Rolling off an NCAA Division I regional berth last year, baseball head coach Larry Lee announced Tuesday that nine recruits will pursue baseball careers at Cal Poly.
The recruiting class includes seven high school players and two community college transfers, four fielders and five pitchers.
Cal Poly finished 37-21 overall, third in the Big West Conference at 14-10 and competed in the Tempe Regional hosted by Arizona State.
The Mustangs open the 2010 campaign Feb. 19 with the opener of a three-game series against Southern California in Baggett Stadium.
“We will need a number of these players to give us an immediate impact with our program due to graduation and professional signings in 2010,” Lee said in a release. “We made an effort to bring in as many quality arms on the mound as possible. We will take a big hit in the draft next spring and need to shore up that area.”
The Mustangs will open the 2010 season with five players chosen in the MLB draft from last season’s team. Junior Adam Buschini, a starter at five different positions for Cal Poly in 2009, was the first Mustang selected in the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Other departures include six others chosen in the MLB draft.
These departures leave many holes in the Mustang line-up this season, holes Lee hopes his young recruits will fill.
“Position-wise, we’re hoping to get some immediate production from as many of our freshman position players as possible,” Lee said. “We will also be thin in certain other areas besides pitching.”
The nine recruits include:
Jimmy Allen, Infielder/Outfielder (R/R), Rancho Buena Vista High School
Allen, a middle infielder and outfielder, hit .387 as a junior with five home runs and 28 RBI. Named his team’s offensive player of the year as a junior, Allen also has played two seasons on the Angels Elite Scout Team. “(Cal Poly has) great baseball and academic programs, and I love the San Luis Obispo area,” Allen said.
David Armendariz, Right-Handed Pitcher, Notre Dame High School
Armendariz posted a 2-0 record with three saves and a 1.62 ERA as a junior. He hit .333 with seven doubles, 17 RBI and nine stolen bases. Armendariz was named his school’s freshman and sophomore Athlete of the Year, played on Area Code teams in 2008 and 2009 and was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers Scout Team as well as the Professional Baseball Scouts of Southern California All-Star team, also in 2008 and 2009. “I feel Cal Poly is a great school, has great coaches and a great baseball program,” Allen said.
Jordan Brower, First Base (L/R), Newbury Park High School
Brower hit .424 as a junior with six doubles, 25 RBI and six stolen bases. A left-handed hitter, Brower also pitched for the Panthers, compiling a 5-4 record with three saves and a 2.06 ERA. He earned first-team All-Marmonte League honors last spring and helped Newbury Park to a 20-10 record. “I heard great things about the baseball program and its coaches. It’s a good school in a great location,” Brower said.
Taylor Chris, Left-Handed Pitcher, Gilroy High School
Recruited as a southpaw pitcher, Chris posted a 5-2 record and 1.14 ERA as a junior. The Mustangs were 16-12-1 in 2009 and Chris earned team MVP honors as a sophomore and junior and also was the program’s scholar/athlete for the last three years. He is a two-time first-team All-Tri-County League selection and was named a California Baseball Coaches Association Northern California All-Star last season. Chris also played in the outfield and hit .385 with 12 doubles and 27 RBI. “(I chose Cal Poly) because of its excellent baseball program and outstanding engineering program,” Chris said.
Nathan Gonzalez, Right-Handed Pitcher, Saint Mary’s College/Merced College
Gonzalez already has some familiarity with the Cal Poly baseball program. As a freshman at Saint Mary’s College last spring, he pitched 7 1/3 innings against the Mustangs in Baggett Stadium and allowed two earned runs and five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Gonzalez, who will play his sophomore season at Merced College before transferring to Cal Poly, was 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA for the Gaels last spring, starting 10 games. He struck out 25 batters in 58 1/3 innings and opposing batters hit .281 against him. As a senior (2008) at Pitman High School in Turlock, Gonzalez compiled a 6-3 record and 1.01 ERA with five saves, 104 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 69 2/3 innings. His performance on the mound included six complete games and four shutouts. Gonzalez also hit .325 with 22 RBI. Twice he earned first-team All-Central California League honors.
Chris Hoo, Catcher (R/R), St. Francis High School
Hoo plays for former Cal Poly Division II All-American and assistant coach Mike Oakland at St. Francis High School in Mountain View. As a junior, Hoo hit .315 and as a sophomore earned honorable mention All-West Catholic Athletic League honors. He has earned three varsity letters in baseball and was the team’s Kyle Spraker Golden Glove Award winner last spring. Hoo has played on both the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves scout teams as well as the North-South and All-Star Scout teams. St. Francis was 26-9 a year ago and finished in a three-way tie for first place in the West Catholic Athletic League.
Chase Johnson, Right-Handed Pitcher, Fallbrook High School
Despite missing several games due to injury, Johnson posted a 3-2 record and 2.94 ERA as a junior. He struck out 30 batters in 52 1/3 innings. In his sophomore season (2008), Johnson threw a no-hitter against El Camino and earned second-team All-Avocado League honors. He earned his team’s Cy Young Award, was named San Diego Union Tribune Player of the Week and played on the Area Code Grey Team. Johnson also played in the Tommy Lasorda Dodgers Elite Games and is a scholar/athlete award winner. “(Cal Poly) has an excellent combination of athletics and academics while the location is great,” Johnson said.
Don Medlinger, Right-Handed Pitcher, San Jose, CA (Pioneer High School/San Jose CC)
In his freshman season at San Jose City College last spring, Medlinger posted an 8-1 record and 2.37 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 83.2 innings. Opponents hit just .194 off the right-hander, who started 11 games, appeared in relief in three others and earned one complete game. Medlinger was a first-team All-Coast Conference Golden Gate Division selection as a pitcher. Medlinger was 8-5 with a 1.97 ERA as a senior in 2008 with five complete games and 77 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings. He threw a three-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts against Piedmont Hills. Medlinger also was a shortstop in high school.
Tim Wise, Outfielder (R/R), Westlake High School
Despite injuries, Wise hit .380 with four home runs, 14 RBI and 15 stolen bases as a junior at Westlake High School last spring. He earned first-team All-Marmonte League and second-team All-Ventura County honors.