Why Let Football Have All the Fun? Top Recruiting Classes for NCAA Baseball 2011

Zachary Ball@MLBDraftCntdwnAnalyst IFebruary 2, 2011

Why Let Football Have All the Fun? Top Recruiting Classes for NCAA Baseball 2011

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    Today is National Signing Day. Right, tell me something I don't know.

    And while this site, and many others like it, will be saturated with names and numbers, recruits and rankings, the baseball homer in me can only think of one question. Why let college football have all the fun?

    College baseball's recruiting season is in mid-swing too. The months leading up the college season and the MLB Draft are some of the most crucial to securing scholarship commitments from the biggest names in high school baseball.

    And of course, college baseball recruiting has the added quirk of having to deal with the draft. Can you imagine if Jadeveon Clowney was not only enduring SMS-barrages from Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier, but also had to deal with phone calls and meetings with Bill Belichick and Sean Payton?

    Oooh, the intrigue.

    So, let's take a look at some of the top projected classes as they stand right now.

Texas Longhorns

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    Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS (OK)

    The brother of 2008 eighth-round pick Robert Bundy, Dylan is a potential top-10 pick. He's a big guy (6'2" and 205 pounds) and should be a real inning-eater. Bundy has twice been named Oklahoma's Gatorade Player of the Year and throws in the low 90s. He complements his fastball with a solid curveball and a improving changeup.

    Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (NM)

    Swihart is arguably the top catcher in a very deep 2011 high school class. He's a polished hitter who has looked great in his limited time behind the plate. He has great pop times and a very strong arm. At the plate, he's a switch-hitter with a very quick bat. He had a great showing during the summer 2010 showcases, making consistent contact against all the top pitchers.

    Josh Bell, OF, Jesuit College Prep (TX)

    Bell could be one of the top movers heading into the 2011 season and could end up as a day one pick in the draft. If he struggles, however, he'll most likely be a late-round pick and could end up at Texas, where the Longhorns would love to add his big, projectable frame that oozes with raw power. Bell has a big-time arm in the outfield and is a potential five-tool athlete.

    John Curtiss, RHP, Carroll HS (TX)

    Curtiss is another top high school arm that will likely end up at Texas, thanks to concerns about his delivery that will most likely prevent him from being a top pick in the draft. He throws in the low 90s and complements it with an average curveball and changeup. Curtiss could be best suited for a relief role, but if he can correct his mechanics, he could have a very bright future.

    Other notables

    Matthew Dean, SS, The Colony (TX)

    Toller Boardman, LHP, Bellaire HS (TX)

    Parker French, RHP, Dripping Springs HS (TX)

    Collin Shaw, OF, Westlake HS (TX)

North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Dillon Maples, RHP, Pinecrest HS (NC)

    Maples is the top prospect from North Carolina, so it's only fitting that he's a Tar Heel commit. Still, his ceiling is incredibly high, meaning he'll warrant some big money as a potential first-round pick. He throws in the low-to-mid 90s and has a nice and easy delivery with very few moving parts. He looks to be as safe a bet as any high schooler in the 2011 class.

    Grayson Atwood, 3B, Mt. Pleasant HS (NC)

    One of the most complete all-around prospects from the Tar Heel State, Atwood has committed to play multiple positions at UNC but mostly third-base, where his rocket arm and solid footwork will play well. At the plate, Atwood has a quick bat with the chance for above-average power.

    Brian Brickhouse, RHP, The Woodland HS (TX)

    It isn't often that a pitcher as good as Brickhouse finds his way out of the state for college, but the Tar Heels are quite happy with the find they have in the 6'2", 190-pound right-hander. The word on Brickhouse is he's looked better every time he's pitched in front of scouts. His velocity is up to 93 mph, and he throws a curveball that is a great out-pitch.

