Auburn Baseball Expected To Sign Stellar Class

Auburn's baseball recruiting class is expected to be one of the top groups in the country.

Auburn, Ala.–-Coach Tommy Slater and his staff are close to putting the finishing touches on a very successful first recruiting haul with Wednesday being the first day to sign a letter of intent for the early signing period. Auburn is expected to sign as many as 15 players that make up what is likely the single best recruiting effort ever for an Auburn baseball squad.

The list is headed up by standout pitcher/shortstop Justin Bristow from Mills Godwin High in Richmond, Va. The 6-4, 200 Bristow is expected to be a high draft choice in next summer's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, but says that he is really excited about attending Auburn next fall. Bristow enters his senior year with a 22-2 record on the mound and has hit 13 career home runs. His best season to date came last year as a junior when he hit .490 with seven home runs.

Not to be outdone is infielder/pitcher Brandon Monk from LaGrange, Ga. High. Part of the Phenix City Little League World Series connection coming to Auburn that includes outfielder/pitcher Colby Rasmus from Russell County High, infielder Zack Martin from Columbus Ga. High and pitcher Bryan Woodall from Central High in Phenix City, Monk is considered one of the top position players in the South. The 5-9, 185 Monk hit .412 with six home runs and 33 runs batted in as a junior for the Grangers.

Rasmus, Martin and Woodall have outstanding credentials as well. A starter since his freshman season for Russell County, the 6-2, 180 Rasmus has been outstanding both on the mound and in the field. Last season Rasmus hit .490 with 18 home runs and 2-3 on the mound after battling through some arm problems for much of the year. As a freshman he finished the year with a 10-1 record and an 0.83 earned run average. He struck out 107 in just 76 innings. His sophomore year he won six games on the mound. Martin was a key component on one of the nation's top teams last season as both a pitcher and infielder. Woodall was named to the Class 6A All-State team as a junior after leading the Red Devils to a state finals berth.

Another in-state player to give the Tigers the nod is pitcher Evan Crawford from Prattville High. The 6-0, 180 left-hander, was a Class 6A All-State selection as a junior at Prattville after he helped lead the Lions to a 47-9 record and a berth in the championship game. Crawford finished the season with a 9-2 record and an ERA of just 0.97 while striking out 99 batters. He also hit .400 with six home runs.

Bristow wasn't the only Virginia player to give the Tigers a look this fall and two more of the state's top players are expected to sign on the dotted line Wednesday to make it official. Pitcher Will Inman from Tunstall High in Danville and infielder Mike Bianucci from W.T. Woodson High in Richmond are two of the top players in Virginia along with Bristow and give Slater and his staff a huge haul from the state. This past season the 6-2, 200 Bianucci batted .547 with eight homers, 37 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He also went 9-1 with a 2.61 ERA on the mound. Inman, a 6-0, 200 dominator on the mound from the right side, was a first-team All-State selection as a junior and is the state's all-time leader in strikeouts already. Twice last season he struck out 18 batters in a single game.

Auburn also went South for talent with Orlando's Luke Greinke expected to sign with the Tigers and add depth on the infield or possibly on the mound. The 6-0, 170-pounder hit .450 with two home runs and 25 runs batted in as a junior for one of the state's top baseball programs Dr. Phillip's High. The younger brother of current Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke, Luke was a third-team All-State selection as a junior.

Also expected to sign with the Tigers on Wednesday or in the coming days are 6-2, 215 catcher Ryan Jenkins from Stanhope Elmore High in Millbrook, 5-10, 175 Cory Meacham from Alabama Southern Community College, 6-0, 180 pitcher Peter Wiggins from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 6-0, 190 catcher Brian Peacock from Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla., 5-10, 180 catcher Garrett Maines from Riverview High in Bradenton, Fla. and 6-1, 185 pitcher Burt Barto from Young Harris Community College (Columbus, Ga.).

Jenkins earned first-team Class 5A All-State honors last season for the Mustangs as a utility player. A native of Patterson, La., Wiggins was a 39th round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates coming out of high school. He was 1-0 with a 1.04 in eight innings this past summer in the Cape Cod League, the premier summer baseball league for college players. Peacock was a 39th round draft choice of the Montreal Expos after hitting .325 with two home runs and 28 runs batted in. Maines hit .439 as a junior and threw out 66 percent of attempted runners. Barto was 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA last season as a freshman.

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