Dec. 13, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- University of New Mexico head baseball coach Ray Birmingham recently announced the signing of 10 student-athletes during the early signing period. Birmingham also announced the addition of 13 players who joined the program over the summer and will be on the field for the 2008 season.
Six junior college transfers and four freshmen will join the Lobo baseball program in Fall 2008. Birmingham and his staff are excited about their first early signing class.
"This is an outstanding group of guys and I'm real fired up about them," said Birmingham. "It is one of the top recruiting classes at UNM. Ken Jacome and Chad Tidwell, my assistant coaches, did a great job. We beat a lot of good schools on these kids."
Gabriel Aguilar -- LHP -- Fr./HS - El Paso, Texas/Socorro High School
Aguilar was a first team All-City and second team All-District pitcher for Socorro as the Bulldogs made their third Texas 5A sweet 16 appearance in 2007. Aguilar was 11-3 overall with a 1.89 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 85.1 innings. He led the squad in ERA, strikeouts and wins, throwing a complete game win against Arlington Martin in the regional semifinals. Was also considering Texas Tech and New Mexico State.
Birmingham about Aguilar: "He is a Danny Ray Herrera-type pitcher. He comes from an outstanding program under the direction of a legendary coach in Chris Forbes."
Zach Carlson -- 1B/3B -- 6-0/200 --Fr./HS - Topeka, Kan./Seaman High School
Carlson was named first team All-State Class 5A as a second baseman in 2007 and to the first team All-Centennial League and All-City teams, hitting .429 with five home runs and 22 RBI last year. He was named second team All-City and All-Centennial League in 2006 as a sophomore when he batted .348 with two home runs and 17 RBI. He has helped lead Seamen to a record of 65-8 during the past three seasons including Centennial League champions in 2005 and 2007 and 5A State Champions in 2006. Was also considering Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri State.
Birmingham about Carlson: "Zach is the brother of former UNM player Chris Carlson, who went on to play in the majors. Zach has a chance to hit in the middle of the line-up and make a big impact. He is draftable."
Joey Castleman -- RHP -- 6-1/225 -- Jr./TR - Garland, Texas/Grayson County College
Castleman will transfer from Grayson County College in Denison, Texas. The graduate of Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas, spent his first year of college at Richland College in the Dallas metro area before transferring to GCC. Castleman was a member of Baseball America's Class of 2006 Top 300. Was also considering Oklahoma and LSU.
Birmingham about Castleman: "He's a big, hard-throwing right-hander. He can throw between 90 and 93 mph and is one of the top players at one of the top junior colleges in Texas."
Ben Gonzales -- OF/LHP -- 5-11/185 -- Fr./HS - Moriarty, N.M./Moriarty HS
Gonzales was a second team All-State pitcher for Moriarty in 2007 as the Pintos advanced to the Class 4A state championship game. Gonzales is also one of the top running backs in the state of New Mexico, carrying the ball 121 times for 1,236 yards. Was also considering Alabama, Baylor and Texas A&M.
Birmingham about Gonzales: "He is the top player in the state. He can run the 60-yard in 6.7 seconds and is a great hitter. He is ranked as the top player in New Mexico by MLB Scouting Bureau."
Daniel Gonzalez -- SS/RHP -- 5-10/170 -- Jr./TR - Las Cruces, N.M./El Paso CC/Las Cruces HS
Gonzalez hit .357 with 31 RBI for El Paso Community College in 2007. He was one of the top RBI leaders in New Mexico high school ball with 31 as a senior in 2006. Also in 2006, he was a Baseball America second team preseason All-American. Was also considering New Mexico State.
Birmingham about Gonzalez: "An outstanding shortstop with a plus arm who has draft potential."
Dan Hayduk -- SS/3B -- 6-1/200 -- Jr./TR - Browns Mills, N.J./Burlington County College/Pemberton HS
Hayduk was named first team All-America and Region 19 and Garden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year. The East All-Star team member helped the Barons to the 2007 conference championship. Hayduk was named Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, Freshman Athlete of the Year, and Team MVP at BCC, while batting .485 and leading the NJCAA in hits with 82 and doubles with 22. Was also considering Clemson, Texas, Oklahoma State and South Carolina.
Birmingham about Hayduk: "He is an outstanding athlete and a Junior College All-Star. He was a top hitter on the East team and will have a chance to hit in the middle of the line-up."
Rudy Jaramillo -- LHP -- 6-0/170 -- Fr./HS - Chandler, Ariz./Marcos de Niza HS
Jaramillo helped lead the Marcos de Niza Padres to the Arizona 5A-II championship in 2007. Was also considering Arizona and Arizona State.
Birmingham about Jaramillo: "He is one of the top pitchers in the Phoenix area. He can throw in the 85-89 mph range."
