The Florida Atlantic University baseball team will see 10 new faces on its 2016 roster, as announced by FAU Baseball Head Coach John McCormack.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Coach [Jason] Jackson and Coach [Dickie] Hart for all their hard work in helping put this class together," McCormack said.
"This class is made up of six pitchers, one outfielder, one infielder and two two-way guys. The main focus of this class is starting pitching. There are a number of guys that have the talent to be future front-end rotation guys. The second thing that stands out in this class is the versatility of the players. We have a number of guys that can do a lot of things on a baseball field.”
Joseph “Joey” Arce attended Timber Creek High School in Orlando, where he was named a 2014 and 2013 Underclass Honorable Mention. The 6-foot, 2-inch right-handed pitcher was named to the All-Metro team in 2014 and is ranked among the best 100 players in the state of Florida.
“FAU fans are going to enjoy watching Joey pitch. He pitches with a lot of emotion and fervor,” McCormack (photo) said. “When he comes into the game, he will provide the team with a ton of energy and get crucial outs.”
Vincenzo Catanza, a 6-foot outfielder from Longwood, hit .422 last season at Orangewood Christian High School. Catanza also was named a 2014 and 2013 Underclass Honorable Mention and owned an on-base percentage of .518 a year ago.
“Vincenzo has all the tools,” McCormack said. “He can run and has power, along with a tremendous work ethic. He will blossom into a big-time talent. It will be fun to watch him grow.”
Tyler Frank, a 6-foot, 170-pound shortstop, hails from Loxahatchee. At American Heritage High School, the two-way player tallied 14 RBI and hit .274 in 2014.
“One simple phrase sums up Tyler: Baseball player,” McCormack said. “This young man knows how to play the game. He can play multiple positions as well as pitch. He will give us a number of options going forward.”
Another Longwood native, Eric Keating stands at 6-feet, 4-inches tall. The southpaw has been scouted as having great movement on his pitches in his time at Orangewood High School. In 22.3 innings last season, Keating owned a 0.7 ERA, allowing just four hits while striking out 24. He led his summer team, the Orlando Scorpions Prime, to the National Championship and was named to the All-Tournament Team in October 2013.
“Eric is a big lefty that throws from a unique arm slot,” McCormack said. “He will give hitters, especially left-handers, a different look. He has pitched on a number of winning teams and knows what it takes to be successful.”
Mack Lemieux is another dual-threat in the signing class, seeing time as a pitcher and a first baseman at Jupiter High School. The 6-foot, 3-inch lefty hit .457 with 27 RBI and owned a 4-1 record on the hill with a 2.00 ERA. Lemieux, a native of Jupiter, was named the team’s MVP and Best Hitter and he also played in the Diamond Club and Dynasty Game.
“Mack is a legitimate two way player as a pitcher and first baseman. He can do both at high level and will help FAU in a number of ways,” McCormack said. “It is exciting to think of what he will be able accomplish here at FAU, so stay tuned.”
Kyle Marman stands at 6-feet, 3-inches tall and comes to FAU as a decorated pitcher out of Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando. The righty dealt six victories last year, striking out 61 with an ERA of 1.09 in his 54 innings on the hill. Marman earned the titles of All-Metro, Cy Young, and Team MVP and played in the Perfect Game National Showcase, East Coast Pro Showcase and the Diamond Club Showcase.
“Kyle simply is a bulldog,” McCormack said. “I really enjoy watching him continually challenge hitters. I can see him being a front-end rotation guy or big-time closer. He will make an impact at FAU early in his career.”
Colyn O’Connell is a transfer from Miami-Dade Community College. The 6-foot, 5-inch pitcher was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 19th round in 2012 out of Dunedin High School. O’Connell, who hails from Clearwater, was named to the 2012 All-Region Second Team after earning Underclass Second Team in 2011 and honorable mention in 2010.
“Colyn is our only community college signee,” McCormack said. “This young man is as physically gifted as they come, but his real strength is in his mental toughness. He has No. 1-type stuff and can shut down anyone. He changes the complexion of your rotation the day he gets on campus.”
Phillip “Jordan” Poore will graduate from Park Vista High School in Boynton Beach. The 6-foot, 180-pound southpaw threw 44 innings last season, owning an ERA of 1.91 with 56 strikeouts and only seven walks. Poore held opponents to a .185 batting average en route to a 4-2 record. At the plate, Poore hit .403 with 22 RBI and 19 runs scored. He was named the Delaware County Pitcher of the Year each year from 2012-2014 and was the Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013.
“Jordan is a baseball rat,” McCormack said. “He is always at the park, cages, or bullpen mounds. He is another two-way guy who pitches and plays in the outfield. He has an inner toughness that allows him to be very successful in everything he does. I appreciate his love for the game.”
Austin Smith, another Park Vista High School standout, is a 6-foot, 4-inch right-handed pitcher with a recorded fastball of 96 MPH. Last year, he dominated on the mound with a 12-1 record, 0.36 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 44 innings. Smith pitched for Team USA in the 18U World Championships and was a Perfect Game All-American. The Boynton Beach native is listed as the No. 11 prospect in the 2015 class.
“Austin has ‘it,’” McCormack said. “As coaches, we always talk about ‘it,’ look for ‘it,’ but can’t really verbalize what ‘it’ is. But you know it when you see it, and Austin has ‘it.’ He is a dominant personality that will dominate on the field. Our fans will look forward to his starts and watching him pitch.”
Nicholas Swan is another fantastic left-handed pitcher in the signing class. The 5-foot, 11-inch southpaw comes to FAU from Orangewood Christian High School where he owned a 9-1 record in 2014. Swan, a Windermere native, dealt 60 innings with 69 strikeouts and just nine walks. He pitched four complete games and recorded an ERA of 1.65 and was named First Team All-District.
“Nick is your quintessential crafty left-handed pitcher,” McCormack said. “Watching him frustrate hitters into outs is awesome. His pitching IQ is very advanced for a high school senior and will only continue to grow.”