Boca Raton, FL - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team will continue to have a strong talent pool as 12 high school and two junior college standout players have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Owls and head baseball coach John McCormack. The recruiting class has been ranked 26th nationally according to Perfect Game, a recruiting service and baseball ranking website.
“This recruiting class is one that will help FAU baseball continue to achieve at a high level, both in the classroom and on the field,” said McCormack, who begins his fourth season as head coach this spring. “I am impressed with the character of each young man and, of course, their baseball skills.”
The recruiting class is comprised of 12 high school prospects and two junior college players. Five players are rated top-500 prospects nationally, while eight players are ranked among the top-135 players in Florida.
“This strong recruiting class was accomplished through the tireless efforts of assistant coaches Jason Jackson and Ben Sanderson,” said McCormack “They spent a lot of hours on the road to assemble this talented incoming group.”
Robert Whalen of Haines City High School earned Perfect Game All-American honors for underclassmen last spring, and has been rated the 27th best prospect in Florida and 170th nationally. The right-handed pitcher has a fastball that tops 93 mph, struck out 74 batters in 52 innings and posted a 3.06 earned run average. He earned “Pitcher of the Year” honors for Haines City.
Another highly touted signee is Alex Lavandero, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher from Belen Jesuit Prep in Miami. He was selected as the 37th best Florida prospect and 214th nationally by Perfect Game, earned Perfect Game All-American honors last year and was a first-team Miami-Dade County selection this fall. Lavandero went 7-2 last season with 66 strikeouts in 55 innings. He also compiled an impressive 2.10 earned run average.
Seth McGarry received all-state and honorable mention All-American honors last spring at Lakewood Ranch High School. He provides versatility as a pitcher and middle infielder. On the mound, McGarry had a dazzling 0.66 earned run average and 77 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He also had a .447 batting average, scored 33 runs in 33 games, drove in an additional 29 runs and struck out only eight times in 114 at-bats.
Rounding out the nationally ranked FAU signees is Domenick Mancini from American Heritage-Plantation High School. The 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher is rated the 342nd best prospect nationally and 62nd among Florida prospects. He struck out 36 batters in 38 innings last spring at Cypress Bay High School.
Other future Owls’ prospects are pitcher/outfielder Trevor Maloney, from Boca Raton and American Heritage-Delray High School; infielder Brendon Sanger, from Fort Myers High School; outfielder Esteban Puerta, from Cooper City and American Heritage-Plantation; pitcher Brandon Rhodes, from Lake Worth and Park Vista High School; pitcher Kyle Miller, from Estero High School in Fort Myers; Cain Spangler, from Cape Coral High School; pitcher Michael Emigh, from Pembroke Pines and Flanagan High School; and outfielder/pitcher Billy Endris, from Tampa Catholic High School.
Junior college players on the recruiting list are Levi Meyer from Iowa Western Community College and Brandon Welch from Palm Beach State College. Meyer earned 2011 most valuable player district honors as a catcher and first baseman. He hit nine home runs with 47 RBIs last season. Meyer helped lead his team to the Junior College World Series. Welch was named the 15th-best Junior College prospect in the country. He recorded four saves and 29 strikeouts in 31 innings while playing his first collegiate season at Daytona State College.
Brief biographies about each FAU baseball signee are as follows:
Michael Emigh: Second-team all-county selection at Flanagan High School, playing for Head Coach Ray Evans…5-foot-11, 160 pounds left-handed pitcher who posted a 1.66 earned run average last spring as a junior…recorded 47 strikeouts in 38 innings and posted a perfect 7-0 record on the mound. …2011 Perfect Game Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American becomes the third straight year that the Owls have signed a player from Flanagan.
Billy Endris: Earned 2011 Perfect Game Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American honors at Tampa Catholic High School, playing for Head Coach Ty Griffin…posted a .438 batting average with 22 stolen bases, two home runs and seven doubles last spring…played for the FTB Team Mizuno Louisville Slugger team and had a .534 batting average with 39 runs batted in and 19 doubles…also legged out six triples and 24 stolen bases…earned Preseason Under Armor All-American honors and Dunedin All-Tournament team honors.
Alejandro Lavandero: Ranked the 214 best high school prospect in the country and 37th in Florida…selected to the Miami-Dade County first team last fall…earned second team Miami-Dade honors following his junior season…a 6-foot-4, 195-pound pitcher at Belen Jesuit Prep School, playing for Head Coach Jerry Albert…went 7-2 on the mound with a 2.10 earned run average…recorded 66 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched.
