2021-2022 Newcomer Breakdowns: Recruiting Classes 21-25

Aaron Fitt | Shooter Hunt | Nathan Rode

Every year, D1Baseball ranks the Top 25 recruiting classes in the country after they show up on campus. These rankings consider all newcomers who arrived at D-I schools this fall or at the semester break: freshmen as well as transfers from junior-college and four-year schools. For the third year in a row, we decided to wait until the end of the fall to rank the Top 25 classes, so that all the additional insights we gain by traveling the country watching scrimmages and writing fall reports can help inform our rankings. Then we got together with Nathan Rode and Shooter Hunt of our partners at Prep Baseball Report and hammered out which groups of newcomers stand out the most. Nobody knows high school baseball prospects like Rode and Hunt, so their perspective combined with our fall travels and conversations with coaches and scouts give us the most well-informed recruiting class rankings anywhere.

All week, we’re counting down our Top 25 with a batch of five teams every day, starting today with teams 21-25: Miami, North Carolina, Iowa, Louisville and Tulane. The analysis of each class was written by either Aaron Fitt, Nathan Rode or Shooter Hunt.

**Player rankings in parentheses refer to where current freshmen ranked in the Class of 2022 Overall Rankings (which also included players who signed pro contracts out of high school this past summer).

21. Miami

MiamiOVERVIEW: The Hurricanes have been in the top 25 since D1Baseball started this exercise in 2016, and they topped the list last year. This group has 19 new players, including 12 freshmen and seven four-year or junior college transfers, with the latter helping to soften the blow of players that transferred out.

BLUE-CHIP FRESHMEN: Miami fared extremely well in the 2020 MLB Draft, managing to get some impact freshmen to campus. The 2021 group wasn’t as highly regarded, but there were still a few players with enough draft interest to make the coaching staff sweat. But they made it through losing just one recruit. The top-ranked player to make it to Coral Gables was RHP Karson Ligon (152), who has a durable frame and advanced three-pitch arsenal, including a fastball up to 94 and curveball and changeup with at least above-average potential. RHP Gage Ziehl (197) also has a power arm, running his fastball up to 95. He pitches with intent and can rip off sharp sliders in the low 80s. SS Dorian Gonzalez Jr. (279) can slow the game down at the plate, taking mature, quality at-bats. He’s undersized at 5-foot-7, 185 pounds, but highly athletic and in the mix to start at second base. OF Lorenzo Carrier (281) had some late draft helium in the spring, but Miami gets a middle-of-the-order bat with his big raw power and he runs well for a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder.

IMPACT TRANSFERS: C Max Romero played in 21 games (15 starts) for Vanderbilt in 2021, hitting .300 with four home runs. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Florida native has a good eye and power from the left side to go with a strong arm behind the plate that he used to throw out 50 percent of base stealers in intrasquad games this fall. OF Jacob Burke started all 16 games as a true freshman for Southeastern Louisiana in 2020, slashing .313/.521/.441, and started in 55 games in 2021, hitting .254 with a team-best nine home runs. RHP Ronaldo Gallo made 18 appearances (13 starts) across the 2020-2021 seasons for Florida Gulf Coast and brings a loose, quick arm with a fastball up to 95 and slider as an out pitch. RHP Alejandro Torres pitched seven innings for Florida International in the shortened 2020 season and then missed 2021 with an injury. The 6-foot-1, 250-pounder brings a bulldog mentality to Miami with a fastball up to 95 and good slider. LHP Matt Raudelunas transferred in from Division III St. John’s Fisher College (NY), tossing 43 innings from 2018-2020 before missing 2021 with an injury. He also runs a fastball up to 95 and puts hitters away with a slider. OF Zach Levenson spent one year at Seminole State JC, where he hit .291 with 12 home runs in 44 games. 2B Henry Wallen helped Miami-Dade CC to the JuCo World Series in 2021, hitting .289 with three home runs and 22 RBIs.

SLEEPERS: LHP Rafe Schlesinger (308) has a 3/4 slot, low-90s fastball and sharp slider that make for a tough at-bat. He could have an immediate impact out of the bullpen for the ‘Canes. OF Gabriel Gutierrez (366) has excellent bat-to-ball skills. OF/LHP Renzo Gonzalez (367) is a two-way factor with his left-handed bat and potential as lefty specialist thanks to a good curveball.

— Nathan Rode

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