Twelfth-year head coach Ritch Price and the Kansas baseballprogram announced that 10 student-athletes, five ranked within the top six intheir respective states, signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) during theearly signing period to join the team in the fall of 2014.
The Jayhawks inked eight high school seniors and two juniorcollege transfers from four states including California (2), Colorado (2),Kansas (3) and Nevada (3). The bulk of the signees will see time on the bump,as six of the prospects are pitchers, while two others can be possible batterymates behind the dish. The remaining two will see action in the infield.
The 2014-15 recruiting class is highlighted by three of thetop-six prep players in the state of Kansas including the No. 1 and No. 2catchers and the No. 2 pitcher by Perfect Game. The class also includestwo of the top-five prep players in the state of Nevada, highlighted by the No.1 left-handed pitcher and the No. 6 overall player.
"We are thrilled with our 2014-15 recruiting class," Price said."We expect to lose several impact junior position players in addition to ourentire weekend rotation and our closer (to the MLB draft). Our coaching staffis excited about the depth this class provides on the mound as well as in thefield. This is potentially the best recruiting class that we have had since Istarted here at Kansas and if we survive the professional draft in June, wehave a chance for these guys to put us in the top 25."
The Kansas baseball 2014 early recruiting class includes:
Condie signed his NLI after spending the 2013 season playing forhead coach Nick Garriatno at the College of Southern Nevada. The RHP saw actionin 11 games, throwing a total of 20.1 innings for a record of 2-1. On the bump,he allowed just 15 hits and struck out 18 batters for a 3.54 ERA.
Condie played high school baseball for coach Michael Besser andthe Desert Oasis Diamondbacks. He was a two-time letterwinner and won thelegion state and regional championships before finishing third in the WorldSeries. He is the son of John and Julie Roanoke and plans to major in physicaltherapy.
Tanner Gragg | C | 6-0 | 195 | R/R | Overland Park, Kan./BlueValley West HS
Gragg inked his NLI as Perfect Game'sNo. 1 catcherand No. 2 overall prep player in the state of Kansas after earning threeletters under coach Bill McDonald for the Blue Valley West Jaguars of theEastern Kansas League. Under McDonald, Gragg helped his team to the 6A statechampionship in 2013, after finishing state runner-up in 2011 and 2012.
Gragg was named to the 2013 Preseason All-American Second Team by PerfectGame and is the son of Todd and Angi Gragg.
Ryan Jackson | LHP | 6-3 | 190 | L/L | Las Vegas, Nev./GreenValley HS
Jackson signed his NLI as Perfect Game's No. 1 LHP and No.3 overall prep player in the state of Nevada. He ranks in the top-50 LHP at No.38 and earned two letters under coach Corey Gehlken of the Green Valley Gators.En route to helping his team to the conference championship in 2013, Jacksonwas named athlete of the month, a scholar-athlete, first-team all-conferenceand second-team all state.
As a junior, Jackson batted .391 with 18 hits, a home run and 10RBI. On the hill, he tossed 43 innings in nine appearances for a record of 4-2and a 1.95 ERA. He faced 184 batters holding his opponents to a .185 battingaverage, striking out 55 in the process.
Jackson is the son of Steve and Cristina Jackson and plans tomajor in pre-dentistry.
Brandon Johnson | RHP | 6-4 | 230 | R/R | Las Vegas, Nev./FaithLutheran HS
Johnson inked his NLI as Perfect Game's No. 3 RHP and No. 6overall prep player in the state of Nevada. The righty is a three-timeletterwinner for coach Blair Neagle at Faith Lutheran High School. In 2013,Johnson compiled a record of 8-2 after throwing 51.1 innings. He struck out astate-leading 81 batters for a 1.62 ERA. His fastball topped-out at 93 MPH inhis state championship win over Boulder City and he also tossed a no-hitteragainst Western High School earlier in the season.
During his high school career, Johnson was named the 2012-13All-Defensive Player of the Year, earned the 2010-11 Crusader Award, was nameda 2012-13 scholar-athlete and an all-conference high mention. His uncle, JimSmith, played professional ball for the San Francisco Giants. He is the son ofDavid and Elizabeth Johnson and plans to major in pre-medicine and chemistry.
