Prep Baseball Report

Recruiting Board: Niagara University

Dan Cevette
President, New York

The new Feature 'Recruiting Board' takes a deeper look into the players currently committed (or 2018 graduates recently signed this past November) to NYS Colleges.  We will only focus on players that have attended PBR events, as these are the prospects we are most comfortable discussing and projecting.  

We will be completing player descriptions in addition to forecasting players potential impact at the college level and what that could mean for the college program. This article is for all the fans and enthusiast of the game, players, families, college programs, alumni, and future prospective student athletes.

** Players below are, to the best of our knowledge, committed to the program listed below. These are solely our opinions with absolutely no input from the college's baseball staff. Commitments are always subject to change.


Niagara University


Currently Niagara features eight committed players in our system through attending events. Seven of those prospects are 2018 graduates. The sole underclassmen is 2020 C Nicholas Castellana (Lancaster HS) who just recently made his verbal pledge to the head coach Rob McCoy's program. It's time now to take a deeper look at who's next-in-line for the Purple Eagles.

Max Giordano SS / 3B / Lancaster, NY / 2018

Likely to make the biggest impact right away is Giordano, athletically built with lanky frame,  middle-infielder who has the arm-strength to potentially see the mound at some point for the Purple Eagles. At the plate there's looseness in his hands, he's short and compact to the ball, and shows pull-side raw power. Defensively he's solid all-around. Ranked No. 23 currently in NY. Wouldn't be surprised if Max adds 10-pounds this winter and hits a new level this spring.

Thomas Bednarski RHP / Alden , NY / 2018

Bednarski jumped on our radar back in July of 2016, when the young RHP fired an 89 mph fastball at our 'WNY Preview' at Houghton College. The impressive effort earned an invitation to the Nations most recruited event - The Future Games, which were held in Westfield Indiana with over 200 D1 schools in attendance. Bednarski stands at 6-foot-1 with a sturdy build, arm action is a bit short in back but the extension is out in front with hand-speed, shows the ability to spin a breaking ball with ease. FB velocity was down most of last year but recent reports show Bednarski is ready for a strong spring. Should get an opportunity in the fall with Niagara to compete for innings.



Bryce Moore 3B / CBA-Syracuse, NY / 2018

Solidly built 6-foot-1, 185-pounds (this summer) corner from the greater Syracuse area. Switch hitter who shows slightly more fluid actions from the left-side. Both sides display some juice to pull-sides, slight incline to his barrel path with a short extension. At the corner, solid base with active lower half, glove is soft with a quick transfer. Arm-strength is just average, will need to beef the velocity up to stay at the corner at the D1 level, possibly a move to 2B in the future.



Joey Battaglia C / SS / Williamsville North, NY / 2018

Younger brother to now Purple Eagle Peter Battaglia, Joey works from a wiry 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame that needs weight added. His approach in the box is balanced, slightly wide, gets the barrel through the contact zone on an incline with advanced bat-speed. Works now as a primary Catcher in HS with athletic movements but not sure he stays behind the plate for Niagara. Was impressive working the middle-infield this summer, and arm-slot and release project more towards those positions. 



Cole O'Connor 3B / St Francis , NY / 2018

Stands 5-foot-10, 210-pounds with a thicker build. Runs well for size registering a 7.03 60-yard time on laser last June. Swings from the left-side with plenty of bat-speed (89 off a tee), really short and compact, will hit to opposite field with authority. Defensively he's active, stays behind the ball allowing his body to get through his throws. Release is quick and clean, arm-strength around the 80 mph, throws are accurate ball to the bag. How he hits this fall will determine his impact for the Purple Eagles.



Jacob Bruning OF / LHP / Royalton-Hartland, NY / 2018

His current ranking of 129 does not tell the story on Bruning, in-fact expect that to climb significantly this spring. All-around player that could very well be a dual guy at the D1 level. At the plate he's loose and fluid, easy path to the ball and during BP sessions he shows the abilty to lift the ball to his pull-side with juice. That swing gets him AB's this fall. From the mound he's a little more of a project. FB sits in the 78-82 mph range with natural fade, at times shows a 10/4 shape breaking ball and a two-plane changeup. We will need to see him throw this spring to get a more clear forecast on the impact he makes from the mound in College. Right now tho, he's a very good get for the Purple Eagles.



Calum Theal RHP / C / AN Myer, ON / 2018

Ranked No. 70 in PBR Ontario's 2018 class, Theal attended our July 11 event  at St. Bonavenure University - and didn't disappoint. Super lean and lanky standing 6-foot-2, 150-pounds with clean signs of more physical development to come. Fastball sits mid-80's, peaked at 86 from a super long, easy arm-action. Can also spin a 12/6 bender from fastball-hand speed velocity. The mechanics are still raw, but the upside is high. Should get the chance to compete this fall for innings.



Nicholas Castellana C / 1B / Lancaster , NY / 2020

Castellana is the sole underclassmen in this list headed to Niagara. A 2020 graduate with still three full years of HS ball to play, will look to take control behind the plate once he arrives. Ranked No. 14 currently in the 2020 class, there's a ton to be excited about if your a Purple Eagle fan. Size is premium, runs well enough for the position, pop-times hover the 2.0 from an impressive 72 mph arm, indicating once his mechanics, and footwork are refined, 1.95 times won't be out of the question. In the box there's comfort, loose actions, confidence in the approach. The swing is repeatable, there's lift through extension, and some power signs are already visible. Chance to be a major power threat down the road.




New York Winter Open NY 02/11 Paul Gerry Fieldhouse - Loch Sheldrake, NY
Rising Stars Winter Showcase NY 02/11 Paul Gerry Fieldhouse - Loch Sheldrake, NY
Preseason All-State West (NYS Games Trials) SOLD OUT NY 02/19 Pinnacle Sports Campus - Victor, NY
Preseason All-State Downstate (NYS Games Trials) NY 02/21 House Of Sports - Ardsley, NY
Preseason All-State East (NYS Games Trials) NY 02/22 All-Star Academy - Latham, NY