Baseball brings in another massive recruiting class

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The 2015 Georgia State baseball recruiting class has the chance to go down as one of the most impactful recruiting classes in program history and build on what is already a budding giant in the Sun Belt Conference.

This is saying alot considering the talent that the Panthers have had in the last decade sending multiple players to professional baseball.

The 2015 class has not even stepped into a game for the Panthers yet and many do not know what role they will play for the Panthers.

Despite not having accomplished anything yet, the early hype for the class has already peaked eyes of the college baseball world.

The Panthers’ recruiting class was mentioned among the top classes by in their annual college baseball recruiting class rankings for the third straight season.

“It’s a great honor to be mentioned as one of the top division one recruiting classes in the nation. It’s a goal of ours to bring in the best possible student athlete,” head coach Greg Frady said.

This year’s class is unique compared to previous classes. The class is 15 players strong and features a lot of players that can make an early impact with 10 junior college transfers.

However, the Panthers also had three players from this class get drafted and begin their professional careers.

The class will add the experienced newcomers to an already experienced and talented roster.

The Panthers wanted to focus their recruiting efforts on the pitching staff after losing some key players from last season.

“We’re very happy to have the guys that have just come into the program here. Already they’re making a great impact in every position but, we primarily focused on trying to bolster our pitching staff again because we lost some guys from last year,” coach Frady said.

The early departure of Nathan Bates to the professional ranks along with graduation of Kevin Burgee, Connor Stanley and Jerry Stuckey has left holes at the top of the Panthers’ pitching rotation.

The Panthers have brought in some exciting new talent to fill those holes. The newcomers that will be pegged as potential replacements will be Devin Vainer, Bryce Conley, Dillon Swaggerty.

Vainer, a left hander, comes to the Panthers from Georgia Perimeter College where he went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA and struck out 58 batters in 55 innings of work.

Vainer is originally from the Atlanta area and played his high school baseball at Riverwood.

“Devin Vainer he was one of the top junior college recruits in the nation. A top 25 recruit in the nation and he’s looked really good,” coach Frady said.

Conley, a right hander, comes from Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Alabama. Conley went 7-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 75.2 innings pitched last season. Conley spent 2013-2014 with the Mercer Bears.

Swaggerty transferred from Georgia Highlands where he posted a 3-0 record with a 2.81 ERA in 2015.  Swaggerty is originally a Canton, Georgia native.

This trio has a lot of potential along with ample opportunity to produce early in the Panthers’ program.

The trio of pitchers aren’t the only players to watch as other players will be looking to pick up the offensive slack left by the departure into the professional ranks by Matt Rose who led the Panthers in home runs and runs batted in last season.

Rose was a consistent home run threat for the Panthers. Now the Panthers will need to fill that void, though Ryan Blanton is returning, the Panthers will need another hitter with pop at the top of the lineup.

This recruiting class again provides a few prime candidates for that role. The first player that comes to mind for power in the 2015 class goes to one of the younger members of the class.

Nick Gatewood one of the rare freshman in the 2015 class but also is one of the highest ranked players in the class.

Gatewood is a catcher from Duluth, Georgia where he played at Peachtree Ridge High School.

Gatewood was the number 71 ranked player in the extremely talent rich state of Georgia by Perfect Game. Gatewood is known for his immense power hitting at the plate.

The Panthers will have to find ways to get Gatewood on the field as entrenched starter senior Joey Roach will be returning. The Panthers may look at moving one of the two to other positions to take advantage of their bats on the offensive side.

Another freshman Darius Sewell will also be one to watch on the offensive side. Sewell is a third baseman from the Atlanta area where he played at Lakeside High School last season.

Sewell was ranked as one of the top 150 players in the state of Georgia by Perfect Game.

The Panthers’ class has a lot of promise and over the next two to three seasons Panthers’ nation will look at this class as a building block to the success that is right around the corner for Panthers’ baseball.