This is normally the time that college baseball coaches announce their recruiting classes, once they are in school and they have cleared the professional baseball hurdle from the draft. Josh Holliday announced his Oklahoma State class and this is the release sent out from Oklahoma State University Athletic Media Relations.
STILLWATER – Oklahoma State has added 19 new players to its roster for the 2017 season.
Joining head coach Josh Holliday's program are 16 freshmen and three junior college transfers.
"There are a lot of kids entering the program that have mental and physical potential to be outstanding student-athletes, and that's very exciting," Holliday said. "A big part of our focus in recruiting is to bring in talented kids with great upside potential who are serious about school and want to be a part of a winning team. These kids share our core values and what we believe gives us the greatest chance to field a championship team.
"It's a younger bunch. We like the ability to develop this particular group of players with an eye on being a very competitive team this year, and we're excited to see what these kids can do as they fold in with the returning players."
The group of Cowboy newcomers includes nine pitchers — six right-handers and three southpaws — while the class includes a strong mix of infielders and outfielders as well as several catchers.
"The talented young arms in this group will be fun to watch develop," Holliday said. "There's good size, and there's some balance of both right- and left-handed arms, which is something we sought to do.
"On the position player side, we have some skilled defensive players who we're excited about to offset the loss of Donovan (Walton) and J.R. (Davis) up the middle, as well as some catching talent to help replace Collin Theroux and the great job he did for us back there. And we have some upside, athletic, strong kids in the outfield who bring some offensive firepower to what we're doing in both the immediate and long-term future."
Oklahoma State is coming off a 2016 season in which the Cowboys advanced to the College World Series for the 20th time in program history. Returning from that ballclub, which finished with a 43-22 record and No. 4 final national ranking, are four position starters and a pitching staff highlighted by seniors Trey Cobb and Tyler Buffett , who spurned professional baseball careers to return to Stillwater.
"This recruiting class gained its greatest strength when kids like Buffett, Cobb, Dustin Williams and Ryan Sluder returned for their senior years," Holliday said. "The best recruit you could ever get is a key player inside of your program coming back to see this process through to the very end.
"With those four older kids coming back to go with the newcomers and the guys we knew were coming back, it's a quality roster. Our job now is to get better every single day, to develop the person inside of each player first and then watch the player emerge as a result of that."
Brady Basso, LHP, 6-2/200 – Pearland, Texas (Pearland HS)
Named District 22-6A MVP as a senior … went 7-1 with a 0.48 ERA and racked up 101 strikeouts in 57 innings … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Texas Region Honorable Mention … also an all-district performer in football.
Holliday on Basso: "Brady comes from a baseball family. He was a two-sport athlete in high school, and he has an ability to help us immediately and long term has great upside with the potential for three above-average pitches to go along with a great frame and desire to learn. He's a tremendous student and has a great desire to be here."
Peyton Battenfield, RHP, 6-4/211 – Claremore, Okla. (Verdigris HS)
Went 27-2 in four seasons at VHS … helped lead the team to three Class 3A state championships … as a senior was 11-0 with a 0.22 ERA and recorded 118 strikeouts in just 63 innings … allowed only two earned runs on season … threw four no-hitters as a senior, including one in first round of state tournament, and also had four one-hit performances … was also VHS's leading hitter as a senior with a .472 average … was named The Oklahoman's 2016 All-State Baseball Player of the Year and the Tulsa World 2016 All-Metro Player of the Year … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-West Region Second Team.
Holliday on Battenfield: "Peyton is a big right-hander who is moving each and every year toward his potential. We really like where he's at and proud of the senior year he had. We've very much enjoyed having Blake in the program and now to have both Battenfield brothers together here at once will be a good thing for us.
Trevor Boone, OF, 6-1/210 – Tulsa, Okla. (Memorial HS)
Was a four-time all-district performer … hit .388 with three homers and 22 RBIs as a senior … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-West Region Second Team … honored with the 2016 Ferguson Jenkins Outstanding Student-Athlete Award … hit seven home runs as a junior … batted .377 with eight homers and 36 RBIs as a sophomore … also the starting quarterback on the football team.
Holliday on Boone: "Trevor is a very good athlete who can play all over the field. He's super coachable and has an amazing desire to learn. He was a multi-sport athlete who as he turns his focus to baseball has a chance to really grow his skill set in a hurry."
Chris Burdine, RHP, 5-11/215 – Coppell, Texas (Coppell HS)
Went 3-2 with 10 saves and a 0.96 ERA as a senior … struck out 64 in 43.2 innings … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Texas Region Honorable Mention ... also named first-team all-district.
Holliday on Burdine: "Chris is a tremendous student and skilled right-handed pitcher who played for one of the best high school programs in the country. He has a knack for getting batters out, mixing his pitches, and he's another guy to develop and build heading forward."
