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Louisville Baseball Recruiting Update

Dan McDonnell will welcome the third best recruiting class in the country later this fall

Photo by Taris Smith/University of Louisville Athletics

After the Super Regional loss to Texas A&M, Dan McDonnell made it very clear that the standard for the Louisville program is to be elite and he ended the season as he always does.

“We’ll be back.”

He also noted that even though his program has a lot to brag about for their accomplishments in the past, it is time to focus on what’s ahead, noting, “The future is tomorrow.”

If the 2022 recruiting class is any indication of what we have to look forward to, the Cardinals will most definitely be back. Perfect Game has Louisville ranked as the 3rd best class in the nation, the second highest in program history after landing the 2nd best class in 2018. The 2022 class has an average player ranking of 6.81, compared to 5.80 in 2018.

Only LSU and Vanderbilt have higher ranked classes in this cycle.

Keep in mind, when you have such a highly regarded recruiting class in baseball, some of the recruits will ultimately sign a professional contract out of high school and will never step foot on campus. That is just part of recruiting at a high level.

Last year, Louisville lost local standout, Daylen Lile, to the MLB Draft after he was selected 47th overall by the Washington Nationals and received a $1.75M signing bonus.

With the third ranked class in the nation, this year will be no different, but we can all dream. The MLB Draft is set to begin on July 17th, which will give us a good indication of how this class will round out.

This is what the class currently looks like:

Photo by Mike Janes/Four Seam Images

Cam Collier (3B)

6-2 • 210 LBS • R/R

2022 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings

PBR Top 200: 21 • MLB: 12 • Prospects Live: 17

Collier, the son of Lou Collier, who played for various MLB teams from 1997-2004, displays one of the more pure swings in the entire draft class. At just 17 years old, he spent this season at Chipola Junior College after graduating high school early by earning his GED. Collier is a lock to be selected in the first round and received an invitation to the MLB Combine.

It is a shame we won’t have an opportunity to see him step foot on campus, but it’s hard to turn down top 10 money. Good luck to Cam wherever he ends up.

Photo by Lancaster Eagle-Gazette

Jacob Miller (RHP)

6-2 • 180 LBS • L/R • Liberty Union HS (Ohio)

2022 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings

PBR Top 200: 59 • MLB: 44 • Prospects Live: 48

PBR Class Rankings

National: 24 • Position: 8 • State: 1 • Position: 1

Miller’s fastball currently tops at 97 MPH but that number has the ability to increase as he continues to fill out his frame. Many credit him with one of the best curveballs in the entire class, the main reason his stock has soared as of recently. Like Collier, Miller also attended the MLB Combine.

He visited campus in May and seems to have a strong relationship with the coaching staff, but will have a big time decision to make in the coming weeks. Miller will likely hear his name called somewhere around the second round and will have receive a signing bonus north of $1M. Keep in mind, organizations can deviate from the slot values and increase the bonus in order to sweeten the pot for the draftee to sign.

Phot by Perfect Game

Gavin Kilen (MIF)

5-11 • 180 LBS • L/R • Milton HS (Wisconsin)

2022 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings

PBR Top 200: 65 • MLB: 97 • Prospects Live: 54

PBR Class Rankings

National: 29 • Position: 8 • State: 1 • Position: 1

Kilen, a member of the Hitters travel ball team that has produced a plethora of talent over the years, including Alex Binelas, is the most recent product from a very strong Wisconsin organization.

Kilen, a left-handed hitting middle infielder, is very balanced at the plate and displays exceptional footwork and smooth hands defensively. The question is not if he will hear his name called in the MLB Draft, it is how high? And is it enough to make him reconsider his pledge to Louisville? We will soon find out.

Photo by WLKY

Korbyn Dickerson (OF)

6-1 • 180 LBS • R/R • Trinity HS (Kentucky)

2022 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings

PBR Top 200: 66 • Prospects Live: 147

PBR Class Rankings

National: 30 • Position: 5 • State: 1 • Position: 1

From right here in our backyard, Dickerson has the opportunity to be one of the next greats at the University of Louisville. He could also take the Jo Adell and Daylen Lyle route as a top outfielder in his class and sign a professional contract out of high school. Either way, I don’t blame him. He was also selected to participate in the MLB Combine to give scouts one more opportunity to check out his skillset before the draft.

So smooth.

Trinity Head Coach, Rick Arnold, recently met with WLKY and had this to say about Dickerson. “He’s going to be a high-level draft pick, and if the money is right, I’m sure he’ll sign. If not, he’ll be at Louisville and will probably be an All-ACC performer quickly there.”

High praise from a coach that has seen plenty of talent come through his program.

Photo by New Albany Baseball

Tucker Biven (SS/RHP)

6-1 • 205 LBS • R/R • New Albany HS (Indiana)

PBR Class Rankings

National: 77 • Position: 17 • State: 2 • Position: 1

From right across the river in New Albany, Biven is another local product that has plenty of upside. Not only does he excel on the diamond, Biven was a 1,000 point scorer in high school on the hardwood. He was voted to the All-Hoosier Hills Conference first team his senior season.

Biven is a very intriguing prospect that projects as a SS at the professional level, but he was invited to pitch at the MLB Combine as well, meaning he could have a few decisions to make in the coming weeks. Does he focus on one position or attempt to continue as a two-way player? The other decision will have a few commas and a leading dollar sign.

His fastball has been recorded at 96 MPH, but he regularly sits 94-95. He would be a big, big lift for this class if he does in fact suit up in a Louisville uniform.

