POSTED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 2:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 2:04am
NEW ORLEANS, LA — For the second time in as many months, the Tulane baseball 2013 recruiting class has been nationally ranked by a major publication, as Baseball America has tabbed the Green Wave class of this year as the 23rd best in the NCAA.
Tulane is the lone Conference USA team that earned the distinction from the publication, and is the only team in the top 25 that will play in the American Athletic Conference in 2015.
Additionally, the Green Wave are the only school in the state of Louisiana to be found on the list.
Last month, Perfect Game credited the Green Wave as pulling in the 23rd best class in the NCAA.
“I think, without question, the two most valid, respected and reliable publications in our industry are Perfect Game and Baseball America,” said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. “They both do their homework. I think our national ranking is valid. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but I think it lets our fans know that we have some outstanding talent.”
Baseball America ranks the top-500 recruits, and Tulane grabbed three of them in shortstop Stephen Alemais (209), catcher Jake Rogers (212) and right-handed pitcher J.P. France (478).
Aaron Fitt of Baseball America has stated that Alemais is a “true shortstop with smooth actions, soft hands and a plus arm. He is learning to switch-hit and has shown some promise from the left side, but he has good feel for his barrel from his natural right side.”
As for the backstop in Rogers, Fitt writes that he “provides right handed power potential and uncommon athleticism behind the plate, where he has promising catch-and-throw skills.”
Fitt states that France can “throw strikes with a quality four-pitch mix, highlighted by a plus curve.”
While the publication ranked the three aforementioned players, the praise did not stop there.
“(Hunter) Hope brings more right handed pop to the pull side, but he is a polished hitter who can use the whole field and has proven even better than expected at the hot corner this fall,” writes Fitt.
“(Garrett) Deschamp is versatile enough to play all over the infield but is likely to wind up playing every day at second base, where is a strong defender with a nice gap-to-gap stroke,” says Fitt of the junior college transfer from LSU-Eunice.
“(Tyler) Wilson, the likely starting first baseman, has a polished all-fields approach and good plate discipline,” Fitt states about Tulane’s other junior college transfer.
“(Grant) Brown is raw but offers an intriguing speed/power blend, and (Lex) Kaplan should grow into a solid left handed power while playing sound defense at first on in the outfield,” mentions Fitt of the Gulfport, Miss., and St. Louis recruits.
Fitt also mentions pitchers Corey Merrill and Matt Horton as having an opportunity to contribute soon.
“Merrill has good arm strength and the makings of a solid three-pitch mix, making him a nice building block. Sidewinding sinkerballer Horton is very tough on righties and should contribute right away out of the bullpen,” states Fitt.
With fall practice being held at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium for the last three weeks, the staff has had an ample time to assess their recruits, and they like what they see.
“You never really know what the players will be like until they get to campus,” said recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Jake Gautreau. “But we’ve had a chance to see these guys and get a feel for what they do. They may be young, but they have played well.”
The honor bestowed upon the class by Baseball America has not lost its meaning to Gautreau.
“Our staff put in a lot of really hard work over the last two-and-a-half to three years on this class,” mentioned Gautreau. “This is a very nice honor.”
Jones is proud of the work his assistants have done in securing the talent for the upcoming season.
“It’s a true testament Jake Gautreau’s work ethic as a recruiting coordinator as well as Chad Sutter’s assistance,” added Jones.
Fans will be able to get a first-hand look at the newcomers, as well as the returning players, as the Green Wave will host their annual Fall Ball World Series on Nov. 1-3 at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Fans are welcome to watch, free of charge. Times will be announced next week.