JONESBORO, Ark. (12/6/17) – Arkansas State head baseball coach Tommy Raffo announced the addition of eight student-athletes to the Red Wolves program Wednesday after each signed their National Letter of Intent during the early signing period.
Arkansas State’s 2019 newcomers include Alec Byous (Wildwood, Mo.), Chandler Coates (Republic, Mo.), Sky-Lar Culver (Mountain Home, Ark.), Eli Davis (Brighton, Tenn.), Will Huber (Cordova, Tenn.), Zach Jackson (Bryant, Ark.), Karsen Reid (Smithville, Mo.), and Will Richardson (Woodlawn, Ark.).
“We had two goals in mind going into the early-signing recruiting process,” said Raffo. “First, we wanted to find young men that show a passion, toughness and a want to play for A-State baseball, then have the ability to graduate from A-State, and have the skill set and goal to play at the professional level. Second, each young man we recruit must be able to compete for championships early in their career. Assistant coaches Rick Guarno and Rowdy Hardy did a great job with this recruiting class for the Red Wolves baseball program.”
A right-handed pitcher, Byous preps at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Mo., and also plays summer ball for the St. Louis Gamers. He helped the Lancers to a Class 5 District 3 runner-up finish during his junior season. Byous, who stands at 6-1, was part of a LHS team that went 19-6 in 2016 and was a 2017 Preseason All-American Honorable Mention honoree by Rawlings/Perfect Game.
“Alec comes from a long line of high school players that have played for former alumnus Matt Whiteside with the St. Louis Gamers,” stated Raffo. “He will help us on the front end of games as a starter. He brings a feel of three pitches to the mound when he competes against opposing offenses.”
Coates (5-10) is a left-handed pitcher from Howard College in Big Spring, Texas, but most recently competed for the University of New Mexico in 2017, where he made eight appearances. Additionally, Coates prepped at Republic High School, where he set a school record with 19 strikeouts and no walks in his final high school contest. He was a Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 5 All-State Honorable Mention as a senior.
“Chandler will come in next year ready to compete for a starting role on our staff,” Raffo declared. “He has 3 quality pitches, with the ability to throw all for strikes. He’s a polished left-hander that knows how to pitch.”
Culver most recently competed for Allen County Community College in Iola, Kan., where he swatted 19 homers and drove in 63 runs last season. The 6-4 first baseman hit .379 with a .472 on-base percentage and .774 slugging percentage for the Red Devils. A left-handed batter, but right-handed thrower, Culver signed with UCA after earning two All-Conference accolades at Mountain Home High School.
“We are excited to bring Sky-Lar back to his home state after he put up huge numbers last year at Allen County Community College,” Raffo commented. “He is a true impact bat who has an advanced feel for the strike zone. We look forward to him helping anchor the middle of our lineup next year.
An outfielder by trade, Davis (6-0) preps at Brighton High School and plays summer baseball for the Dulins Dodgers out of Memphis. Davis, who hits and throws left-handed, has the ability to play all three positions in the outfield. As a sophomore he was selected to the Tennessee Baseball Report Super Freshman/Sophomore Team after he hit .337 with 22 RBI and 24 stolen bases.
“Eli is a very athletic outfielder who runs well and brings a special dimension offensively as a left-handed hitter and base stealer,” added Raffo. “We think he can be an impact player in the Sun Belt.”
Huber is an infielder/outfielder that preps at St. Benedict at Auburndale High School and also played summer ball with the Dulins Dodgers out of Memphis. The 6-1 left-handed swinger and right-handed thrower hit .311 with a .441 on-base percentage as a junior with 30 runs scored, 20 RBI, and 26 steals.
“Huber is a very versatile player that can play the infield and outfield,” Raffo remarked. “He brings the ability to hit the ball with authority along with a unique blend of speed on the bases. He is a premier left-handed hitter that will impact our offense immediately.”
A 6-0 right-handed pitcher, Jackson tossed a team-high 97 innings for Crowder College and helped the Roughriders to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series with a 54-14 record. He was 12-3 on the year with a 3.90 ERA and 66 strikeouts against 20 walks. Additionally, he hurled seven complete games with two being shutouts. He signed with the University of Arkansas after attending Bryant High School before going to Crowder.
“Zach is a throwback type pitcher who wants the ball in his hands in big games,” mentioned Raffo. “He’s a strike-thrower who eats innings and likes to finish what he starts, as evidenced by his 7 complete games last season. Zach comes to us from a very strong program at Crowder College.”
Reid is a two-time First-Team All-Conference honoree for Smithville High School and helped the Warriors to the MSHSAA Class 4 State Quarterfinals as junior. An infielder by trade, he led SHS to the Class 4 District 15 Championship. Additionally, Reid competed in summer ball for Prodigy Baseball out of Kansas City.
“Karsen is a super athletic infielder who can do it all defensively,” Raffo asserted. “He’s a plus runner and his ability with the bat projects him to be a leadoff-type in the future. We are excited to bring Karsen on board and believe he has the athleticism and maturity to compete for a spot in the infield right away.”
Richardson is a 6-3 right-handed pitcher/corner infielder from Woodlawn High School and helped the Bears to an Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) Class 1A State Championship with a 33-1 record as a junior. He pitched to a 1.02 ERA in 48 innings with a 7-0 record and 71 strikeouts against just six walks. Additionally, Richardson hit .420 with eight homers, 42 RBI, and 15 stolen bases. For his efforts he was named First-Team All-State and the MVP of the Class 1A State Tournament.
“Richardson is a dual-position player that will be a huge addition to our program, continued Raffo. “He brings pitchability to the mound with a fierce attitude. Offensively, he swings the bat with aggression with plus power. He is coached by his father, Tommy Richardson, who also coached former Red Wolves pitcher Bradley Wallace at Woodlawn.”