On Wednesday, the Texas Longhorns signed an impressive 14-man recruiting class that Baseball American ranked as the top group nationally.
“The class of 2020 will be one of the best classes in the country. Their baseball talent is outstanding, but their character and integrity sets them apart for me,” head coach David Pierce said. “They will represent the university, athletic department and UT Baseball with great character and integrity. I want to thank their support systems from their parents, high school coaches, teachers and their travel coaches and organizations for all their hard work in the development of these young men. Our staff is thankful to be entrusted to continue the development of each and every player. We are grateful and excited to have the opportunity to have this group of young men joining our program at The University of Texas.”
It’s a national group that includes three players from California, one from Arizona, and one from Alabama, as well as a junior college prospect.
There are five two-way players in the class among the nine players who project as possible pitchers. Most importantly, Pierce landed three left-handed pitchers after a season spent with only two on the roster.
California product Lucas Gordon is regarded as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the country with a three-pitch mix who started the 2019 World Cup Championship game this summer for the 18U USA National Team.
Outfielder Petey Halpin is one of the other California natives on the team and played with Gordon on the 18U USA National Team. Like Gordon, he’s considered one of the best players at his position in the country and projects as a top-of-the-order hitter.
The final California signee is talented two-way player Jared Jones, who is ranked as the top right-handed pitcher in the state and a top-25 player nationally thanks to a fastball that can reach 99 miles per hour. He can also play in the infield and outfield and shows tremendous power. The difficulty will be getting him to campus, but perhaps the opportunity to play both ways could convince him to spend three years on the Forty Acres.
Refugio right-hander Jared Kelley could also forgo college baseball in favor of a professional career — he has a 100-mph fastball and an elite changeup, a combination good enough to make him the top right-handed pitcher in the country and a top-five prospect. In August, MLB.com ranked Kelley as the top 2020 draft prospect in the country.
At the plate, Odessa Junior College transfer Ivan Melendez will provide the Longhorns with a power bat after hitting .411 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI last season as a freshman.
Houston Episcopal shortstop Tanner Witt could be an early contributor as a fourth-generation Longhorn and son of a former first-round draft pick. With good raw power, Witt is a top-20 player in the country.
Ultimately, whether Texas can convince players like Jones and Kelley to play college baseball will determine whether the ranking as the top recruiting class in the country means anything more than bragging rights in the wake of National Signing Day, but Pierce and his staff do deserve credit for their work in landing some of the nation’s top players.