Updated: Jun 24
It’s that time of year again.
With the start of the 2022 college season mere days away, College Baseball Nation is ecstatic to follow up our 2022 All-America Teams with our 1st and 2nd Freshman All-America squads. Once again, the big boys reign supreme with over 80 percent of our selections coming from SEC (11 players), Pac-12 (7), and ACC (7) programs.
This hallowed group of youngsters has some interesting features—there’s an Australian, a center fielder who can approach 100 MPH from the mound, and the son of a former home run king. But most importantly, 2022’s freshman class is loaded with talent.
Rene Lastres, RHH, Florida—With Nathan Hickey having moved on to the pros, Lastres will get every opportunity to win the Gators’ receiving job as an 18-year-old freshman. Don’t be fooled by the baby face—Lastres has a chance to be Florida’s best all-round catcher since Mike Zunino a decade ago. He has immense power, athleticism, and a cannon behind the dish.
Tommy White, RHH, NC State—The 6-00/220 White is not the most nimble or fleet afoot but has a high voltage swing with exceptional barrel awareness and plate discipline. If he continues to tone his body, he could see time at the hot corner, his natural position.
Cody Schrier, RHH, UCLA—Schrier would have gone no later than the 2nd round last July, instead opting to head to Westwood, where he’ll be the starting SS from day one. He offers a full package of tools and could have the same impact with the Bruins that Alex Bregman had at LSU nearly a decade ago.
Alex Mooney, (2023 draft eligible), RHH, Duke—Similar to Schrier, Mooney is expected to be the Blue Devils’ starter at the “6” from the get go and is on track to be a 1st round selection in ‘23 as a sophomore. While he may have to move to the hot corner or 2B at some point during his pro career, Mooney’s lethal bat will play anywhere.
Camden Hayslip (2023 draft eligible), LHH, Alabama—Hayslip put on a show at last June’s draft combine, posting sterling batted ball metrics and surprising onlookers with his athleticism. He has a swing and physique reminiscent of Ryan Klesko.
Malakhi Knight, RHH, UCLA—5-tool, middle-of-the-field players like Knight usually don’t make it to campus. He was another rising freshman who had a banner summer playing against older competition, posting a .313/.431/.482 slash line in the West Coast League.
Will Taylor, RHH, Clemson—Taylor could miss up to the first six weeks of the ’22 campaign due to a knee injury he sustained on the gridiron; however, when he finally does take the field expect to see a legitimate 5-tool threat with better baseball instincts than most dual-sport athletes.
Hunter Hines, LHH, Mississippi State—Though not as heralded coming out of the prep ranks as many players featured in this article, Hines lit it up in Fall Ball to secure a spot in the Bulldogs’ Opening Day lineup. A third baseman in high school, he’ll play more 1B this spring.
Chase Burns, RHP, Tennessee—Burns and his high 90’s cheese and low 80’s curveball made jaws drop in the fall. With ace Blade Tidwell possibly sidelined for the first part of the season, Burns could be looking at a starting role as a freshman.
Carter Holton, LHP, Vanderbilt—The diminutive Holton offers an enticing package that mid-90’s heat and high 70’s deuce with impressive pitch characteristics. He’s a good bet to serve as the Commodores mid-week starter.
Gage Jump, LHP, UCLA—Much like Holton, the 5-10/175 Jump isn’t physically imposing, but, man, can he throw the heck out of the ball. His fastball and curve both break Rapsodo machines while his changeup is an excellent third offering.
Thatcher Hurd, RHP, UCLA—If it looks like the Bruins’ freshman class is loaded that’s because it is. Hurd is a 6-04/205 righty with plenty of athleticism, moxie, and command. It’s only a matter of time before he adds some juice to an already low-90’s, high-spin heater.
Josh Hartle, LHP, Wake Forest—Talk about a match made in heaven—Hartle is a 6-5/195 southpaw who oozes projection at perhaps the most progressive pitching school in the country.
Jacob Cozart, LHH, NC State—Cozart’s offense is ahead of his receiving at this point; however, he’ll be given every opportunity to land the Wolfpack’s starting job as a true freshman.
Grant Hussey, LHH, West Virginia—Hussey burst onto the scene with 18 XBHs and a near .600 SLG in just 31 games in the MLB Draft League’s inaugural campaign.
Travis Bazzana, LHH, Oregon State—As good as Hussey was last summer, Bazzana was even better. The Australian slashed a ridiculous .429/.471/.593 in the West Coast League, opening the eyes of evaluators all over the Pacific Northwest.
Davis Diaz, RHH, Vanderbilt—With possible 1st rounder Carter Young firmly entrenched as the Commodores’ SS for 2022, Diaz, a defensive whiz with a developing bat, will move across the keystone as a freshman.
Casey Saucke, RHH, Virginia—With the sub-arctic temperatures of his native Rochester, NY well behind him, expect Saucke’s game to take off now that he’s in the hot corner factory of Charlottesville. Saucke’s young for his class, not turning 19 until well after the end of the ’22 season.
Michael Robertson (2023 draft eligible), LHH, Florida—If this speedster cracks the starting lineup he could have a similar impact as Enrique Bradfield at Vanderbilt last year. That said, Robertson packs a bit more punch at the same stage.
Braden Montgomery, SH, Stanford—Montgomery’s high 90’s gas will also be featured out of the Cardinal bullpen and could eventually pave the way for a full-time pitching gig.
Jackson Linn, RHH, Tulane—A fast riser last spring, the New England-bred Linn offers a classic RF profile with a strong arm and power bat.
Jackson Baumeister (2023 draft eligible), RHP, Florida State—Scouts love Baumeister’s old-school overhand delivery and ample extension. They’re also enamored by his deluxe 3-pitch mix that features mid-90’s gas with outstanding pitch metrics.
Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas—Smith’s performance this fall combined with Peyton Pallette’s Tommy John surgery significantly increased the likelihood of the southpaw getting the chance to employ his polished repertoire in a weekend starting role.
Eric Hammond, RHP, USC—With a prototypical power pitcher’s build and cheddar clocked as high as 95 MPH, Hammond should initially get his feet wet as a mid-week starter.
Pierce Coppola, LHP, Florida—A 6-08/215 beanstalk, Coppola boasts a rapidly improving pitch selection to go along with plenty of deception. Make no mistake—Coppola is a projection play, but could one day be a premium pick in the mold of former Gators ace A.J. Puk.
Philip Abner (2023 draft eligible), LHP, Florida—Though never mistaken for a jeans model at 6-01/220, Abner is advanced well beyond his years with above average command of a 91-94 MPH heater and high-spin curveball and plenty of funk in his delivery. Had Abner not been plagued by a foot injury last spring, he likely would have been off the board within the first 60 picks.