Breaking Down The ACC's 2019 Recruiting Classes
Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program in college baseball. After presenting the Top 25 recruiting classes and the 10 classes that just missed the cut, Baseball America is breaking down every class in several of the biggest conferences in the country.
Presented here are team-by-team analysis for every team in the ACC. Six teams from the conference ranked in the Top 25 and two more made the next 10 classes. Links to full breakdowns for those teams can be found below, as well as a snapshot view of the class. Full breakdowns for the six teams not to make the rankings can be found here.
Recruiting coordinator: Greg Sullivan
Top recruit: Luke Gold, INF
It will be a difficult task for this year’s Eagles freshmen to live up to the accomplishments of last year’s class, which produced three players now ranked in the top 30 of the 2021 college draft prospects list (outfielder Sal Frelick, second baseman Cody Morissette and righthander Mason Pelio). But this year’s class is a solid group that will help Boston College as it continues to ramp up toward another run like it had in 2015-16.
Gold is well built at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and has solid righthanded power. He has a chance to become a middle-of-the-order hitter who can hit for both average and power. This summer he held his own in a stint in the Perfect Game Collegiate League and should quickly find his way into the lineup for BC. Catcher Parker Landwehr played at a high level in high school and built a track record of hitting. His strong frame portends more power to come.
On the mound, BC has an array of promising pitchers. Righthander Max Gieg may be the most advanced of the newcomers. Listed at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, he has a strong, well-built frame. He’s still learning the finer points of pitching, but his fastball-slider combination already plays well out of the bullpen. Righthander Brian McMonagle was a three-sport star in high school and garnered some college interest to be a quarterback, as well as winning a New Jersey state title in basketball last year. He’s a premium athlete with some projection who could take a step forward as he concentrates on baseball for the first time. Righthander Evan Moore also has a projectable frame and has the raw tools to become a solid pitcher in time.
The Tigers have focused on premium pitchers in their last couple classes and this year landed some high-end talent, led by Anglin. Lefthanders Geoffrey Gilbert, the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, and Paul Labriola also stand out on the mound. Clemson also mixed in some strong position players, led by catcher Jonathan French (130) and toolsy outfielder Dylan Brewer (452). Shortstop Pierce Gallo should also quickly make an impact.
The Blue Devils brought in another solid recruiting class, which is especially strong among position players. Knight and shortstop Grant Norris (385) headline the class and give Duke a pair of impact players. Knight is a physical righthanded hitter with above-average power, while Norris has the tools to make standout defensive plays and has some power in his bat. Righthander Billy Seidl and lefthander Michael Foltz have the stuff to quickly help Duke on the mound, while Marcus Johnson and Henry Williams give the class a pair of athletic, projectable righthanders.
Recruiting coordinator: Mike Metcalf
Top recruit: Brandon Walker, RHP/INF (No. 251)
The Seminoles last year landed the No. 3 class in the country with a large group of newcomers with plenty of upside. This year’s group is a bit smaller but still has impact talent. Walker has two-way ability and has the most upside on the mound. His fastball can reach 95 mph, and he has a big, promising breaking ball. He also has plenty of athleticism and good bat speed that gives him a chance to contribute at the plate as well. Righthander Hunter Perdue (397), a junior college transfer, has a strong, 6-foot-3 frame and a big arm that has helped him run his fastball up to 97 mph. He more typically sits in the low 90s as a starter and showed off an improved curveball this spring, which could give him a second quality offering with further refinement.
Lefthander Bryce Hubbart may be the most ready to contribute of the new pitchers. He stands out most for his pitchability and four-pitch mix. His fastball sits around 90 mph and he has a good feel for spin, which helped him have a lot of success against high-level competition in high school. Lefthander Ryan Pettys gives the class another pitcher with a lot of upside. Listed at 6-foot-2, 165 pounds, he has a projectable frame and a fastball that already gets up to 91 mph. He throws a changeup and a curveball, both of which show promise but will benefit from increased strength as he physically matures.
Infielder Josiah Miller played with Walker in high school and also offers intriguing upside. A switch-hitter, he has good feel for the barrel and shows some pop, especially from the right side. Infielder Caleb Cali, who was a high school teammate of Nander De Sedas, has a strong frame and will add a powerful righthanded bat to the Seminoles’ lineup.
The Yellow Jackets held on to their entire recruiting class through the draft and were rewarded with their first Top 25 class since 2015. Maxwell has the most upside of the newcomers, and his fastball gets up to 98 mph. He has a big, physical frame and could develop into a true Friday starter if he can harness his stuff. Outfielder Tres Gonzalez (245) stands out most for his plus speed and bat-to-ball skills and headlines a strong group of position players. Infielder Andrew Compton, a switch-hitter with power potential from both sides of the plate, also has impact potential.
The Cardinals’ class is a well-rounded group with talented players all over the diamond. The freshman class is headlined by big lefthanders Prosecky and Kellan Tulio (406). Prosecky and Tulio have big upside, but righthander Ryan Hawks may be the most advanced of Louisville’s newcomers on the mound. Outfielders Luke Brown and Levi Usher (464), both junior college transfers, should provide instant impact in the lineup and have the speed and athleticism to fit well in coach Dan McDonnell’s offensive system.
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It’s a pitching-heavy class for the Hurricanes, headlined by Eskew and righthander Alex McFarlane (186). They’re both projectable and have a good feel for spin, while righthander Jason Diaz (398) gives the class another high-end arm. Outfielder Hylan Hall (230) headlines the position player group and brings impressive raw tools and athleticism to Coral Gables. Catcher/outfielder Jared Thomas and infielder Mykanthony Valdez have powerful bats.
Charles gives the Tar Heels a premium arm with electric stuff, but for the most part they built a deep recruiting class around players who can quickly contribute in college rather than players with the biggest pro upside. The newcomers should be able to help UNC this spring, with infielders Patrick Alvarez and Tyler Causey among the most exciting position players. Charles is joined on the mound by righthander Isaiah Bennett, who missed the spring due to Tommy John surgery, and lefthander Nick James, who was named Mr. Baseball in Tennessee.
North Carolina State
The Wolfpack have a strong class reminiscent of their banner 2011 class that included Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner. This year’s class is headlined by Villaman, a projectable lefthander with considerable upside, and shortstop Jose Torres (448), an advanced defender with a good feel for putting the bat on the ball who will look to follow in the footsteps of recent NC State standouts Turner, Joe Dunand and Will Wilson. The Wolfpack landed some high-end athletes on the mound and lefthanded slugger Austin Murr, a junior college transfer who will contribute right away.
Recruiting coordinator: Rich Wallace
Top recruit: Liam Simon, RHP
As Link Jarrett takes over the program, he inherits a solid recruiting class that is especially strong on the mound. Simon is a projectable righthander with a fastball that reaches 90-92 mph. He mixes in a curveball and a changeup and has the tools to develop as a starter. Righthander Dominic Cancelleri is undersized at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, but he has a powerful arm and can run his fastball up to 93 mph with good life on the pitch.
Jack Brannigan has two-way ability thanks to a fastball that can get up to 96 mph. He also stands out as a position player. He’s played all over the diamond, and the righthanded hitter has the tools to stay in the infield thanks to his athleticism. Jack O'Reilly has a long, lean frame and profiles well as a corner infielder with good feel for the game. Casey Kmet will join his older brother Cole with the Fighting Irish. Casey is a powerful righthanded hitter who has experience both at third base and as a catcher and could help Notre Dame in either position. Kyle Hess can play anywhere on the infield thanks to his solid actions and has the smooth, speedy look of a shortstop.
Recruiting coordinator: Ty Megahee
Top recruit: Mitch Myers, RHP
After being hired last June, this is the first class Mike Bell and his staff have really been able to put their mark on. The class is heavy on junior college players, including Myers, after last season’s last-place finish in the ACC. Myers has the ability to make an immediate impact and could quickly step into the rotation thanks to his powerful fastball and strike-throwing ability.
