WSU welcomes new baseball class

WSU earns No. 48 recruiting class in nation, according to Perfect Game

WSU+catcher+Matt+Erickson+throws+the+ball+back+to+the+pitcher+during+a+scrimmage+on+Oct.+18%2C+2021%2C+in+Pullman.

KEDZIE MOE

WSU catcher Matt Erickson throws the ball back to the pitcher during a scrimmage on Oct. 18, 2021, in Pullman.

TOM ABBOTT, Evergreen reporter

Many new ballplayers will be headed to the Palouse next year to join the WSU baseball team. Here is my take on the top five new players headed to WSU in 2022.

Chandler Pollard 

Pollard’s commitment to WSU is a huge win for head coach Brian Green and crew. Pollard is in the nation’s top-40 outfield prospects, gaining his reputation as a great outfielder largely due to his speed. The Georgia native runs a quick 6.38 60-yard dash and a 1.53 10-yard split, according to Perfect Game stats. Overall in the class of 2022, Pollard’s speed around the bases puts him in the 98th percentile for the 60-yard dash and 96th percentile for the 10-yard split. 

As well as having considerable speed in the outfield and on the bases, Pollard also has a cannon for an arm, throwing 96 mph from the outfield, according to Perfect Game. Pollard’s 96 mph from the outfield puts him in the 99th percentile and above almost every other 2022 recruit. 

Pollard’s speed reminds me of WSU’s Hylan Hall. Both Hall and Pollard seem to fly when presented with the opportunity to run the bases. In fall scrimmages this year, Hall constantly disrupted pitchers on the base paths. Pollard is the highest-ranked national recruit to choose WSU since Hall in 2019. In 2020, Pollard successfully stole four bases. If Pollard can do the same on the Palouse, WSU will have more and more runners in scoring position, especially with the speed of our next recruit.

Tyrus Williams 

Williams is in the nation’s top-75 outfield prospects, similar to Pollard. The Mississippi native is one of the best to come out of the state in his class of recruits. 

Williams verbally committed to WSU in 2020, but officially signed this year on Nov. 11.

The likely home for Williams will be in the outfield with Pollard, but the 6-foot, 175-pounder also has experience at shortstop, so seeing him in the infield might be a possibility. 

Reece Walling

WSU adds another threat to their outfield with Walling. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound player calls Washington home. The part of Walling’s game that stands out is his pop at the plate, putting up a 98 exit velocity, according to Prep Baseball Report. Walling is also the top outfield recruit in Washington for the 2022 class.

Walling bats left at the plate, which is something the Cougars need more of. If Walling can continue to excel into his collegiate career, I do not see him leaving a starting role once he is established. 

Griffen Sotomayor

Sotomayor is the No. 3 rated catcher in California and among the top-35 catchers in the nation for the 2022 class. 

The right-handed batter will fit perfectly in the lineup behind some of the speedsters mentioned above, using his power to knock in some runs for WSU. When Sotomayor hits the ball, it typically reaches the outfield, averaging 263 feet per hit. 

The only reason Sotomayor is not higher on the list is because of his slow speed around the bases, coming in with a 7.43 60-yard dash time in 2021 according to PBR.

Ty Kennedy

Kennedy is one of the top recruits coming out of Colorado in 2022. Kennedy mainly plays shortstop, but his skillset and quick release time could be used anywhere in the infield and find success. Kennedy fields like a natural with good control when charging ground balls and a solid throw velocity topping off at 89 mph from the infield.

Kennedy is not shy at the plate either, putting up a .420 average at the plate, according to MaxPreps. Kennedy comes in at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. A few lifting sessions to add some power to the swing and Kennedy might be one of the best hitters on the team. Kennedy is one of the recruits that I am most excited to see progress under Green at WSU.