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2018 Aggie Baseball recruiting class

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#1 Jeffrey Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 12:23 PM

Brandon Birdsell – RHP (6-3, 195, Willis, TX — Willis HS)
  • Selected for the 2017 Texas Rangers Area Code Games roster
  • Named to the All-Tournament team at the World Wood Bat Association National Championship in the summer of 2017
  • Earned All-District 16-6A Second Team as a pitcher as a sophomore in 2016
  • Notched a 5-2 record with a 2.89 ERA and 61 strikeouts as a sophomore
Birdsell, who spent some time at Conroe High School before moving back to Willis, had Tommy John surgery last year and did not pitch at all as a junior, but he is already back pitching well and the Aggies never wavered from their offer. The Aggies got a verbal from him early on in the recruiting process and Birdsell was integral in recruiting fellow recruit Miko Rodriguez after the two got to know each other playing summer ball together.
Seely’s Take: “Brandon looks like a guy that would play safety in college — very well put-together. Very strong, very athletic with a very powerful arm. Brandon was a low 90s guy with some feel to spin the ball, very aggressive on the mound and also played a position. He’s a guy we’re excited about. Brandon’s opportunity to pitch may start out of the bullpen and might evolve into being a starter down the line because he’s got a powerful arm. The feel to spin the ball is getting better every time I see him. He’s an exciting piece and I’m glad we were able to snag him.”
Jonathan Childress – LHP (6-4, 205, Forney, TX — Forney HS)
  • Texas Sports Writers Association All-Texas Class 5A Second Team pitcher as a junior in 2017
  • Named Dallas Morning News District 15-5A Pitcher of the Year as a junior
  • Posted an 8-1 record with a 0.48 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 2017
  • Tallied three no-hitters, including one perfect game in 2017
  • Logged an 8-1 record with a 1.19 ERA and 83 strikeouts and batted .300 with six doubles and 16 RBI as a sophomore in 2016
  • Earned District 12-5A Underclassman MVP recognition in 2016
  • Selected to the Texas Rangers Area Code Team roster in 2017
  • Also selected to play at the Tournament of Stars and the Perfect Game All-America Classic in 2017
The Aggies learned about Childress, who is not related to Rob Childress, from two pieces of their vast recruiting network. Jason Washburn, who played at A&M in the early 1990s, let Seely know about Childress after seeing him play on the Team USA national team, and Jason Farrow, whom Seely played for back in the day, is Childress’ high school coach at Forney.
Seely’s Take: “I had two pretty good recommendations for him, and when I went to see him it was automatic. He threw strikes, had feel to spin the ball. I wasn’t sure at that point he would make the velocity jump he has made, but I knew he was really going to be a very good pitcher. Ton of strikeouts, low walk totals, throws strikes, competes, plays a position for his high school team. He’s kind of the complete package from the left side.”
Added Childress: “He’s on every scout’s radar. He’s played on some national teams. He’s very polished with a very good breaking ball.”
Mason Englert – RHP (6-4, 215, Forney, TX — Forney HS)
  • Named Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association First Team as a junior in 2017
  • District 15-5A MVP as a junior
  • 10-1 with an 0.70 ERA and 128 strikeouts as a junior
  • Also hit .330 with 15 runs, seven doubles and 27 RBI as a junior
  • Posted an 8-2 record with a 0.76 ERA, 74.0 IP and 124 strikeouts as a sophomore in 2016
  • Earned District 12-5A Most Valuable Player and was named Dallas Morning News Newcomer of the Year in 2016
  • Participated in the 2017 Tournament of Stars
Englert was the first commit in the class and has gotten stronger and added velocity since Seely saw him as a freshman. Englert teams with Childress to comprise one of the most dominant one-two punches in the state, and Forney is expected to make a deep run in the playoffs in 2018.
Seely’s Take: “I saw Mason when he was a freshman in high school, and I think we offered him the first weekend in the spring. Mason just was three-pitch mix with attack. Strikes with any pitch in any count whenever he wanted to — and he was doing that as a freshman. He was probably doing that at 83-86 then and he’s upper 80s, low 90s now. Great attack, great makeup, incredibly hard worker, very diligent with what he does. His success matters a lot to him and his teammates’ success matters a lot as well. There’s nothing not to like about him — he brings everything to the table that you want. He has the ability to strike guys out, he has the ability to get guys out without the strikeout, and he can get out of jams. He’s complete — he’s a guy that can step in on day one, and you feel like he’s going to have an opportunity to pitch.”
