Spartans Make a Splash with Seven Letters of Intent

In a relatively quiet offseason so far for Michigan State baseball, the Spartans made some noise with the signings of seven highly regarded prospects for the 2015-2016 year.  These seven players signed to National Letters of Intent fill a need the Spartans will have following this season according to head coach Jake Boss.

“This is another talented class that addresses the needs we will have going into the 2015-2016 year and, most importantly, six young men are from the Midwest, with four calling the state of Michigan home,” Boss said. “All seven of these student-athletes will represent Michigan State in a positive way moving forward, and we are thrilled to call them Spartans.”

The list features three pitching prospects and four position players, both important needs for the Spartans following this upcoming season.  These impressive signings also include a community college player and arguably the most exciting prospect on the list.

Jordan Zimmerman (not to be confused with the Washington Nationals starting pitcher) is an impressive young athlete and competitor. A strong right-handed infield bat that hails from Mesa Community College in Arizona, Zimmerman was awarded with an MVP award after leading his ball club to the NJCAA World Series Championship title in 2014.  In that MVP season, Zimmerman boasted impressive numbers, a .375 batting average, 15 doubles, five home runs and 49 RBI’s. It was those numbers and his potential that led to his fit at Michigan State, and Boss is very excited about his potential.

“He is a kid that can really hit. He’s got bat speed and is a middle of the order type of guy,” Boss said.

Following Zimmerman, Michigan State added much needed depth at multiple different positions. The Spartans brought in three potential pitching prospects with the third, Riley McCauley, having potential to play the infield as well.

Matt Clark is a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Adrian, Michigan and was ranked the No. 8 pitcher in the state of Michigan. Clark chose Michigan State over Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

Colin Goslin is a southpaw who currently pitches for Dearborn Divine Child. Goslin is ranked as the No. 4 pitcher in the state and won the 2014 Perfect Game BCS Championship, and is viewed as a fierce competitor that will hopefully contribute to the Spartans next year.

Last but not least, Riley McCauley is a RHP with the potential to play the middle infield depending on where the Spartans need his talent next year. Despite his talent in the infield and offensively, McCauley is Michigan State’s best pitching recruit. He is ranked as the No. 2 right-hander in the state of Michigan and even set a school ERA record of 0.39 in 18 innings.

Pitching coach Skylar Meade spoke very highly of the young pitching prospect.

“Riley is going to be a quick contributor on the mound as he already possesses a solid out pitch with his slider,” Meade said. “His velocity will continue to increase as he matures, but his athleticism and competitiveness should make him a durable pitcher.”

The Spartans also added some much needed defensive and infield depth to their team in 2015 that will provide help behind the loaded pitching class.

Marty Bechina is an infield prospect who possesses an important intangible skill that has recruiting coordinator, Graham Sikes, excited.

“Marty possesses great leadership qualities that every coach admires. His talent and tools are very good, and he plays above those tools because of his mentality and dedication,” Sikes said. “He has good speed and good instincts on the bases, making him an exciting player to watch.  He’s a versatile infielder that brings energy and a mentality that makes him a great fit at MSU.”

Robbie Jones, from West Bloomfield, Michigan is a 6-foot-2, left-handed bat who plays outfield. Jones is ranked as the No. 28 player in the state and adds even more speed to the Spartans lineup.

“Robbie is an exciting player who adds more speed to our team. He can defend at a very high level and his offensive game puts a lot of pressure on defenses,” Sikes said. “At 6-foot-2, he has the potential to add a lot of size to his frame and become a speed and power threat.”

Lastly, Royce Ando is a very talented international prospect who plays shortstop with as much talent as the coaches has ever seen. Ando played for the Canadian Junior national team and was named to the 2014 Perfect Game High School Showdown All-Tournament Team. Royce is ranked as the No. 1 shortstop in Canada and the No. 9 player in Canada. Ando Chose Michigan State over Miami (Ohio), Eastern Michigan and Dartmouth.

Boss was ecstatic about Ando’s defensive abilities.

“Defensively is as good as anybody that I’ve ever coached. He is an outstanding defender and is getting stronger at the plate and he runs well,” Boss said.

In all, it was a very successful batch of recruits that the Spartans coaching staff brought in and every member of Spartan nation should be excited about. Even more is the ability Michigan State has in attracting high-end talent from traditional elite programs, including Oregon, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State.

Boss spoke very proudly of his surging athletic program.

“People are starting to see on a national level what Michigan State is all about,” Boss said. “Michigan State is becoming more of a household name in a lot of these places and it peaks the interest of people.”

All in all, the coaching staff and fans are very satisfied with these exciting signings. It is an excellent transition as the Spartans now head into offseason workouts as they try to improve for the 2014-15 season.

Zac Swierad is the host of Warning Track for Impact Sports

Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports