Landon Lassiter is a 6-1, 175-pound right handed shortstop from High Point, North Carolina who plays for Lexington (N.C.) North Davidson High School. He is ranked No. 268 nationally in the 2012 class by Perfect Game and is listed as the 6th best prospect in North Carolina. Impact Baseball has Lassiter as the No. 7 prospect in the state. He is the younger brother of Garrison Lassiter, who signed with North Carolina in 2008, but signed with the New York Yankees straight out of high school (and played last season with the Charleston Riverdogs in minor league ball). Lassiter also played varsity basketball at North Davidson his freshman and sophomore seasons.
With a brother four years ahead of him on the circuit, Lassiter hit the North Carolina recruiting radar earlier than most talented prospects. “I would say my sophomore summer at the World Wood Bat down in Atlanta, Ga.,” Lassiter said. “I have always wanted to go to North Carolina and my brother signed with them in ‘08 before signing with the Yankees coming out of high school. It started a little earlier probably because of my brother and because of my play with the Canes.”
Ironically his brother‘s decision to bypass college opened the door for Levi Michael to depart North Davidson early to join the Tar Heels, leaving more playing time for a young Lassiter. “It was a great opportunity,” Lassiter stated. “Obviously we would have been a lot better if Levi had stayed but it was great for UNC to get him and it was a great opportunity for me to play as a freshman and learn how everything works in high school.”
Lassiter was heavily recruited by ACC and SEC schools and chose to sign with North Carolina over South Carolina and Alabama.
Why North Carolina?:
“UNC is just a great school and I have always wanted to go there,” Lassiter said. “They are a great academic school and a great baseball school with outstanding coaches and I could not pass up the opportunity to play for my dream school and I have always wanted to play in Omaha with North Carolina.
“Definitely the baseball field and the coaches,” he added. “Everything they do they do there they do the right way. They do everything respectful and respect everyone around you - the players and everybody. And then the football and basketball games - you just can’t beat it. In my opinion it was the best school that I could have chosen to play baseball at.”
Lassiter is a dynamic athlete on the field. He has smooth footwork and range on defense to go with a quick release and a strong arm. He projects well up the middle of the infield with his build and defense but could easily put on more muscle under the guidance of the strength and conditioning coaches at North Carolina.
Lassiter has a smooth right handed swing and is a line drive hitter that has some pop in his bat to go along with excellent speed on the bases. He can hit to all parts of the field and is an aggressive contact hitter without too many moving parts.
“He is a great athlete with a high baseball IQ,” said North Davidson head coach Mike Meadows. “I think that athleticism has carried him to the top levels of high school ball. I think his IQ is going to pick up from there and learning the game at the D1 level will be key in making any adjustments. He is a great player and can play any position and swings the bat with some pop. He is about a 6.7 or 6.8 60 guy; he can run and has a strong arm so I think that if he can swing it at that level he can fit at any position they need him to play early in his career. There will not be a big learning curve for him since he is a great athlete.
“He has a good work ethic but like every other kid they don’t understand the importance of the weight room. He works out and works out hard but I think when you get to the Division 1 level with the same caliber of talent all around you weightlifting is that one thing that can put you over the top. At our level he makes everyone around him better because they can emulate him. A great example, my son is 13 and instead of me trying to teach him to field a ground ball I can put him behind Landon: 'Just emulate what you see.' Everyone trying to do that has made our infield better.”
Lassiter has seen from his brother’s experience in the minor leagues what one can expect as an 18-year-old entering professional baseball. He said he is excited about the opportunity to play baseball in Chapel Hill and for Coach Mike Fox. “It is dream big, work hard and everything will work itself out,“ Lassiter said. “That is kind of the motto that I have always gone to: 'Dream Big and Work Hard.' Hopefully we will be able to win a national championship there and I will be able to help North Carolina the best I can.”
The professional scouts have already been scouting and contacting Lassiter as they prepare for the 2012 MLB Draft, “I have had a little bit (of interest) but I am not worried about that right now,” he said. “My focus is just getting ready for this high school season and getting myself 100 percent ready to go to UNC and looking forward to going to summer school which starts on June 14.”