Ritch Price is banging the drum loudly for the nine 2009 recruits he announced on Tuesday.
"This recruiting class may be the finest in Kansas baseball history," said Price, who has been head of KU's diamond program since 2003.
Of the nine signees, six are from Kansas - including Free State High graduate Travis Blankenship, now at Johnson County CC, and Eudora High's Kelson Boyer, both left-handed pitchers.
Blankenship helped Free State capture the Class 6A state championship in 2006, then posted a 6-2 record with a 2.86 earned-run average in 13 starts for JCCC last spring.
"Travis will provide depth to our staff," Price said, "and can be used as a starter or out of the bullpen."
Boyer went 9-0 with a 1.34 ERA for the Cardinals last spring. He struck out 59 and walked only four while earning All-Frontier League honors.
Boyer doesn't project as an impact player right away, but Price said the Eudora product ": has a live arm and tremendous upside. As he continues to mature physically, he will be a quality guy for us."
Here are thumbnails of the other seven signees:
¢ Jason Brunansky, outfielder from Poway, Calif. A son of former major-league outfielder Tom Brunansky, he hit .371 in 34 games as a junior last spring at Poway High.
Price on Brunansky: "He's an excellent outfielder and a good base-runner with a plus arm who will contend for a starting spot in center field."
¢ Kevin Burk, right-handed pitcher from Warrensburg, Mo. Compiled a 5-3 record with a 1.80 ERA and 48 strikeouts for West Central Conference champions as a junior.
Price on Burk: "We expect him to contribute out of the bullpen as a freshman."
¢ Zach Elgie, first baseman/outfielder from Minot, N.D. Clubbed 34 home runs for Minot's American League team last summer and hit 61 during three-year career. Named MVP of state Legion tournament.
Price on Elgie: "We expect him to hit in the middle of our order and be an impact player immediately."
¢ Jake Marasco, third baseman from Maize. First-team all-stater last spring who has compiled a career .435 batting average with 44 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
Price on Marasco: "Jake is regarded as one of the top hitters in Kansas," Price said. "He'll remind KU fans of former Jayhawk great Ryan Baty."
¢ Colton Murray, right-handed pitcher from Olathe East. Named Sunflower League pitcher of the year after going 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA and fanning 56 in 39 innings. Also plays second base.
Price on Murray: "Colton will be a two-way player who will make an immediate impact."
¢ Lee Ridenhour, outfielder-pitcher from Shawnee Mission West. First-team All-KC Metro pick who batted .493 as junior. Also posted a 5-0 record on mound with a 1.40 ERA and five saves.
Price on Ridenhour: "Lee is a tremendous talent with the potential to contribute immediately."
¢ Thomas Taylor, right-handed pitcher from Blue Valley West. Fanned 61 in 45 innings as a junior while compiling 4-2 record and 3.11 ERA for Class 6A state champs.
Price on Taylor: "He could be in our starting rotation as early as his freshman year."