Nov. 20, 2013
HOUSTON - The Rice baseball program has signed eight high school standouts in the early period who will join the team for the 2015 season, head coach Wayne Graham announced on Wednesday (Nov. 20).
The Owls' latest signing class includes four multi-position players who are versatile enough to contribute as both a pitcher and/or position player/hitter. All are from the high school ranks and seven of the eight are from the greater-Houston area who will be able to have their family and hometown fans continue to watch them play games at Rice's Reckling Park. The class includes Rhp/c Willy Amador from Bryan, Tex., infielders Tristan Gray of Missouri City and Dane Myers of Katy, outfielders Khevin Brewer of Richmond and Stone Garrett of Sugar Land, and the Houston trio of OF/Inf Ryan Chandler, Rhp Michael Rodgers, and Rhp/OF Ricardo Salinas.
Coach Graham had high praise for the group that is as talented as it is young. After 22 seasons at the helm of the Owl program, Graham has long had an eye for athleticism and quality arms.
"This is an outstanding recruiting class," coach Graham said. "It's not large, but ours never are. There is a lot of talent and versatility. I like that half the class could help us at more than one position. That is very important (in the college game). There's always a premium on pitching and we addressed that. A few could be a real challenge for us to keep through the major league draft (in June of 2014).
"I am very proud of our assistant coaches for the work they put in to identify, and then land, this recruiting class," coach Graham added. "It is tough to be able to find players who can combine the kind of baseball ability that we're looking for and who will also be able to succeed in Rice's academic environment."
Willy Amador is a 6-foot, 175-pound pitcher/catcher from Bryan, Tex., who is ranked among the Top 1,000 nationally by PerfectGame.org. Last season at Bryan High School Amador maintained a 3.67 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. He also hit .305 for the Vikings with a .414 on-base percentage. Over the summer Amador served as team captain for his select team, the Brazos Valley Renegades, and was the winning pitcher in the AAU Underclass National Championship game while being named to the all-tournament team. He was also selected to play in the Texas Scouts Association all-star game.
Khevin Brewer is a 6-foot-1, 215-pound outfielder from Travis H.S. in Richmond, Tex., who PerfectGame ranked as No. 171 prep prospect in the nation. At Travis Brewer has been a multi-sport star on both the diamond and the gridiron, starting on the Tigers' varsity baseball team three-straight years. He has been named a 2014 preseason high school all-America selection with academic accolades to match. In addition to the school's Academic Excellence Award and selection to the District 23-5A all-Academic team, Brewer was a member of the USA Baseball South Texas team. He played select ball for the Evoshield Canes over the summer.
Ryan Chandler, a left-handed hitting outfielder/infielder, earned second team All-Houston 5A honors at Strake Jesuit. In addition to batting .391 as a sophomore in 2012, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Chandler was a football letterman who earned All-Academic honors for District 19-5A in both baseball and football. PerfectGame ranked him as one of the Top 500 prospects in the nation.
There have been a host of accolades for Stone Garrett, a 6-foot-2 195-pound outfielder from George Ranch H.S. In addition to being the No. 7 ranked high school player in the country by MaxPreps and No. 32 prospect by PerfectGame, Garrett has already played in all-star games and home-run derby events at Citi Field in New York, Petco Field in San Diego and Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Sugar Land native was the District 23-4A Offensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2013, and he was named to the Houston Chronicle`s All-Greater Houston team as a sophomore in 2012. Garrett was selected to play in the Texas Scouts Association all-star game and he was the MVP of the PerfectGame South Qualifier.
Tristan Gray is the No. 133 ranked high school senior in the country by PerfectGame. The left-handed hitting, 6-foot-3 shortstop from Elkins H.S. was named to the Texas-Louisiana Area Code team in 2013 after earning all-District 23-5A honors in each of his first two seasons on the Rams' varsity. A native of Missouri City, Gray was selected to play in the Texas Scouts Association all-star game and he is a two-time member of the Elkins Dean's List. His father, Jason Gray, was a two-year Rice letterman for coach Graham (1999-2000, Baker College) who finished with a .316 career batting average and a total of 23 home runs.
Versatile Dane Myers has been an all-District 19-5A honoree in both baseball and football at Taylor High School in Katy. As a junior in 2013 he hit .391 with a .623 slugging percentage and .506 on-base average while starting games at shortstop, second and third base. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Myers was selected to both the Texas Scouts Association and Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association all-star games, and he made PerfectGame's WWBA Tournament as both an infielder and pitcher. He is a district all-academic honoree for both baseball and football.
Pitcher Michael Rodgers is ranked among the Top 500 prep seniors in the nation by PerfectGame. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-hander is a two-time first team all-district honoree at nearby Saint Thomas H.S. He was named an honorable mention high school all-American as a junior in 2013 (when the Eagles were coached by former major league all-star Craig Biggio). Rodgers is a two-time member of the school's academic honor roll. In the off-season he plays select-ball for the Houston Heat.
Two-way Northshore H.S. standout Ricardo Salinas is the country's No. 191 ranked prep senior by PerfectGame. As a right-handed pitcher he maintained a 1.40 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 59 innings of work to earn all-District 21-5A honors. As a an outfielder, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound, Salinas batted .381. For his versatile skills he was named to the 17-U PerfectGame World Series All-Tournament Team, and he was selected to play in the Texas Scouts Association all-star game.
Coach Graham has led Rice baseball to 19-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and 18-straight conference championships - including titles that were won in the regular season and/or conference tournament. The Blue & Gray won both the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships in 2013.
The 2014 Owls return six offensive starters in the batting order and ten veteran pitchers who helped lead last year's squad to a 44-20 overall record. Rice opens the 2014 regular season on the road against national powerhouse Stanford with a three-game weekend series in Palo Alto, Calif., on Feb. 14-16.
2013 Rice Baseball Signing Class (to enroll in the Fall of 2014 for 2015 season)