Posted: Oct 25, 2012 4:50 PM
Updated: Oct 25, 2012 5:58 PM
COLUMBIA -- As the Mizzou baseball team transitions to the SEC this season, it will be bolstered by a 2012 recruiting that ranks 24th nationally according to Aaron Fitt at BaseballAmerica.com. The Tigers ranked one spot ahead of defending NCAA National Champion Arizona, the same team that eliminated Mizzou from the NCAA Tournament last year. The class, put together by the Mizzou coaching staff includes 19 student-athletes.
Headlining the class is Baseball America's No. 72 overall recruit Alec Rash, a right-handed pitcher from Adel, Iowa. Rash was drafted in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies but elected to enroll at Mizzou rather than take a big payday from the Phillies, making him the highest-drafted player to enroll in school this year. Fitt said this of Rash: ‘Long and lean, Rash works downhill with a 91-95 mph fastball with heavy life at his best, and he flashes a wipeout power slider, but he's still learning to repeat his delivery and command his stuff consistently.'
Fitt goes on to describe the rest of the Tiger signing class as a group ‘gritty, heady ballplayers' that should help make an immediate impact for the Tigers during their first season as members of the SEC. Fitt singles out utility man Keeton Steele, a 29th-round selection by the Tampa Bay Days in the MLB Draft, as another headliner. A utility infielder and right-handed pitcher, Steele could help the Tigers in a variety of ways this season. Fitt was also very high on Hutchinson Community College product Jace James, a 5-11 righty that, according to Fitt, could earn a spot as a starter for the Tigers this season.
Fitt identifies Kendal Keeton, an infielder from Walters State Junior College, as a potential starter up the middle and was high on Middle Georgia Community College catcher Dylan Kelly. He also listed Ryan Phillips of Columbia's own Rock Bridge High School as a potential utility player for the Tigers in the infield or a ‘fearless' pitcher that ‘attacks the zone with an 85-87 fastball and a slider.'
Shane Segovia, a third baseman from Northeast Texas Community College, was identified by Fitt as someone who could figure into the mix at third base for the Tigers while he predicted that Logan Pearson from Crowder Community College could make a huge impact for the Tigers in the outfield. Fitt was also high on Peter Fairbanks of Webster Groves, Mo., as someone who ‘works downhill with an 89-91 fastball and promising slider.'
Fans can get a look at the Mizzou baseball class and the rest of the defending Big 12 Champions next month when the annual Fall World Series begins on November 2.