Recruiting and Committing: An In-Depth Look At Where Prospects Have Committed

By Chris Kemlo
PBR Ontario Director of Scouting

With the early signing period for NLI (National Letter-of-Intent) kicking off tomorrow, we take a look at where some of Ontario’s top talent has decided to continue their baseball careers at the next level.

Very often in Ontario, and Canada for the matter, you will not see many players committing to schools during the early signing period. There are numerous explanations and perceived reasons why this takes place, but you need to remember that each player, each college or university program is different, and have a certain criteria on how they or them, go about each situation.

Many players and parents can feel very stressed and overwhelmed during this time, as this decision is a very important one to say the least. At the same time, you must embrace and enjoy the process as well. It is quite a feat for a young man to have the opportunity to pursue baseball at the next level, and to feel wanted and pursued by a program. Understand just how rare that can be, and what an accomplishment it is. Do not let this enjoyable time slip through the cracks.

As of right now, out of our top 25 rankings of the 2015 class, five players have agreed on their college campus of choice. The top three players, Demi Orimoloye, Josh Naylor, and Miles Gordon have all agreed to play with top Division I collegiate programs within strong baseball conferences.

Orimoloye will be off to the University of Oregon where he will compete in the Pac 12. He is currently listed as the top player in the province, and is strongly considered to be a candidate for a first-round selection come next June. He projects as a five tool player, with speed, power, arm strength, and defensive abilities all there. His biggest obstacle is whether he will put it all together at the plate. Orimoloye has shown great strides in his hitting approach this summer, showing he can compete with the best in North America at the Area Code Games and East Coast Pro Showcase. It will be very interesting to see where he ends up next August. Either way, somebody will be able to say they have one of the top players from the 2015 class in their organization.

Naylor falls along the same lines as Orimoloye. An extremely talented power hitter from the left side, Naylor has agreed to play at Texas Tech in the Big 12 conference for 2015-2016 season. He will also have a tough decision to make come draft day, as he is a highly coveted prospect by many MLB teams. With his ability like no other to hit the ball out of the park, Naylor is a big part of Texas Tech recruiting class, with the opportunity to step in and fill a need immediately in their lineup. He has been on the radar for three years now of college and pro scouts, and he proves to be helping led the way of Canadians continuing on to major collegiate programs.

The most recent commit was that of number three ranked prospect, outfielder Miles Gordon. Gordon will sign with the University of San Francisco, who plays out of the West Coast Conference against schools such as the University of San Diego, Loyola Marymount, and Pepperdine University. Gordon has seen his stock grow over the last eight months, turning himself into one of the top outfielders in the entire country. His athleticism is a big part of his game, while showing the ability to hit top quality pitching and be a tough out.

The other two commits from our top 25 are Royce Ando and Drew Reilly. Ando just recently committed to Michigan State of the Big Ten Conference while Reilly has chosen to play at Crowder College, a NJCAA powerhouse in Missouri. Both players should excel in their new environments, with each having an opportunity to step in and help their club on both sides of the baseball.

Other than the previous five players mentioned, there are a total of 10 other players who already have chosen their stomping grounds to continue their playing careers.

Left-handed pitcher Matt Fiorini and Chris Lazar have committed to Lake Erie College and Sioux Falls respectively, both Division II programs. These lefties pound the strike zone with three pitches, and will both be assets to their respective programs.

The Fieldhouse Pirates had a very successful fall trip seeing seven of their players commit to schools during their time on the road. Nick Ott signed his NLI with Huntington University, which is an NAIA school. Chandler Robertson and Liam Whalen both will be attending Murray State in Oklahoma, a NJCAA. Also going the junior college route is Jose Vasquez who will enroll at Grayson CC next year, and Travis Ruf who will attend North Central Texas College. Also, Jesse Lee of the Fieldhouse Pirates will attend Vernon College, a two-year program of the NJCAA in Texas.

The last two early commits are first baseman Nathan Lewko, who will attend Division II Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. Northwood is no stranger to Canadian players as they seem to have numerous players on their roster every year. The other is left-handed pitcher Shawn Delanghe who will be on campus at NAIA Waldorf College come 2015.

A strong start to say the least for baseball in Ontario. Compared to other states in the U.S. it may not seem that Ontario has hit its peak when it comes to early commits, which I would agree with. Albeit, with the talent that is coming out of Ontario, the number of quality coaches giving back to players, and with the help of us at PBR, I see nothing but continued success for players having the opportunity to reach their dreams and continue on to the next level.

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