By Jordan Brown
Kentucky Baseball seems to be one of the main sports on the university’s campus that seems to be overlooked or not talked about enough. After great seasons in 2017 and 2018, the team looks to push its way back into the conversation of the competitive Southeastern Conference. The relatively still new Kentucky Proud Park can be seen as a difference maker as seven Wildcats have been recognized as some of the country’s best freshman.
Head coach Nick Mingione might have hit the jackpot with this recent recruiting class hoping to take the program back to its success from a couple of years ago. Kentucky freshman pitcher Ryan Hagenow was named the No. 8 freshman in the country by Perfect Game. Four out of the seven newcomers included in the list by Perfect Game were put in the top 250. The list includes a total of 500 freshman players across the country.
Right-handed pitcher from Knoxville, Tennessee, Ryan Hagenow, is the highest ranked recruit to attend the University of Kentucky since former MLB player Alex Meyer who graduated in 2008. He was a 2020 preseason high school All-American and Player of the Year in Tennessee is 2019. The 6-foot-5, 210 pounder led Farragut High School to the 2019 Tennessee state championship and is considered a potential early-round selection in the next Major League Baseball Draft. With the importance of having an ace pitcher in the SEC, I think Hagenow will make a big difference in his time at Kentucky. Though because of his draft projections, it might only be one season. I think he should help fill Kentucky Proud Park with new fans, scouts, and recruits to help improve the program.
The other Wildcats who were selected to the list by Perfect Game are right-handed pitcher Wyatt Hudepohl (166), infielder Reuben Church (208), catcher Devin Burkes (226), outfielder Houston King (312), infielder Jack Hicks (377), and right-handed pitcher Seth Logue (473).
This group of guys coming in shows tremendous potential for the team this season and especially moving forward. We know that Mingione has a stud pitcher coming in, but let’s hope one of these other guys develops into a slugger. Baseball is a team sport and very fundamental, but I think one thing that gets every baseball fan excited is home runs. For the program and the new stadium, I think it would be ideal to have a guy on the team who sells tickets and creates offense every time he’s up at bat. But that comes and goes in this sport, so right now we should cash out our winnings with this class and watch them grow within the program.