Colson Geisler – LHP/OF (5-11, 165, Columbus, TX — Columbus HS)
  • Named All-District 25-4A First Team as a designated hitter as a junior in 2017
  • Selected All-District 25-4A First Team as a pitcher as a sophomore in 2016
Geisler is one of the legit two-way players in this 2018 class. A skinny speedster who throws left but hits from the right side, Geisler will get a shot to pitch and play the outfield for the Aggies when he gets to campus. This A&M staff leaves it up to the player when deciding whether they want to stick to hitting or pitching or stick to one in college, and Geisler has the tools to be a top-of-the-order bat with his speed and on-base skills.
Seely’s Take: “Just a quick-twitch, left-handed arm, and he can hit. He’s not just a pitcher — he’s a guy that can play in the outfield. He can really, really run. He’s not a huge guy, but he’s as quick-twitch and as athletic as any of them. He’s going to be upper 80s from the left side touching 90, 91 when he needs to do. He’s just a baseball player who happens to pitch. We’re very excited about him — he’s a guy who’s ultra-competitive, really good head on his shoulders. A guy who’s responsible like that usually leads to good work habits and makeup that allow him to get on the field pretty early.”
Added Childress: “Colson is an athletic kid who can run. He’s got a quick arm and a guy we see making an immediate impact for us.”
Joseph “Moo” Menefee – LHP (6-1, 210, Richmond, TX — Richmond HS)
  • Member of the USA Baseball 18U National Team in 2017
  • Pitched in three games at the WBSC 2017 World Cup, logging a 1-0 record with six strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work
  • 8-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 75 strikeouts as a junior in 2017
  • Also hit .430 with 27 runs, eight doubles, six triples four home runs and 29 RBI in 2017
  • Named the District 23-6 MVP as a junior
  • Played on the Texas Rangers Area Code Team in 2017 and the Rangers Area Code Underclass Team in 2016
Outside of Naylor, Menefee may be the next-best player in this class. His slider is a wipeout strikeout pitch from the left side, and it will be interesting to see if he tries to hit at the next level too. Seely said he has the ability to do it but doesn’t know if he wants to, while Childress acted like he will do both. He played select ball with Geisler for Twelve Baseball in College Station.
Seely’s Take: “Moo is a guy that is a lot like AJ Minter. He’s powerfully built and attacks with a big fastball. He’s developed a cutter/slider that is a true wipeout pitch. He’s throwing that at 85-86 with a fastball that’s 90-94 most of the time. He’s just a guy that can come in from a talent standpoint right away and pitch in some role. He has a great personality. Moo brings the life to wherever he is. He’s funny and engaging so he and Coach Childress are going to have a lot of fun going back and forth with the pitching staff. If he wanted to, he could be a two-way player because I’ve seen that guy hit the ball as far as anyone.”
Added Childress: “Moo is kind of the straw that stirs the drink on this whole pitching staff and really the whole class. He’s got a great spirit about him, an infectious personality and players are drawn to him. He can swing the bat, he’s got power and an incredible amount of confidence.”
Grayson Rodriguez – RHP/1B (6-5, 220, Nacogdoches, TX — Central Heights HS)
  • Went 12-0 and did not allow a single earned run in the regular season as a sophomore
  • Hit .511 with 11 home runs as a junior and also went 14-1 on the mound
  • Named Texas Sports Writers Association Texas Class 3A Player of the Year in 2017
  • Texas Sports Writers Association All-Texas Class 3A First Team shortstop and Honorable Mention pitcher in 2017
  • Selected Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association First Team as a pitcher in 2017
  • Tabbed District 22-3A MVP as a junior
Another one of the Aggies’ two-way players, Rodriguez is an absolute beast. He’s a monster but still moves well for his size, and his stats are off the charts. The thing that stands out about him is his fastball command, as Seely said he could shut down most high school teams throwing 90-percent fastballs — even if he told them what was coming — because of his ability to locate it where he wants. In addition, Rodriguez is from Nacogdoches, which is where Seely is from, as is former A&M ace Brigham Hill.
