On Friday, we reported that Boston College's 2015 recruiting class ranked among the 50 best lists of incoming players in college baseball. The Eagles, 12th in the ultra-competitive ACC, rated ahead of Big XII and SEC schools while keeping to a plan for improvement and construction within the program.
Also on Friday, Boston College picked up the commitment of a 2016 outfielder out of the DC metropolitan area. Jack Cunningham's commitment to the Eagles marked the eighth player to earmark his bags for Chestnut Hill in 2016, giving the team another leg up on future planning.
Among 2016 recruiting classes, the Eagles are only 73rd overall in the Perfect Game USA rankings with 16 points, tied with programs like VCU, Illinois State, and Ohio State. That number is expected to go up with the addition of Cunningham, who will add at least one more point for what's considered a "High Follow" type of athlete.
Perfect Game USA is one of the preeminent baseball development websites. It specifically measures some of the top recruiting talent in high school and sizes them up based on showcases and attributes. It's not unlike Rivals for football or basketball, but where those recruits receive stars, PG ranks players using numerical values.
In terms of college recruitment, each player is slotted into a type of category which carries a specific numerical value to the rankings. A player in the top 50, for example, earns 15 points to the team's national ranking, while a player slotted between 201-250 receives eight points. Several players can receive the same national ranking, which skews the values slightly but, like football, relies on evaluation processes within the website.
The bulk of Boston College recruits will have a wide variety of rankings, illustrating the coaching staff's search for players who can slot into their team concept. They aren't necessarily getting the same type of player that goes to a North Carolina or Florida State in terms of overall talent, but they are getting players who can be developed over the span of a couple of years.
Because of its sheer size, the Major League Baseball Draft is broken down substantially different from other sports. Players picked in the first few rounds are considered "elite" talent, the very best of the best. Players picked in the ninth round, however, can still be considered a high-round selection, and it's entirely possible a prospect selected in the 11th or 15th or 19th round could still have solid pro prospects.
Boston College arguably is producing just as many talented athletes as other ACC schools in these high rounds. Only 10 players representing seven schools in the ACC were chosen in the first four rounds of this year's draft. Louisville, a top five team during the season, was shut out, as was top 25 Notre Dame. No team had more than two players selected, and the majority, until that fourth round, were pitchers:
|25||OF||DJ Stewart||Florida State|
|31||1B/OF||Chris Shaw||Boston College|
|128||OF||Skye Bolt||North Carolina|
It's easy to point out Shaw as an outlier, especially since he was a top 150 prospect out of high school. But consider that in this past year's draft, BC had just as many prospects selected overall (four) as Louisville and Virginia Tech. They had one less prospect selected than Duke, Miami, and NC State. You might not think BC is in the ballpark with Clemson, Virginia, Florida State, and North Carolina (all of whom had seven draft choices), but consider the Tar Heels' 13-16 conference record or the fact that Clemson only finished with a handful of more wins than the Eagles.
Now consider what BC has to work with for baseball facilities and connect it back to what those schools have to work with for facilities. Consider the recruiting rankings. A school like North Carolina or Florida State should have seven draft choices on their roster when they're ranking in the top 10 classes. They should have high selections when two of their 18 recruits are top 100 players and six rate within the top 250. They should have highly-ranked draft classes given their history, their facilities, and their fan following.
That BC is rising up through both rankings is equally as impressive. They're very quietly becoming a national player. We saw it this past season when they were in the hunt for the national tournament before roster attrition took its toll. We're seeing it on the recruiting trail. And we're seeing it in the MLB Draft - perhaps the best litmus test of all when one can be linked to the other.