Cade Cabbiness, OF, 6-2/215 – Bixby, Okla. (Bixby HS)
A 21st round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016 … hit .472 with six homers and 36 RBIs and an .821 slugging percentage as a senior … named the 2016 Jim Thorpe High School Baseball Player of the Year and an all-state performer … also a star wide receiver on BHS football teams that won back-to-back state championships.
Holliday on Cabbiness: "Cade had a big-time senior year and really, really emerged. He has power potential from the left side, a strong throwing arm and an unbelievable passion to play the game. He puts his best effort forward each and every day both in school and on the field."
Ryan Cash, INF, 6-1/160 – Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian)
Led Prestonwood to first-ever state championship as a senior as Lions claimed TAPPS 5A state title … hit .465 and recorded 23 RBIs as a senior … a three-time all-state performer and two-time district MVP … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-Texas Region Second Team … Dallas Morning News All-Area Second Team as a junior in 2015 … also a standout quarterback who threw for 4,837 yards and 47 touchdowns as a senior … racked up 11,307 passing yards and 122 touchdowns in career, with both ranking No. 7 all time in Texas high school history … father, Todd, played two seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization.
Holliday on Cash: "Ryan is one of the more accomplished performers that you'll get. He's a winner, a switch-hitting middle infielder that just has a knock for what this is all about. We've been real proud of watching his accomplishments with his team and watching him grow individually. He brings strong leadership qualities to the locker room, the classroom and our campus."
Daniel DeSimone, 1B, 6-4/215 – Broken Arrow, Okla. (Bishop Kelley HS)
Hit .500 as a senior with three homers and 25 RBIs … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-West Region First Team … honored with the 2016 Ferguson Jenkins Outstanding Student-Athlete Award … an all-state and all-district performer … batted .402 with seven home runs as a junior.
Holliday on DeSimone: "Daniel has great power potential and tremendous physical upside. He's a very good athlete for his size, and a guy we see having the ability to grow into a real offensive force at some point at first base."
Cameron Dobbs, INF, 6-2/160 – Dallas, Texas (Jesuit College Prep)
Missed most of senior season, making just two pinch-running appearances, as he recovered from back surgery to repair two ruptured discs … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-Texas Region First Team … a two-time all-district performer.
Holliday on Dobbs: "Cameron is a skilled defender and good bat handler who had one of the better junior summers of any kid in the country. He missed time as a senior due to back surgery, but he is healthy now. Definitely a guy we're counting on to compete in the middle infield for playing time and has the look and feel of a middle infielder that can make all the plays."
Bryce Fischer, OF, 6-1/190 – Wichita, Kan. (Bishop Carroll HS/Cowley County CC)
Played in 53 games for Cowley Co. as a sophomore and hit .327 with two home runs and 30 RBIs … hit .440 with 16 doubles, four triples, three homers and 60 RBIs as a freshman … also had 10 stolen bases … named the Class 5A Player of the Year as a high school senior after hitting .486 and recording a 0.72 ERA on the mound.
Holliday on Fischer: "Bryce comes from an outstanding junior college program that has developed several Cowboys. He has a track record of hitting, and we feel his left-handed bat has a chance to impact our offense and help us build balance and options in our lineup."
Cole Hearrean, LHP, 6-1/195 – Mansfield, Texas (Legacy HS/Weatherford JC)
As a sophomore at Weatherford JC went 7-3 with a 4.96 ERA and racked up 88 strikeouts in 74.1 innings … started 13 games as a freshman and went 5-2 with a 4.55 ERA while recording 51 strikeouts in 63.1 innings … as a high school senior went 11-1 and posted a 1.35 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 93.1 innings.
Holliday on Hearrean: "Cole had a quality sophomore year at Weatherford — he's a strike throwing lefty who can really compete and record outs. He possesses an excellent work ethic and takes his game very seriously."
Jonathan Heasley, RHP, 6-3/205 – Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian)
Went 29-3 with a 1.47 ERA and 310 strikeouts during his career at Prestonwood … helped lead the Lions to a 35-1 record and state title as a senior … went 13-0 with a 0.33 ERA, allowing only four earned runs in 65 innings of work … named to Dallas Morning News All-Area First Team in 2016 after earning third-team honors as a junior … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Third-Team All-American and All-Texas Region First Team … also an all-state performer in football.
Holliday on Heasley: "Jonathan has a very, very live arm. The fastball-breaking ball combination coming in as a true freshman could help him contribute right away. He was one of the top pitchers in the state of Texas and certainly a kid that we are excited to see in our uniform. He's a kid professional baseball had strong interest in, but he very much felt that this was the place where he wanted to develop."