Cameron Monger -- OF -- 6-2/205 -- Jr./TR - Weatherford, Texas/ Howard College/Weatherford HS
Monger hit .438 as a freshman in 2007 and was ranked eighth in NJCAA in steals with 38. Monger was named al All-WJCAC and All-Region 5. Was also considering Nebraska and Texas A&M.
Birmingham about Monger: "He is one of the top junior college outfielders in the country. He was a junior college All-Star, All-Conference, and All-Texas All-Star."
Jason Oatman -- LHP -- 6-0/200 -- Jr./TR - Great Falls, Mont./College of Southern Idaho/C.M. Russell HS
Oatman recorded an ERA of 1.40 as a freshman in 2007 with a record of 8-3 and 56 strikeouts in 70.2 innings pitched. He was a second team All-Region 18 selection. As a senior at C.M. Russell High School, Oatman set a single season strikeout record with 136. Was also considering BYU, Air Force and Nevada.
Birmingham about Oatman: "He is an outstanding left-handed pitcher. He throws in the 86-88 mph range. He can throw strikes with three different pitches including a change-up."
Cole White -- RHP -- 6-3/200 -- Jr./TR - Blossom, Texas/Paris Junior College/Prairieland HS
White recorded a 5.32 ERA as a freshman in 23 appearances for the Dragons. Not only is he a talented ball player, White is nominated for two 2008 Grammys one for Song of the Year and Best Rock Song. The song, Fight A Storm, is performed by the band Turning Point out of Paris, Texas. Was also considering Arkansas, TCU and Lamar.
Birmingham about White: "The best junior college arm in Texas, playing for legendary coach Deron Clark. He can throw 95 mph, a very, very high ceiling. He will pitch in the big leagues someday."
The Lobos also have a group of 13 newcomers, 11 transfers and two freshmen, joining the program this season.
"These early signing student-athletes, along with the ones we picked up over the summer, are the caliber we need to go to Omaha," said Birmingham.
Kevin Atkinson -- 1B -- 6-0/200 -- Jr./TR - Surrey, B.C., Canada/New Mexico Junior College/Semiahmoo Secondary
Named 2007 WJCAC All-Conference ... received the 2007 Gold Glove Award ... named to the 2007 All-Region team ... ranked third in the nation in 2007 NJCAA hitting with a .475 batting average and 11 home runs ... drove in 82 RBI with a 0.758 slugging percentage... helped lead team to a second-place finish in the Junior College World Series in 2007 batting .423 with two home runs and eight RBI in six games... batted .455 with six home runs and 70 RBI as a freshman in 2006.
Birmingham about Atkinson: "He was the best first baseman in the nation in JUCO in 2007. He is a great hitter."
Mike Brownstein -- SS -- 5-10/165 -- Jr./TR - Tucson, Ariz./Pima Community College/Sahuaro HS
Played 54 games in 2007 with a .291 batting average ... hit nine doubles, two triples and drove in 26 RBI ... spent the summer of 2007 in the Jayhawk League where he earned first team All-Jayhawk League shortstop ... named NBC All-American shortstop.
Birmingham about Brownstein: "He is one of the best middle infielders out of the Arizona junior colleges. He is a great hitter and a great base stealer. Look for him to set school records for stolen bases."
David Carpenter -- RHP --- 6-3/185 -- So./TR - Grand Prairie, Texas/New Mexico Junior College/South Grand Prairie HS
First team all-district and all-region pitcher at NMJC ... Was 7-1 with a 2.37 ERA as a freshman in 2007 ... saved six games ... fanned 58 batters in 57 innings allowing only 15 earned runs.
Birmingham about Carpenter: "He was drafted by the Mariners can touch 95 mph. He was the top pitcher at NMJC and an All-Star. He will play in the bigs someday."
Brian Cavazos-Galvez -- OF -- 6-1/215 -- Jr./TR - Albuquerque, N.M./New Mexico Junior College/Manzano HS
Named two-time All-Conference, All-Region and All-American ... hit .480 with 11 home runs and 87 RBI in 221 at-bats in 2007.
Birmingham about Cavazos-Galvez: "He's a two-time Junior College All-American. He hits for power and average. He's a 6.8 runner and has a 95 mph arm from outfield. Definitely a pro prospect."
Clinton Cox -- RHP -- 6-2/205 -- Jr./TR - Rock Springs, Wyo./Vernon College/Grand Junction (Colo.) Central HS
Went 5-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2007 ... fanned 63 while walking 28 in 88 innings pitched ... posted a 3.80 ERA in 2006, going 4-4 with five saves ... had 49 strikeouts in 52 innings.
Birmingham about Cox: "He was one of the top pitchers for Vernon Junior College in Texas. He can throw between 86-90 mph and will be one of our top middle relievers."
