2016 Recruiting Class Rankings: 21-30

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Throughout this week, we will be unveiling our breakdowns of the top 30 recruiting classes in the nation, with an eye toward all of the elite talent that will be entering the college baseball landscape in 2017. After weeks of intensive information gathering from scouts and coaches around the nation, as well as detailed first hand evaluation of performances during fall practice, we’ve ranked the 30 best crops in the country and will present breakdowns of the top players for each team.

Which players will make the most immediate impact on their new team? Which players have long-term star potential and may become future first round draft choices? Most importantly, which school is entering the season with the very best class of them all? These questions will all be answered. With that in mind, let’s take a look teams 21-30 in our top 30 countdown.

(Note: Total recruits does not include transfers from four year schools)

21. UC Santa Barbara

UCSB1Total Recruits: 16 (13 freshmen, 3 JC transfers)

Recruiting Coordinator: Eddie Cornejo

Overview: A program that has consistently netted strong long term projects as well as players ready to make swift contributions, this appears to be the class garnering the attention the Gauchos truly deserve in the recruiting department. Armed with strength from both of the high school and junior college ranks, there is a strong consensus that this is the best crop of newcomers in the Big West Conference. Three of their new stars were drafted in 2016 and opted for college instead, and the coaching staff believes this is a crop loaded with future draft talent.

The Stars: In 6-foot-4, 170 pound, lanky, projectable righty Chris Lincoln, the Gauchos believe they have a ready made closer ready to contribute in a hurry. Lincoln currently works at 89-92 mph with his fastball with more on the way. But, it’s his command and aggressive nature on the mound, as well as his feel for his secondaries that his impressed the staff most so far. Highly athletic infielder Armani Smith could contribute quickly as a second baseman or left fielder, but it’s his advanced righty stroke that make him the 6-foot-3, 190 pounder a potential star in the conference. Twin tower southpaws Ben Brecht (6-foot-8) and Jack Dashwood (6-foot-6) also show huge promise. A multi-sport athlete, Brecht has major projection and presently shows an 86-91 mph fastball and a three pitch mix. Dashwood is another projection case that shows advanced feel and an 87-89 mph fastball. Both could be major cogs in this rotation in the future.

The Sleepers: College of the Canyons transfer Colton Burns will be one to watch closely this spring, as the lefty swinging infielder has shown above average speed, an advanced bat, and soft hands. Projectable Santa Barbara City college transfer, righty Steve Ledesma will be another intriguing projection case on the pitching side. He’s worked at 87-91 mph with his fastball and owns an outstanding breaking ball. Slugging 6-foot-2 outfielder Landon Silver has also impressed coaches with his physicality, plus bat speed and major power potential.

Biggest 2016 Impact: Chris Lincoln

Best Long Term Prospect: Jack Dashwood


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