With the way the 2019 season played out for Monte Lee’s Tigers, especially on the pitching side of things, it’s refreshing to see a number of talented arms are on the way as part of the 2019 recruiting class. The class consists of thirteen players total, eight of who are pitchers, including a few high quality arms that could be big contributors come 2020.
One of those is 6’5 200 lb RHP Mack Anglin out of Highland High in Marengo, Oh. Perfect Game grades him as a 10.0, which is the highest grade you can get. The 2018 High School All American and one of Ohio’s Player of the Year award winners, Anglin is a guy that could potentially come in and be a staple in the bullpen, and it isn’t inconceivable to think he might end up in the rotation at some point in time.
His fastball is already in the low 90’s, and look for the velocity to increase as he develops physically. He throws a very tight slider that bites hard, and it’s a pitch he has the confidence in to throw regardless of count. The best part is, he’s already got the command of both, and he also has a changeup that he’s still working to perfect.
Another name to get familiar with is Geoffrey Gilbert. The 6’2 200 lb southpaw is out of Bishop England in Charleston, SC and grades out at a 9.0 with Perfect Game. His fastball is topping out at 90 at times, but generally sits in the 87-88 mph range right now. He’s got a really good curve with tight spin, and good biting action. and he’s already well versed in how to mix and match his pitches to keep hitters guessing.
There’s one more pitcher that could come in and play a big role as a freshman. However, you won’t find him listed as a part of this recruiting class. Not as part of Monte Lee’s 2019 class anyways. You’ll have to scroll the list of 2020 football commitments to find this name.
When DJ Uiagalelei committed to the Clemson football team in May, not only did the Tigers land the top QB prospect in the nation, they also got themselves another elite pitching prospect. Already 6’5 and pushing 250 lbs, DJ is a hard throwing right hander out of Bosco High in Chino, Ca. His fastball is already being clocked at 95mph, with one scout saying watching him pitch was like watching a young Roger Clemens. With the depth issues the bullpen faced last season, expect Uiagalelei to have a role, pre-approved by Dabo of course. He has closer of the future written all over him.
Local kid Ryan Ammons, a left handed pitcher out of Wren High School in Anderson, is another guy that could see some time on the mound next season. At 6’0 tall and 175 lbs, Perfect Game grades him at a 7.5. He isn’t one of those power arms, but throws from a high 3/4 slot, and exclusively out of the stretch. He has a very good breaking ball that he can throw for strikes, a decent changeup, and a slider that is almost cutter like. He could be one of those “lefty specialist” out of the pen next season.
The other pitchers the team signed are….
JD Brock- LHP 6’2 195, William Amos High, Davidson NC (PG Grade- N/A)
Nick Clayton- RHP 6’5 180, York Comprehensive High, York SC (PG Grade- N/A)
Nick Hoffman- RHP 6’3 205, Centerville High, Centerville Oh (PG Grade- 9)
Paul Labriola- LHP 6’6 188, Cardinal Mooney High, Bradenton Fl (PG Grade- 9)
Brett Percival- RHP 6’4 213, Andrew Jackson High, Lancaster SC (PG Grade- N/A)
Rounding out the rest of the class are four position players, all of which have at least a minimal shot of seeing a little playing time.
Jonathan French- Catcher, 6’0 210, Parkview High, Lilburn Ga (PG Grade- 10) French was ranked by MLB.com as the 124th best draft prospect and he had pre-draft workouts with multiple teams including the Cubs, Orioles, and the Braves. As a high school senior he hit .427 with 13 HRs and a school record 62 RBI to help lead his team to a state title. With Kyle Wilkie moving onto pro ball, look for French, Adam Hackenburg, and Drew Donathon to battle it out for the starting catchers job. Do not be shocked if French wins the job, he’s that good. Or maybe we see some of him at first base. He does have some experience playing the position.
It was speculated by many that French would be an early round selection in the MLB draft a couple of weeks ago and that he would never make it to school. After falling all the way to Round 30, it is safe to assume at some point he informed MLB teams he would be enrolling in school, convincing teams not to waste an early round pick.
Pierce Gallo- SS/3B, 6’3 185, Walton High, Marietta Ga (PG Grade- 9.5) With the departure of Logan Davidson, Gallo is coming onto the scene at just the right time. His defensive abilities are very close to a pro level right now, and he can hit the ball too. A gap to gap hitter who consistently squares the ball up, hitting line drives. There is also a little pop in that bat too. It isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that Gallo wins the job at short.
Dylan Brewer- OF 6’1 160, Latta High, Latta SC (PG Grade- N/A) Brewer was taken in the 32nd round of the draft by the Giants. He was named MVP of the South team in the North/South All Star Game and was the Morning News Player of the Year, which covers the Pee Dee and Grand Strand region. He hit over .400 as a senior, with 6 HR and 28 RBI, as well as 9 doubles and 2 triples, to go along with 19 stolen bases. Make no mistake, this kid can play. He might need a year in the weight room before he is ready to make a major contribution though.
Regan Reid- SS 5’8 165, TL Hannah, Anderson SC (PG Grade- N/A) Selected to play in the SCBCA All Star Game, Reid has been committed to Clemson for about two years. Growing up in Anderson, there was never another school he’d have chosen over the Tigers. Reid is one of those sleeper type guys, and is probably looking at a redshirt season in all likelihood.
For once this baseball program dodged the MLB Draft bullet. Going in, many believed the team could lose as many as five guys to the draft. Turns out, they only lost one. SS Nasim Nunez was taken by the Marlins in the second round and will head off to play pro ball now. This program isn’t exactly used to being spared by the draft, so Monte Lee and the rest of the staff have to be thrilled. It was thought they could lose Anglin, Gilbert, and French, along with Nunes.
It is obvious this coaching staff went out on the recruiting trail intent on addressing what has been this teams achilles heel in Monte’s first four years, pitching depth. There are some very talented arms in this class. Add them to the talented young arms we saw on the mound in 2018, along with getting Spencer Strider and Carter Raffield back from injury, and on paper this roster looks to be loaded with pitching heading into 2020. Question is, does that translate into results on the field.