Seven of the 10 BYU baseball recruits are pitchers from the recent November signing period, including Utahns Austin Deming and transfer Jarod Lessar.
“Over the past few seasons we have been able to sign very athletic guys and this year is no different,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “In the 2018 signing class, we have a good mix of pitchers and position players who have been successful at the high school level, and more importantly they all have the drive to get better.”
Deming was a first-team all-state pitcher and hitter at Snow Canyon High School in Santa Clara. Lessar pitches for Utah State Eastern College in Price and played football for Southern Utah University.
Another Utah signee is Zack Peterson from Bluffdale. He was honorable mention all-state as an infielder at Riverton High School.
Joining Peterson as the other two non-pitching recruits are Ryan Sepede, an outfielder, from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas and Carson Matthews, an All-CIF and two-time all-league infielder from San Clemente, California.
The five other pitchers joining Deming and Lessar are right-handers Cooper Foss (San Diego), Kyle Hall (Henderson, Nevada), Reid McLaughlin (Scottsdale, Arizona) and Jack Sterner (Laguna Niguel, California), as well as left-hander Boston Mabeus (Henderson, Nevada).
Austin Deming, Infielder, RHP, 6-foot-0, 180, Snow Canyon HS, Santa Clara, Utah
He was first-team all-state and a Max Prep MVP. In 2017, he had a .535 batting average, 45 RBIs, nine HR, 14 doubles and a 2-1 record with a 4.90 ERA. He lettered twice in golf. His father played baseball for Southern Utah University. He was recruited by Santa Clara, San Diego State and Duke.
"Austin is a two-way player with tremendous upside both ways," Littlewood said. "His fastball will sit around 90, and he has a bulldog mentality on the mound. Offensively, he has the ability to hit with power, as well as average."
Cooper Foss, RHP, 6-7, 215, Scripps Ranch HS, San Diego, California
Foss captained the Scripps Ranch High School varsity baseball team (San Diego). He was on the Tampa Bay Rays SoCal Scout Team in 2015 and 2016, and then was on the Oakland A’s SoCal Scout Team in 2017. His father pitched at Santa Ana College, and his grandfather played outfield in the Cleveland Indians organization.
"Cooper is a big right-handed pitcher with big upside," Littlewood said. "If Cooper continues to work hard during his senior season and throughout the summer he will have a chance to make a big impact his freshman season."
Kyle Hall, RHP, 6-1, 185, Coronado HS, Henderson, Nevada
He was honorable mention all-state and Second-Team All-Southern Nevada. Hall was also recruited by Mississippi State, San Diego State, Arizona and UC Santa Barbara.
"Kyle is a right-handed pitcher that really knows how to pitch. He has thrown in many big games and has great composure on the mound," Littlewood said. "We expect Kyle to come in and contribute right away."
Jarod Lessar, RHP, 6-4, 225, Utah St. Eastern/Carbon HS, Price, Utah
He played football at Southern Utah University as a defensive end in the spring of 2016 before transferring to Utah State Eastern JC. Lessar posted a 20-13 prep pitching record, including an 8-3 record at Carbon High School in 2015 where he also played football and basketball. He pitched for the Utah state championship American Legion baseball teams in 2013 and 2014 and played in the 3A All-Star game. He was a team captain for baseball and all-region in football at Carbon High. Lessar was also recruited by Southern Utah in football and Utah and Colorado-Mesa in baseball.
"Jarod is a great athlete evidenced by his playing football at SUU. He has made significant strides on the mound over the last year and will continue to do so," Littlewood said. "He will bring valuable college experience. We are excited to get him here. The sky is the limit for his potential."
Boston Mabeus, LHP, 6-2, 213, Coronado HS, Henderson, Nevada
In 2017, he played for the Area Code Reds and in the Perfect Game National Showcase. In 2016, he played for the underclass Area Code Brewers and in the Area Code All-American game. In 2016, he was an honorable mention Perfect Game All-American. His father, Chris, was a right-handed pitcher in the MLB for the A's, Rangers and Brewers and was a two-time All-American at Lewis Clark State. BYU associate head coach Trent Pratt was the catcher for Chris Mabeus in the Alaska League. Mabeus' grandfather played baseball for Yavapai College and Lewis Clark State.
