OSU Baseball Signs 20 In 2018 Recruiting Class
Oklahoma State has added 20 new players to its roster for the 2018 season.
Joining head coach Josh Holliday's program are 11 freshmen and nine junior college transfers.
"I like this group of kids — excellent students, great size, quality athletic ability and a strong desire to be at Oklahoma State. We filled our needs for the 2018 season and continued to build a foundation for long-term success with some outstanding freshmen and transfers," Holliday said. "I'm really excited about this group. In just a few short weeks on campus with them I have been impressed with the work ethic and positive energy of the group. I really like the unity and leadership I'm seeing already in the locker room."
Oklahoma State is coming off a 2017 season in which the Cowboys made their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance as they finished 30-27 and also claimed a Big 12 Conference championship. Gone from that ballclub are six position players, including the top two hitters and five players who started at least 23 games, and nine pitchers who combined to work 235 2/3 innings and record 14 wins and eight saves.
Reza Aleaziz, RHP, 6-5/210, Tigard, Ore. (Yavapai JC/Oregon State/Southridge HS)
Made 23 appearances, including 11 starts, as a sophomore at Yavapai College in 2017 and went 9-1 with a save and a 4.57 ERA … recorded 74 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings … as a freshman was 6-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 13 starts and had 49 strikeouts in 63 innings … a 2013 Rawlings/Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and All-West Region Second Team performer at Southridge High School.
Holliday on Aleaziz: "Reza is a mature, veteran right-hander who has command of four quality pitches. He's another big, physical pitcher to add to our staff and has a chance to come in and compete for mound time right away. Reza's experience both at Oregon State and Yavapai College have prepared him well for this opportunity."
Chase Burgess, RHP, 6-0/170, Jenks, Okla. (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M/Jenks HS)
A two-way player at NEO who is coming off a sophomore season in which he went 3-2 with a save and a 4.91 ERA on the mound … made nine appearances, including four starts, and had 20 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings … also hit .345 with four home runs and 34 RBIs in 50 games … earned All-Region II Second Team honors … pitched in 1 1/3 innings in two games as a freshman in 2016 … recorded a .355 batting average and 23 RBIs in 30 games as a freshman.
Holliday on Burgess: "Chase is a quality athlete who will focus on pitching here and compete in the fall for mound time."
Christian Funk, INF, 6-1/195, Fresno, Calif. (Fresno City CC/Clovis West HS)
Spent last two seasons at Fresno City Community College … hit .293 with six triples, four doubles and 16 RBIs as a sophomore but was limited to 23 games after suffering a season-ending knee injury … as a freshman hit .317 with six homers and 37 RBIs in 46 games … was a 2014 Rawlings/PG Honorable Mention All-American and All-California Region Second Team performer.
Holliday on Funk: "Christian was one of the top junior college hitters in the state of California, a left-handed power hitting first baseman-, third baseman-type player who had a season-ending knee injury last year, but we're hopeful he'll heal up and provide us some left-handed pop in the batting order. He has a long track record of hitting and hitting with power."
Dylan Gardner, INF, 5-9/165, Stillwater, Okla. (Stillwater HS)
An all-state performer as a senior at Stillwater High School … hit .373 with six homers, 13 doubles and five triples … two-time all-conference performer for the Pioneers … helped led SHS to the Class 6A state semifinals as a junior … a 2017 Rawlings/PG All-West Region Honorable Mention performer.
Holliday on Gardner: "Dylan is one of those kids who has continued to improve and improve every single year. He had an all-state senior year at Stillwater High School and has become a really, really good left-handed hitter and versatile player who's played both second base and shortstop and runs well enough to play some in the outfield. His work ethic and intangibles are off the charts, and we're excited to have Dylan and have him follow in the footsteps of so many Stillwater kids that have come here and really contributed."
Tanner Griffin, INF, 6-1, 190, Bixby, Okla. (Bixby HS)
Missed his senior season at Bixby High School with injury … a Rawlings/PG Underclassmen High Honorable Mention All-American in 2015 and 2016 … hit .387 as a junior after recording a .362 average during his sophomore campaign … also a standout football player, he led BHS to three consecutive Class 6A-II state championships.
Holliday on Griffin: "Tanner is another kid that has winning in his blood. He was a state championship quarterback and one of the more accomplished performers in both football and baseball in the state. When you think of Tanner Griffin, you think of a strong, competitive kid who is versatile and can play all over the field. This guy knows what it takes to win, and he has a quiet intensity about him that translates awfully well. We're looking forward to getting him healthy and getting him back on the field."
