Jayhawks Sign 10 During Early Signing Period
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Twelfth-year head coach Ritch Price and the Kansas baseball program announced that 10 student-athletes, five ranked within the top six in their respective states, signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the early signing period to join the team in the fall of 2014.
The Jayhawks inked eight high school seniors and two junior college transfers from four states including California (2), Colorado (2), Kansas (3) and Nevada (3). The bulk of the signees will see time on the bump, as six of the prospects are pitchers, while two others can be possible battery mates behind the dish. The remaining two will see action in the infield.
The 2014-15 recruiting class is highlighted by three of the top-six prep players in the state of Kansas including the No. 1 and No. 2 catchers and the No. 2 pitcher by Perfect Game. The class also includes two of the top-five prep players in the state of Nevada, highlighted by the No. 1 left-handed pitcher and the No. 6 overall player.
“We are thrilled with our 2014-15 recruiting class,” Price said. “We expect to lose several impact junior position players in addition to our entire weekend rotation and our closer (to the MLB draft). Our coaching staff is excited about the depth this class provides on the mound as well as in the field. This is potentially the best recruiting class that we have had since I started here at Kansas and if we survive the professional draft in June, we have a chance for these guys to put us in the top 25.”
The Kansas baseball 2014 early recruiting class includes:
|Player||POS||HT||WT||B/T||Hometown/High School/Previous School|
|Tyler Condie||RHP||6-1||180||R/R||Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Oasis HS/Southern Nevada|
|Tanner Gragg||C||6-0||195||R/R||Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West HS|
|Ryan Jackson||LHP||6-3||190||L/L||Las Vegas, Nev./Green Valley HS|
|Brandon Johnson||RHP||6-4||230||R/R||Las Vegas, Nev./Faith Lutheran HS|
|Ben Krauth||LHP||6-0||170||L/L||Concord, Calif./North Gate HS/Diablo Valley|
|TJ Martin||C||6-0||200||R/R||Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Southwest HS|
|Matt McLaughlin||INF||6-1||185||R/R||San Jose, Calif./Leland HS|
|Ryan Ralston||RHP||6-4||225||R/R||Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West HS|
|Owen Taylor||INF||6-2||185||S/R||Grand Junction, Colo./Grand Junction HS|
|Blake Weiman||LHP||6-4||190||R/L||Littleton, Colo./Columbine HS|
|Tyler Condie | RHP | 6-1 | 180 | R/R | Las Vegas, Nev. / Desert Oasis HS / Southern Nevada|
Condie signed his NLI after spending the 2013 season playing for head coach Nick Garriatno at the College of Southern Nevada. The RHP saw action in 11 games, throwing a total of 20.1 innings for a record of 2-1. On the bump, he allowed just 15 hits and struck out 18 batters for a 3.54 ERA.
Condie played high school baseball for coach Michael Besser and the Desert Oasis Diamondbacks. He was a two-time letterwinner and won the legion state and regional championships before finishing third in the World Series. He is the son of John and Julie Roanoke and plans to major in physical therapy.
|Tanner Gragg | C | 6-0 | 195 | R/R | Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley West HS|
Gragg inked his NLI as Perfect Game‘s No. 1 catcher and No. 2 overall prep player in the state of Kansas after earning three letters under coach Bill McDonald for the Blue Valley West Jaguars of the Eastern Kansas League. Under McDonald, Gragg helped his team to the 6A state championship in 2013, after finishing state runner-up in 2011 and 2012.
Gragg was named to the 2013 Preseason All-American Second Team by Perfect Game and is the son of Todd and Angi Gragg.
|Ryan Jackson | LHP | 6-3 | 190 | L/L | Las Vegas, Nev. / Green Valley HS|
Jackson signed his NLI as Perfect Game‘s No. 1 LHP and No. 3 overall prep player in the state of Nevada. He ranks in the top-50 LHP at No. 38 and earned two letters under coach Corey Gehlken of the Green Valley Gators. En route to helping his team to the conference championship in 2013, Jackson was named athlete of the month, a scholar-athlete, first-team all-conference and second-team all state.
As a junior, Jackson batted .391 with 18 hits, a home run and 10 RBI. On the hill, he tossed 43 innings in nine appearances for a record of 4-2 and a 1.95 ERA. He faced 184 batters holding his opponents to a .185 batting average, striking out 55 in the process.
Jackson is the son of Steve and Cristina Jackson and plans to major in pre-dentistry.
|Brandon Johnson | RHP | 6-4 | 230 | R/R | Las Vegas, Nev. / Faith Lutheran HS|
Johnson inked his NLI as Perfect Game‘s No. 3 RHP and No. 6 overall prep player in the state of Nevada. The righty is a three-time letterwinner for coach Blair Neagle at Faith Lutheran High School. In 2013, Johnson compiled a record of 8-2 after throwing 51.1 innings. He struck out a state-leading 81 batters for a 1.62 ERA. His fastball topped-out at 93 MPH in his state championship win over Boulder City and he also tossed a no-hitter against Western High School earlier in the season.
