Gophers baseball team signs eight players

The Minnesota baseball team has signed Kyle Baran, Dusty Brabender, Jeremy Chlan, Jeff DeSmidt, Chris Herbert, Jon Hummel, Bryan Jost and Gary Perinar to national letters of intent for the early signing period, according to an announcement from Minnesota head coach John Anderson. The Golden Gophers finished 40-22 last season and were Big Ten champs with a 24-6 conference mark.

Baran is a 6-1, 190-pound outfielder from Apple Valley, Minn. He originally graduated from Apple Valley High School, but played last year at Iowa Central Junior College. He is a converted third baseman from high school who developed into a strong offensive threat and a dependable outfielder at Iowa Central Junior College. At Iowa Central Junior College, Baran helped lead the team to the championship game of the NJCAA Division II World Series where they lost to Grand Rapids Community College. He hit .391 with three runs and four RBI to make the All-Tournament team.

Brabender is a 6-6, 215-pound right-handed pitcher out of Oregon High School in Oregon, Wis. He was named first-team All-Badger South Conference and was an all-district third-team selection as a junior in 2003. Brabender was ranked 89th among high school seniors who have signed to play college baseball by Baseball America. Brabender was the 260th ranked high school player on the Baseball America-Perfect Game High School Scouting Report list. He is the fifth-ranked prospect and second-ranked pitcher to come out of the state of Wisconsin in this year's senior class. He is a three-pitch strike thrower, who has developed outstanding control of his changeup to go along with an 87-90 mph fastball.

Chlan is a 5-10, 175-pound middle infielder from Apple Valley High School in Minnesota. He was named to the Honorable Mention Pioneer Press All-State Baseball team in his junior season. Chlan was also named to the Lake Conference Pioneer Press All-Conference team. He is also a good athlete who was ranked the fourth best defensive back in football for the class of 2004 by MinnesotaPreps.com. Chlan is a solid defensive middle infielder who can play either second base or shortstop.

DeSmidt is 5-11, 215-pound catcher out of Mahtomedi (Minn.) High School. He was named to the Honorable Mention Pioneer Press All-State Team as a junior. DeSmidt was also named to the Classic Suburban Pioneer Press All-Conference team. He is a very good catcher who will hit for power.

Herbert is a 6-2, 210-pound catcher out of White Bear Lake High School in Minnesota. He was named to the Honorable Mention All-State Pioneer Press team. Herbert was also named to the Suburban East Pioneer Press All-Conference Team. He is a strong athlete who provides a physical presence behind home plate.

Hummel is a 6-2, 190-pound third baseman out of Jackson County High School in Lakefield, Minn. His baseball team finished third in the state tournament in 2003. Hummel is a three-sport star who has excelled in baseball, football and basketball at Jackson County High School. He is a great all-around athlete at third base.

Jost is a 6-3, 190-pound outfielder from Tartan High School in Minnesota. He was named to the Pioneer Press All-State Team. Jost was also named to the Classic Suburban Pioneer Press All-Conference team as a junior. He led the Metro Area with 12 home runs in his junior season. Jost also batted .430 and drove in 34 runs as the leadoff hitter. He had a terrific two-week period, hitting eight home runs and driving in 26 RBI, while patrolling left field for Tartan. Jost is a good power hitter, who runs well and has an accurate arm.

Perinar is a 6-0, 175-pound right-handed pitcher out of Minooka High School in Shorewood, Ill. He was Honorable Mention All-State, All-Suburban Prairie League and an All-Area Selection in his junior season. Perinar was also selected to the East squad to represent the top juniors in Illinois in a game played in Peoria, Ill. As a sophomore he was 3-3 with a 2.35 ERA and 59 strikeouts. Perinar was also 8-4 in his junior season. He was ranked No. 386 in the Baseball American Perfect Game High Scouting Report List. He is the fourth-ranked pitcher and ninth-ranked senior prospect out of Illinois this year. He has an excellent breaking ball with sharp bite, and has the potential to be a multiple pitch pitcher with good command of the strike zone.

"I think the class as a whole are players that we went after from the beginning and got commitments from," said Minnesota head baseball coach John Anderson. "The two pitchers we got commitments from are players from a group that we wanted from the beginning of the process. From that standpoint we did an outstanding job getting pitchers that will have a great chance to develop in our program, and that bodes well for the future of our pitching staff."

"From a positional standpoint we did a good job of getting some players who will provide a solid foundation for our program in the years to come. We signed a pair of catchers who give us different things, but will both contribute to our program. We added a strong middle infielder and an athletic third baseman, along with a pair of offensively talented outfielders.

"I am happy with the class. I think it will be well-represented for years to come. I think we have the right players when it comes to the package of physical ability and attitude. The impressive part is that they all really wanted to be part of the Golden Gopher baseball program. I have always said I like to have the players who want to be here and are coming to the program for all the right reasons, and this class embodies that."

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