Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Editor's note: College Baseball Nation is joined by guest writer, Riley Zayas, for coverage of the Texas Collegiate League. Riley Zayas is a high school freshman and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kid reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports magazine and website. He is passionate about all things sports, and can be followed on Twitter at @ZayasRiley.
With the wealth of talent heading into this upcoming season in the Texas Collegiate League (TCL), there will definitely be a strong group of players to look out for who are projected to make a big impact on the various teams.
The TCL has helped develop the skills of hundreds of major leaguers, including current three-time All-Star Matt Carpenter, who went to TCU, two-time World Series champion Brandon Belt, who starred at Texas, and Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta, who is also an alum of TCU.
A significant number of players this season have a good chance of following in the footsteps of those big-leaguers, and getting drafted at some point in the future. That is not based solely on their stats, but also from what pro scouts and experts have noted.
Tim Jackson, who is the general manager of the Round Rock Express and now the Round Rock Hairy Men, even went as far as to say, “The quality of baseball is going to be kids who are playing at the D1 level, and even the lower levels, such as junior college, it is top tier talent,” said Jackson. “Kids who have a really great chance of getting drafted, and if that’s the case, have a good chance of coming back to The Dell Diamond. You’re going to see some really quality talent. I think easily three quarters of this team has a good chance of playing professionally.”
It is a bold statement, but one with a high probability when you look through the rosters. In fact, here is our look at an All-TCL Preseason starting lineup, the best of the best in the TCL, with the college each player represents or will be attending for the 2021 season, the TCL team they are playing for, as well as one key stat from the 2020 season:
C-Vince Ippoliti, West Virginia, Victoria, (6 RBI)
1B-Ryan Hernandez, Houston, Round Rock, (14 RBI over 15 games)
2B-Garrett Gouldsmith, Washington State, Frisco (.965 fielding percentage)
3B-Logan Satori, Texas A&M, Brazos Valley (12 runs scored)
SS- Max Hewitt, Oklahoma State, Tulsa (.410 Batting Average)
OF-Jared McKenzie, Baylor, Round Rock (.406 Batting Average)
OF-Jordan Thompson, Texas A&M, San Antonio (5 HR)
OF- Grayson Tatrow, Abilene Christian, Brazos Valley (.431 Batting average)
DH- Connor Shepherd, TCU, San Antonio, (4 HR)
SP-Austin Smith, Southwestern, Round Rock (14 strikeouts in 3 starts)
RP-Austin Krob, TCU, San Antonio, (0 runs over 11.2 innings pitched)
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