A closer look at Baseball America’s first-team All-Americans
See also: Baseball America’s All-America teams
See also: Player of the Year—A.J. Reed
Three national seeds—Oregon State, Indiana and Louisiana-Lafayette—lead all programs with three All-Americans apiece, including two first-teamers apiece. The SEC leads all conferences with six All-Americans and three-first teamers. The ACC and Big 12 have five All-Americans apiece, followed by the Pac-12 and Big West with four apiece.
The teams are dominated by upperclassmen, with just eight sophomores and no freshmen on the three teams.
C Max Pentecost | Year: Jr.
Pentecost blends power and natural hitting ability with a level of athleticism rarely seen in a catcher. His momentum started building in the Cape Cod League last summer when he won MVP honors and carried into a huge spring. Pentecost ranked second in the nation in both average and total bases, and he was first in hits.
1B Casey Gillaspie | Year: Jr.
The switch-hitting Gillaspie brings a heavy punch from both sides of the plate. Following in the footsteps of older brother and Shockers star Conor Gillaspie, Casey won the Missouri Valley Conference triple crown and led the nation in walks, drawing more than twice as many free passes as he had strikeouts.
2B Jace Conrad | Year: Jr.
Conrad has started every game at second base and been the top run producer for the nation’s heaviest hitting team. Enjoying a breakout junior year, his nine homers this spring nearly doubled his career total from his first two years (five), while his .377 average was a nearly 100 point improvement over his .286 mark from 2013.
3B Dustin DeMuth | Year: Sr.
A third-team All-American last year, DeMuth came back for his senior season with the Hoosiers and didn’t fall off one bit while leading Indiana to a national seed. DeMuth, the Big Ten Conference batting champion, reached base in 54 of his final 55 games and was the national active career leader in hits at season’s end.
SS Trea Turner | Year: Jr.
A disappointing season for his team shouldn’t take any of the shine off Turner. The junior is best known for his basestealing but don’t sell him short in other areas. As dynamic as any player in the country, Turner has the tools to change a game with his bat, finishing fourth in the ACC in homers, or with his glove.
OF Caleb Adams | Year: Jr.
Adams established himself as a slugger last year, hitting 16 homers in 2013, but he’s become a complete player as a junior. Adams stands among the top five nationally in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, making impressive strides with both his patience at the plate and his outfield defense.
OF Michael Conforto | Year: Jr.
Conforto is the best college hitter in this year’s draft class and didn’t let the scrutiny affect him, enjoying another huge year. He has as good a feel for hitting as you’ll find in the college ranks, improving his on-base percentage in each of his three years in school—his .504 OBP this year led the Pac-12 and ranked fifth in the nation.
OF Bradley Zimmer | Year: Jr.
Like Casey Gillaspie, Zimmer followed the path laid out by a star older brother, former Dons pitcher Kyle. The younger Zimmer brother has superb athleticism and took another leap forward with the bat in 2014, ranking among the top 50 in the country in all three slash stats and in the top 10 in triples.
DH Kyle Schwarber | Year: Jr.
One of the cover boys on BA’s college preview issue, Schwarber has spent the last three seasons mashing in the middle of Indiana’s lineup, but he’s a smart hitter as well. He’s had more walks than strikeouts all three seasons at IU and finished this season in the top 20 in homers, runs scored and walks.
UT A.J. Reed | Year: Jr.
What more can be said about our Player of the Year, a guy who wins the national home run title while doubling as his team’s ace? Four times this season, Reed homered and picked up the win on the mound in the same game. He’s a prospect on both sides of the ball, ranking fifth in the SEC in ERA to go with his home run exploits.
SP Kyle Freeland | Year: Jr.
Now that he’s grown more into his body, Freeland has blossomed into one of the country’s premier arms. He cut his ERA by more than half from 4.34 as a sophomore in 2013 to 1.90 this year thanks to an overpowering arsenal, finishing among the country’s top five in both strikeouts and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
SP Nathan Kirby | Year: So.
Kirby’s star was born the night he struck out 18 in a no-hitter at Pittsburgh in early April, but he was consistently dominant as well. The sophomore seized the No. 1 starter role for one of the country’s premier teams by posting 11 straight quality starts to open the year, leading the ACC in ERA and WHIP.
SP Aaron Nola | Year: Jr.
The only repeat member from last year’s first team, Nola was even better as a junior than during his 12-1, 1.57 sophomore season in 2013. Dominating week in and week out as LSU’s Friday starter, Nola allowed two runs or less in all but two of his 16 starts and finished second in the nation in strikeouts.
SP Ben Wetzler | Year: Sr.
Once cleared from a controversial NCAA suspension, the senior Wetzler was simply sensational. He allowed just nine earned runs all season, winning the national ERA title at 0.78. He also went more than a calendar year between losses and will leave Oregon State as the winningest pitcher in program history.
RP Jacob Lindgren | Year: Jr.
Lindgren struggled to a 4-3, 4.18 mark as a starter in 2013 but found a home in the bullpen this spring, his stuff and performance both making strides as the Bulldogs’ ace middle reliever setting up closer Jonathan Holder. Lindgren racked up 100 strikeouts in 55 innings and didn’t allow a home run all season.