During his high school career, Johnson was named the 2012-13 All-Defensive Player of the Year, earned the 2010-11 Crusader Award, was named a 2012-13 scholar-athlete and an all-conference high mention. His uncle, Jim Smith, played professional ball for the San Francisco Giants. He is the son of David and Elizabeth Johnson and plans to major in pre-medicine and chemistry.
|Ben Krauth | LHP | 6-0 | 170 | L/L | Concord, Calif. / North Gate HS / Diablo Valley|
Krauth signed his NLI after spending the 2013 season playing for coach Steve Ward at Diablo Valley College. During his freshman campaign, Krauth threw a total of 90.1 innings for a 2.49 ERA, striking gout 78 batters in the process. As a result, he earned second-team All-Big 8 honors and was voted team MVP by his peers.
At North Gate, Krauth led the league in strikeouts and tossed a no hitter. He is the son of Kent and Wendy Krauth.
|TJ Martin | C | 6-0 | 200 | R/R | Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley Southwest|
Martin inked his NLI as Perfect Game‘s No. 2 catcher and No. 6 overall prep player in the state of Kansas. He holds a high school career batting average of .451 playing for coach Rick Sabbath at Blue Valley Southwest. He was a two-time first-team all-state honoree and played for the Kansas City Royals Scout Team Elite from 2011-13. In addition, he participated in the 2012-13 Get Hits 4 Education Missouri-Kansas All-Star Game and the 2012 USA Baseball Identification Series in Cary, N.C.
He is the son of Kevin and Shelly Martin and plans to major in sport management.
|Matt McLaughlin | INF | 6-1 | 185 | R/R | San Jose, Calif. / Leland HS|
McLaughlin signed his NLI as Perfect Game‘s No. 12 prep shortstop in the state of California. He batted .392 as a junior and .429 as a sophomore for coach Mike Sparrer and the Leland High School Chargers. In 2013, McLaughlin was named the Blossom Valley Athletic League (BVAL) Mt. Hamilton Division Co-Junior of the Year and first-team all-league. The San Jose Mercury News dubbed him all-county honorable mention and Leland High School voted him the team’s best offensive player.
McLaughlin hails from an athletically gifted family. His brother, Tim, currently plays football at Colorado, while his cousins, Joe, Kelly and Jack Meggs, all play or played collegiate baseball with Joe and Jack at Washington and Kelly at UC Irvine. His uncle, Lindsay Meggs, played baseball for UCLA and in the Kansas City Royals organization before taking the head coaching job at Washington.
He is the son of Scott and Jen McLaughlin and plans to major in business.
|Ryan Ralston | RHP/INF | 6-4 | 225 | R/R | Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley West|
Ralston inked his NLI as the No. 2 RHP and No. 3 overall prep player in the state of Kansas by Perfect Game. He earned 10 letters across three sports, including three for coach Bill McDonald and the Blue Valley West Jaguar baseball team. He was named to the East Kansas League (EKL) first team in 2012 and 2013. He was a first-team all-state honoree in 2013 as well as an All-Kansas City Metro honoree.
In 2013, Ralston helped his team to the state title, after finishing runner-up in 2011 and 2012. On the gridiron, Ralston was an all-state honoree and named to the EKL first team in 2012 and 2013.
No stranger to KU, Ralston’s father, Chad Ralston, and uncle, Michael Andress, played baseball for the Jayhawks. His mother, Kelly Ralston, swam at Colorado State.
|Owen Taylor | INF | 6-2 | 185 | S/R | Grand Junction, Colo. / Grand Junction HS|
Taylor singed his NLI as one of the top middle infielders in the state of Colorado. He finished his junior season with a .483 batting average, four home runs, an .862 slugging percentage and 31 RBI.
Over the summer, Taylor batted .425 with eight home runs and 37 RBI for the Colorado Rockies Scout Team and coach Wayne Doland. He was an all-state honorable mention and was named to the academic honor roll twice.
He is the son of Tony and Shelly Taylor and the grandson of Baltimore Oriole Gene Taylor.
|Blake Weiman | LHP | 6-4 | 190 | R/L | Littleton, Colo. / Columbine HS|
Weiman inked his NLI after going undefeated his junior season at Columbine High School under coach Chuck Gillman. He is 11-2 in his career at Columbine with an ERA of 2.81. Weiman led the Diamond Club, his summer team, to the 2012 Connie Mack State Championship with his team-leading 0.69 ERA and a 7-1 record. He was also selected to the prestigious 2012 Colorado Rockies Scout Team, where he led the team with a 5-0 record and a 0.89 ERA.
His father, J.D., played football at New Mexico State and Fort Lewis, while his mother, Lynda, played volleyball at Peru State.