Alabama Baseball Signs 10 Newcomers
"I feel like there were a number of good players in the state this year, and the majority of the players we targeted, we were able to sign," Alabama Baseball Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "It's a good variety of players, we have a couple outfielders, we have a couple infielders, you have a catcher and good pitching depth in the group. It's a well-balanced class and when you add everything together, it makes for a real good class with these 10 players."
The 2012 class is balanced with five position players and five pitchers players. Included in the list of position players are Mathew Goodson (Oxford), Kyle Overstreet (Boaz), Georgie Salem (Birmingham), Wade Wass (Pensacola, Fla.) and Mikey White (Hoover). The five pitchers are Ray Castillo (Seale), Colton Freeman (Hoover), Mitch Greer (Prattville), Keaton Haack (Oak Ridge, N.C.) and Jackson Stephens (Oxford)
"We have to make sure we secure the positions of need from a graduating class or potential juniors who may sign professionally," Gaspard said. "We have to make sure we have those areas covered, but at the same time, we want to make sure we have the top athletes in Alabama in our program. We feel like in this class we were able to cover both of those areas. The success of a program is being able to put good recruiting classes back-to-back. By doing that, you have an opportunity to sustain a program for a long period of time."
Here's a look at the five position players An outfielder from Oxford High School, Mathew Goodson comes to Alabama ranked as the No. 8 prospect in Alabama and No. 291 nationally by Perfect Game USA. Goodson was a Class 6A all-state selection in 2011 and was the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) Class 6A Hitter of the Year.
Kyle Overstreet, a middle infielder from Boaz High School, is the top ranked high school second baseman in Alabama. Ranked No. 7 in Alabama and No. 183 nationally by Perfect Game USA, Overstreet was selected as a Class 5A all-state selection at second base by the ASWA following his junior season. He was also named the Gadsden Times Player of the Year in 2011
Georgie Salem ranks 166 nationally and is the No. 6 prospect in Alabama, according to Perfect Game USA. Following his junior season at Vestavia Hills High School, Salem was an honorable mention all-state selection and was named to the Birmingham All-Metro team for the second straight year. Additionally, he was named the Birmingham News South Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year in 2011.
Wade Wass is the only junior college player in this year's recruiting class. As a freshman at Meridian Community College, he posted a .370 batting average with 11 home runs, 39 RBI and 42 runs scored in 2011. In high school, Wass was a 2010 Florida Region Honorable Mention selection by Perfect Game USA for Pensacola Catholic High School.
Mikey White is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Alabama and No. 70 nationally by Perfect Game USA, entering his final season at Spain Park High School. Recently, White was selected to the 2011 USA 18U National Team, after earning 2011 First Team All-Hoover/South Baseball Team honors by the Birmingham News.
"This group in particular is a physical group that has some really good athletes," Gaspard said. "When you look at all the qualities they bring to the table, that's why they're professional prospects. They bring all the qualities you look for in a young player. We want physical athletes that are very tough kids mentally that can adapt to what we throw in front of them. Our program for years plays extremely hard and is a down and dirty group. I think the better athletes you can add into that system and buy into that system, the better team you're going to have."
Here's a glance at the five pitchers Ray Castillo will finish his prep career at Russell County High School before joining the Crimson Tide in 2012. The 6-1 right-handed pitcher is the No. 18 prospect in Alabama and No. 333 nationally by Perfect Game USA. Additionally, he was a Class 5A honorable mention all-state selection in 2011.
Colton Freeman is both a pitcher and outfielder at Spain Park High School. The No. 16 prospect in Alabama and No. 291 nationally by Perfect Game USA, Freeman was a Class 6A honorable mention all-state selection as a pitcher by the ASWA in 2011.
Mitch Greer is a right-handed pitcher that also catches at Edgewood Academy. Greer is ranked as the No. 14 prospect in Alabama and No. 275 nationally by Perfect Game USA. A two-time all-state selection, Greer has a mid-90s fastball and posted a 7-2 record with a 2.09 ERA as a junior.
Keaton Haack, a 6-5 righty from Northwest Guilford High School, is the No. 11 prospect in North Carolina and the No. 343 prospect nationally by Perfect Game USA. Haack posted a 7-2 record and 1.58 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 57.1 innings last season.
Jackson Stephens is also a dual player, as the right-handed pitcher can also play in the infield. Entering his senior season at Oxford High School, Stephens ranks 20th in Alabama and 288th nationally by Perfect Game USA. He was a Class 6A all-state selection as a pitcher in 2011, posting a 7-1 record and a 1.02 ERA with 82 strikeouts.
"We've been able to evaluate these kids many times and we feel they fit into what we want our program to be," Gaspard added. "They will help us grow in the direction we want to go. It's exciting to us, because we're pleased with the young group we have now, and we feel like this group has the chance to add another wave of quality young players to that group.
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