Nov. 22, 2002
SEATTLE - Eight high school seniors have signed National Letters of Intent to attend and play baseball at the University of Washington, head baseball coach Ken Knutson announced today. The eight future Huskies signed during the early signing period, which began Nov. 13.
Seven of the eight are from the state of Washington. They are all slated to enroll in the fall of 2003 and will be a part of the 2004 Husky baseball team. The signees are: James Allan (Gresham, Ore./Sam Barlow), Billy Boyer (Enumclaw), Andy Hill (Okanogan/Brewster), Matt Lane (Port Angeles), Richie Lentz, (Woodinville), Tim Lincecum (Issaquah/Liberty), Tyler Mach (Kent/Kentlake) and Kyle Parker (Yakima/West Valley).
"I think we had a really successful early signing period," Knutson said. "Potentially, this class has the opportunity to be the best we've had in my 11 years here. We feel like we signed the best players in the state. Every one of these guys has a chance to contribute early in their careers.
"We thought this year was a very good year for pitching in the state," Knutson continuted, "and we feel like we signed the best arms in the state."
Allan, a first baseman and right-handed pitcher on Coach Steve Stebbins' Sam Barlow High team, is the lone non-Washingtonian in the group. " He's got tremendous power at the plate," Knutson said. "He's a middle-of-the-order type of hitter. He's big and strong and he's also got a good fastball. We'll try him both on the mound and at first base."
Boyer started at shortstop for Coach Dan Hennessey at Enumclaw High as a freshman, though he missed his sophomore season due to injury. "We had him as the best middle infielder in the state and the best overall position player," Knutson said. "He's a total package player. He can beat you with his legs, his bat and his glove."
Hill, a right-handed pitcher, attended Okanogan High last year but has transferred to Brewster for the upcoming season. He had "Tommy John" elbow surgery on his throwing arm and missed most of last season. "Prior to the injury, he was a top prospect in the northwest," Knutson said. "He's made progress to come back and we're confident he will. Most young guys come back from that surgery these days."
Lane, a catcher at Port Angeles, helped the team to the final eight in the state tournament last season. "Matt's a left-handed hitting catcher with a lot of raw power," Knutson said. "He reminds me of (all-time UW home run leader) Ed Erickson at the plate. He's got a chance to be a really offensive power hitter. He's been dominant at the high school level. We rate him as having the best left-handed power potential in the state."
Richie Lentz, younger brother of former standout UW third baseman Ryan Lentz, led Coach Terry Agnew's Woodinville High team to the state 4A championship last spring. He's probably the No. 1 prospect in the state as far as the upcoming draft goes. Team One Baseball lists him as the No. 43 overall prospect in the nation and lists his fastball as the No. 5 high-school fastball in the country. Baseball America has previously listed him among the nation's top 10 high school prospects in the 2003 draft.
Lentz was 2-0 with a 3.64 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched for Woodinville last year. He also played outfield, and was a standout at the plate. He hit .378 with three homer, 28 runs batted, eight doubles, and was 18-for-18 stealing bases.
"Richie is the guy that will have the most interest from the pros," Knutson explained. "We feel like he's committed to college unless he's drafted extremely high. He's an impact freshman and he's a two-way player. He's got a power arm. I've seen a fastball as high as 94 and a very good slider."
Lincecum went 4-2 with four saves and a 0.85 ERA last spring as a right-handed pitcher for Coach Glen Walker at Liberty High. Lincecum had an Eastside-best 83 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched. He earned first-team All-Kingco and All- Eastside honors.
"Tim's another power arm. He's a little guy with a really fast arm," Knutson explains. "He has very good mechanics and he throws in the low 90s. He's going to be a strikeout pitcher at the college level. His height and size may possibly keep him out of the top of the draft, but he should still be drafted pretty high. But we expect him to make a big impact as a freshman."
Mach, who projects as a college third baseman, plays shorstop at Kentlake and starred for Taylor Baseball over the summer. He led the South Puget Sound League in both runs and RBI as a sophomore in 2001. "We thought Tyler was the best hittter in the state," said Knutson. "One of our goals each year is to try and get the best hitter in the state and he was our guy this year. He profiles as a guy in the middle of the order."
Parker is a right-handed pitcher under coach Klayton Wyckoff at Yakima's West Valley High, alma mater of former UW All-America and current Cleveland Indian Chris Magruder.
"Parker is another quality arm with a 90 mile-per-hour fastball," Knutson says. "He's very well developed for a high school pitcher. He's had a lot of success and should be an impact pitcher as a freshman. He should also attract a lot of interest from pro baseball. Kyle is very athletic with a fast arm."
The 2003 Huskies begin spring practice next January and then open the season at a tournament at Pepperdine next February 7.