Alabama head baseball coach, Brad Bohannon, made his name by being one of the top recruiters in the country. He and his staff lived up to that mantra with their second recruiting class that signed on National Signing Day on Wednesday, coming in with the 10th ranked class, according to Baseball America. However, 10th in the nation equals 6th in the SEC, as Florida (1), Vanderbilt (2nd), LSU (3rd), Mississippi State (6th), and Auburn (9th), all were ranked ahead of the Tide. Texas A&M is ranked 12th, giving the SEC seven of the top 12 classes in the nation.
The Bama class is heavy on infielders, particularly shortstops, who tend to be the best athletes on their teams. The jewel of the class, SS C J Abrams out of Alpharetta, GA had not sent in his LOI as of 10 p.m. on Wednesday. Abrams is the top shortstop in the nation and the 6th ranked overall player.
Another shortstop from the Peach State, Myles Austin hails from Smyrna. Austin is the 4th ranked player in talent rich Georgia and the 19th ranked player in the nation, stands 6’3” and weighs in at 177 pounds.
Zane Denton is a third baseman from Brentwood, TN and is the top ranked third baseman in his state and 5th ranked overall. Nationwide he checks in at 204th. Denton is 6 feet and a solid 205 pounds.
Bohannon dipped back into Canada and got a signature from Owen Diodati, a 6’3”, 210 pound catcher from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Diodati is the second ranked catcher and 10th ranked overall player in Canada. The big backstop played on the Canadian Junior National team during the summers. Coming from an athletic family, Diodati’s father played college baseball and his grandfather played in the NHL. Diodati is ranked 284 overall.
Connor Prielipp will come to Tuscaloosa from Tomah, Wisconsin where he is the top-rated left handed pitcher and second overall player in the state. Prielipp stands 6’2” and weighs 165 pounds. Also played quarterback on his schools football team.
Local product, William Hamiter, will cross the river to play for the Tide. The Northridge High (Tuscaloosa) product is rated the second best shortstop and the fifth-rank prospect overall in the state of Alabama. Hamiter has a lot of power packed into his 5’11”, 185 pound frame. Hamiter is ranked 292 overall.
Logan Keller is an infielder from Longwood, FL and is the 7th ranked shortstop and 35th-rated player in the state of Florida. Keller stands 6’2” and weighs 190 pounds. Keller is the 341st ranked player.
Left-handed pitcher Blake Bennett hails from Haleyville, Alabama and stands 6’2” and tips the scales at 205 pounds. Bennett is regarded as the second best lefty in Alabama and the 6th ranked overall prospect. Perfect Game has Bennett as the 401st rated player nationwide.
Andrew Pinckney is the lone outfielder in the class, as of now. Pinckney was born in Tuscaloosa, but raised in Peachtree City, GA. Perfect Game has the 6’3” 180 product as the 32nd ranked outfielder in the talent rich state of Georgia. Pinckney also has played basketball for his school, and is the 413th rated player nationwide.
Tall pitchers are always a plus, and the Tide landed one in the 6’5”, 195 pound right hander Dowd Ritter from Mountain Brook, Alabama. Perfect Game as Ritter as the second-ranked right handed pitcher, and ninth overall prospect in Alabama. Ritter also uses his heighth on the Spartans basketball team. Perfect Game has Ritter as a top 500 player.
Garrett Hester is a 6’2”, 165 pound, left handed pitcher from Dade City, Florida. Dade County has long been a hot bed of baseball talent. Hester is the 16th franks left-handed pitcher in Florida, and is a top 500 talent nation wide.
Peyton Wilson should be a familiar name to the Crimson Tide nation. The younger brother of former Tide QB John Parker Wilson, and Tide second baseman Ross Wilson is a catcher at Hoover High. Wilson checks in at 5”10” and weighs 170 pounds. Wilson’s dad, Parker, played baseball at Livingston College (West Alabama University), and for a few years in the Boston Red Sox organization. His mom, Susan Ingram Wilson, was a Tide cheerleader for four years, and his sister, Marlo, is married to order Bama defensive back, Will Lowery. Wilson is a top 500 player by Perfect Game.
Right-handed pitcher Ryan O’Connell will come to Tuscaloosa from Wabash Valley Community College in Mount Carmel, Ill. O’Connell is originally from Wildwood, MO. The 6’2”, 195 pounder was 8-2 with two saves in his freshman year at Wabash, striking out 79 batters in 66 innings.
As of this writing the Tide was still waiting on Abrams, and pitcher Britt Sparks (out of Shelton State in Tuscaloosa) to send in their LOI.
Bohannon and his staff have made in roads on the recruiting trail in a very short time, look for things to only continue to get better. Bohannon scours North America in search of players. He seems to have a pipeline to Canada (three players on this years team, plus players from up North that he brought to Kentucky and Auburn at his previous jobs).
Athletic Director Greg Byrne hit a home run with his first hire, and things will quickly improve on the diamond. After a 27-29 year, which was an improvement from the 19-35-1 record from the year before under Greg Goff, the Tide is poised to take another step forward his year. I will have a summary of fall baseball up soon.
Roll Tide, Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It!!