Max Hewitt, INF, 6-0/175, Midhurst, Ontario, Canada (Connors State JC/Eastview SS)
Starred at Connors State College as a freshman in 2017 … hit .436 with three homers, 19 doubles and 67 RBIs in 60 games … helped lead team to Region II championship and was named All-Region II performer and a Gold Glove Award winner … was a standout for the Ontario Blue Jays in his native Canada prior to joining the collegiate ranks.
Holliday on Hewitt: "Max is an exciting addition to the team who had an outstanding freshman season at Connors State where he played every day and learned a great deal about the game. He's a tremendous contact hitter, an excellent all-around baseball player, very intense, very focused, and he brings a tremendous desire to grow and work at the game. He'll compete for a spot on our infield right away, and he really strengthens our team up the middle."
Matt Kroon, INF, 6-2/180, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Central Arizona CC/Oregon/Horizon HS)
A two-time Major League Baseball Draft pick who was selected in the 38th round of the 2015 draft by Cincinnati and the 30th round by Philadelphia in 2017 … originally attended Oregon out of high school … hit .184 with 14 hits in 35 games as a freshman for the Ducks in 2016 … as a sophomore at Central Arizona, hit .266 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 46 games … starred at Horizon High School as a prep, where he was a two-time all-state selection … hit .412 with five homers as a senior and was a Rawlings/PG Honorable Mention All-American … hit .420 with three homers during his junior campaign … father, Marc Kroon, pitched four seasons in MLB for San Diego, Cincinnati and Colorado
Holliday on Kroon: "Matt is another strong junior college addition to the program who has tremendous upside. This is a big-time athlete with great physical skills who is really starting to grow into the player that he wants to be and the player we know he can become. He's a dynamic player – can really run the bases and defend, has some power. We can't wait to start working with him. He's versatile but really profiles for us to work at third base and on the middle infield."
Carson McCusker, OF/1B, 6-7/235, Sparks, Nev. (Folsom Lake CC/Spanish Springs HS)
A 26th-round Major League Baseball Draft pick by Milwaukee in 2017 … starred as a freshman at Folsom Lake College where he hit .371 with 10 homers, 15 doubles, five triples and 50 RBIs in 40 games … finished in the top three in the Big 8 Conference in batting average, homers and RBIs … earned first-team all-conference and second-team All-America honors.
Holliday on McCusker: "Carson brings us tremendous size, strength and power. He fills up the batter's box and is a big-time threat to leave the yard every time he comes to home plate. At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, he provides a unique box presence for our lineup, and the sky is the limit for Carson. He's a guy who's starting to come into his own over the last two years, and we're looking forward to helping him develop all phases of his game."
Matthew Miles, OF, 5-8/187, Hewitt, Texas (Midway HS)
2017 Rawlings/PG Honorable Mention All-American and All-Texas Region First Team performer … 2015 and 2016 Rawlings/PG High Honorable Mention All-American … capped prep career by hitting .378 with 23 runs, 34 hits, five doubles, three triples, a homer and 27 RBIs as a senior … hit .318 as a junior and was a first-team all-district selection … named to the Super Centex First Team in 2016 and 2017.
Holliday on Miles: "We saw Matthew as a sophomore – he came to a tournament where he got 10 hits in 11 at-bats and ran the bases like crazy and just had the looks of a bona fide leadoff hitter. He suffered a torn ACL and has worked his way back to health. We're excited for him to get back on the field. He brings a speed element and a left-handed hitting element to the program that we think has a chance to be very successful."
Cody Milligan, C, 5-10/175, Wagoner, Okla. (Binger-Oney HS)
Led Binger-Oney to back-to-back Class A state championships as a junior and senior … hit .571 with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs as a senior … also tallied 12 doubles and five triples … named a 2017 MaxPreps Small Schools All-American.
Holliday on Milligan: "Cody is a guy that grew on us every single time we saw him play. We grew to appreciate the versatility and the toughness; he reminded us a lot of Gage Green in the way that he played the game. He can beat you with his arm, he can beat you with his legs. He's a state champion who was a part of a lot of winning at Binger, and he's the son of a coach from a good baseball family. He brings with him strong makeup and intangibles along with a lot of ability. Off the field, he's a fantastic student who graduated as valedictorian and wanted to be a Cowboy — his passion for OSU during the recruiting process was clear."
Jake Purl, RHP, 6-3/220, Parkville, Mo. (Kansas City CC/Park Hill South HS)
Went 17-6 in two seasons at Kansas City Kansas Community College … racked up 135 strikeouts in 152 2/3 … went 8-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 14 starts as a sophomore … earned honorable mention all-conference honors … in 15 appearances as a freshman, including 14 starts, went 9-3.