    Other notables

    Brian Beyer, C, Truman HS (PA)

    George Carter, 1B, NE Guilford HS (NC)

    Mason McCullough, RHP, Crest HS (NC)

    Chris O'Brien, LHP, Malvern Prep (PA)

Clemson Tigers

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    Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS (TN)

    Norris is arguably the top high school pitcher in the country. He's a two-time Northeast Tennessee State Player of the Year and has three above average pitches, including a mid 90s fastball. He's a likely top-10 pick in the MLB draft, so the likelihood of him actually setting foot on campus is slim-to-none, but stranger things have happened. Norris is also a wizard at the plate, where scouts feel he could be an Ichiro-type impact bat.

    Other notables

    Tyler Slaton, OF, North Forsyth HS (GA)

    Kyle Bailey, LHP, Carroll HS (TX)

    Garrett Boulware, C, TL Hanna HS (SC)

Miami Hurricanes

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    Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS (CA)

    For those scouts who don't have Daniel Norris ranked as the top high school pitcher, it's likely that Owens is their guy. Utilizing a more pitcher friendly body (6'6" and 195 pounds), Owens fires bullets in the low 90s. He is still improving his velocity, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him add a few more mph before summer. Owens features a curveball and a changeup, both of which project as potential above average pitches.

    Other notables

    Chris Diaz, LHP, Miami Gulliver Prep (FL)

    Alexander Fernandez, 2B, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)

    Patrick Kulick, LHP, Stoneman Douglas HS (FL)

    Andrew Suarez, LHP, Columbus HS (FL)

Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (MA)

    Beede has had a hard time finding a suitable challenge for his skills on the mound. He's tried switching high schools, but that only fazed him for about four innings. Hence the commit to Vandy, where Beede will potentially get the opportunity to pitch against the best pitchers in the nation's best conference. Beede throws in the low-to-mid 90s and has a smooth delivery and solid secondary pitches.

    Shawon Dunston Jr., OF, Valley Christian HS (CA)

    Speed is the name of the game for Dunston Jr., the son of All-Star Shawon Sr. Dunston Jr. is probably one of the five fastest high school prospects available in 2011, and that speed will make him a very valuable commodity on draft day. He has the kind of speed that can turn a single into a triple!

    Other notables

    Philip Pfeifer, LHP, Farragut HS (TN)

    Will Cooper, 3B, Baylor HS (TN)

    Connor Castellano, 2B, Evangel Christian Academy (LA)

    Zander Weil, 1B, Blackman HS (TN)

San Diego State Aztecs

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    Phil Evans, SS, LaCosta Canyon HS (CA)

    Anyone who thought that losing Stephen Strasburg would mean the end for the San Diego State Aztecs was dead wrong. Case in point, Phil Evans, one of the top high school shortstops and one of the best fielding ones at that. Evans has a big-time arm and great footwork in the field. At the plate, he shows the potential for above-average power.

    Other notables

    Trevor Gretzky, IF, Oaks Christian HS (CA) yes, that Gretzky

    Taylor Hansen, SS, Adolfo Camarillo HS (CA)

    Bryan Mosier, C, Valhalla HS (CA)

Florida Gators

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    Michael Kelly, RHP, West Boca  HS (FL)

    The rich get richer with the addition of Kelly to an already stacked UF program. It will be tough to find room for the 6'3", 185-pound righty who tosses in the low 90s and features a potential plus curveball. Kelly is also an accomplished hitter and could be a vital two-way player for the Gators in order to give him a better shot at seeing the field.

    Josh Tobias, INF, SE Guilford HS (NC)

    Tobias is a true leadoff hitter. He utilizes an unorthodox swing at the plate but manages to use it effectively. He has excellent speed and is athletically gifted enough to play multiple infield positions as well as all three outfield spots. If he doesn't sign as a potential day one pick in 2011, he could be a top infield prospect in 2014.

    Other notables

    Hudson Boyd, RHP, Bishop Verot HS (FL)

    Jeff Driskel, OF, Hagerty HS (FL) yes, that Jeff Driskel

    John Magliozzi, RHP, Dexter HS (MA)

Georgia Bulldogs

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    Dante Bichette Jr., 3B/OF, Orangewood Christian HS (FL)

    The son of former All-Star Dante Sr., Junior is quite a hitter in his own right. He offers some of the best power in the 2011 class and complements that power with an impressive eye at the plate. He should have no problem hitting college pitching from day-one. Finding a position should be a key if he ends up at Georgia and not on the receiving end of a seven-figure bonus.

