UCSB baseball gets high recruiting grade

UCSB's baseball team won 41 games last season. (John Dvorak/Presidio Sports)

UCSB’s baseball team won 40 games last season. (John Dvorak/Presidio Sports)

For the fourth time in as many seasons, UCSB baseball head coach Andrew Checketts and his staff have assembled a nationally ranked recruiting class, it was revealed this week as Collegiate Baseball unveiled its annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes.

UCSB’s 2015 class, put together by assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Eddie Cornejo under the guidance of Checketts, was ranked as the No. 36 class in the country by Collegiate Baseball.

In years past, the Gauchos’ recruiting classes have been evaluated as high as No. 12 (2012). UCSB has also checked in at No. 31 (2013) and No. 32 (2014). They were one of just two Big West squads listed on the 40-program list.

“Once again, Coaches Cornejo and [Neil] Walton have brought in an excellent mix of instant-impact and projectable players,” said Checketts. “Congrats to Eddie and Neil on continuing a strong tradition of player recruitment and development at UCSB.”

The Gauchos have announced 15 new signings for the 2015-16 season, 14 of whom will be freshmen and one who will be transferring from the junior college ranks.

The incoming class is highlighted by players such as outfielder Michael McAdoo, right-handed pitchers Noah Davis and Willie Traynor, infielder Tevin Mitchell, catcher Sam Cohen, and two-way player pitcher Kyle Hatton.

McAdoo, a right-handed batter out of De La Salle High School in Antioch, Calif., was named East Bay Area League MVP last season after batting .418 with just 10 strikeouts. He is sizable already at 6-2, 200 pounds, and has the potential to become a middle of the order bat.

Named a Preseason All-American before his senior season, Davis went on to garner All-League, All-County, and All-CIF honors in a stellar career for Huntington Beach High School that saw him record a 19-2 record over his final two years. He flashes a wipeout slider and struck out a batter per inning last year.

Traynor was injured for most of his senior season at Newark Memorial High School, but the plus-command righty had an ERA under 2.50 in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League this past summer.

A second baseman from Clovis High School, Mitchell profiles as a plus-defender with a polished offensive approach similar to UCSB teammates Clay Fisher and J.J. Muno. The speedster picked up a litany of awards, including Louisville Slugger All-America honors, after hitting .342 and playing strong defense up the middle his senior season.

Cohen is a strong-hitting catcher out of Juniperro Serra High. The Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention earned multiple All-League words during his high school career . In his senior year, he helped his team to a 27-5-1 record with a .429 batting average.

A left-handed pitcher and first baseman, Hatton is a two-way player that will contribute out of the bullpen and in the batting order. He was named League MVP and All-CIF First Team after putting together a .373 batting average and striking out just five times in his final season at Norco Senior High School.

The newest Gauchos will look to contribute to a program that has been on the rise in past seasons under Checketts. Last year, the team earned a No. 1 overall seed and was a host in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever, while a program-record 10 players were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, second-most of any squad in the country behind Oklahoma’s 11. Included in that set of players was right-handed flameballer Dillon Tate, who after being taken No. 4 overall by the Texas Rangers simultaneously became the first pitcher selected in the 2015 draft and the highest UCSB draftee of all-time.

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