Holliday on Purl: "Jake is another big, physical righty who is a hard thrower and has a chance to jump in and take on some of the innings that were lost to graduation and the draft. He's an experienced kid with a big, big fastball who has a chance to work with Rob (Walton) and really take a big step forward."
Jacob Ruder, RHP, 6-7/220, Nixa, Mo. (Cowley County CC/Kansas State/Nixa HS)
Coming off a 2017 season at Cowley County College in which he went 4-1 with a 5.33 ERA in 14 starts … recorded 69 strikeouts in 54 innings … began his collegiate career at Kansas State … pitched in 12 games for the Wildcats as a freshman, starting three of those … was 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and had 12 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched … was an all-state and two-time all-district and all-conference performer at Nixa High School … was the Central Ozark Conference Pitcher of the Year as a junior in 2014 … went 7-1 with a 0.89 ERA … turned in a 4-2 record and 2.68 ERA as a sophomore … also starred in basketball and set his high school record for career three-pointers made … selected in the 37th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft by Kansas City.
Holliday on Ruder: "Jacob is a physical right-hander who down the stretch helped pitch Cowley County to the Junior College World Series and by the end of the season was their ace. He's a big kid with a really good slider who we're excited made his way to Stillwater."
Noah Sifrit, LHP/OF, 6-0/180, Lubbock, Texas (Coronado HS)
2017 Rawlings/PG Honorable Mention All-American and an All-Texas Region First Team performer … 2016 Rawlings/PG High Honorable Mention All-American … a two-way threat at Coronado High School where he was two-time all-state and three-time all-district performer … hit .350 with two homers, nine doubles, four triples and 30 RBIs as a senior … on the mound went 7-2 with a save in 11 appearances … turned in a 1.42 ERA and collected 108 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched … was 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 41 strikeouts in six starts as a junior … also hit .418 with two homers and 19 RBIs … a three-sport star who was also an all-state wide receiver in football and played basketball.
Holliday on Sifrit: "Noah is an all-around outstanding athlete and kid. He was a three-sport athlete in high school and a winner in everything he's done. He provides great versatility and comes in right away competing for a chance to help us out on the mound and in center field. Noah possesses excellent speed and is a very accomplished pitcher who pounds the strike zone."
Tanner Sparks, RHP/INF, 6-0, 175, Shawnee, Okla. (Shawnee HS)
2017 Rawlings/PG Honorable Mention All-American and All-West Region Second Team performer … 2017 MaxPreps High School All-American … 2015 and 2016 Rawlings/PG High Honorable Mention All-American … helped lead Shawnee High School to three consecutive Class 5A state championships … capped career with a senior season that saw SHS go 40-0 and finish the season ranked No. 1 nationally … hit .504 to go along with 12 homers and 81 RBIs and was 10-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 51 1/3 innings on the mound … was named The Oklahoman's 2017 All-State and Big All-City Player of the Year … as a junior hit .440 with five homers, 18 doubles and 43 RBIs … also recorded 86 strikeouts in 71.2 innings … played on SHS's to first-ever state championship as a sophomore in 2015.
Holliday on Sparks: "Tanner is coming off a player of the year season in Oklahoma, and he helped lead Shawnee to three state championship seasons in a row as a two-way player in high school. He set the state on fire as a senior with his bat and his arm. He had Tommy John surgery this summer and will be out this year, but he's an outstanding individual who we look forward to watching heal up and help us in the future."
Brett Standlee, RHP, 6-4/225, Jenks, Okla. (Jenks HS)
2017 Rawlings/PG Honorable Mention All-American and All-West Region Second Team performer … 2016 Rawlings/PG High Honorable Mention All-American … turned in a 20-7 career record at Jenks High School that included 226 strikeouts … capped career by going 7-1 with a save and a 1.00 ERA as a senior … racked up 96 strikeouts in 56 innings … recorded a .365 batting average with nine homers, five doubles and 32 RBIs … as a junior was 8-4 with a 2.02 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 60 innings to lead JHS to the Class 6A semifinals … also hit .425 with 30 RBIs … also starred on the gridiron as a wide receiver, recording 14 touchdown catches over his final two seasons.
Holliday on Standlee: "Brett is another two-sport standout who was part of state championship teams. He's big and physical with a true power pitcher's body. He's a kid we identified in ninth grade and have developed a strong relationship with he and his family. We're thrilled to get him on campus and watch him blossom. He has tremendous upside and a big curveball that we feel like has a chance to be very, very effective right away. Brett is a winning kid — he's been raised a winner and has a strong love for OSU."
