(Photo courtesy of Rhody Baseball’s Twitter account and can be seen here)
Coming off an up-and-down season, where the Rams finished 31-22, with a 17-6 conference record, The University of Rhode Island is hoping to continue their upward trend. After putting up a fight in the Columbia regional bracket in 2016, the Rams were dealt an early exit in the 2017 Atlantic 10 tournament.
This year’s squad returns, eyeing another trip to the College World Series playoffs. This fall brings with it some younger faces, after losing eight players from last year’s team. However, the Rams expect a quick turnaround with a fresh crop of talent. Fall ball is underway, and with 19 newcomers, there are a lot of changes. With another solid recruiting class, the Rams are poised for another run to the top of the A10 conference.
Joe Fortin, 3B (Loyola HS, Los Angeles, CA)
Fortin was ranked the ninth best third baseman in the state of California, and an overall top 500 recruit by Perfect Game. The freshman can play both third and first base, and generated a lot of interest from other college teams before deciding on Rhode Island. He is a left-handed hitter with excellent bat speed and makes great contact. Fortin is a pull-hitter, and shows power potential. While he may not be an everyday player this year, he is definitely a player to watch for the future.
Nathan Seprosky, LHP/1B/OF (Valley View, PA)
Seprosky was the eleventh ranked left-handed pitcher out of Pennsylvania, and a top 1,000 recruit overall. Similar to Joe Fortin, Seprosky generated a lot of interest from collegiate programs before deciding on URI. As a pitcher, he features a fastball, changeup, and curveball. His arm strength transfers to the outfield, where he is also a solid defender. At the plate, Seprosky is a right-handed bat with plenty of tools to become a solid hitter. His ability to play multiple positions, as well as pitch. makes him a future asset for the team.
Jordan Laske, C (Wethersfield, CT)
Laske was the number one catcher, and nineteenth overall recruit out of Connecticut. In the field, Laske is a good defensive catcher with a strong arm and average pop-up speed. At the plate, he is a line-drive hitter with some power potential, and an up-the-middle approach. He will have to fight for playing time with three other catchers this year, but Laske is another solid recruit for the Rams’ 2017 class.
Other Notable Recruits:
Joe Sacco, RHP (Worcester Academy, MA)
Xavier Vargas, 1B (Xaverian, NY)
Brendan Mignone, RHP (Boston College High School, MA)
Matt Daller, 3B (Malvern Preparatory, PA)
While URI lost some talent, they still have plenty of players returning from last year’s team to provide leadership and experience. The following are a couple of key returners for the Rams:
Tyler Wilson, LHP
After his season was cut short by a devastating injury, Tyler Wilson will be back on the mound for the Rams in the coming season. He has been the Rams’ best pitcher, and was seen as a lock to go in the early rounds of last year’s draft. However, his labrum injury to his pitching shoulder set him back, and he will now look to regain his draft stock, and lead the Rams back to the playoffs again this year.
Jordan Powell, OF
After consistent improvement from his freshman to junior year, Powell played himself onto some draft boards. Improving on his .301 average from his freshman year, Powell batted .352/.403/.427 in his junior year, and is still looking for improvement. The outfielder has played at least 51 games in his first three seasons, and has been a durable talent throughout his first three years. Powell will be a big player to watch come Opening Day.
This will be another exciting year for Rhode Island as they try to return to the College World Series playoffs for the second time in three years. With a lot of new faces and some key losses, there could be some initial growing pains, but this team should again be one of the top teams in the A10 by season’s end. A fresh combination of young players, and returnees will make this year fun to watch for the Rams.