TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona State baseball program announced Monday the signing of 15 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The Sun Devils’ 2015 recruiting class is ranked the eighth-best in the nation by Perfect Game USA.
“I am extremely proud of this class, and it all starts with the efforts that my coaching staff, with (associate coach and recruiting coordinator) Ken Knutson leading the charge, has put in to recruiting,” coach Tim Esmay said. “This class is also a great representation of our continued commitment to recruit both locally and nationally, as we signed seven from the state of Arizona and eight from five other states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Texas.”
Three of the signees rank in the Perfect Game top 100, including outfielder/left-handed pitcher Alex Verdugo at No. 17, outfielder Marcus Wilson at No. 21 and left-handed pitcher Tucker Baca at No. 94.
“This class is pitching-rich, as we have nine guys in it that all throw 90-plus miles per hour,” Esmay said. “They will really set the tone for future years on the mound, especially with us heading into a bigger ballpark at Phoenix Muni.”
The signees, including five pitchers, five position players and five two-way players, will join the program for the 2014-15 school year and the 2015 baseball season.
“Another thing that I’m proud of with this class is the two-way dynamic that it brings to the table,” Esmay said. “It is something that Arizona State has always been strong in, and these guys will do nothing but uphold that tradition. The group of position players we’ve signed all have the potential to be middle-of-the-order hitters, but they also give us the dynamic of speed, which we will take advantage of on the base paths.”
According to Perfect Game USA, this is the third top-20 recruiting class Esmay has signed at ASU. The Sun Devils had the No. 3 class in 2012 and the No. 16 class in 2011.
“I’m sure pro baseball will have an interest in quite a few of these future Sun Devils, but if we get the majority of them, like we expect to, they will be national championship contenders from the moment they step on campus, “ coach Esmay said.
Following is analysis from Knutson on all 15 of ASU’s signees:
LHP Tucker Baca from Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett HS)
“Tucker committed after attending one of our camps, and we consider ourselves lucky that he did attend that camp. As a left-handed sinker baller, he is one of the top pitchers in Georgia who has seen a ton of high school success. His velocity has really jumped recently and he could be a dominant force once he gets on campus.” RHP Richard Boe from San Carlos, Calif. (St. Francis HS)
“In a class with a bunch of good arms, Richard might be the hardest thrower of the bunch. His fastball is already reaching mid 90s. He will garner pro baseball’s attention, but he will contribute immediately if he gets on campus.”
RHP/INF Ryan Castellani from Phoenix, Ariz. (Brophy Prep)
“Ryan is one of, if not, the top pitcher in the state. He is a nationally recruited player who will attract a lot of professional interest. He has three above average pitches that he can throw for strikes. But what really attracts us to him is his two-way prowess. He could be a middle of the order hitter with big time power.”
OF Andrew DiLacqua from Lakewood Ranch, Fla. (IMG Academy)
“Andrew is a big and strong corner outfielder who will fill a need for us right away. The thing that stands out about him most is his bat. He is a gifted hitter who can drive the ball to all fields and we are fortunate to have pulled him out of Florida.”
SS Kobie Foppe from Phoenix, Ariz. (Notre Dame Prep)
“Kobie is a premium leadoff hitter and a great base runner. He can really pick it up defensively and his experience as the starting shortstop for the Div. II state champions this past year will help him immensely at the next level.”
RHP Ryan Hingst from El Paso, Texas (Franklin HS)
“Ryan is already a very developed right-handed pitcher with a low 90s fastball and good secondary pitches. What excites us beyond his development is his frame and body type are both very projectable, and he has always pitched well on the national stage.” RHP/INF Trevor Horn from Scottsdale, Ariz. (Horizon HS)
“Coming from one of the traditionally strong programs in Arizona, he is a premium strike thrower who I actually saw strike out 14 batters in a row the first time I saw him pitch. He is athletic on the mound and his velocity continues to rise.”
C Christopher Kobar from Queen Creek, Ariz. (Williams Field HS)
“Christopher will add to a prestigious list of legacy players for us as his father, Gene, was a member of the 1969 National Championship team. He is already a talented defensive catcher who can call a game and control the running game. His energy and makeup are evident in every game I’ve seen him play.”
INF/OF Ryan Peep from Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton HS)
“Ryan is an extremely gifted athlete with all the tools a baseball player can have. He has great power at the plate, but can also really run. As an outfielder, he has one of the best arms in Arizona, and as he continues to develop he has a chance to be a really special player.”
RHP Grant Schneider from Austin, Texas (Lake Travis HS)
“Grant is another national get for us this year. He is a projectable right-handed pitcher with a good frame for pitching. His fastball is now getting up into the low 90s, and with his arm strength and actions, the sky is the limit for him.”
LHP/OF Andrew Shaps from Paradise Valley, Ariz. (Chaparral HS)
“Andrew is an athletic two-way player who will legitimately help us on both sides of the ball. As a pitcher, he is a dynamic strike thrower with the capacity to get a lot of swing and misses. As an outfielder, he can cover a lot of ground in the field, and can provide speed and versatility to the lineup.”
INF Andrew Snow from Woodland, Calif. (Jesuit HS)
“A cousin of former Sun Devil great, Dustin Pedroia, Andrew plays the game with similar fire and grit. He is a great middle of the field defender with an impressive bat. He could step in here and be a middle of the order threat for us.”
LHP Reagan Todd from Centennial, Colo. (Regis Jesuit HS)
“A nationally recruited player who really helped us get this class started as he was our first commit to this group. Reagan is an athletic left-handed pitcher who has very good command and is polished for his age. His fastball can run up to the low 90s and he has an above-average slider.”
OF/LHP Alex Verdugo from Tucson, Ariz. (Sahuaro HS)
“Alex is probably the top two-way player in the country. He has tremendous potential, both on the mound where he is already throwing in the low 90s, and in the field where he is a five-tool athlete. Pro baseball will be in the equation for him, but he could be a game changer on campus.”
OF Marcus Wilson from Los Angeles, Calif. (Junipero Serra HS)
“Marcus is a gifted athlete who is both an exceptional runner and hitter. He has shown the ability to hit for power all over the field and is considered to be one of the top position players on the West Coast. What impresses us the most about Marcus is his tremendous maturity and makeup for his age.”