SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Collegiate Baseball has pegged the 2012 UCSB Baseball recruiting class as the eighteenth-best in the nation in their latest recruiting results.
The No. 18 ranking is the highest in the history of the program, and it is the first time that the Gauchos have cracked the Top-20 in program history.
This was the first full recruiting class that UCSB Head Coach Andrew Checketts and his staff have brought in. The Gauchos were able to bring aboard 25 recruits, 19 of which are freshman and 6 that transferred from junior colleges.
The Gauchos ranked second among Big West Conference schools on the poll, as rivals Cal State Fullerton were tabbed just one spot ahead of the Gauchos at No. 17.
"The high ranking really speaks to the work that Eddie [Cornejo, Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator], Jason [Hawkins, Assistant Coach], and the rest of the coaching staff have put into recruiting quality players into the program," said Checketts. "We're confident these athletes can come in and contribute immediately."
"Jason and Eddie will be the first ones to tell you that we will really know more about this class three to four years from now based on how productive they are," Checketts continued. "The ranking doesn't mean anything until we translate it to wins on the field."
UCSB's 2012 recruiting class is led by pitchers Connor Baits, Dillon Tate and position players Andrew Calica and Devon Gradford.
Baits was one of the most highly regarded high-school pitchers in California. The 6-5 righty out of Point Loma High has been clocked as high as 94 MPH and was a 23rd round draft pick by the Mets in the 2012 draft.
Dillon Tate had a solid 2.85 ERA in his senior season at Claremont High and has shown the ability to reach the low 90's with his fastball. Tate gives Checketts another solid option out of the bullpen.
Outfielder Andrew Calica hit over .400 in each of his final three seasons at Eastlake High School and has shown a solid glove, committing no errors during his entire senior season.
Shortstop Devon Gradford, a 34th round pick of the Oakland Athletics in the 2012 draft, sported a .430/.520/.724 slash line in his senior season at Downey and significantly improved his defense after making the move from second base in his Junior year.
The new recruiting class joins a strong set of returners for the Gauchos, including Freshman All-American Greg Mahle, Andrew Vazquez, and Brandon Trinkwon to give the Gauchos a solid roster for the 2013 campaign.