Seely’s Take: “Grayson’s fastball command on the mound is as good as anyone around. He can throw the fastball where he wants, he can throw it with velocity and movement. He’s developing a breaking ball — he goes between a slider and a curveball and will try to land on whichever one he feels most effective with. The changeup also has a chance to be a really good pitch. He’s a big guy, but he’s a big guy that can really play baseball. He’s got big power from the left-side. He’s a baseball player who just happens to be huge — he’s a good first baseman, he handles himself around the bag, has a good feel at the plate and if he runs into a ball he can hurt you in a hurry. We’re really excited about him, he’s a huge get for us.”
Added Childress: “He’s going to be low-to-mid 90s with a very good sinker. He has serious left-handed power and a very, very high ceiling.”
Chris Weber – LHP (6-4, 215, Boerne, TX — Champion HS)
  • Selected Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Texas Class 5A Second Team and Texas Sports Writers Association All-Texas Class 5A Honorable Mention as a pitcher as a junior in 2017
  • Logged an 8-2 record with a 0.55 ERA, one save and 134 strikeouts in 77.0 innings as a junior in 2017
  • Ranked third in the state among Class 5A pitchers with his 134 strikeouts and his ERA ranked ninth
  • Tallied a 10-1 record with a 0.80 ERA and 94 strikeouts as a sophomore in 2016
  • Selected to the Texas Rangers Area Code Team in 2017
Weber is an advanced left-handed pitcher with a smooth delivery and a three-pitch mix. He boasts a devastating changeup that he is not afraid to throw in any count, and he has increased his velocity into the low 90s in the last two years.
Seely’s Take: “I saw him pitch against (current A&M freshman) Asa Lacy in Kerrville his sophomore year. I remember being out of there in an absolute hurry because both guys were filling it up. Where I got sold on Chris was the one jam he got in. He got to 3-2, and it was either tied or they were up by one run. He throws a 3-2 breaking ball and just walks off the mound. He freezes the guy at the plate, and the umpire rings him up. He’s got guts and confidence. He’s quiet but very confident and sure of himself when he’s on the mound. Back when we saw him he was 83-87, and now he’s throwing much harder than that. He’s a guy that we might fight in the draft, but his pitchability is off the charts and it’s because he has the guts to throw any pitch in any count.”
Added Childress: “He could really pitch when we recruited him. He didn’t throw as hard back then but he, like the others, has made a jump. He’s now upper 80s with plus pitchability.”
Landry Wideman – RHP (6-5, 220, San Antonio, TX — Churchill HS)
  • Earned All-District 26-6A First Team as a pitcher during his junior campaign in 2017
  • Posted a 6-3 record with a 1.69 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 62.0 innings as a junior
  • Named All-District 26-6 Second Team as a pitcher during his sophomore season in 2016
  • UnderArmour Preseason Underclassman All-America High Honorable Mention in 2017
  • Member of the 2012 McAllister Park National squad that advanced to the Little League World Series
Wideman is part of a Churchill staff that boasts three Division I commits, but the Aggies were only interested in Wideman. The 6-5 righty possesses a filthy slider, he attacks hitters and he has the ability to change his arm angle during at-bats to keep opposing hitters off balance.
Seely’s Take: “Landry was a big guy when we recruited him — he is huge now. He’s a monster. He looks like a defensive end in high school. Landry is a big guy that can change arm slots — he can go three-quarters, he can go low three-quarters and high three-quarters. He’s got feel for the breaking ball in all three slots. He can morph his velocity and his sink based on where his arm slot is. He’s going to give us a different, more unique look. He’s a big body coming at you. There’s nothing comfortable about an at-bat with him. He’s like Cason Sherrod in high school with a better slider and a touch better command.”
