Highly Touted 2016 RHP Michael McAvene Chooses Purdue

By Phil Wade
Director, PBR Indiana
Michael McAveneIndiana saw its second 2016 come off the board last week when No. 3 ranked Michael McAvene(left) verballed to Purdue University where he plans on majoring in Nursing.

The Roncalli HS sophomore first impressed PBR Indiana in the fall of 2012 when he attended a showcase in Indianapolis and then again at the 2013 Preseason All State Showcase. At the Preseason All State he sat 81-84 with his fastball, and showcased an arm action that was easy to project as a high end arm in the 2016 class.

McAvene saw an increase in velocity last summer and in to the fall where he was up to 88 mph. He quickly established himself as a top arm in the 2016 class and has received interest from several schools. However, from the beginning, McAvene says he’s always wanted to play his college baseball in the state of Indiana; therefore Purdue, Indiana University and Notre Dame were at the top of his list. 

“My parents are the biggest supporters I have. I wanted them to make it to as many games as possible, so attending a school out of state would obviously make that harder,” he said. 

We asked McAvene what his top three schools were in order, and he said it went; Purdue, Indiana, and Notre Dame.

“Purdue has always been the No. 1 choice for me, but I definitely had interest in IU and Notre Dame.”

Committing as a sophomore has been rare in Indiana. Last year's sophomore class had only one commit at this time last year, and didn't see its second until the summer. McAvene's commitment gives Indiana two commits in the 2016 class, the other being Lebanon RHP Reid Schaller who is committed to Vanderbilt.  

Despite its rarity, with the way recruiting is changing we expect to start seeing more sophomores and even freshman committing to schools then ever before. McAvene told us he didn't feel any pressure to commit this early, despite the changes in recruiting. 

“Until the last couple of months I didn't plan on committing this early, but after talking to coaches and becoming more mature on the matter, I realized that the earlier I commit the better it was going to be for me personally. I didn't feel any pressure from Purdue or any other college coach. There wasn't a specific time or date in which they wanted me to commit." 

“I really liked the way Purdue went about recruiting me. I saw practices and the way Coach Schreiber handled everything, and it fit what I like. I couldn't see myself playing anywhere but Purdue.”

Now that the recruiting process is over for McAvene, he’s gearing up for the high school season at Roncalli where the Rebels will be led by new head coach Deron Spink, a former college coach at Villanova and Division 2 Bellarmine. Keith Hattfield, former head coach of the Rebels is now the head coach at Center Grove.

“We've adjusted well with our new coach, everyone is really buying in and the team is working hard. I hit the weight room hard this winter, and put on about 10 pounds. I've also been working hard with my pitching instructor (Chad Ricketts), to help better my mechanics and pitches.” 

McAvene expects to be No. 1 or No. 2 in the rotation this spring along with junior RHP Christian Beard. Beard is ranked No. 58 in Indiana’s 2015 class.

This summer McAvene will be playing with the Indiana Outlaws and coach Jay Hundley.

"Coach Hundley and the Outlaws were a huge help in my recruiting process. They helped relay messages back and forth with coaches and were very supportive throughout."

Prior to the Outlaws, McAvene was a member of the Indiana Prospects.

"Playing with the Prospects helped me gain a lot of exposure. We played at big time schools and tournaments throughout the summer."

With the recruiting process over for McAvene, he's fully focused on just playing the game. However, we had to ask if he's put any thought into being drafted in 2016.

"If I got drafted really high and the money was right then I'd have to consider professional baseball, but I'm planning on going to college all four years and getting my education, and then hopefully get drafted after that."