Spin Cycle: Way-too-early look at incoming baseball signees

4-18-2023 BSB v Northeastern by Izzi Barton. In a rival of the Huskies, UConn Baseball struggles to make contact with the ball and falls to Northeastern 3-12 on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at Elliot Ballpark. UConn Baseball travels to Brighton, Massachusetts tomorrow to compete against Boston College.

As is the case with almost all high school sports, recruiting is a long and extensive process that college programs must endure if they have any hope of acquiring talented players to lead their program over the next several years. The same can be said for the sport of baseball, which is played in the spring, right around the time when high schoolers must make their decisions regarding which university they want to attend next year. As a result, while head coach Jim Penders’ Huskies have been dominating on the diamond, Penders and the rest of his coaching staff have done their due diligence in scouting young talent during their time away from the diamond to keep Connecticut competitive for the foreseeable future. 

While high school athletes still have some time to show off their talents in hopes of catching the attention of a needy college program, a few have already decided that Storrs is the best place to continue their baseball careers. At least 12 players in the high school class of 2023 have committed to UConn already as of Wednesday evening, according to Prep Baseball Report. Though we will more than likely see a few more names added to the list, it appears that Penders and his staff have succeeded yet again in convincing notable young talent to choose Connecticut as their school of preference. If you ever find yourself near Elliot Ballpark one year from today, here’s a few names you’d like to remember: 

Brett Davino, INF 

Hailing from Nonnewaug High School, Davino had the opportunity to play high school ball at a number of elite schools but chose to remain with his hometown and his close friends: “We are a super, one of a kind athletic class, so I wanted to stay at Nonnewaug to continue that ride with the guys I had been doing it with for so long,” the infielder said in a 2022 interview with The Zone. The decision to stay proved to be the right choice for Davino, who led his team to a Connecticut Class S State Championship appearance as a sophomore and followed up with an impressive 19-1 record in the regular season last year. In 35 high school games entering his senior year, Davino has hit .464 with 11 doubles, nine triples, seven home runs and 48 RBIs. At 6-feet tall and a sweet left-handed swing, Davino has shown plus-abilities all over the field but excels at barreling up the baseball as evident by his above-average exit velocity. 

Sean Finn, RHP/INF 

For anyone who has seen the movie Moneyball, you know just how important statistics have become when it comes to building a competitive baseball roster. Perhaps this was the inspiration behind recruiting Finn, standing at 5-foot-9-inch and hailing from the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia. One look at Finn’s Prep Baseball Report page is enough to convince anyone that the kid has the numbers to flat-out play ball: his hand and bat speed are well above the average for payers his age, and he can smack and throw the life out of a baseball given his top exit velocity of 95 MPH and his top infield velocity (throws from shortstop to first base) of 94 MPH, both indicating an elite ability. Finn’s well-rounded skill set will allow the Huskies to utilize him as both a hitter and a pitcher, where on the bump the righty has displayed a plus-fastball that ranks in the 99.3% of his class and the ability to mix his pitches well. If he can add muscle to his fairly-average frame, Finn could develop into a flamethrower on this Connecticut staff. 

Kyle Peters, RHP/3B 

Like Finn, Peters has shown that no matter where he is put on the diamond that he will produce positive results. In two season prior to this year with Hazleton Area High School in Hazleton, Penn., the senior has batted .338 with a .490 on-base percentage, showing that he can excel at tracking the baseball and reaching base safely. However, his future most definitely lies on the mound, where the 6’1” right-hander has displayed fantastic command of all four of his pitches: his fastball, slider, curveball and changeup. His fastball reaches more than 90 MPH with consistency, while his slider and changeup both sit around the 85 MPH and his curveball sits around 77. Peters’ ability to mix those pitches have proven to be a nightmare for the opposition: over 50 total innings pitched in the two years prior to this one, Peters ERA sits at a measly 0.56 as he has allowed just four runs to score in his high school career. Along the way he has compiled 73 total strikeouts compared to just 21 hits. If his current track record stays intact, Peters could slide into a high-profile arm for Connecticut as soon as he reaches Storrs. 

Tommy Turner, RHP/OF 

Turner hails from Coventry, Rhode Island and will give Coach Penders yet another strong arm to develop as he hopes to continue UConn’s recent success of developing solid pitching prospects. Of all of the players on this list, Turner’s top fastball velocity according to Prep Baseball Report of 94 MPH is the highest. He also throws a plus slider and a changeup, the former of which the senior has shown confidence in and locates very well. At six feet tall with a ¾’s arm angle, Turner can confuse batters as they adjust to his lower-than-normal arm slot. The righty has gotten off to a strong start on the bump this year, where he owns a 2.74 ERA and 66 strikeouts over 53.2 inningings entering this year. Turner can also hold his own at the plate, where he is a career .385 hitter (including a .464 mark as a junior) and has whacked five homers and driven in 29 runs. 

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