Brett Brown – SS (6-2, 185, Godley, TX — Godley HS)
  • Texas Sports Writers Association All-Texas Class 4A Third Team pitcher and Honorable Mention shortstop as a junior in 2017
  • Three-time district MVP
  • Notched a 10-2 record with a 1.01 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 76.0 innings as a junior
  • Hit .476 (49-for-103) with 45 runs, 17 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 37 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2017
  • Posted a 12-0 record with a 0.92 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 75.2 innings as a sophomore in 2016
  • Batted .438 with a .438 slugging percentage, 28 runs and 32 RBI as in 2016
Brown is one of four guys that can play shortstop in this class. He has had tremendous success throughout his high school career both at the plate and on the mound, but he will focus his effort on being a position player at the collegiate level. He can play all over the field, so he could play wherever there’s a spot for him when he gets to campus.
Seely’s Take: “He’s a guy that can play multiple positions — he’s a long, athletic, good-looking kid. He’s going to be a big man before it’s all said and done. He’s got some strength in the bat. His ability to use the whole ballpark is what’s going to allow him to play early. He’s a really good athlete with strength and speed and a guy that I think we’re going to put in multiple spots.”
Added Childress: “His body has continued to get bigger and stronger, and he’ll play on the left side of the infield for us.”
Ty Coleman – SS (5-9, 175, Midland, TX — Lee HS)
  • Three-time all-district player
  • Texas Sports Writers Association All-Texas Class 6A Third Team shortstop as a junior in 2017
  • Hit .410 with 12 doubles, three home runs and 19 RBI in 2017
  • Selected to the Texas Rangers Area Code Underclass roster in 2015 and 2016
Coleman, the younger brother of Aggie sophomore first baseman Hunter Coleman, makes up for his lack of size with determination and a will to win. He is already very familiar with Aggieland and will be comfortable from the get-go wearing the maroon and white.
Seely’s Take: “Ty is probably the smallest guy in our class in stature, but in terms of belief he’s got as much as anybody. Every time I go watch him play he sticks out like a sore thumb, and that’s hard to do for a guy that’s his size. Size doesn’t matter to him. He wants to win as much as any kid I’ve been around. He has a lot of Alex Bregman in him at that same age. He doesn’t run as well as Alex does and maybe not as much power, but I would say Ty has every bit as good a swing, ability to hit and defend. He’s going to be a really good player here — probably a more polished version of Ryne Birk when Ryne was coming to school. When Ty comes here he is running the show already. He helps me out in the recruiting process quite a bit, and he’s just got all the makings of a guy that thinks he’s the man.”
Added Childress: “He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He can swing the bat, and he doesn’t play to his size. He plays really big and he’s got a high motor.”
Noah Naylor – C/SS (6-1, 190, Ontario, Canada — St. Joan of Arc Catholic HS)
  • Played in the UnderArmour All-American Game at Wrigley Field, the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park and the New Balance Future Stars Series in Sugar Land in 2017
  • Played for the Canada Junior National Team at the WBSC U18 World Cup in 2017
  • Named to the All-Tournament team at the 2017 WBSC U18 World Cup, batting .313 with a .856 OPS
  • Finished second at the fifth annual High School Home Run Derby during the MLB All-Star Weekend
The most highly regarded player in the class, Naylor is the most dangerous guy the Aggies may lose to the MLB Draft. His brother Josh was drafted by the Marlins 12th overall in 2015, and Naylor has the offensive upside to go high as well. Naylor played on the Canadian national team with Adam Hall, A&M’s shortstop signee in last year’s class who signed with the Orioles after getting drafted in the second round. The Aggies’ Canadian connections come in the form of Adam Stern, who played with Bolt and Seely at Nebraska and helps coach the national team, as well as Sean Travers, who goes way back with Childress and coaches Naylor’s summer team.
Seely’s Take: “Noah is as polished a baseball player as there is in either country. He can really catch, he can really play short, and his feel to hit and drive the ball is about as good as you’re going to find at that age. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better all-around player than him. He is a baseball player — he’s not a prospect, he’s a baseball player. We’re going to have to fight tooth and nail to get him to campus because you cannot poke a lot of holes in his game. Because he can play two premium positions, hit and hit for power right now, that makes him a different animal.”
Added Childress: “Noah Naylor is probably the premier bat in this draft class — one of the top three or four. He’s got such a polished bat from the left side, he can really catch and throw, and he is definitely one we are going to sweat on draft day.”
