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2018 Baseball Recruiting Thread

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Great kid and great family.  He committed to AU as sophomore.  He does however need more velocity but has very good composure on the mound.   

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<em>Boys of Summer School: (l/r): Kason Howell, Garrett Wade, Devin Warner and Ryan Bliss. Photo: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics</em>
Boys of Summer School: (l/r): Kason Howell, Garrett Wade, Devin Warner and Ryan Bliss. Photo: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics
June 29, 2018


By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - Instead of boarding buses for long minor league road trips, Auburn freshman baseball players are learning their way around campus, working out and hanging out together while making plans to spend future summers in Nebraska.

Omaha, Nebraska.

Despite being selected earlier this month in the Major League Baseball draft, these new Tigers decided their path to the pros will run through Auburn.

“I felt like Auburn is such a growing powerhouse right now and such a great coaching staff here,” said outfielder Kason Howell, whom the Boston Red Sox drafted in round No. 20. “I think spending time here and maturing and learning more about the game and developing more as a player would definitely help me reach my goal in baseball to play in the big leagues one day.”

The Red Sox also drafted infielder Ryan Bliss, in round No. 30. Like Howell, Bliss picked Plainsman Park over the prospect of Fenway Park.

“Playing Major League Baseball has always been the goal in life, but I didn’t want to skip out on this opportunity of college,” said Bliss, who starred at nearby Troup County High School in nearby LaGrange, Georgia. “Auburn has really become a powerhouse program. I felt like I wanted to come and mature, play three years here and grow. I feel like I can come back out and have that professional baseball career at a more mature level.” 

Drafted by Tampa Bay in round No. 38, Garrett Wade, Alabama’s Gatorade Player of the Year, rebuffed seven-figure offers from MLB teams to play on the Plains.

“Whenever I first visited Auburn, it just felt right,” said Wade, a left-handed pitcher from Hartselle, Alabama. “I love the coaching staff down here, I love the environment around here. You always hear about the Auburn family, you really see it when you come here. That was something really special to me. You don’t get that other places. That tight-knit Auburn family, that’s a big part of it. The coaching staff, getting to learn under Coach Thompson and develop under him, that was a big part of it, too.” 


Casey Mize’s example, becoming the MLB Draft’s No. 1 overall pick after going undrafted out of high school, further influenced Wade.

“I think that just speaks to his work ethic, obviously, him working under Coach Thompson, growing as a player,” Wade said. “The fact that you see him come here and do big things here, pitching every Friday night on that big stage, obviously that’s a goal of mine, so that’s pretty awesome to see him do it.

Wade and Bliss both plan to major in exercise science. Howell intends to study agricultural business and economics. Infielder Devin Warner, drafted by Arizona in round No. 30, is studying agriculture with aspirations of working on a cattle ranch in Texas after his baseball career.

“I believe that all of the coaches here are awesome,” Warner said. “It’s a wonderful program. Auburn’s the place to be. The school, everything about it is awesome, so that’s why I picked it.”

The freshmen participated in their first strength and conditioning workout on Thursday. At nights, they convene in their South Donahue Residence Hall, building bonds they hope will help lead the Tigers to the College World Series before embarking on pro careers.

“First thing I think it says, they have confidence in their skill,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. “These guys dream of being in the big leagues. But I think they dream of winning a championship at Auburn and sincerely pursuing a degree at Auburn. 

“They get to stay with their peer group. I think they believe in development by coming to school. I don’t think they ever lose the dream of playing in the big leagues. I think, now more than ever, they see their best route to become a big leaguer is to come to Auburn and the Southeastern Conference.”




Edited by boomstick

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