Sun Devil Baseball Records Fourth Top-10 Recruiting Class in Last Five Years
PHOENIX -- For the fourth time in the last five years, Sun Devil Baseball has recorded a Top-10 recruiting class as announced by Collegiate Baseball News.
The final 2020 signing class rankings are live with Arizona State coming in at No. 10 in the country following the news outlet's update. The final rankings account for only student-athletes that have officially made it to campus, including transfers and new signees that were not a part of the original 2020 signing class rankings and adjusting for signees who were taken in the 2020 MLB Draft or who chose to pursue the academic and athletic pursuits elsewhere.
The Top-10 recruiting class is Arizona State's fourth in five years, joining the 2019 class (8th), the 2017 class (4th) and the top recruiting class in the country in 2016.
In that time, only LSU and Florida have recorded more Top-10 recruiting classes with the Devils tied with Vanderbilt for third. ASU is tops in the Pac-12 ahead of Arizona (3) with no other program posting more than two Top-10 classes in the last five years (UCLA).
A slew of prominent transfers will immediately fill voids left by the departures of the No. 1 MLB overall pick Spencer Torkelson, first-round selection Alika Williams, third-rounder Trevor Hauver and fourth-round draftees Gage Workman and RJ Dabovich.
Baseball America ranked ASU's transfer class as second in the nation with two of the top-10 most impactful transfers in the country in infielder Conor Davis (No. 2/Auburn) and dual-threat player Allbry Major (No. 9/Xavier).
Davis – a graduate transfer - brings an SEC-proven middle-of-the-order bat and will likely start the season filling in one of the open corner infield roles. Davis got off to a hot start for the Tigers batting cleanup in the shortened 2020 campaign, starting all 18 games and batting .339 with three homers, a .583 slugging percentage and no errors in the field. He had eight homers and bat .290 for Auburn in 2019.
Major – a redshirt junior – returns to Phoenix Municipal Stadium just two years after starting as a freshman left fielder for Xavier in a series where he recorded four hits, a homer and several highlight reel catches in left field. Major was named the Preseason Big East Player of the Year by Baseball America prior to the 2020 season and is among the outlet's Top-150 draft prospects and was coming off a gaudy summer in the Cape Cod League where he bat .407 with 10 RBIs and seven doubles while being named to the league's All-Star Game as well.
Another transfer figuring to make an immediate impact will be redshirt freshman Joe Lampe out of Santa Rosa College – which ended the season ranked No. 1 among California junior colleges with an 18-2 start. Lampe posted gaudy numbers in 2020 with his elite speed responsible for 17 steals in 20 games. He added eight triples, seven doubles and a homer for a .687 slugging percentage. He recorded 28 runs and 25 RBIs and was solid up the middle on defense with just three errors on 82 chances. His athleticism, versatility and potent offensive prowess will allow him to immediately see action in the lineup in center or right field as well as a look at second base.
ASU will also introduce former Oregon product Vinny Tosti to the lineup this Spring. Tosti was a Top-60 recruit in the nation out of high school and the 13th-best outfielder in the nation. The redshirt sophomore spent last season at Golden West College where he bat .429 in the short season with a .610 slugging percentage.
Sun Devil faithful will recognize the name Kai Murphy, even if they feel a bit old when they see him in the Maroon and Gold as a player as opposed to the team's bat boy. The son of long-time head coach Pat Murphy, Kai comes to ASU by way of Oregon State where he saw limited action in his true freshman season. A local standout at Red Mountain High School, Murphy is a viable two-way threat with great instincts on defense and a compact swing to all fields. A situational lefty on the mound, Murphy will provide a lot of late-game versatility for the Sun Devils.
Boise State's Jay Baggs comes to ASU as an exceptionally hard-throwing righty with the ability to light up the radar gun and the potential to have electric stuff with some refinement from pitching coach Jason Kelly. Baggs sat in the mid-90s as a true freshman with the Broncos last season with a power breaking ball that can run up to the mid-80s.
While the transfers will look to have an immediate effect, ASU is not without several impact freshman this season as well.
Corner infielder Jack Moss was the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year and the fourth-ranked first baseman in the country according to Perfect Game. The Most Outstanding Offensive Player at the 2019 Area Code Games, Moss brings a power lefty bat with immediate middle of the order pop and is already scheduled to participate in the Cape Cod League next summer. Moss had video game numbers at Cherry Creek High School, where be bat .490 as a junior with 17 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs in 31 games.
Hunter Haas, a local standout right out Tempe Corona Del Sol, looks to immediately step into a role in the middle infield and projects as a similar defensive player to recently departed 2020 first round draft pick Alika Williams at shortstop with a stronger arm. Haas was a part of the USA Baseball 18U National Team in 2019 where he started eight of nine games at second base – a notable achievement as six members of that team were first round selections in the 2020 MLB Draft and 16 were drafted overall in the five-round event.
Ethan Long was Perfect Game's top-ranked player of out of Arizona and a Top-50 recruit out of Mountain Pointe. An elite two-way threat, Long can run his fastball up to the mid-to-high 90s while also providing plenty of offense. He had a monstrous junior year for the Pride, batting .469 with nine homers and 30 RBIs in 28 games. His most immediate impact for the Sun Devils will likely come on the bump due to his power arm out of the bullpen and with ASU's abundance of depth at the corner infield positions. The power bat speed is there though, with exit velocities recorded over 100 miles an hour and the ability to hit it out of the park with minimal effort.
Laguna Beach's Blake Pivaroff played at a high level throughout his high school career and will look to immediately challenge for a starting spot at third base. Another physical lefty bat, Pivaroff also sits 88-91 on the mound with a good three-pitch mix. Pivaroff was a PG Preseason All-American in 2020.
The Devils will add to their catching depth with an exceptional defensive talent in Logan Paustian – the top-rated catcher out of the state of Oregon and a Top-35-ranked catcher nationally. His strong catch-and-throw skills and defensive prowess will allow him to immediately compete for playing time behind veteran backstops Sam Ferri and Nick Cheema.
The Sun Devil coaching staff went right back to Wisconsin to get itself a competitive, big body on the mound in the mold of Alec Marsh in the form of Joe Hauser – hailing from just under 100-miles away from Marsh's hometown Milwaukee. Hauser was an effective two-way guy in his prep years with easy arm-action and a three-pitch mix that goes along with a good swing and simple approach at the plate that will make him a viable threat to see playing time early on.
ASU also welcomes legacy product Kade Higgins, whose father, Kevin, was an All-American for the Sun Devils in 1980s and is currently the hitting coach at UNLV. Higgins will draw similar comps to 2020 third-round Yankees pick Trevor Hauver with his corner outfield projection and bat-on-ball abilities with a good feel at the plate.
The Sun Devils get another player with family pedigree in Michael Brueser. Batting cleanup for the notoriously strong Hamilton program in Chandler, Michael is the second Brueser in recent years to earn a spot on a Pac-12 program with big brother Nick having spent the last couple seasons at Stanford.
Other Sun Devils signees include John Bissaillon, a speedy outfielder from Katy, Texas, Jared Glenn, a former Boise State signee with a big body who throws downhill with a high upside and local sidearm prospect Brock Peery out of Peoria.
The class joins what will is expected to be a veteran and loaded roster for the 2021 season, with several premier Sun Devils scheduled to return that likely would have been high draft choices in any given year that was not affected by an international health crisis.
The NCAA's rulings to grant an extra year of eligibility to those affected by the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 while also increasing the roster limits for team will allow the Sun Devils for an excess of depth on the mound, at the dish and in the field.