The University of Louisville baseball team once again lost a lot of talent to the Major League Baseball Draft after last season. But the way U of L coach Dan McDonnell and his staff are recruiting, the Cardinals likely won't miss a beat.
The Cardinals are positioned among the nations elite when it comes to recruiting.
Working on two and three classes down the road, McDonnell and assistant coaches Eric Snider and Roger Williams have put in the work and the results are close to 30 prospects committed for the future of U of L baseball. The Cardinals have players already committed in the classes of 2017, '18, '19 and '20.
During the season, McDonnell talked about recruiting in his sport.
"We just have to work ahead," he said. "It never stops for us because we have to look at our roster two and three years down the road and project. We just have to stay ahead of the game."
And the Cardinals are doing just that for the future.
According to PerfectGame.org, Louisville has the No. 18 class nationally in '16 already on campus as freshmen along with a top 20 class in '17 already committed and the No. 3-ranked class in '18.
But perhaps even more impressive and certainly more eye-catching is the Cardinals have two players ranked No. 1 in their respective class - Jordan Adell and Jarred Kelenic by Prep Baseball Report committed. Adell is the No. 1 player in the '17 class and is an outfielder/pitcher from Louisville Ballard, while Kelenic is an outfielder/pitcher from Waukesha, Wisc., and is No. 1 in the '18 class.
Prep Baseball Report ranks players from the 25 states the site covers, while Perfect Game ranks the entire country.
Adell is No. 2 in his class by Perfect Game and Kelenic is No. 3 in his class. Both are projected at this point as first-round draft picks in the June Amateur Draft and will have tough decisions to make.
"A lot of kids have tough decision to make, like I did," U of L outfielder Corey Ray, who came to school and in June was a first-round draft pick, said before he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers. "I wouldn't change anything at all about what I did. It was the best decision for me to come to school and now I feel like I am ready for pro ball."
So, while the two will have decisions to make right now they are on board with the Cardinals.
Kelenic is part of the most highly-regarded class - currently - in Louisville history. Perfect Game ranks 10 of the 16 commitments in the top 300 nationally, including five in the top 100. U of L also has Fishers, Ind., pitcher Carter Lohman (No. 42), Murfreesboro, Tenn., infielder Andrew Benefield (No. 53), Kokomo, Ind., pitcher Jack Perkins and Providence, Ind., infielder Tom Borden (No. 69) committed in the class.
Prep Baseball Report ranked Kelenic No. 1 and said he "has crushed everything thrown his way against the top arms in the country all summer long." The lefty has also been clocked at 92 MPH off the mound.
Adell is joined by four other top 300 players committed in the '17 class, including Nokomis, Ill., lefty Reid Detmers, who is No. 141.
The Cardinals also have the No. 39 player in the '19 class - Prospect Park, Pa., outfielder Tyler Kehoe and two other top 150 players in that class already on board.
U of L already has some talented freshmen on campus, including No. 42 ranked Tyler Fitzgerald. The shortstop was drafted by the Boston Red Sox but opted to come to school.
In all, McDonnell and his staff have 18 top 300 players - including seven in the top 100 - committed to the Cardinals.