Gabriel Flores -- RHP -- 6-1/190 -- Fr./HS - El Paso, Texas/Montwood HS
Named all-district and all-city all four years at Montwood High School in El Paso.
Birmingham about Flores: "He can throw in the low 90s and he was All-District. I see him as an eventual draft pick. He has a bright future in baseball."
Daniel Grubbs -- RHP - 6-1/180 -- Jr./TR - Reno, Nev./Western Nevada Community College/McQueen HS
Helped lead team to Scenic West Conference championship as a sophomore in 2007 posting a 2.20 ERA ... posted a 3-1 record in 27 appearances ... notched four saves and struck out 33 ... named second team All-Conference as a freshman in 2006 with a 1.29 ERA ... went 3-0 in 32.2 innings pitched with 36 strikeouts and two saves.
Birmingham about Grubbs: "He is a mid- to upper-80s pitcher and a tough competitor. He is from one of the top junior college programs in the country and a great middle relief guy."
John Hesketh -- LHP -- 5-11/180 -- Jr.-TR - Langley, B.C., Canada/Vernon College/Brookswood Secondary
Named Freshman of the Year at Vernon in 2006 ... drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 38th round of the 2005 draft ... drafted by the Blue Jays in the 42nd round of the 2004 draft ... went 1-2 in 2007 with a 3.60 ERA ... allowed only eight earned runs and fanned 21 in 20 innings pitched ... also excelled at the plate with a .275 batting average and six RBI in 40 at-bats ... posted a 4-1 record in 2006 coupled with an ERA of 1.77 ... recorded 59 strikeouts in 61 innings pitched ... batted .329 with 28 RBI.
Birmingham about Hesketh: "He is a power left-handed pitcher. He can reach 88-92 mph. One of the tops in Texas junior colleges last year. He was an All-Star and has a chance to be a real good pitcher. He originally signed with Arizona State and was released to come here."
Willy Kesler -- RHP -- 6-0/220 -- Jr./TR - Thornton, Colo./Lamar Community College/Northglenn HS
Named first team All-Region as a pitcher in 2007 posting an 0.82 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 88 innings pitched ... broke the Lamar season record with 10 complete games and 0.82 ERA ... named All-District ... allowed only eight earned runs and completed five shutouts ... had a 3.23 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched as a freshman in 2006.
Birmingham about Kesler: "He was an all-region player at Lamar and turned down the Angels in late August to attend UNM. He can throw 90-94 mph."
Adam Kramer -- RHP -- 6-6/195 -- Jr./TR - Albuquerque, N.M./New Mexico Junior College/Manzano HS
Posted a 7-1 record with a 2.64 ERA in 2007 with three complete games and 47 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched ... went 8-2 with a 3.26 ERA, two complete games and one shutout in 2006.
Birmingham about Kramer: "He was drafted in 2006 by the Nationals and his pitches can reach 88-92 mph."
Anthony Martinez -- OF -- 5-7/185 -- Jr./TR - El Paso, Texas/El Paso Community College/Montwood HS
Batted .339 with 39 RBI, 12 doubles, and 10 triples in 2007, his sophomore year ... stole eight bases and had a fielding percentage of .987 in 2007 ... as a freshman, batted .355 with 18 doubles, eight triples and two home runs ... drove in 37 runs with 14 stolen bases in 2006, his freshman season.
Birmingham about Martinez: "He was the top hitter in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference for El Paso Community College and was All-Conference."
Rafael Neda -- C -- 5-11/193 -- Fr./HS - Obregon, Sonora, Mexico/Tucson Amphitheater (Ariz.) HS
Named Kino Conference Player of the Year ... earned All-America and All-State honors ... awarded Catcher of the Year ... received All-Southern Player of the Year ... participated in the Sunbelt Classic and named to all-tournament team ... recognized for scholastic achievement both his junior and senior years ('06 and '07).
Birmingham about Neda: "He is one of the best high school catching prospects in the Southwest. He is a definite eventual draft pick and built like a baby bull."
Coty Wilson -- 1B -- 5-10/195 -- Jr./TR - Waco, Texas/New Mexico Junior College/China Spring HS
Batted .371 his sophomore season in 2007 with 11 doubles, five home runs, and 41 RBI ... was 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts and held a .597 slugging percentage ... hit .286 in six games at the Junior College World Series in 2007 with three doubles and seven RBI ... batted .318 his freshman season ... belted five home runs with 16 RBI in 66 at-bats ... did not commit an error in 21 games ... named second team all-conference in 2007.
Birmingham about Wilson: "He is a left-handed hitter, a designated hitter-type. He has great bat control and power."
New Mexico begins the 2008 season on Friday, Feb. 22, with a four-game series against Eastern Michigan at Isotopes Park.