Righthanders Matt Gilbertson and Dylan Lester, both junior college transfers, also figure to take on significant roles this spring. Gilbertson stands out for his strike-throwing ability (he averaged 1.36 walks per nine innings in junior college) and has success in a variety of roles. Lester, who began his college career at Houston, fits well in the bullpen, where his powerful fastball plays well. Among freshmen, lefthanders Jarret Bach and Chris Pouliot stand out. Bach, a Pittsburgh native, has a projectable frame, and Pouliot’s pitchability should help him carve out a role quickly on the Panthers’ staff.
Outfielder Jordan Anderson, a junior college transfer who began his college career at Mississippi State, headlines the position players. He has tools that profile well as a top-of-the-order hitter and center fielder. Sam Frontino is coming off an impressive season in junior college and should be able to step right into the Panthers’ lineup in the middle of the infield. Outfielder Zion Spearman, who reclassified to enroll a year early, leads the prep position players. He has a strong frame and the potential to produce solid righthanded power.
The Cavaliers have another solid recruiting class filled with athletic position players such as Newell, shortstop Max Cotier (451) and catcher Tate Ballestero (475). Virginia went a little heavier on hitters after last year’s class focused more on pitchers, but it also mixed in some impressive arms led by righthanders Jayson Hoopes and Matthew Wyatt. Wyatt is a little more advanced, while Hoopes offers more projection.
Recruiting coordinator: Kurt Elbin
Top recruit: Stephen Restuccio, RHP
Virginia Tech has been ramping up its recruiting under Elbin and head coach John Szefc, who is entering his third season at the program’s helm. The result is a class that offers big upside, especially on the mound. Restuccio headlines the newcomers thanks to a fastball that can reach the mid-90s. He shows some feel for spin and mixes in a good breaking ball and changeup. He also has two-way potential thanks to the bat speed he creates as a righthanded hitter.
Like Restuccio, Gavin Cross and Carson Jones have two-way ability. Cross, a lefthander listed at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, has power both on the mound and at the plate. He can run his fastball up to 91 mph and his combination of above-average power and speed profiles well in the outfield. Jones, a lefthander listed at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, is a plus runner who drives the ball from gap-to-gap. On the mound, his fastball can reach 90 mph.
Cade Hunter is an intriguing athlete. The lefthanded hitter has a projectable frame and above-average speed, as well as the tools to develop as a catcher. Righthander Michael Grupe has a good three-pitch mix. His fastball can get up to 93 mph and he has both an advanced changeup and good strike-throwing ability. Righthander Anthony Simonelli, a junior college transfer, has the tools to be a starter thanks to a fastball that gets up to 93 mph and a good mentality on the mound.
Recruiting coordinator: Bill Cilento
Top recruit: Eric Adler, RHP
The Demon Deacons have a junior laden team this year and, as a result, brought in a smaller recruiting class this fall. Eric Adler has two-way ability and may have the highest ceiling in the class, likely as a righthander. His fastball can get up to 94 mph, and he has some projection remaining in his 6-foot-3 frame. He also is a plus runner and can play center field but is expected to end up on the mound. Lefthander Austin Teel was a late bloomer but throws his fastball around 90 mph and has some feel for his curveball and changeup, traits that will help him get innings as a freshman and perhaps grow into a bigger role in time.
Among position players, outfielder Adam Cecere offers the biggest upside. A physical lefthanded hitter, he profiles well in right field. Outfielder Derek Crum has a good lefthanded swing, runs well and has a solid arm, giving him a chance to break through into the lineup sooner than later. He also has some two-way ability, but his focus is on hitting.
Wake Forest also supplemented its freshman class with a trio of grad transfers. Catcher/third baseman Will Simoneit has a powerful bat and comes to Wake Forest from Cornell, where he was a very productive player for the last three years. Righthander Riley Myers has a fastball-changeup combination that will play in the bullpen and last year helped make him a key part of Catawba (N.C.) reaching the Division II College World Series. Righthander Danny Barlok was an all-Patriot League reliever in 2018 for Holy Cross but missed last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He also should be able to help Wake Forest in the bullpen.