Ben Krauth | LHP | 6-0 | 170 | L/L | Concord, Calif./North GateHS/Diablo Valley
Krauth signed his NLI after spending the 2013 season playing forcoach Steve Ward at Diablo Valley College. During his freshman campaign, Krauththrew a total of 90.1 innings for a 2.49 ERA, striking gout 78 batters in theprocess. As a result, he earned second-team All-Big 8 honors and was voted teamMVP by his peers.
At North Gate, Krauth led the league in strikeouts and tossed a nohitter. He is the son of Kent and Wendy Krauth.
TJ Martin | C | 6-0 | 200 | R/R | Overland Park, Kan./Blue ValleySouthwest
Martin inked his NLI as Perfect Game's No. 2 catcher andNo. 6 overall prep player in the state of Kansas. He holds a high school careerbatting average of .451 playing for coach Rick Sabbath at Blue ValleySouthwest. He was a two-time first-team all-state honoree and played for theKansas City Royals Scout Team Elite from 2011-13. In addition, he participatedin the 2012-13 Get Hits 4 Education Missouri-Kansas All-Star Game and the 2012USA Baseball Identification Series in Cary, N.C.
He is the son of Kevin and Shelly Martin and plans to major insport management.
Matt McLaughlin | INF | 6-1 | 185 | R/R | San Jose, Calif./LelandHS
McLaughlin signed his NLI as Perfect Game's No. 12 prepshortstop in the state of California. He batted .392 as a junior and .429 as asophomore for coach Mike Sparrer and the Leland High School Chargers. In 2013,McLaughlin was named the Blossom Valley Athletic League (BVAL) Mt. HamiltonDivision Co-Junior of the Year and first-team all-league. The San JoseMercury News dubbed him all-county honorable mention and Leland High Schoolvoted him the team's best offensive player.
McLaughlin hails from an athletically gifted family. His brother,Tim, currently plays football at Colorado, while his cousins, Joe, Kelly andJack Meggs, all play or played collegiate baseball with Joe and Jack atWashington and Kelly at UC Irvine. His uncle, Lindsay Meggs, played baseballfor UCLA and in the Kansas City Royals organization before taking the headcoaching job at Washington.
He is the son of Scott and Jen McLaughlin and plans to major inbusiness.
Ryan Ralston | RHP/INF | 6-4 | 225 | R/R | Overland Park,Kan./Blue Valley West
Ralston inked his NLI as the No. 2 RHP and No. 3 overall prepplayer in the state of Kansas by Perfect Game. He earned 10 lettersacross three sports, including three for coach Bill McDonald and the BlueValley West Jaguar baseball team. He was named to the East Kansas League (EKL)first team in 2012 and 2013. He was a first-team all-state honoree in 2013 aswell as an All-Kansas City Metro honoree.
In 2013, Ralston helped his team to the state title, afterfinishing runner-up in 2011 and 2012. On the gridiron, Ralston was an all-statehonoree and named to the EKL first team in 2012 and 2013.
No stranger to KU, Ralston's father, Chad Ralston, and uncle,Michael Andress, played baseball for the Jayhawks. His mother, Kelly Ralston,swam at Colorado State.
Owen Taylor | INF | 6-2 | 185 | S/R | Grand Junction, Colo./GrandJunction HS
Taylor singed his NLI as one of the top middle infielders in the stateof Colorado. He finished his junior season with a .483 batting average, fourhome runs, an .862 slugging percentage and 31 RBI.
Over the summer, Taylor batted .425 with eight home runs and 37RBI for the Colorado Rockies Scout Team and coach Wayne Doland. He was anall-state honorable mention and was named to the academic honor roll twice.
He is the son of Tony and Shelly Taylor and the grandson ofBaltimore Oriole Gene Taylor.
Weiman inked his NLI after going undefeated his junior season atColumbine High School under coach Chuck Gillman. He is 11-2 in his career atColumbine with an ERA of 2.81. Weiman led the Diamond Club, his summer team, tothe 2012 Connie Mack State Championship with his team-leading 0.69 ERA and a7-1 record. He was also selected to the prestigious 2012 Colorado Rockies ScoutTeam, where he led the team with a 5-0 record and a 0.89 ERA.
His father, J.D., played football at New Mexico State and Fort Lewis,while his mother, Lynda, played volleyball at Peru State.
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