Written By: Austin Farmer
Follow him on Twitter: @AustinF0421
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The 2023 Shriners Children College Classic marks the third consecutive year that I’ve attended the event. The event was held on the weekend of March 3-5. The teams that competed at this year’s Classic were Louisville, who won the tournament, Texas A&M, Rice, Texas Tech, Michigan, and TCU. Texas A&M had the best fan turn out out of any of the schools. The overall atmosphere of this year didn’t match the electricity of last year that saw a packed house between Texas and LSU, but there was still a solid turnout. A&M, TCU, and Tech all put up good competition while Rice and Michigan were just overmatched.
Louisville won the tournament as they beat all three of their opponents including Texas A&M’s ace Nathan Dettmer and run ruled Michigan on Sunday after seven innings with a 10-0 victory. Rice handed Texas Tech their first loss of the 2023 season with a close 3-2 victory, but was defeated by Texas A&M with a final of 13-1 and then fell to TCU on Sunday with a 7-0 loss. Michigan was swept and was shut out on both Friday and Sunday that ended with an agreed upon run rule after saw with a 10-0 final. Texas A&M and Texas Tech duked it out for 15 innings on Sunday before A&M scored two in the top of the 16th and won it.
Nathan Dettmer – Texas A&M (2023)
I only saw a couple of innings of Dettmer on Friday, since I was driving back and forth for an hour and a half per trip to attend, but he sat 93-95. The velo was there, but Louisville roughed up the righty and it looked like he didn’t have much deception that evening.
Jack Moss – Texas A&M (2023)
Moss had an impressive first two days of the tournament before going hitless in the 16 inning win against Texas Tech. Moss did a good job of using the whole field, and didn’t just pull everything. His bat found the ball and he had a great game against Rice that saw him go 3-4 with two RBI and scored two runs as well.
Jace LaViolette – Texas A&M (2025)
LaViolette has monstrous power for the Aggies with a large frame, standing at 6’6, 230 pounds. He just screams power hitter. He continued to show his plate discipline over the weekend racking up the walks. His bat was quiet on Friday and Saturday, but he had an impressive base knock against Texas Tech that was loud coming off the bat.
Ryan Targac – Texas A&M (2023)
Targac was impressive over the weekend and showed good pop. He played multiple positions and looks like he could be very impressive at second base long term. He hit the ball hard all weekend and found the gap, giving very good extra base hit projection.
Kaeden Kent – Texas A&M (2025)
While Kent’s bat was impressive throughout the weekend, his versatility on the field was even more impressive. He saw time in left, short, and third throughout the weekend. He’s only a freshman this season, and his bat did a good job of finding the ball. There’s a lot to look forward to from the son of five time All-Star Jeff Kent.
Jack Payton – Louisville (2023)
It took one swing for me to get hyped on Jack Payton this weekend. He had the best sound off the bat all weekend while using the entire field and hit the ball hard all 3 days including an oppo-taco on Saturday. Payton also showed a good glove behind the plate and blocked a handful of pitches. Payton should provide 55 power while sticking behind the plate for whatever team that picks him.
Christian Knapzcyk – Louisville (2023)
The Louisville SS is a quick player with a smaller frame. Knapzcyk has projectable tools and is quick around the bases. He also looked promising at short and hit all weekend. His most impressive swing came on Sunday against Michigan when he smoked a ball to the right-center field bullpen that just missed being a ground rule double.
Carson Liggett – Louisville (2024)
Carson Liggett was very impressive during his start on Sunday. His fastball sat 90-93 and he showed deception in his mechanics with short arm action. He showed a four pitch mix and tossed a complete game, one hitter. He utilized his SL/CB more as the game progressed, mixing them in quite nicely. He went 7 innings due to the run rule, but with the ability to mix in his off-speed as he got deeper into the game, he might’ve been able to go all 9.