Cade Stephens, C, 6-2/240, Blanchard, Okla. (Blanchard HS)
As a senior at Blanchard High School set school records with 19 home runs and 70 RBIs to go along with a .389 batting average and led BHS to Class 4A state quarterfinals … the 19 homers was also an Oklahoma high school record … earned all-state and played on 2015 state championship and 2016 state semifinal teams.
Holliday on Stephens: "Cade was one of the top home run hitters in the state of Oklahoma at Blanchard High School, a big, physical left-handed hitter who is a great fit at Oklahoma State. We think he has a chance to hit someday and hit big. He's an outstanding all-around kid from a baseball family who has great size, strength and power that we're excited to work with."
Mitchell Stone, LHP, 6-9/255, Oklahoma City, Okla. (Deer Creek HS)
2017 Rawlings/PG First-Team All-American and All-West Region First Team performer … 2016 Under Armour All-American and Rawlings/PG Underclassmen First-Team All-American … 2015 PG High Honorable Mention All-American … as a senior at Deer Creek High School went 8-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched … also hit .369 with nine homers, seven doubles and 39 RBIs … was 9-1 with a 0.78 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 63.0 innings pitched as junior in 2016 … named to the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials Roster in 2016 … played in the USA Tournament of Stars in 2015 and 2016.
Holliday on Stone: "We're super excited about Mitchell. He's another kid that we saw as a ninth grader and began recruiting as a sophomore. He's been committed to us for two years and to finally get him here is really exciting. He's a unique left-handed pitcher who is one of the more accomplished amateur pitchers in the country. He was an All-American and a member of Team USA who had every chance to turn pro out of high school but wanted to be at Oklahoma State, to come here and grow and learn from Coach Walton and be a part of the Cowboy program. He's got a chance to come in and contribute in a big, big way right from the start."
Jake Taylor, C, 6-0/200, Shawnee, Okla. (Shawnee HS)
Was a 25th-round pick of Atlanta in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft … 2017 MaxPreps Medium Schools All-American … 2017 Rawlings/PG Honorable Mention All-American and All-West Region First Team performer … 2016 Rawlings/PG Underclassmen Second-Team All-American … 2015 High Honorable Mention All-American … a four-year starter for Shawnee High School … helped lead SHS to a 40-0 record and No. 1 national ranking as a senior by hitting .519 with nine homers and 68 RBIs … was also 5-0 with a pair of saves on the mound … hit .466 with 38 RBIs and 14 doubles as a junior
Holliday on Taylor: "Jake is a young man we identified early; he came to our camps as a ninth grader and we got to know he and his family quite well. He's been part of three consecutive state championships at Shawnee High School, and he's an amazing student and outstanding ballplayer who's wanted to be a Cowboy for a long time. He's going to help us right away – he's an advanced hitter, he's a winner, he's got a strong mind behind home plate and he loves to work at the game of baseball. We are thrilled he ended up in Stillwater as he had significant interest from professional baseball."
Ryan Van Leeuwen, LHP, 6-2/190, Keller, Texas (Weatherford JC/UT Arlington/Timber Creek HS)
Transfer from Weatherford Junior College where he made 15 appearances, including 10 starts, as a sophomore and went 4-5 with three complete games … also had 46 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings … began collegiate career at UT Arlington … made eight relief appearances as a freshman in 2016 … allowed just two runs in 6 2/3 innings for a 2.70 ERA … two-year letterwinner at Timber Creek High School … was a first-team all-district performer in 2015 and pitched the second no-hitter in school history that season … recorded the first playoff win in school history on the mound and finished season with a 1.01 ERA.
Holliday on Van Leeuwen: "Ryan is a good-sized lefty with a live arm – his arm strength and slider are good weapons to work with as we continue to develop our pitching staff. He has some experience and maturity that will allow him to compete for mound time."
Jordan Winston, LHP, 5-11/200, Clarksberg, N.J. (Allentown HS)
A standout in both baseball and football at Allentown High School … as a senior went 8-0 on the mound with a 1.46 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings … was named the NJ.com 2017 Pitcher of the Year and the Times of Trenton Player of the Year … led AHS to 26-2 record and the second state championship in school history … a quarterback in football, he led AHS to its first-ever state title as a senior … rushed for nearly 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his prep career and was recruited by Army as an option quarterback … his late father, Darrin, was a Major League Baseball player for Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Montreal.
Holliday on Winston: "Jordan is a bulldog on the mound who has done nothing but win games and put up impressive innings ever since he entered high school. He brings with him some toughness and awareness on the mound that we think gives him a chance to help us right away."