Miko Rodriguez – OF (6-2, 200, Ada, MI — Forest Hills Central HS)
  • Three-time O-K White All-Conference selection
  • Batted .384 with a .547 on-base perecentage, 13 doubles and 25 stolen bases as a junior in 2017
  • Was a standout at the 2017 East Coast Pro Showcase in Tampa, Florida
  • Participated in the 2016 and 2017 UnderArmour Preseason All-America Tournament
  • Also earned All-Lake Area honors as a linebacker for the FHC football team in 2015
Rodriguez, who marks the first commitment Seely has secured out of the state of Michigan, was first brought to A&M’s attention by Brandon Birdsell. The two prep stars had gotten to know each other in summer ball, and once Seely saw video of him hitting the rest was history.
Seely’s Take: “If kids are willing to bring someone up to you, that means they think something of them. We ended up getting some video and found out he’s a good player. Talking to the people around him who have coached him since he was 12 or 13 years old, they talked about his work habits and what he brings to the table on a daily basis. He is dedicated to his craft, and on top of all that, he’s a very good baseball player. He can drive the ball, he can hit, he really knows who he is at the plate, he can run and he can really throw. He can play center or one of the corners.”
Added Childress: “Sometimes your best recruiters are the players. Miko is a big, strong, physical right-handed hitter, and he developed a relationship with Brandon Birdsell throughout playing on the national circuit. He’s going to be a force in the middle of the lineup and challenge the fences each time he steps to the plate.”
Hunter Townsend – OF (6-0, 190, Alto, TX — Alto HS)
  • Earned All-District 16-4A First Team as a utility player at Rusk High School as a junior in 2017
  • Picked up All-District 19-4A First Team recognition as an outfielder as a sophomore at Carthage High School in 2016
  • Batted .394 as a freshman with 28 runs, nine doubles, three triples 10 RBI and 15 stolen bases as a freshman
  • Two-way player in football — averaged 6.8 yards per carry and rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior with seven touchdowns
Townsend is one of the two-sport stars in this class, which is something Seely loves to see in potential recruits. Townsend can really swing it from the right side and has an attitude that Seely loves.
Seely’s Take: “Hunter is a little bit taller but very similar build and athleticism to Boomer White. Very flat swing, very aggressive. He runs better than Boomer. He’s a little angry at the plate — he’s trying to do damage. He hates losing, he loves winning and he brings an edge to the ballpark every day. From a personality standpoint I’m a big fan of what he does. He’s going to do what he does, and he doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks. I think that’s getting a little rarer for all of us and for kids in general, but he brings that attitude to the ballpark every day, and on top of that he can really, really hit. He’s going to be an exciting player for us.”
Added Childress: “He’s a guy that has a chance to hit doubles and home runs. He’s just a guy that we feel very, very blessed to have in our program.”
Hunter Watson – 3B/1B (6-4, 210, Pottsboro, TX — Pottsboro HS)
  • Chosen Texas High School Coaches Association All-Texas Class 3A First Team and Texas Sports Writers Association All-Texas Class 3A Honorable Mention shortstop as a junior in 2017
  • Hit .437 with 25 runs, 10 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBI in 2017
  • Hit .342 with 18 runs, eight doubles and 15 RBI as a sophomore at Denison High School as a sophomore in 2016
  • Played on the Texas Rangers Area Code Team in 2017
  • Also participated in the Tournament of the Stars Games and Perfect Game All-American Classic in 2017
  • Played quarterback for the Pottsboro football team
Seely has been aware of Watson for a long time, and that connection came in handy when Watson developed into one of the best left-handed hitters in Texas. Watson plays shortstop on his high school team but projects as more of a corner infielder for the Aggies.
Seely’s Take: “I’ve known Hunter since he was a seventh or eighth grader. He’s been at camps that I’ve been at, I’ve heard his name for a long, long time. He was the guy that was bigger than everyone at a young age and coordinated. He could hit the ball as far as anyone, and he did it with a great swing and a great approach. He moved well, but he has become a much better athlete over time. He can really run for a guy his size. He has been one of the better players in the state of Texas since he was in high school, and he is kind and doesn’t expect anything from people in return. He is giving of himself when others can’t give to him. I’m a big fan of what’s inside of him on top of being a really good to great baseball player.”
Added Childress: “He’s going to remind you a little bit of Nick Banks from a physical standpoint. He’s just a leader.”

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