Yes, I know I’m a bit late. But I was a little preoccupied with my first book – The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual. Without further adieu, here’s this year’s preseason All-Americans.
C: Kyle Schwarber, Indiana, JR
The lefty-swinging backstop dominated the competition last season, posting a robust Park and Schedule Adjusted .472 wOBA, the eighth highest mark among all collegiate players last season. Above-average power and strong plate disciple/contact skills.
1B: Mike Papi, Virginia, JR
Offensively speaking, Papi had the fourth-best season in 2012, trailing a trio of draft picks – Hunter Dozier, Kris Bryant, and Joe Jackson – in Park and Schedule Adjusted wOBA. Virginia’s first baseman has some of the best plate discipline in college. Gap power could turn into 20+ HRs down the line.
2B: Connor Brown, James Madison, SR
Brown leads a predictably thin class at the keystone. The James Madison senior slugged .341/.465/.592 in 2013, adding 12 doubles, three triples, and nine homeruns.
3B: Landon Lassiter, North Carolina, SO
UNC’s super-soph hit .358/.491/.447 during his first year in college, showcasing an incredible eye at the plate – 16.1% BB-rate – to go with blossoming power. He should be in the running for top pick 2015.
SS: Alex Bregman, LSU, SO
Another player in the running for top pick in 2015, Bregman hit .369/.417/.546 while flashing 25-HR potential as a freshman for LSU last season. Better contact skills than UNC’s Lassiter, though the former’s walk rate comes in at about half that of his counterparts.
OF: Michael Conforto, Oregon State, JR
On top of slugging 26 extra-base hits as a sophomore last season, Conforto saw a tremendous spike in his walk rate, going from 9.3% as a freshman to 13.5%. Look for his strikeout numbers to improve this season. He outfielder could be in the running for the NCAA HR lead.
OF: D.J. Stewart, Florida State, SO
The power has a chance to be an above-average tool for Stewart, who slugged the sixth most doubles in DI action last season with 25. He also added a pair of triples and five homeruns. Stewart finished with a hearty Park and Scheduled Adjusted .448 wOBA. Nice work for a freshman.
OF: Brandon Downes, Virginia, JR
Downes’ numbers in 2013 – .316/.393/.569 – were impressive enough, especially considering Virginia’s tough schedule and home ballpark.
SP: Carlos Rodon, N.C. State, JR
The front runner for the #1 pick this season – giving Astros’ fans dreams of a rotation fronted by back-to-back top picks – Rodon blew away the competition in 2013, striking out 184 and walking 45 in 132.2 innings. Elite-type talent. Legit ace.
SP: Luke Weaver, Florida State, JR
Likely to be overshadowed by Heisman winner Jameis Winston, Weaver, nonetheless, owned one of the top strikeout-to-walk ratios in college baseball, posting a whopping 6.26 K/BB total last season. Once adjusted for Florida State’s tough schedule that number jumps to 6.89 K/9.
SP: Sean Newcomb, Hartford, JR
A big lefty from a small school, Newcomb, who stands a towering 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, punched out 92 and walked 37 in 72 innings of work for Hartford as a sophomore. Intriguing numbers and size, though some skepticism creeps in given the level of competition.
SP: Michael Cederoth, San Diego State, JR
Incredibly unlucky for San Diego State last season, Cederoth’s FIP, 3.13, was more than one full run lower than his actual ERA (4.25). The lean 6-foot-6 right-hander struck out 109 in just 95.1 innings, though he battled some below-average control (4.53 BB/9).
RP: Nick Burdi, Louisville, JR
The elite relief arm in college baseball last season. Burdi’s numbers are on par with Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel: 35.7 IP, 62 Ks, 15.64 K/9, 0.76 ERA, 1.37 FIP. I’m against drafting relief arms early in the draft, but Burdi could very easily find himself in top 10 picks come June.
RP: Jonathan Holder, Mississippi State, JR
Holder’s overall numbers – 1.65 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 14.82 K/9, and 2.80 BB/9 – are just a smidgeon behind Burdi’s, though equally impressive. Another late-inning arm that could find himself in the middle to latter half of the opening round.
C: Mark Zagunis, Virginia Tech, JR
1B: Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State, JR
2B: Jason Blum, S.E. Missouri State, SO
3B: Trea Turner, N.C. State, JR
SS: Brandon Cogswell, Virginia, JR
OF: Caleb Adams, Louisiana-Lafayette, JR
OF: Matt Shortall, Texas-Arlington, SR
OF: Skye Bolt, North Carolina, SO
SP: Aaron Nola, LSU, JR
SP: Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt, JR
SP: Brandon Finnegan, Texas Christian, JR
SP: Thomas Eshelman, Cal State Fullerton, SO
RP: Garrett Cleavinger, Oregon, SO
RP: David Berg, UCLA, JR
C: Conor Joe, San Diego, JR
1B: Sam Travis, Indiana, JR
2B: Ross Kivet, Kansas State, SR
3B: Dustin DeMuth, Indiana, SR
SS: Matt Chapman, Cal State Fullerton, JR
OF: Derek Fisher, Virginia, JR
OF: Bradley Zimmer, San Francisco, JR
OF: Joe McCarthy, Virginia, SO
SP: Justin Garza, Cal State Fullerton, SO
SP: Bryan Radziewski, Miami, JR
SP: Daniel Gossett, Clemson, JR
SP: Andrew Morales, UC Irvine, SR
RP: Ryan Burr, Arizona State, SO
RP: Zech Lemond, Rice, JR
Photo of Alex Bregman Courtesy of Jason Ivester Courtesy of nwaonline.com.