Trevor Maloney: Ranked in the top 135 Florida prospects after being a Perfect Game Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American last spring…local product from American Heritage-Delray, playing for Head Coach Carmino Mazza…played on same Palm Beach PAL team as signee Brandon Rhodes…provides versatility by being an outfielder and a pitcher…stands 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds…posted a 2-1 record with three saves on the mound in 17 innings…recorded 24 strikeouts…offensively, had a .328 batting average with two home runs and 16 runs batted in…also stole nine bases and scored 22 runs.
Domenick Mancini: Ranked the 62nd best prospect in Florida and has a 342nd national ranking by Perfect Game …Third-team Perfect Game Underclassmen All-American at Cypress Bay High School last spring…a 6-foot-3, 190-pound pitcher who is preparing for his senior season at American Heritage-Plantation High School for Head Coach Bruce Aven…had 36 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched…posted a 3.03 earned run average at Cypress Bay High School.
Seth McGarry: Ranked the 61st best prospect in Florida and has a national ranking of 341 by Perfect Game...earned 2011 Perfect Game Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American honors at Lakewood Ranch High School, playing for Head Coach Mike Mullen…a 6-foot, 170-pound right-handed pitcher/middle infielder…posted a 9-0 record on the mound with a 0.66 earned run average, the lowest ERA among Florida high school pitchers last spring…tallied 77 strikeouts in 68.2 innings…offensively, had a .447 batting average with four home runs and 29 runs driven in…scored an additional 33 runs with 12 stolen bases…struck out only eight times in 114 at-bats…earned 2010 and 2011 all-area honors by Sarasota Herald Tribune while also being a first-team choice by the Bradenton Herald…selected to the 2011 FACA all state team.
Levi Meyer: Earned 2011 all-region honors as a catcher at Iowa Western Community College, playing for Head Coach Marc Rardin…went to Junior College World Series, finishing fifth…named district’s most valuable player last year after connecting on nine home runs with a .350 batting average…also plays first base…drove in 47 runs and had 12 doubles.
Kyle Miller: Named a 2011 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American at Estero High School, playing for Head Coach Frank Turdo…a 6-foot-1, 160-pound right-handed pitcher…posted a perfect 6-0 record and 1.67 earned run average as a junior.
Esteban Puerta: Ranked a top-500 prospect nationally and top-135 prospect in Florida by Perfect Game…a 2011 Perfect Game Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American…hit most home runs (12) in the 3A District for American Heritage-Plantation and Head Coach Todd Fitzgerald…tallied a .396 batting average and was named a first-team all-county selection following his junior season…a 6-foot, 185-pound right fielder.
Brandon Rhodes: This Lake Worth product went 5-2 in 46 innings last summer…earned Palm Beach Post Honorable Mention honors last spring at Park Vista High School, playing for Head Coach Larry Greenstien… played on same Palm Beach PAL team as signee Trevor Maloney…started nine games on the mound and posted 49 strikeouts when compared to eight walks…named a Perfect Game Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American.
Brendon Sanger: Rated top 135 prospect in Florida and 500th nationally by Perfect Game…Fort Myers High School’s Most Valuable Player…posted a .500 batting average with 13 stolen bases and 11 doubles…also went 4-1 with two complete games and 40 strikeouts on the mound…recorded a 2.75 earned run average in the 28 innings pitched.
Cain Spangler: Named 2011 Under Armour Preseason All-American…voted 2010 most valuable player at Cape Coral High School…earned second-team all-area honors in 2010…posted a .349 batting average, with 11 doubles and five triples last spring…drove in 20 runs as a junior.
Robert Whalen: Rated 27th-best prospect in Florida and 170th nationally…earned 2011 Perfect Game Underclassmen All-American honors at Haines City High School for Head Coach Dave Schafer…a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right handed pitcher…named Pitcher of the Year for Haines City…struck out 74 batters in 52 innings and posted a 3.06 earned run average.
Brandon Welch: Rated the 15th-best Junior College prospect in the country…played his freshman year at Daytona State College, where he recorded four saves and 29 strikeouts in 31 innings…will play this spring at Palm Beach State College for Head Coach Kyle Forbes.