ASU Baseball: Six Sun Devils Land on Perfect Games Top-500
On Tuesday, Perfect Game published its top-500 incoming college freshmen list for the 2021 baseball season.
Six Arizona State players made the cut, including three in the top-100 (Colt Keith may have added a fourth, but he was drafted by and signed with the Detroit Tigers this year).
The highest-ranked Sun Devil is right-handed pitcher, third baseman and outfielder Ethan Long at 23.
Left-handed pitcher Ronan Kopp and infielder Hunter Haas were the next two at 75 and 93.
Arizona State had national championship aspirations last year with a stellar lineup and revamped pitching staff.
But, the pandemic ended any chances of fulfilling that goal, and four of ASU’s top hitters were drafted soon after with Spencer Torkelson going first overall to the Tigers. ASU attempted to replenish its lineup through transfers with the additions of first baseman Conor Davis from Auburn and outfielder Allbry Major from Xavier.
But, with a lot of offensive production lost, the incoming crop of freshmen could heavily impact ASU’s chance to get back to Omaha for the first time since 2010.
#23 3B/OF/RHP Ethan Long
Long, from Mountain Pointe High School in Gilbert, AZ, has perhaps the best chance of making a mark early on.
PG clocked his fastball at 97 miles per hour, in the 99.9th percentile of his class. His exit velocity off the bat was 103 miles per hour. He also has good size at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds.
From his 2019 PG National Showcase evaluation: “Big and strong physical build, pretty mature physically. Big arm strength across the infield....Right-handed hitter, big stride into contact, fluid swing and looks to hit the ball out front, has lift and leverage at contact, pull power approach, gets on time well.”
Perhaps he could simultaneously be the replacement for recently drafted third basemen Gage Workman and closer R.J. Dabovich.
#75 LHP Ronan Kopp
Kopp (Scottsdale Christian Academy in Scottsdale, AZ) looks like a college pitcher. He is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound lefty who PG described as slender but athletically built.
At a Prep Baseball Report event at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in January, he was tossing 93-96 with a big slurve, according to PBR’s Shooter Hunt. PG ranked him the best left-handed pitcher from Arizona.
ASU retained much of its staff from last year, but has some questions in the bullpen where Kopp could help immediately.
#93 IF Hunter Haas
Haas, another Arizona kid from Corona Del Sol High School in Phoenix, adds infield depth as the second-highest ranked shortstop from the state.
PG evaluated him as a strong defender with good speed. He struggled at the plate in 10 games last season before it was cut off, but he hit over .400 in each of his first three years at high school.
With the left side of ASU’s infield gone, Haas adds needed depth and perhaps could compete for some early playing time with his defense.
#160 1B Jack Moss
Moss (Cherry Creek High School in CO) is a 6-foot-5 lean first baseman whose exit velocity was 90 miles per hour. The lefty is the highest-ranked first baseman from his state. He hit .490 as a junior with 17 extra-base hits.
#313 C Logan Paustian
Paustian is a switch hitter from Oregon who PG ranked the top catcher in the state. Catcher is not a deep position for ASU, as redshirt seniors Nick Cheema and Sam Ferri are the only other two on the roster. ASU has some help coming for 2021, but perhaps Paustian has a path to set himself up to start next season.
#433 IF/RHP Blake Pivaroff
Finally, Pivaroff (Laguna Beach, CA) hit the ball hard at PG, clocking at 93 miles per hour off the bat. He has a smooth left-handed swing. “Short, direct swing path to the ball, utilizes a pull approach and shows lift at the point of contact,” from PG’s analysis.
Like Haas, he could compete for a spot on the left side.