RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Commonwealth University baseball program recently announced the addition of nine new student-athletes to the program for the 2012 campaign.
"This class really has all the components you look for in any good team," said 18th year head coach Paul Keyes. "Left handed starting pitching, power arms, athletes who can play in the middle and become run producers, as well as Left handed power at the plate. The Coaching Staff did a great job getting out and finding a group of players who not only meet our needs on the playing field, but who are outstanding quality people as well."
The nine new Rams join a group of 25 returning student-athletes and seek to earn the program's sixth Colonial Athletic Association championship.
Here's an inside look at each recruit:
JORDAN WEYMOUTH, SHORTSTOP (Central Arizona College – Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Attended Central Arizona College and played in 66 games in 2011…Weymouth posted a .370 batting average, hit one home run and stole 14 bases … Spent the 2010 season at the University of Texas … appeared in 66 games … garnered a .333 batting average, scored 10 runs and drove in four RBI
Coach Keyes on Weymouth: Jordan will come in and make an impact in the middle of our infield right away. He will add speed and athleticism to the top of our lineup. His experience playing in a big time atmosphere will certainly pay dividends for the younger players on the team.
RYAN KLEM, PITCHER (South Mountain Community College – Phoenix, Ariz.)
Played at South Mountain Community College and appeared in 15 games in 2011… Klem pitched 33 2/3 innings with a 4.01 ERA. Klem collected two wins and earned three saves
Coach Keyes on Klem: Ryan is your prototypical "bulldog" as he has a knack for pounding the strike zone with four quality pitches. He has a tenacity to come right at hitters and will be able to fill a handful of different roles for the pitching staff.
ZAC BELLINGER, CATCHER (Thomas A. Edison High School – Elmira Heights, N.Y.)
Bellinger played at Thomas A. Edison High School… Established New York State history single season record for RBI in a season with 60 …. Hit 18 home runs, which is second best in New York State history for a single season … was named Thomas Edison High School Athlete of the Year… Spent the summer playing in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League with the Elmira Pioneeers
Coach Keyes on Bellinger: Zac's power and advanced approach at the plate will make him a standout in the middle of our order right away. He is a guy that set nearly every RBI and home run record in the state of New York this past year. His experience playing in a summer collegiate league out of high school will be vital this year. We look for him to bid for time in the corner outfield as well as corner infield positions to go along with his catching ability. Zac's character will make him a leader immediately with the Rams.
VIMAEL MACHIN, SHORTSTOP (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School – Caguas, Puerto Rico)
Product of Puerto Rico's Baseball Academy High School … Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 29th round of the 2011 Amateur Draft … Posted a .380 batting average in Puerto Rico's Palomino League … Machin's Gurabo Team won the 2010 Colt League World Series
Coach Keyes on Machin: Vimael comes on the footsteps of many Ram greats such as Richie Gonzalez and Sergio Miranda. He was a 29th round draft pick by the Padres and his ability to hit and play in the middle of our lineup will prove vital for the years to come. We look forward to Vimael becoming a staple in the middle of our infield as well as the middle of our lineup the next three-to-four years.
SHAUN SHAKLEE, PITCHER (Garfield High School -Woodbridge, Va.)
Played at Garfield High School … Received honorable mention All-Atlantic Region accolades by Perfect Game in 2011 … played for the Mid Atlantic Red Sox
Coach Keyes on Shaklee: Sean is an athletic pitcher and has a very fast arm. He has a power fastball plus a plus out pitch in his breaking ball. His ability to command the strike zone and his advanced feel will lead to him pitching out of the bullpen or in the starting rotation right away. We have seen Sean's fastball up to 92 miles-per-hour last spring.
HEATH DWYER, PITCHER (Corona Del Sol High School – Chandler, Ariz.)
Played at Corona Del Sol High School … posted a 3-1 record in 2011 … member of the developmental team for the Arizona Diamondbacks
Coach Keyes on Dwyer: Heath is coming off of a season in which he battled through some injuries. At 6-4 and 190 pounds with a fastball up to 88 miles-per-hour, Heath is what you call that typical projection left-handed pitcher. With advanced feel for his breaking ball and a plus changeup, Heath will be competing for innings right away either in the bullpen or starting rotation.
MATT LEES, PITCHER (Mills E. Godwin High School – Henrico, Va.)
Played at Mills E. Godwin High School … posted a 6-2 record with a 1.96 ERA in 56 innings …. Named first team Richmond Times All-Met and second team All-State … played for Orioles Scout Team under head coach Lee Banks
Coach Keyes on Lees: Matt is that guy who just keeps getting better each time we have watched him. Matt offers a fastball that reaches 89 miles per hour and has a plus feel for his breaking ball. He is the ultimate competitor and we look for him to continue his development, as he will help us immediately with his ability to throw strikes and his superior athleticism.
CODY YOUNT, FIRST BASE (Pepperdine – Paradise Valley, Ariz.)
Transferred to VCU after spending three seasons at Pepperdine … In three seasons at Pepperdine accumulated a .242 batting average with 11 runs scored and 14 RBI … Played in 59 games with 18 starts … Four members of his family have played at the professional level: father Larry (Houston), uncle Robin (Milwaukee), brother Austin (Los Angeles Dodgers) and cousin Dustin (Baltimore)
Coach Keyes on Yount: Cody is an experienced left-handed bat that will add power to the middle part of the lineup in RBI production. He has the ability to play both corners of the infield and both corners of the outfield.