The following is an article written by Mark Patton of the Santa Barbara News-Press.
December 19, 2012 6:40 AM
UCSB baseball coach Andrew Checketts wrapped up his latest recruiting class with some pretty strong family ties.
The 10 players he signed to letters of intent for the 2013-14 season include the brother of Gaucho star Greg Mahle, the son of Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss and the great-nephew of former UCSB and three-time major league all-star Chris Speier.
“I think this recruiting class fills our needs,” Checketts said. “It gives us several left-handed hitters, which is what we were looking for, two left-handed-hitting outfielders and a left-handed hitting catcher, plus a right-handed catcher who can really defend.”
He said the recruiting class should rival the one of 2012, which was recently ranked 12th nationally by Baseball America.
“We’ll have to battle the draft next spring with a few of these guys, three of them in particular, to make sure they show up,” Checketts said. “We had to battle a lot last year because of the pure numbers. We had five drafted and two sign, and there would have been a lot more drafted had they not priced themselves out of the market.”
Tyler Mahle, like his brother Greg, is a two-way player. He pitched six complete games in seven starts for Westminster High, compiling an ERA of 1.55, and also played shortstop, batting .409.
Brady Weiss, who hit .421 with 31 RBI for Denver’s Regis Jesuit High, will be the second son of a major league manager to play for Checketts in consecutive seasons. Lance Roenicke, son of Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, was a senior outfielder on last year’s team.
“Brian Tracy (son of former Rockies manager Jim Tracy) came before them,” Checketts said. “It’s a good recruiting hook for us, the fact that major league managers know where to send their kids. They’ve all been here on vacation at some point and recognize what a beautiful place this is.”
Gabe Speier, a left-handed starting pitcher at Dos Pueblos High since his freshman season, was only able to bat last year as a junior because of a shoulder injury. His grandfather, former UCSB football star Kurt Speier, is the brother of Chris Speier, now a bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds.
The Gauchos also signed catchers David Schuknecht, a left-handed batter who will play his freshman season this year at Riverside City College after transferring from the University of Arizona, and Dempsey Grover, who batted .397 with 15 stolen bases at Modesto’s Beyer High.
The outfield recruits include Josh Adams of Pleasant Grove High and Billy Frederick of Golden Valley High; third baseman J.J. Muno of Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks, and pitchers Brandon Luper of Esperanza High and Joe Record of El Dorado High.
* One of UCSB’s top freshmen from last year, pitcher Andrew Vasquez, has been named to National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s Preseason All-America third team.
Vasquez led the Big West Conference last year with an ERA of 1.93 with 104 strikeouts.