

Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, California

Rankings: No. 56 overall, No. 13 in California and No. 7 SS

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American

Freeman participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego, California in July 2016.

Russel Smith – LHP (6’9, 220 lbs.)

Hometown: Midlothian, Texas

Rankings: No. 94 overall, No. 6 in Texas and No. 10 LHP

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game 2nd Team All-American

Adam Oviedo – SS, OF (6’0, 186 lbs.)

Hometown: Grandview, Texas

Rankings: No. 159 overall, No. 14 in Texas and No. 28 SS

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

Brad Czerniejewski – OF (6’2, 190 lbs.)

Hometown: Lake Forest, Illinois

Rankings: No. 217 overall, No. 5 in Illinois and No. 51 OF

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

Tristan Hanoian – SS, 2B (5’9, 160 lbs.)

Hometown: Costa Mesa, California

Rankings: No. 310 overall, No. 45 in California and No. 54 SS

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

Austin Mihlbauer – LHP (6’1, 186 lbs.)

Hometown: Mukwonago, Wisconsin

Rankings: No. 325 overall, No. 3 in Wisconsin and No. 39 LHP

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

James Notary – RHP (6’3, 205 lbs)

Hometown: Westminster, Colorado

Rankings: No. 423 overall, No. 4 in Colorado and No. 138 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

Ryan Eiermann – LHP (6’0, 185 lbs.)

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

Rankings: No. 23 in Illinois and No. 71 LHP

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

Esteban Cardoza – SS, 2B (5’9, 175 lbs.)

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Rankings: No. 52 in Texas and No. 118 SS

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

Coby Boulware – SS, 2B (5’10, 160 lbs.)

Hometown: Anthem, Arizona

Rankings: No. 23 in Arizona and No. 159 SS

Accolades: 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

R.J. Lan – OF, 1B, 3B (6’0, 215 lbs.)

Hometown: La Mirada, California

Rankings: No. 164 in California and No. 221 OF

The class’ 14 commitments (five in the top 100) will prove to be essential with the impending loss of several key players from this year’s roster. The Frogs’ infield will lose two-year starting third baseman Elliott Barzilli, two-year starting shortstop Ryan Merrill, utility infielder Mason Hesse, and two-year starting second baseman Cam Warner.

Behind the plate, three-year starting catcher Evan Skoug has the potential to be a high-round draft selection in June’s MLB draft and will have to make the choice between a professional contract and a senior year in Fort Worth. On the mound, two of the top four starters, Brian Howard and Mitchell Traver, will be leaving the team after their senior seasons. Starting center fielder Nolan Brown and backup outfielder Evan Williams are both seniors this season, and will not be back for 2018.

The Frogs’ 2018 recruiting class currently ranks 14th in the country and first in the Big 12, though there is still time to add to the class. The class consists of 10 players, five of which rank in the top 100 nationally.

There are currently five juniors on the Horned Frog roster who will be leaving the season prior to the arrival of the 2018 class.

2018 Recruiting Class (Rankings courtesy of perfectgame.org)

Alek Thomas – OF (5’11, 175 lbs.)

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Rankings: No 23 overall, No. 1 in Illinois and No. 5 OF

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team

Adam Kloffenstein – RHP (6’5, 220 lbs.)

Hometown: Magnolia, Texas

Rankings: No. 37 overall, No. 4 in Texas and No. 11 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team

Mateo Gil – SS, RHP (6’1, 180 lbs.)

Hometown: Keller, Texas

Rankings: No. 65 overall, No. 7 in Texas and No. 13 SS

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team

Mateo is the son of former Major League player and 2002 World Series champion Benji Gil

Nick O’day – OF, 3B, RHP (6’0, 185 lbs.)

Hometown: Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Rankings: No. 70 overall, No. 2 in Pennsylvania and No. 12 OF

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team

Marcelo Perez – RHP, 2B, OF (5’11, 160 lbs.)

Hometown: Laredo, Texas

Rankings: No. 72 overall, No. 8 in Texas and No. 22 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team

Dawson Barr – RHP (6’1, 195 lbs.)

Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas

Rankings: No. 171 overall, No. 16 in Texas and No. 59 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 2nd Team

Spencer Arrighetti – RHP (6’1, 187 lbs.)

Hometown: Katy, Texas

Rankings: No. 180 overall, No. 17 in Texas and No. 63 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 2nd Team

Nicholas Juaire – C (5’9, 185 lbs.)

Hometown: Farmington, Minnesota

Rankings: No. 377 overall, No. 3 in Minnesota and No. 29 C

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Matt Rudis – RHP (6’3, 190 lbs.)

Hometown: Madisonville, Texas

Rankings: No. 88 in Texas and No. 310 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Wesley Gafford – RHP (6’6, 225)

Hometown: Georgetown, Texas

Rankings: No. 103 in Texas and No. 365 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

In college baseball, recruits tend to make their college commitments earlier in high school than other sports. TCU already has pledges from nine players in the 2019 class (sophomores in high school), three of which are in the top 100. The Frogs’s class has an early ranking of eighth in the country and second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma.

Though there is plenty of time before these players put pen to paper and officially become Horned Frogs, it is and impressive haul that the coaches have put together.

The 2019 class lines up to be pivotal for the Frogs’ future, as the team will lose the roster’s 8 current sophomore. It is possible that several of those players, including Luken Baker and Durbin Feltman, could leave before their senior seasons.

2019 Recruiting Class (Rankings courtesy of perfectgame.org)

Riley Cornelio – RHP (6’3, 170 lbs.)

Hometown: Monument, Colorado

Rankings: No. 48 overall, No. 1 in Texas and No. 16 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass 3rd Team

Tim McHugh – OF (6’3 200 lbs.)

Hometown: Commack, New York

Rankings: No. 80 overall, No. 3 in New York and No. 16 OF

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Michael Carpentier Jr. – C (5’11, 185 lbs.)

Hometown: Highland, California

Rankings: No. 82 overall, No. 17 in California and No. 12 C

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Quinn Priester – RHP (6’3, 180 lbs.)

Hometown: Cary, Illinois

Rankings: No. 151 overall, No. 4 in Illinois and No. 38 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Dillon Carter – OF, RHP (5’11, 190 lbs.)

Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas

Rankings: No. 153 overall, No. 14 in Texas and No. 31 OF

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Logan Letney – OF, 3B, RHP (5’9, 170 lbs.)

Hometown: Spring, Texas

Rankings: No. 187 overall, No. 20 in Texas and No. 40 OF

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Nolan Hudi – LHP (6’0, 172 lbs.)

Hometown: Safety Harbor, Florida

Rankings: No. 219 overall, No. 38 in Florida and No. 17 LHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Bryson Lucas – LHP (5’11, 171 lbs.)

Hometown: College Station, Texas

Rankings: No. 256 overall, No. 30 in Texas and No. 23 LHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Jacob Meador – RHP (5’11, 170 lbs.)

Hometown: Burleson, Texas

Rankings: No. 257 overall, No. 31 in Texas and No. 67 RHP

TCU has also picked up two commitments for the 2020 recruiting cycle. There are no class rankings currently.

2020 Recruiting Class (Rankings courtesy of perfectgame.org)

Jared Kelley – RHP (6’2, 200 lbs.)

Hometown: Refugio, Texas

Rankings: No. 32 overall, No. 4 in Texas and No. 9 RHP

Accolades: 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention

Dylan Ramirez – SS (5’11, 150 lbs.)

Hometown: Sabinal, Texas

Rankings: Not currently ranked

Accolades: None

While all of the above commits are expected to become Horned Frogs in the near future, there is always the chance of players not making it to campus after changing their commitment to another school or leaving for professional baseball directly out of high school. Regardless, TCU is set up for continued success over the next several years because of their team’s depth and recruiting abilities.