STARKVILLE, Miss. – Fan who have attended fall scrimmages at Dudy Noble Field can see why Baseball America named Mississippi State’s 2012-13 baseball signing class the ninth-best class in the country this past week.
The ranking is the second-highest by the Bulldogs in the last decade by Baseball America, as the 2009-10 group was rated eighth. That group consisted of eventual SEC Pitcher of the Year Chris Stratton, All-American Chad Girodo, 2013 eighth-round MLB draft pick Kendall Graveman and current pro players Nick Vickerson and Jaron Shepherd.
The 2012-13 class officially became Bulldogs this past fall, before the Diamond Dawgs’ completed the best season by any sport in school history, finishing as national finalists in the NCAA College World Series with a 51-20 record.
The class is highlighted offensively by 2013 MLB draft pick Reid Humphreys, Mississippi’s 2013 Mr. Baseball. The younger brother of former Diamond Dawg and current MLB player Tyler Moore (Washington Nationals), Humphreys earned 2013 Louisville Slugger First-Team All-America honors this past spring after tallying 11 homers and 32 RBIs as a senior. The 6-2, 200 pounder hit .419 with a .543 on-base percentage and an .874 slugging percentage for Northwest Rankin High School.
On the mound, the Bulldogs also signed fellow draft pick Paul Young, a right-hander who was selected by the Cleveland Indians with the fifth pick in the 21st round. Young, who chose MSU over scholarship offers from 11 other Southeastern Conference schools, went 5-0 with a 2.44 ERA this past spring for Central Alabama Community College, including a complete-game victory in the 2013 NJCAA National Championship game.
Drafted by the Texas Rangers with the 24th pick in the 36th round of this summer’s MLB Draft was fellow righty Dakota Hudson, who was rated a top 100 player overall at any position by national scouting service Perfect Game. Topping out at 95 on the radar gun, Hudson owned a 1.09 ERA and a 124-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a senior for Sequatchie County High School in Dunlap, Tenn.
Other notable names from the class include catcher Gavin Collins, right-hander Avery Geyer and outfielder Joey Swinarski. Coming all the way from Lake Forest, Calif. (El Toro HS), Collins was projected to go in the top five rounds of the draft before injuring his ankle in the first game of his senior season, but has since fully recovered . Geyer, who was the ace on the national championship Pensacola (Fla.) Catholic High School squad, was a 2013 Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American and finished third in the voting for Florida’s Mr. Baseball. Swinarski, a fellow Floridian from Orlando, Fla. (The First Academy), graduated from high school a year early and chose MSU over South Carolina, despite being a projected as a high pick in next June’s draft.
The newcomers scrimmage Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 12 p.m., as the program continues its fall camp at Dudy Noble Field. For more information on the Diamond Dawgs, follow the team by searching for “HailStateBB” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All-access coverage of the program can also be found on FanCred by going to http://www.fancred.com/go/hailstate/.