"Boston is a left-handed pitcher with big-time potential. One of the best lefties on the West Coast, he throws 88-90 with a very good breaking ball," Littlewood said. "Boston will go directly out on his mission, but we are looking forward to getting him on campus."
Carson Matthews, Infield, 5-10, 175, Capistrano Valley Christian HS, San Clemente, California
He was two-time First-Team All-San Joaquin League, First-Team All-CIF (Division 4) and a team captain. As a junior, he had a .422 batting average, with five home runs, 21 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. His uncle, Mitch Hoopes, was an All-American punter at the University of Arizona and played in the NFL. He was recruited by Columbia, Stanford, California, Southern California, Virginia and Nebraska.
"Carson is a middle infielder from Southern California. He is a smaller guy that plays much bigger than he is," Littlewood said. "I think he will remind Cougar fans of Dustin Pedroia. Carson will hit with some power and can really run and defend."
Reid McLaughlin, RHP, Utility, 5-11, 165, Desert Mountain HS, Scottsdale, Arizona
He batted 361 with 18 RBIs and 11 doubles in 2017 and batted .400 with 13 RBIs, nine doubles and three triples in 2016. McLaughlin had a 3-2 pitching record in 44 innings with 34 strikeouts in 2017 and a 5-1 record in 31.2 innings with 15 strikeouts in 2016. He was Second-Team 6A Desert Valley Region 2017 Honorable Mention, 6A Desert Valley Region 2016, two-time All-City Scottsdale, AZ Junior Sunbelt Team in 2017, Desert Mountain Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and Desert Mountain Hitter of the Year in 2017. He played for Arizona in the Sunbelt Games and the Warriors Baseball Academy where he was coached by former Major Leaguer Damion Easley. His brother, Drew, played baseball at Dixie State. McLaughlin was recruited by Utah, Utah Valley and Grand Canyon.
"Reid is another two-way guy that we are excited about. He can play both on the infield and in the outfield," Littlewood said. "Reid has great mound presence, commands three pitches and should contribute quickly."
Zack Peterson, Infield, 6-0, 150, Riverton HS, Bluffdale, Utah
Peterson was honorable mention all-state, all-region, Mountain West MVP for his summer league, Riverton High School Player of the Year in 2017 and team captain for 2018. In 2017, he batted .372 with six doubles, two triples and 13 RBIs and was a Perfect Game Preseason underclassmen All-American honorable mention, made all-tournament teams in the 2017 17u Perfect Game World Series and the PG fall national championship. His brother, Trevor, played baseball at Salt Lake Community College and currently plays at Utah Valley University. He was also recruited by Arizona State, Arizona, Utah, Dixie State and Colorado-Mesa.
"Zack is a tremendous athlete from right up the road at Riverton High School where he plays shortstop. He can really hit. It seems like he always hits the ball on the barrel," Littlewood said. "Currently, Zack profiles as a college second baseman, but I see him moving to the left side of the infield eventually.”
Ryan Sepede,OF, 6-0, 205, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, Nevada
In 2017, he batted .333, with 30 RBIs, seven doubles, three triples and six home runs. He was academic all-state and a team captain. His father, Garren, played soccer for UNLV, while his brother, Cameron, played at Salt Lake Community College and currently plays baseball for UNLV.
"Ryan comes to us from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, one of the richest baseball traditions in the country," Littlewood said. "He is an outfielder that we project as a middle of the order bat right away."
Jack Sterner, RHP, 6-5, 225, Dana Hills HS, Laguna Niguel, California
He had five wins and a 2.33 earned run average in 54 innings with 58 strikeouts. He was First-Team All-Sea View League as a junior and honorable mention as a sophomore. He pitched in the National High School Invitational. His brother, Justin, is a RHP freshman on BYU's current team, who recently returned from an LDS Church mission to Samoa. His uncle, Garrett Tujague, was an assistant coach and offensive lineman at BYU and is now an assistant coach at the University of Virginia.
"Jack is another big right-handed pitcher who we are really excited about," Littlewood said. "He already has a great idea on the mound and will be really good here at BYU.”
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at [email protected].