Tech Baseball Inks 18 Standouts for 2011 Season

Nov. 18, 2009

ATLANTA – – Eighteen of the nation’s top high school baseball standouts, including three prep All-Americans, have signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball at Georgia Tech beginning next fall, head coach Danny Hall announced Wednesday.

“I am excited to announce that we have signed 18 high school players for the 2010 class,” head coach Danny Hall said. “Bryan Prince, our recruiting coordinator, and Tom Kinkelaar, our pitching coach, did a tremendous job of recruiting one of the best classes at Tech in recent history. As always, we must educate them as to how important a role in college baseball can play in their lives.”

Highlighting the very-talented class are eight of the top-200 recruits in the nation (according to Perfect Game) and six players that are rated among the top-10 prospects from their respective states. In all, there are seven pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and three outfielders.

Right-handed pitcher DeAndre Smelter (Macon, Ga.), ranked fifth, and outfielder Chevez Clarke (Marietta, Ga.), ranked 17th, give the Jackets two of the top-20 in the country.

Both standouts are prep All-Americans.

Infielder Mott Hyde (Resaca, Ga.) is rated as the nation’s No. 74 according to Perfect Game. Multi-positional player — 1B, OF, LHP — Daniel Palka (Lyman, S.C.) is rated No. 94 overall and No. 2 in South Caroloina, and catcher Alex Lavisky (Cleveland, Ohio) is No. 119 overall and No. 4 in the state of Ohio.

Rounding out this group is infielder Chris Triplett (Fayetteville, Ga.), third baseman Chase Butler (Rome, Ga.) and right-hander Matthew Grimes (Hoschton, Ga.). Triplett is rated No. 126, Butler No. 180 and Grimes No. 196.

The coaching staff was very instrumental in keeping the state’s top players at home as Tech secured eight of Georgia’s top-26 recruits according to Perfect Game. Smelter (No. 1), Clarke (No. 4), Hyde (No. 11), Triplett (No. 17), Butler (No. 19), Grimes (No. 20), infielder Alex Cruz (No. 25) from Woodstock, Ga. and right-hander Jonathan Roberts (No. 26) from Fayetteville, Ga.

Joining the list of 12 in-state signees is catcher Zane Evans (Roswell, Ga.), outfielder Kyle Wren (Peachtree City, Ga.), and left-handers Connor Kendrick (Sharpsburg, Ga.) and Devin Stanton (Lilburn, Ga.).

The Jackets also signed two of the top-10 players from the state of Ohio. Right-handed pitcher Dusty Isaacs (Lebanon, Ohio), ranked No. 10 in the state, joins Lavisky on the list.

Concluding the list out of state signees are outfielder Paul Kronenfeld (Greensboro, N.C.), infielder Brad Markey (Bel Air, Md.) and left-hander Will West (Tallahassee, Fla.).

“With as many as 10 former Tech players in the majors last year, we have a proven track record of developing major league players,” Hall added. “At the same time, these players will receive a great education from the Institute that will serve them forever.”

A more detailed look at Georgia Tech’s signees:

DeAndre Smelter
RHP | R/R | 6-4 | 205 | Macon, Ga. (Tattnall Square Academy)

• Coach Hall on Smelter: Not only one of the best pitchers in the country, but also one of the best athletes in the country
• The No. 5 baseball recruit in the nation and No. 1 overall player in Georgia
• 2009 Aflac and Under Armour All-American
• Two-time All-State
• Carried a 2.23 ERA with 89 strikeouts during his junior season in 2009
• Three-sport star has been named Macon Telegraph Player of the year in baseball, basketball and football

Chevez Clarke
OF | S-R | 6-0 | 185 | Marietta, Ga. (Marietta)

• Hall on Clarke: The switch-hitting outfielder is one of the best players in the country
• No. 5 baseball recruit in Georgia and No. 17 overall recruit in the nation
• 2009 Aflac and Under Armour All-American
• Held a .300 batting average with seven home runs and 20 stolen bases during his in 2009
• Played summer baseball for the East Cobb Braves

Mott Hyde
SS | R-R | 6-0 | 180 | Resaca, GA (Calhoun)

• Hall on Hyde: One of the best middle infielders in the country, Hyde is very athletic and has a strong arm
• The 10th-rated recruit in Georgia and a top-100 recruit in the nation according to PG Crosschecker
• Rome-Tribune Co-Player of the Year as a junior in 2009
• Led Calhoun High School to the 2009 district 7-AA Title
• Hit .550 with 20 home runs, 10 doubles and 57 RBI in 2009
• Plays summer baseball with the East Cobb Yankees where he was twice named the team MVP.

Daniel Palka
1B/OF/LHP | L/L | 6-2 | 190 | Lyman, S.C. (Greer)

• Hall on Palka: A two-way player that has great power and will contribute in many ways.
• Rated the No. 2 recruit in South Carolina and among the top 100 in the nation according to Perfect Game Crosschecker.
• Plays summer baseball for former Yellow Jacket Mike Fowler and the Carolina Cyclones

Alex Lavisky
C | R/R | 6-1 | 210 | Cleveland, Ohio (St. Edward)

• Hall on Lavisky: An athletic catcher who can hit and hit with power. Also has good arm strength behind the plate
• No. 4 overall player in Ohio and among the top 150 in the nation according to Perfect Game Crosschecker
• 2009 Under Armour All-American and East Coast Pro
• Two-time Cleveland Plain Dealer All-Star and two-time all-district member
• As a junior, led the Eagles this spring in hits (38), doubles (13), RBI (27) and average (.481) and was second in home runs (6)
• Played summer baseball for Northern Ohio Baseball Club

