Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
Class of 2020 setting up nicely for Van Horn
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn throws batting practice on Sunday, June 16, 2019, at East High School in Bellevue, Neb.
University of Arkansas baseball Coach Dave Van Horn and his staff have 19 commitments for the Class of 2020, which is ranked No. 3 nationally by Perfect Game.
Seven of the commitments are rated in the top 100. Miami, who has 20 commitments, has the nation's top class and is the only other program with seven top 100 pledges.
The final rankings won't be tallied until after the MLB Draft in June, but the class at this time is Arkansas' best since rankings began.
Six of the pledges play for the nationally ranked Rawlings Arkansas Prospects program that travels around the nation during the summer. The Prospects feature six other Power 5 pledges along with left-handed pitcher Isaac Mitchell, a 2021 Razorback commitment.
The seven Arkansas commitments helped the Prospects to a 29-5 record this summer, and a 65-7 record the past two seasons with back-to-back top 10 rankings. This year's squad came in third place at the Perfect Game World Series.
Right-handed pitcher and third baseman Cayden Wallace, 6-1, 200 pounds, of Greenbrier is Perfect Game's No. 14 rated prospect in the nation and the No. 2 third baseman.
"Cayden Wallace is one of those once-in-a-generation kids," Prospects 2020 Coach Kevin Bohannon said. "The best thing about him is his work ethic and how good of a kid he is. He comes from a great family."
Wallace hit .343 this summer, helping the Prospects to a fifth-place finish at the Perfect Game WWBA National Championship that involved 372 teams.
He chose the Hogs over scholarship offers from Texas, Miami, Kentucky, TCU and Oklahoma State. Wallace has a 103 mph exit velocity off the bat, and he has thrown 94 mph across the infield.
"Cayden has a good chance of getting drafted next year," Bohannon said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he's signable. He could go in the first two to three rounds."
Center fielder Clayton Gray, 5-10, 175, of Cabot batted .308 while scoring 21 runs for the Prospects. Perfect Game rates him the No. 140 overall prospect and No. 30 outfielder. He picked Arkansas over Alabama, Kentucky and Arkansas State University.
"He's really comparable to Casey Martin as far as athleticism and the way he plays the game," Bohannon said. "Big motor all out, no stop. He's got on the radar of a lot of pro teams this summer with his workouts."
Right-handed pitcher and first baseman Tyler Cacciatori, 6-5, 210, of Sheridan was 3-0 this summer with a 1.13 ERA. He helped the Prospects' staff post a 1.83 ERA in 34 games. The pitchers also allowed a .169 batting average against them.
He chose the Hogs over Kentucky and Arkansas State. Perfect Game rates Cacciatori the No. 211 recruit.
"He was the starting pitcher for Sheridan when they won the state title this year," Bohannon said. "He's been up to 90 miles an hour. He was one of the first ones Arkansas got on early. He's just been getting better. He's a really smart, cerebral kid."
Utility right-handed pitcher Ethan Bates, 5-11, 185, of Lakeside is rated the No. 226 prospect by Perfect Game. The left-handed hitter had four home runs and 24 RBI for the Prospects.
"He committed when he was playing shortstop at Lakeside," Bohannon said. "He was one of our top starters this summer. He defeated one of the top-ranked teams in the nation.
"He was 86 to 88 with a very good slider, but then again his bat projects as well, so there's a good chance he could move to the outfield at Arkansas and still come out of the bullpen and pitch."
Right-handed pitcher and outfielder Jaxon Wiggins, 6-5, 215, of Roland, Okla., is rated Perfect Game's No. 243 prospect nationally.
"Jaxon Wiggins was up to 93-94 on the mound at a recent Area Code Tryouts in Springdale," Bohannon said. "He was a big power arm out of the bullpen. He worked short relief. He's still struggling with some control issues, but when he's on and in the zone, he's tough to hit."
Joe T. Robinson shortstop Zac White committed to Arkansas after receiving a scholarship offer from Van Horn after attending the Prospect Showcase camp Saturday.
White, 5-10, 190, batted .506 and had 33 RBI to go along with 4 home runs, 4 triples, 11 doubles and a .571 on-base percentage for the Senators as a junior. He's the younger brother of Razorback freshman walk-on receiver John David White.
Email Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports on 08/25/2019
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