Diamond Hogs' 2020 class loaded after 7th top national recruit commits

By: Matt Jones
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2018
Masyn Winn of Kingwood, Texas, is the No. 8 rated player in the nation, according to Perfect Game, and one of seven top 100 recruits committed to the Razorbacks' class of 2020. (Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle)
Masyn Winn of Kingwood, Texas, is the No. 8 rated player in the nation, according to Perfect Game, and one of seven top 100 recruits committed to the Razorbacks' class of 2020. (Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle)

— When Arkansas lost to Oregon State in the final game of the College World Series in June, Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said he and his assistants planned to hit the recruiting trail as soon as they left Omaha in order to get the program back to college baseball's pinnacle in the future.

Four months later, it is clear that Arkansas' recruiting efforts are paying off. The Razorbacks have the No. 3 ranked class in 2020 and continue to recruit some of the nation's best players that year.

The latest 2020 commitment is Masyn Winn, a shortstop and right-handed pitcher from the Houston suburb of Kingwood, who is ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 8 prospect in the nation in his class. Winn's fastball has been clocked at 96 mph, but typically sits 92-93 mph, and he also throws a curveball, slider and two variations of a changeup.

Winn previously was committed to Stanford, but re-opened his recruitment earlier this summer. He committed to Arkansas after taking an official visit to Fayetteville last weekend when the Razorbacks hosted a baseball scrimmage against Wichita State. More than 5,100 people attended.

"I knew their fans were crazy," Winn said. "I love Hog Nation and have heard a lot about it, but I have never seen that many people at a scrimmage. They have the best fans in the country and I'm excited to play in front of them and try to perform."

Winn (5-10, 174 pounds) said Stanford was where his mother wanted him to attend, but he felt he needed to re-examine his choice after the Razorbacks lost the championship series to Oregon State.

"Even before the season started I loved Arkansas," Winn said. "I think what shows you that I really wanted to go to Arkansas was that whenever they lost, I was really mad. If I'm getting that mad over a score, I think it's a sign that's where I need to go."

The 2020 signing class might wind up as the most acclaimed of Van Horn’s tenure. Prior to Winn's commitment, it already included six commitments — two-way players Nate Wohlgemuth of Owasso, Okla., and Ethan Long of Gilbert, Ariz.; infielders Cayden Wallace of Greenbrier, Robert Moore of Shawnee, Kan., and Michael Brooks of Wellington, Fla.; and left-handed pitcher Nick Griffin of Monticello — who are rated among the top 51 recruits in their class by Perfect Game.

“Kids want to play with good players, and they play with each other in the summer and they want to play with each other in college," Van Horn said last Thursday when asked about the team's recruiting wins. "Look at Oregon State’s team last year and all the good players they had; those kids all knew each other from summer ball. They said, ‘Hey, you’re going there? I’m going there.’ The next thing you know they have three or four first-rounders who are going to school and it paid off for them.

“The ‘20 class on paper is for sure a top five class and if we get another guy or two it could move to No. 1. I think us having a good year last year helped. I think we had a good year the year before, and they liked what they saw when we played in Omaha or throughout the year. We got kids to come on visits and I think it has really helped.”

Winn said he knows several of the other commitments through summer teams, including the USA National Team. Robert Moore, a shortstop from near Kansas City, is one of his best friends.

"I had been talking to a lot of commits before I committed," Winn said. "I loved Arkansas before, and after this weekend I love it that much more. I look forward to college and want to work with those coaches. I believe they are the best coaches in the country development-wise and how they run their program. If we get drafted, that's great, but if we have to go to Arkansas, that's not a problem at all."

And what about getting them to campus? Wohlgemuth and Long both would be draft-eligible sophomores because of their age, which could help, but the Razorbacks will have more committed players likely to be poached early in the draft than in the past several years.

“You have to talk to the kids and get a feel for it…and ask them, ‘What is it going to take to sign you? You need to be upfront with us so we know if we’re going to lose you or not,'” Van Horn said.

“You have to be smart. You have to sign the guys because if you want to win in this league you have to have some players.”

A version of this article previously was published in Hawgs Illustrated

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