On February 3rd, College Baseball Nation introduced its first ever Freshman All-America Teams for 2021. Because of the COVID-19-inspired shortening of the 2020 MLB Draft to just five rounds, many top prospects who would have normally entered pro ball instead honored their college commitments. The result has been a loaded true freshman class, which increased the necessity to release the following “just missed” list.
Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest—A physical third sacker in the Troy Glaus/Scott Rolen mold, Wilken has crazy power at the plate and cannon arm in the field. On a team with an impressive array of upperclassmen sluggers, Wilken’s performance in the fall stood out.
Chad Born, OF, Miami—Born hails from California, home to prior Hurricane stars Pat Burrell and Ryan Braun, and he very well may follow in their footsteps in Coral Cables. He outperformed household names like Adrian Del Castillo and Alex Toral to win Miami’s Fall Ball MVP as well as a spot in Coach Gino DiMare’s starting lineup.
Mario Zabala, OF, FIU—Zabala is the toolsiest freshman in the nation, with Perfect Game citing his physical resemblance to a young Raul Mondesi and 6.32 60-yard dash time. Zabala’s hit tool is a question mark, but between FIU and summer ball, he’ll have 1000 PAs to iron out the kinks. If he does, he’ll be an early 1st round pick in 2023.
Ryan Bruno, LHP, Stanford—Stanford has taken a slight step back from when it was known as Pitching U at the turn of the century; however, Bruno reminds college baseball aficionados of the “good old days” at The Farm. He can maintain his mid-90’s velocity into the late innings and has strong secondary offerings.
Kyle Teel, C, Virginia—After withdrawing from the 2020 draft, Teel had a strong summer as a rising freshman in the competitive Northwoods League, posting a .740 OPS with three home runs. Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor maintained Teel will have ample opportunities behind the plate this spring for a loaded Cavaliers squad.
Patrick Reilly, RHP, Vanderbilt—Reilly and his mid-90’s fastball impressed Coach Tim Corbin and his staff in the fall. The New Jersey native should pitch plenty of high-leverage innings out of the bullpen this spring.
Brody Drost, OF, LSU—Though he’s been in the shadow of Dylan Crews, arguably the nation’s best freshman bat, Drost asserted himself in the fall and continued to do so in early spring scrimmages. The 6-02/200 left-handed hitter has routinely posted impressive exit velocities and played well in the outfield.
Brandon Fields, OF, South Carolina—A star running back on the gridiron, Fields is a multi-tooled CF whose fate was sealed last spring when MLB decided to restrict the draft to five rounds. He’s given up football and will concentrate solely on baseball going forward. The 6-01/200 Fields will be draft eligible as a sophomore in 2022.
Mac Horvath, 3B, North Carolina—Much like former Tar Heel (and current Dodgers farmhand) Michael Busch, Horvath is a Minnesota native with a developed hit tool. He has the quick reflexes and strong arm necessary for full-time duty at the hot corner. Horvath will also be a draft eligible sophomore next year.
Max Carlson, RHP, North Carolina—The younger brother of Mariners farmhand Sam Carlson is in the mix for a weekend job. Carlson is not as physical as his big brother but offers a similar power arsenal.