    Nicky Delmonico, C, Farragut HS (TN)

    Following in the footsteps of his older brother, the youngest Delmonico brother has signed to play at UGA. Seeing as how he's the top hitter of the 2011 high school crop, it's not very likely that Delmonico ever sets foot on campus. He's an incredible athlete who is as clutch a hitter as they come. He hit a two-run homer to win the state title game last season.

    Tyler Greene, SS, Roswell HS (GA)

    Greene features the most raw power of any of the 2011 class's shortstops. And while he struggles with breaking stuff, when he gets a hold of a pitch, kiss it goodbye a few times over. He has average speed and is an average fielder at shortstop, but it's his power that differentiates him from the rest of the high school class at his position.

    Other notables

    Mike Mancuso, RHP, Brecksville HS (OH)

    Patrick Leonard, SS, St. Thomas HS (TX)

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Bubba Starling, OF/RHP, Gardner Edgerton HS (KS)

    Nebraska doesn't really come to mind as a top college baseball powerhouse, but if Starling somehow doesn't sign a pro contract in 2011, he'll do his part to change that. And he's good enough, on the mound, at the plate and in the field, that he'll have the Huskers winning games at a record pace in no time. As a pitcher, Starling throws in the low 90s and is a first-round pick. As a hitter, he has excellent power and above average speed and is a potential top-10 pick. He has an amazing arm that would play at any outfield spot.

    Other notables

    Blake Headley, 3B, Millard South HS (NE)

    Austin Christensen, LHP, Kennedy HS (IA)

Oklahoma Sooners

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    Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS (OK)

    Bradley is one of the top high-school pitchers heading into the 2011 season. He throws hard (low-to-mid 90s) has excellent breaking stuff (above average curveball), and is an incredible athlete. He's already signed to play QB at OU next fall. If there's any high schooler who might eschew a hefty signing bonus for college ball, it could be Bradley.

    Other notables

    Clayton Blackburn, 1B, Santa Fe HS (OK)

    Mason Hope, RHP, Broken Arrow HS (OK)

    Adrian Houser, RHP, Locust Grove HS (OK)

    Ty Washington, SS, Plano East HS (TX)

    Hunter Lockwood, C, L.D. Bell HS (TX)

USC Trojans

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    Travis Harrison, 1B/OF, Tustin HS (CA)

    It looks like the USC baseball squad has stolen some of the mojo from the football squad. They're in the midst of bringing in one of their best recruiting classes ever, and Harrison is a huge part of that. The infielder/outfielder offers some of the best raw power of any high schooler, and while the rest of his game is still pretty raw, Harrison is a pretty good athlete, so the odds of him figuring it out are pretty high. He's one prospect who could probably benefit from playing collegiate ball.

    Christian Lopes, SS, Edison HS (CA)

    From the best power hitter among high schoolers to one of the, if not the best, pure hitter for average among prepsters. Lopes has been on the radar for a long time. He plays short and is very similar to 2010 first-round pick Christian Colon. His upside is a bit higher, meaning he'll likely end up playing professionally in 2011. His all-around game is solid.

    Other notables

    Nigel Nootbaar, RHP, El Segundo HS (CA)

    Andres Rodriguez, INF, La Mirada HS (CA)

    Garrett Stubbs, C, Torrey Pines HS (CA)

Florida State Seminoles

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    Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde Academy (FL)

    A natural in the field, Lindor is one of the best high school shortstop prospects. He makes the tough play look simple, and complements his above average fielding with a switch-hitting ability at the plate. He offers the chance for above-average power, but for now, he's incredibly sought after for his defensive ability.

    Other notables

    Mario Amaral, C, Ronald Reagan HS (FL)

    Giovanny Alfonzo, INF, Lincoln Park Academy (FL)

    Tyler Hunter, OF, Lowndes HS (GA)

    Stewart Knight, SS, Eagles View HS (FL)

    Jordan Priddle, LHP, Leon HS (FL)