The ongoing pandemic has had a major impact on college baseball. On top of the season being canceled just a few weeks after Opening Day, the current dead period mandated by the NCAA has made recruiting especially tricky.
Instead of being out on the road evaluating players in person, head coach Monte Lee has been relegated to doing all of his evaluating from behind a desk on a computer screen. Despite the circumstances, Lee, along with the rest of his coaching staff, are doing their best to make the most of an unusual situation.
Last week, the Tigers put the finishing touches on the 2020 recruiting class that is ranked No. 28 in the country by Perfect Game. It includes 14 high school graduates and two Division-1 transfers, all of which will be eligible to play next season.
Similar to the 2019 recruiting class, this class is heavy on pitching, including a number of power arms. It also includes a handful of quality bats.
2020 Recruiting Class
Caden Grice (LHP/1B/OH): Out of Riverside High in Greer, South Carolina, Grice is the crown jewel of the class. At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, he is an imposing force on the mound and at the plate. He is a legitimate two-way player with a fastball already pushing 90 MPH. He's already developed a good curve ball, throws a hard slider, and has a cutter in his arsenal as well. He also has a high ceiling as a left handed power hitter. He's rated as the No. 25 LHP in the country by Perfect Game, who grades him out as a perfect 10.0. Capable of making an immediate impact.
Alex Edmonson (RHP): At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, the big right hander out of Maudlin High is ranked as the 25th best RHP in the country by Perfect Game, and like Grice, he also grades out at a perfect 10.0. He was named to the 2018 Jr. National Showcase Top Prospect List. The ball explodes out of his hand and his fastball is already hitting 93 MPH. He has a fantastic slider that bites hard and can consistently throw it for strikes. Also has a fully developed changeup he throws for strikes. He's currently working on developing a breaking ball that has the ability to be a nasty out-pitch. Capable of making a substantial contribution in a relief role as a freshman.
Tyler Olenchuk (RHP): Out of Dutch Fork High in Irmo, he is 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds with a fastball that tops out at 94. Perfect Game ranks him as the sixth best prospect in the state of South Carolina and the third best right-handed pitching prospect.
Bryson Hammer (LHP): A top ten left-handed pitching prospect in the state of North Carolina. At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds he has an athletic frame with long arms. His fastball is already touching 90 MPH at times and he throws strikes. Very good breaking ball in the 75-77 MPH range that has the potential to be his out pitch. Still needs to work on his velocity throwing out of the stretch.
Patrick Bott (RHP): Out of Lake Highland Prep in Orlando, Florida, Bott has a long, lanky frame with broad shoulders. He is 6-foot-4 and already pushing 200 pounds. Has a fastball topping out in the upper 80's and has two other pitches he can throw for strikes. One is a changeup with good fade action and the other a 12/6 curve he likes to throw at around 75 MPH.
Braison Bourne (RHP): At 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, he is tall, lean, and athletic. Out of Lexington High, Perfect Game has a 7.0 grade on him. Has a fastball that tops out around 90 MPH and with room to add more bulk, should see an uptick in velocity as he develops physically. Throws from a three-quarter arm slot and has a good curve ball with depth.
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Ricky Williams (RHP): Out of River Bluff High in Lexington, South Carolina, Williams is one of the ten best pitching prospects in the state. At 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, his fastball is clocked in the low nineties. Was named preseason All-State back in January, prior to his senior season.
Landon Lucas (RHP/SS): Out of Blythewood High in Columbia, the 6-foot-2, 190 pound prospect is considered the second best shortstop prospect in the state. Can also pitch, with a fastball that tops out in the low nineties.
Cooper Ingle (Catcher): A product of A.C. Reynolds High in Asheville, Ingle is considered one of the best catching prospects in the country and is the top catcher in the state of North Carolina. At 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Perfect Game grades him out at a 9.5. Very athletic and still has room to grow. Excellent defender with a very strong and accurate arm, with a quick release. Left handed hitter with good hand quickness at the plate. Squares up on the ball and has shown flashes of gap to gap power. Excellent bat speed with high barrel awareness.
Noah Stout (OF): At 6-foot-0, 185 pounds, he is considered the second best outfield prospect in the state of Michigan. One of the best hitters in the state, he uses a simple approach with minimal movement. Has a short, compact swing, and consistently makes hard contact driving the ball all over the field.
Alex Urban (INF): Considered the top rated outfielder in the state of South Carolina, Perfect Game grades the 5-foot-11, 185 pound Urban at 9.0. Out of River Bluff High in Lexington, he hits left handed and swings with energy. Pre-loads his hands looking to launch the ball. Has gap to gap power, but still needs a little polishing defensively.
Max Wagner (INF): At 6-foot-0 and 195 pounds he's considered the fifth best prospect in the state of Wisconsin. A right-handed bat with quick hands and a short, powerful stroke.
Blake Wright (INF): Has a very athletic frame at 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds. Right handed bat with quick bat speed and a little bit of a long stride. Stays balanced and level throughout the zone. Very smooth defensively, with a clean exchange and accurate throws.
Brett Ahalt (INF): Out of Maryland, the 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, Ahalt is considered the fourth best second base prospect in the state.
Rob Hughes (RHP): A casualty of the Furman Baseball program shutting down, Hughes will finish his career at Clemson. Out of Northwestern High in Rock Hill, South Carolina, he was a named to the 2019 Southern Conference All-Freshman Team. He made 21 appearances and posted a 5-2 record with 4.43 ERA and two saves as a freshman in 2019 and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Rasesh Pandya (RHP): A grad transfer from Wofford, Pandya is 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds. The right hander was 2-0 with a 2.13 E.R.A. last season and had 15 strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched. He has an outstanding breaking ball and will be a valuable addition to the Tigers bullpen in 2021.