Stars win. Nowhere is this more evident than college baseball, where seven of the top eight ranked teams boast players who are among the top 20 draft prospects for 2021 as determined by College Baseball Nation. And we should probably mention that Florida, Vanderbilt, and Louisville employ an additional eight players combined from our 2021 Top 50 Draft Prospects list.
That prospect palette still not satiated? Well, then, consider Texas Tech, the only team within the “great eight” not to have a top 20 2021 draft prospect on its roster. Its most promising player will likely be a 1st rounder next year. We could continue, but we’ll let you see for yourselves how prospect heavy the best teams in our sport are.
Jud Fabian, OF (draft eligible in 2021): The Gators are loaded, but Fabian’s 5-tool mix, relative youth, and established track record rocket him past his teammates.
Matt McClain, 2B/SS (2021): After a rough freshman campaign, McClain’s strong performance last season and monster summer with the Santa Barbara Foresters have him back on track.
3. Texas Tech
Jace Jung, 3B/2B (2022): Jung also had a productive summer in Santa Barbara, where his compact swing produced line drive after line drive to all fields.
Jack Leiter, RHP (2021): Of course many people would like to see Kumar Rocker here, but Leiter’s superior command and better fastball metrics give him the nod . . . by a nose.
5. Ole Miss
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP (2021): A 1st round pick out of high school, Hoglund’s a model darling with exceptional command and still has plenty of room to fill out his 6-05/205 frame.
Christian Franklin, OF (2021): Though a bit undersized, Franklin is a high-voltage athlete coming off a strong fall. His hit and power tools have improved drastically.
Alex Binelas, 3B (2021): Binelas shows no signs of the broken hamate bone he sustained in February and if he’s able to prove he can stick at 3B, he’ll be a top-10 pick.
8. Mississippi State
Eric Cerantola, RHP (2021): Cerantola, a native Canadian who has a fastball that approaches 100 MPH and a wipeout curveball, and lefty Christian MacLeod will form the backbone of the Bulldogs’ dominant pitching corps.
Riley Cornelio, RHP (2021): Cornelio was a consensus top-100 prospect out of a Colorado high school two years ago. A draft eligible sophomore in 2021, he could hear his name called on the first night of the festivities.
10. Florida State
Robby Martin, OF (2021): Martin started hitting the day he arrived in Tallahassee and hasn’t stopped. If the changes he made to his body during the pandemic prove sustainable, he may play himself into the 1st round.
Chris Newell, OF (2022): Get used to hearing Newell’s name. He’s a 5-tool stud who was putting up video game numbers prior to the cancellation of last season.
Ty Madden, RHP (2021): Madden currently has more helium than any other pitcher in the country. He hit 99 MPH in the fall and displayed solid command of his other offerings.
Jaden Hill, RHP (2021): While it was tempting to list freshman slugger Dylan Crews here, Hill’s durable frame and electric arm have many calling him the 3rd best college pitching prospect.
Ryan Holgate, OF (2021): Holgate and his immense power will be the fulcrum of a Wildcat lineup that will no longer be with slugger Austin Wells. Keep an eye on freshman OF Chase Davis.
15. Georgia Tech
Kevin Parada, C (2022): Varitek, Wieters, Bart . . . Parada. The Californian would have been a surefire 2nd round pick this year but instead will head to Atlanta where he’s poised to be the next in a long line of premium backstops. Parada will be draft eligible as a sophomore in 2022.
Ethan Murray, SS (2021): Murray is an old-school, no-frills shortstop who catches everything and makes good contact.
17. Wake Forest
Ryan Cusick, RHP (2021): Wake Forest is quickly developing a reputation as one of the nation’s most progressive pitching schools (see Shuster, Jared), and the strapping Cusick may very well be the next success story with his mid-90’s, metric-friendly fastball.
Jonathan Cannon, RHP (2021): Cannon is still a blank canvas, but if he’s able to harness his atomic arsenal he’s a future front-of-the-rotation big league starter.
Bryson Worrell, OF (2021): DH Thomas Francisco has the club’s best hit tool, 1B Josh Moylan has power oozing out of his pores, and 2B Connor Norby is the heart and soul of the lineup; however, Worrell’s 5-tool potential is tantalizing.
20. Arizona State
Tyler Thornton, RHP (2021): The loss of Spencer Torkelson, Alika Williams, and Gage Workman to the pros robbed ASU of most of its star power, but expect the mature Thornton to anchor a deep Sun Devils pitching staff.
Alfredo Ruiz, LHP (2021): Ruiz and his pinpoint control, Adam Seminaris, and Luis Ramirez will form the nucleus of the most underrated pitching staff on the West Coast.
Rodney Boone, LHP (2021): Though Boone doesn’t boast the premium velocity of other pitchers on this list, his pitch metrics are exceptional and should catapult him ahead of guys with better radar gun readings.
23. NC State
Jose Torres, SS (2021): Torres is a gem defensively, and if his bat catches up to his glove, he’ll be a slam-dunk 1st rounder in July.
Adrian Del Castillo, C/OF (2021): Next to Leiter, Del Castillo, by virtue of his polished bat, is probably closest of all 2021 college draftees to the bigs, but he’ll probably have to change positions first.
Alex Freeland, SS (2022): As a rising freshman, Freeland hit nearly .400 with a sterling 18/10 BB/K ratio in the Florida Collegiate Summer League. He’ll be a draft eligible sophomore in 2022.