Connor Kimple, OF, 6-2/195 – Whitefish Bay, Wis. (Marquette University HS)
Hit .414 with two home runs, 38 RBIs and 32 stolen bases as a senior … also tallied 12 doubles and five triples … led MUHS to state runner-up finish … played for former Cowboy Sal Bando Jr. … earned all-state honors as a senior and sophomore … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-Central Region Second Team …
Holliday on Kimple: "Connor is a great athlete who has the physical tools to develop into skill. He's a classic athlete from the colder climate where the talent is there and now it's a matter of the skills catching up to the talent. He has a tremendous desire to succeed."
Reid Morgan, RHP, 6-2/190 – Richmond, Texas (Foster HS)
Missed senior season following Tommy John surgery … went 7-1 with a 1.27 ERA as a junior … named an all-district performer … finished prep career with a 10-2 record and 1.43 ERA.
Holliday on Morgan: "Reid is an accomplished pitcher who missed his senior year due to Tommy John surgery. He's healthy now, and we're looking forward to getting him back on the mound and developing him into guy who can help us. He really enjoys being on the mound and is excited to be a Cowboy."
Michael Neustifter, C/3B, 6-3/215 – Carrollton, Texas (Hebron HS)
Hit program-record 19 career home runs in three high school seasons and is also the school's all-time leader in RBIs … a .347 hitter as a senior who smacked five home runs and earned all-district honors … a 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Third-Team All-American and All-Texas Region First Team … named to the Dallas Morning News All-Area Third Team in 2016 after earning first-team accolades as a junior … hit .389 with 10 doubles and 28 RBIs as a sophomore … two-time all-state performer.
Holliday on Neustifter: "Michael was one of the better performers that you'll see offensively in high school baseball. He has a track record of flat-out hitting and is a versatile player who can catch, play first, play third. He's a very strong, powerful kid who we think has a chance to be an impact hitter, and a guy who has a chance to drive in a lot of runs for us."
John Radetsky, OF/3B, 5-11/195 – Lake Mary, Fla. (Lake Mary HS)
Hit .315 as a senior and led team in doubles … batted .325 with three homers as a junior … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-Florida Region Second Team.
Holliday on Radetsky: "John is a quality hitter, a left-handed bat, and we look forward to developing his entire game. He's a bat-strong player with quality hitting skills."
Trey Riley, RHP, 6-3/200 – Edwardsville, Ill. (Edwardsville HS)
As a senior was 2-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 28 innings of work … also hit .429 with 13 RBIs … named to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro Third Team … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Honorable Mention All-Central Region … went 5-1 as a junior with a 2.31 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 30.1 innings … father, P.J., played at Kansas and SIU Edwardsville and was a 15th round MLB Draft pick of the Houston Astros in 1989.
Holliday on Riley: "Trey is a very live-armed right-handed pitcher with great athleticism. He has very good upside, and a kid we think has a chance to really settle in and be a difference maker on the mound. Physically, he has really grown into a strong young man, and he's also an excellent student."
Parker Scott, LHP, 6-0/160 – Flower Mound, Texas (Flower Mound HS)
Named the Dallas Morning News Pitcher of the Year in 2016 … recorded a 0.72 ERA as a senior and struck out 111 in 68.1 innings ... in three playoff starts, pitched 19 of 21 possible innings and struck out 27 batters … was also the 6-6A Pitcher of the Year … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-Texas Region Second Team.
Holliday on Scott: "Parker had an outstanding senior year. He's a strike-throwing machine with an excellent curveball. He's one of the more advanced, skilled kids arriving on a college campus, and once is body matures he will be special. We're really excited he found his way to Stillwater, and we think he can help us right away."
C.J. Varela, RHP, 5-10/165 – Katy, Texas (Seven Lakes HS)
Recorded a career record of 11-3 … went 7-0 with a 1.41 ERA as a senior and earned first-team All-District 19-6A honors … 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-Texas Region Second Team.
Holliday on Varela: "C.J. has a great feel for the ball in his hand, a strike thrower with an excellent curveball. He's a very good competitor. You can't ever have enough guys that fill up the strike zone with quality stuff, and C.J. as a freshman looks like a guy that already has that instinct. He's another skilled kid who will benefit from the physical development that takes place here."
Travis Wacker, C, 6-1/185 – Frisco, Texas (Kings Christian Collegiate/Grayson CC)
Played in 51 games as a sophomore at Grayson and hit .384 with nine home runs and 66 RBIs … as a freshman, hit .328 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 37 games … spent his high school career at Kings Christian Collegiate in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
Holliday on Wacker: "Travis provides us an older, experienced defender at a key position. He's a quality receiver, quality thrower and a guy that continues to get better with the bat in his hands. We're excited about his personality and feel for the game at the catching position. He has the make-up to work with our staff and Coach Walton at a high level."