Louisville missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade but Head Coach Dan McDonnell made it very clear that this season did not meet the standards he has set for his program. He ended the season ending press conference with, “Oh it’s on. Get ready for next spring. It’s on.”
The roster next year is going to look much different with departures from Henry Davis, Alex Binelas, and Michael Kirian to the MLB Draft. Many others will be on the fence in including Cooper Bowman, Levi Usher, Luke Brown, Lucas Dunn, etc. Luke Smith and Adam Elliott have graduated and will begin their professional careers if they choose to go that route.
It is likely that we could see up to 15 players moving on from the program this summer. The good news; this program simply reloads. According to Perfect Game, Louisville has the 7th ranked class for 2021.
Most of the teams ranked in front of Louisville are very top heavy and will lose a number of their class to the MLB Draft before they even step foot on campus. Coach McDonnell has set this class up in a way that just one player could begin their professional career after high school.
The class currently has 19 commits, but I look for that number to change before school starts in the fall. Six members of this class are from the state of Kentucky and all six of them received First Team All-State honors. Here’s a look at three of the commits from Kentucky:
High School: Trinity
Senior Stats: .545 BA, 1.384 slugging, 54 RBI, 16 HR’s, 12 triples, 11 doubles (through region play)
PBR Rankings (Nation/State): 10/1
Unfortunately, I do not think we will see Lile ever wear a Louisville jersey. PBR currently has him ranked 35th on their draft board which would mean he would be drafted in the second round.
Selfishly, I would love to see him in red and black for the next three years, but all signs point to Lile taking the Jo Adell route and I do not blame him one bit. Go get that money!
Lile was just named Mr. Baseball in Kentucky for his performance this year.
High School: Bardstown
PBR Rankings (Nation/State): 69/2
During his recruitment, Koger was recruited by many ACC and SEC schools but chose Louisville, adding, “I’ve grown up a Cards fan living just 40 minutes away. Going to games growing up, it was an easy choice for me, and the coaches I’m going to have made it a done deal for me.”
Like many of the other incoming freshman, Koger does not plan on touching a baseball or attending any events this summer. His summer will be spent working out and getting his body ready for the next level before he shows up on campus.
Or, will he?
He is the only other Louisville commit listed on the PBR draft board which extends to 200 players. Koger ranks 199th on the list and is certain to hear his name called during the MLB Draft. He will have a tough decision to make in a few weeks.
On the mound, Koger has a four pitch mix, throwing a changeup, curve, and slider to go along with his fastball that maxes out at 94 MPH. His biggest room for growth right now is commanding his pitches, but I have all the confidence in the world that Roger Williams will have him ready to go next Spring.
Koger was coached by his father in high school and could not be a better fit for the Louisville program. He led the state in walks and was second in stolen bases this season. If he has the chance to play both ways, I really like his approach on the base paths and the aggression he will bring.
High School: Somerset High School
Senior Stats: .450 BA, .836 slugging, 50 RBI, 10 HR’s, 3 triples, 14 doubles, 18 stolen bases. Pitching Stats: 40 IP, 50 K’s, 10 BB, 2.1 ERA.
PBR Rankings (Nation/State): 220/4
Grundy comes to Louisville after recording one of the most storied careers in Briar Jumper history. He is the schools all-time leading scorer for the basketball program with 2,149 points and was named 12th Region Player of the Year this season. One the gridiron, he recorded the second most receiving yards in school history.
So, why baseball?
“I chose baseball because it has been and will always be my first love and passion. I love playing football and basketball as well, don’t get me wrong, but with baseball I knew that was my best shot to play at the next level.”
He could have easily played either of the three sports at the collegiate level, but ultimately committed to Louisville while still in middle school. “I was offered a scholarship as an 8th grader, I played up on varsity and Louisville came to one of my teams games to watch other players and I played very well. Later that week I went on a visit and was offered. I committed on the spot because I knew that Louisville was a premier school in the country and it was close to home!”
Grundy was recruited to be a two-way player at Louisville but he’s a kid that just wants to be on the field and will do whatever it takes to help his team win games.
As far as what he thinks about this season, Grundy added, “Louisville will bounce back. It’ll be hard to keep them down long! We have a great recruiting class coming in and I think we get to a regional.”
Up next: Ethan Wood, Jaxson Davis and Brandon Anderson