Elijah Nunez – TCU (2023)
I’ve covered Nunez all 3 seasons he’s been at TCU. This is the second time I’ve seen him at Shriners. His bat was fairly quiet this weekend, but he did a good job getting on base and putting pressure on pitchers while he was on the base paths. He also looked really good in center, showing good read and range. I have every reason to believe that Nunez will stick in center long term and I can see him getting taken around the 5th round this July.
Brayden Taylor – TCU (2023)
Taylor should be the highest player selected in the draft this year that competed at this tournament. He’s played third in the past, but TCU has been using him at short. He sprinkled in some hits throughout the weekend, but he showed off an impressive arm at short. He looked smooth defensively and could stick at short for awhile. Taylor could be a mid-first round pick this year.
Cam Brown – TCU (2023)
Brown had the loudest fastball all weekend. There’s electricity behind it and hits 93-97 mph while mixing in a lot of changeups. He also threw a curveball early on, and it was impressive creating weak ground balls. I would like to see Brown throw it more as he develops. His command is a bit of a concern, but not enough that it’ll keep him out of a starting rotation.
Karson Bowen – TCU (2025)
Bowen has garnered some hype this season with his arm strength behind the plate. He didn’t disappoint making strong throws over the weekend. His bat was a question mark as a prepster, but Bowen hit a homer that just cleared the fences. If his development progresses, he could be a solid day one or day two pick in 2025.
David Bishop – TCU (2024)
Bishop has been known for his glove and flashed it this weekend. He made some nice grabs at first and hustled after foul balls. His bat played this weekend as he made good contact and knocked in some runs for the Horned Frogs.
Gavin Kash – Texas Tech (2024)
Gavin Kash was a name I was interested in going into the weekend but had not seen him yet prior besides clips. He was very impressive and hit the ball hard and also flashed leather at first. Kash has nice athleticism and with continued performance in the 2023 season, he could garner some hype for the 2024 draft class.
Austin Davis – Texas Tech (2023)
Davis’ bat was impressive throughout the weekend, and I think he could be a late day 2 pick, or early day 3 pick this July. His glove looked a bit shaky at second, but it was a small sample size as he DH’d one game. He’s still a name worth marking down here due to his bat. He hit the ball hard and hit a ball deep into the Crawford Boxes on Friday.
Brendan Girton – Texas Tech (2023)
Girton had some of the better velo this weekend as he sat 93-95 and topped at 96 with his FB in his start. He pitches with some effort, and his breaking ball showed potential. Long term, I think he profiles more of a reliever, but I think he should be a solid day 2 pick.
Gage Harrelson – Texas Tech (2025)
Harrelson was the freshman that impressed me the most over the weekend. He hit the ball hard all three games and found the gap. He still looks like he’s on the leaner side, so if he adds another 10 pounds to his frame by the time he’s eligible for the draft, he could provide some serious power for the Red Raiders over the next few seasons.
Tre Richardson – TCU (2023)
I saw Richardson at last year’s Shriners and liked what I saw. This year, he’s in a different uniform after transferring from Baylor, and his athleticism and glove showed once again. He cranked a bomb to the opposite field for his first of the season while making nice plays at second for TCU.
Kurtis Byrne – TCU (2023)
Byrne is a defensive first catcher who has some pop at the plate. He was fairly quiet this weekend, and came in as a pinch hitter on Sunday, but there’s a lot to like about his glove. He also has a good arm behind the dish, and looks like he should stick there for a while.
Justin Long – Rice (2023)
Not an actor, but a relief pitcher for Rice, Long showed the best velo of any Rice pitcher I saw this weekend. His FB sat 93-95 with good life to it and he mixed in good sliders. Long is definitely a relief pitcher, but with performance and his fastball, he could be a solid day 3 pick.
Chris Cortez – Texas A&M (2024)
The only reason why I have Cortez as a sleeper is because of his command. He struggled to throw strikes in his start against Texas Tech. This is his first year as a starter for the Aggies, and the velo has maintained to start the season sitting 95-97 with his fastball and topping at 98. There’s legit potential with his fastball, but I’m still waiting to see more from Cortez until the 2024 draft.
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