Photo by Perfect Game

Ethan Patera (RHP)

6-4 • 230 LBS • R/R • Downers Grove South HS (Illinois)

PBR Class Rankings

National: 101 • Position: 27 • State: 5 • Position: 1

If Downers Grove sounds familiar, it’s because former Card, Danny Oriente, went to the same high school. Patera has a big, physical frame that continues the theme of elite, elevated velocities that we have seen among other pitchers in this class. Like Biven, he currently maxes out around 96 MPH. Roger Williams is feasting as he looks up and down the potential bullpen he could have over the next few season.

His twitchy, refined mechanics have really elevated his game. I think Patera has the potential to be the sleeper in this class and could see meaningful innings during his freshman year.

Photo by Perfect Game

Logan Wagner (MIF)

6-2 • 205 LBS • S/R • P27 HS (South Carolina)

PBR Class Rankings

National: 140 • Position: 31 • State: 3 • Position: 1

Wagner, a switch hitter with a high motor, is likely to move from MIF to second or third at the next level. His stock has recently started to surge as he attended the MLB Combine like many of the other Louisville commits. Some have Wagner going around the 3rd round in the MLB Draft.

Selfishly, I would love to see Wagner play in Coach McDonnell’s system. I think he fits the mold of what Louisville has done over the years and could blossom into an elite player. As an above average runner with athleticism to match it, he could give other teams hell on the basepaths. Keep an eye on his name during the draft.

Photo by Area Code Baseball

Will Vierling (C/1B)

6-1 • 195 LBS • L/R • Homestead HS (Wisconsin)

PBR Class Rankings

National: 251 • Position: 14 • State: 5 • Position: 1

Vierling, who comes to Louisville via Wisconsin and a teammate of Gavin Kilen in the Hitters organization, has the opportunity to join the long line of elite catchers to come through “Catcher U.” Know as one of the best left-handed hitters in the midwest, he also has a knack for keeping the ball in front of him behind the plate.

Due to his long frame, he has able to spray the ball to all fields and does not get cheated in the box. I think Vierling is the catcher of the future of the Louisville program, joining a long list of elite backstops that Cardinals fans have seen over the years.

Photo by Perfect Game

Michael Lippe (OF)

6-2 • 220 LBS • R/R • Whitefish Bay HS (Wisconsin)

PBR Class Rankings

National: 343 • Position: 53 • State: 8 • Position: 1

Lippe rounds out the third member of the class from the state of Wisconsin, all of which are ranked in the top 10 from the Badger state. He is also a member of the Hitters organization. With a big frame, Lippe displays elite bat speed and is would surprise most with his quickness due to his size.

Many see him as a CF or RF at the next level, but he has the athleticism to play any position on the field. Yet another commitment that is sure to hear his name called on draft day, but he should make it to campus this fall.

Patrick Forbes (SS/RHP)

6-3 • 195 LBS • R/R • Bowling Green HS (Kentucky)

2022 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings

MLB: 185

PBR Class Rankings

National: 353 • Position: 74 • State: 3 • Position: 1

As the most recent winner of the prestigious Mr. Baseball award in Kentucky, Forbes comes to Louisville with talent in many different facets of the game. When he in on the mound, he dominates. At the plate, he is nearly impossible to get out.

The guys over at PBR Kentucky (some of the best in the business) have very kind words for Forbes, going as far as saying he can be a weekend pitcher at Louisville. As a MLB Combine invitee, he has made it clear that he will be focusing on his future at Louisville. This is great news for Coach McDonnell and Co.

Photo by Garrett Smith, ECHO Staff Reporter

Matt Klein (C)

6-1 • 200 LBS • L/R • Trinity HS (Kentucky)

PBR Class Rankings

National: 499 • Position: 41 • State: 2 • Position: 1

Klein makes it a clean sweep for Louisville, locking up the top three players in the state of Kentucky, coming to Louisville with his teammate, Korbyn Dickerson, from just down the road. High School baseball in Louisville has been instrumental to the success of the baseball program over the years and the pipeline continues in the 2022 class.

With Vierling and Klein in this class, the future behind the plate is set. He has a big, strong arm and has a very steady swing that continues to show an increase in power as he gets bigger.

Outside the Top 500 (PBR Rankings):

Wyatt Danilowicz (LHP/1B) - Traverse City West Senior HS (Michigan)

PBR Ranking - State: 9 • Position: 1

Brantley Bamberg (C) - Riverdale HS (Tennessee)

PBR Ranking - State: 14 • Position: 3

Kayden Campbell (LHP/OF) - Fairfield HS (Ohio)

PBR Ranking - State: 25 • Position: 6

Jameson Richmond (1B/3B) - Oak Hills HS (Ohio)

PBR Ranking - State: 30 • Position: 3

Dan Snyder (RHP/SS) - McDowell HS (Pennsylvania)

PBR Ranking - State: 33 • Position: 8

Blane Nestle (SS/3B) - Moeller HS (Ohio)

PBR Ranking - State: 36 • Position: 11

Simeon Graves Jr (SS) - St. X HS (Ohio)

PBR Ranking - State: 60 • Position: 16

Rocko Brzezniak* (3B/OF) - Matawan HS (New Jersey)

*He is not small

Photo by shotbyhype

Nolan Smoot (1B/3B) - Little Miami HS (Ohio)

Justin West (1B/3B) - Paducah Tilghman HS (Kentucky)

West is one to keep tabs on in this class. He was once a top prospect in the state of Kentucky before injuring his arm and requiring Tommy John surgery in 2021. Prior to his injury, he was a strikeout machine, tying the KHSAA record for strikeouts in a game with 20.

This class is loaded with talent but is sure to lose a few of its members to the MLB. Upon the conclusion of the draft, the class will start to take its shape and we will know who will show up and who won’t, but we will have to wait until the end of July until most of those questions are answered.

In the meantime, go Cards.