Chris Triplett
INF | S/R | 5-11 | 178 | Fayetteville, Ga. (Sandy Creek)

• Hall on Triplett: Good baseball player who can play any position in the infield
• Rated the No. 17 player in Georgia and No. 126 in the nation according to PG Crosschecker
• East Coast Pro Showcase
• Played summer baseball for the MGBA Nationals

Chase Butler
3B/RHP | S-R | 6-0 | 185 | Rome, Ga. (Darlington)

• Hall on Butler: A good infielder with good hitting ability
• Rated as the No. 19 recruit in Georgia and among the top 250 in the nation, according to Perfect Game Crosschecker
• Rome-Tribune Co-Player of the Year as a junior in 2009
• Helped Darlington High School to the class AAAAA state quarterfinals and a 23-4 record in 2009
• Batted .486 with eight doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 35 RBI for the region 6-A Champions
• Posted a 6-0 record on the mound with a 0.38 ERA and four saves
• Struck out 53 batters in 37 innings pitched.
• Played summer baseball for the East Cobb Yankees with James Beavers

Matthew Grimes
RHP | R/R | 6-5 | 185 | Hoschton, GA (Mill Creek)

• Hall on Grimes: Has a powerful arm with great upside potential
• 20th-ranked recruit in Georgia and top 250 in the nation, according to Perfect Game Crosschecker
• East Coast Pro Showcase
• Played summer baseball for Team Elite

Dusty Isaacs
RHP | R/R | 6-1 | 190 | Lebanon, Ohio (Lebanon)

• Hall on Isaacs: A great athlete who has pitch ability and upside
• No. 10 recruit in Ohio and among the top-300 in the nation
• 2009 First Team All-Greater Western Ohio
• Appeared in 10 games for Lebanon in 2009 going 2-3 with a 2.18 ERA.
• Struck out a team-high 61 batters in 41.2 innings pitched.
• At the plate, led the Warriors with a .457 batting average, with five home runs, 24 runs batted in and 12 stolen bases.
• Played summer baseball for the Cincinnati Flames Summer coached by former Yellow Jacket Jason Basil

Alexander Cruz
INF | R/R | 6-2 | 187 | Woodstock, Ga. (Blessed Trinity)

• Hall on Cruz: Can play all infield positions and has great upside as a hitter
• Cruz is the 25th-best recruit in the state of Georgia and among the top-250 in the nation according to PG Crosschecker
• Currently plays for head coach Andy Harlin at Blessed Trinity, former high school of current Yellow Jacket sophomore Matt Skole
• Played summer baseball for the East Cobb Astros

Jonathan Roberts
RHP | R/R | 6-2 | 160 | Fayetteville, GA (Starr’s Mill)

• Hall on Roberts: A great pitcher with great upside
• 29th best recruit in Georgia and among the top 300 in the nation according to PG Crosschecker
• Played summer baseball for the Dugout Club Braves

Paul Kronenfeld
OF/1B | L-R | 6-3 | 190 | Greensboro, N.C. (Woodberry Forest (Va.))

• Hall on Kronenfeld: An Athletic left-handed power hitter
• No. 9 recruit in North Carolina and among the top 300 in the nation according to Perfect Game Crosschecker
• East Coast Pro Showcase
• 2009 North Carolina All-State and two-time All-Prep League honoree
• Hit .438 with 7 home runs and 53 RBI in two seasons at Woodberry Forest.

Zane Evans
C/RHP | R-R | 6-3 | 220 | Roswell, Ga. (Roswell)

• Hall on Evans: Most underrated player on the board. His work ethic is second to none. He will catch, hit, and pitch for us
• The 29th-rated recruit in Georgia and among the top-300 in the nation
• A 2009 Under Armour preseason All-American
• Class 6 AAAAA First Team All-State and All-Region in 2009
• Played summer baseball for the East Cobb Yankees for coach James Beavers

Kyle Wren
OF | L/L | 6-0 | 165 | Peachtree City, Ga. (Landmark Christian) | Homeplate Chilidogs

• Hall on Wren: A leadoff type player with great instincts for game
• Rated as the No. 39 baseball recruit in Georgia
• Son of Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren

Brad Markey
INF/RHP | S/R | 5-10 | 170 | Bel Air, MD (C. Milton Wright)

• Hall on Markey: An athletic and instinctive player. Has great pitching ability
• Played summer baseball for the Mid Atlantic Mets

Conner Kendrick
LHP | L/L | 6-1 | 165 | Sharpsburg, Ga. (Northgate)

• Hall on Kendrick: A very polished and competitive player
• Posted an 11-1 record with a 1.68 ERA in 2009.
• Led Northgate High School to a 32-5 record and the 2009 class 4 AAAA State Title
• Played summer baseball for the Dugout Club Strikers.

Devin Stanton
LHP | R/L | 6-0 | 185 | Lilburn, Ga. (Wesleyan)

• Hall on Stanton: He has a great breaking ball and is a great competitor
• Posted nine wins while striking out 107 batters in 2009
• Career ERA (1.73) and career complete games (10) are second most all-time at Wesleyan
• A two-sport athlete, won state titles at Wesleyan in football and baseball
• Played summer baseball with the East Cobb Yankees for coach James Beavers

Will West
LHP | L/L | 6-2 | 170 | Tallahassee, Fla. (Chiles)

• Hall on West: A young, athletic lefty with great upside
• Played summer baseball for the East Cobb Astros

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