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Never Too Early 2023 Top 25



With the draft signing deadline behind us and action in the transfer portal slowing down as players find destinations for this coming school year, rosters around college baseball are starting to firm up for the 2023 season. With that, we present an update to our Never Too Early Top 25 for next spring.

At this stage, Tennessee and Louisiana State stand out as the two favorites on a national level. LSU has had a massive summer, both in terms of shepherding players through the draft and its additions through the transfer portal. Tennessee, meanwhile, returns its premium rotation that helped it this season to lead the nation in ERA.

The Tigers and Volunteers appear to be in a class of their own right now, but several teams are sure to challenge them next year. Stanford and Florida are at the front of that list, but ACC powers like Louisville, Miami and Wake Forest figure to stake their own claim.

We will update the Top 25 as necessary the rest of the summer to account for any further major developments.

Positions listed are based on 2021 playing time, not projected 2022 lineups. Newcomer rankings are from the BA 500, which includes all draft-eligible players.



25 Matches
Expand Collapse All Updated on: 8/5/2022
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    LSU Primary Logo (1)

    Louisiana State

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: RP Riley Cooper, OF Dylan Crews, OF Gavin Dugas, SP Ty Floyd, OF Braydon Jobert, SP Blake Money, 1B Tre’ Morgan, OF Josh Pearson, SS Jordan Thompson
    Projected key departures: 3B Jacob Berry, 2B Cade Doughty, RP Paul Gervase, SP Ma’Khail Hillard, C Tyler McManus, RP Eric Reyzelman
    Projected key newcomers: C Ethan Frey (No. 498), INF/RHP Gavin Guidry (No. 86), RHP Thatcher Hurd (UCLA), C Jared Jones (No. 215), OF Paxton Kling, RHP Christian Little (Vanderbilt), RHP Aiden Moffett (No. 495), C Brady Neal (No. 83), RHP Jaden Noot (No. 71), RHP Chase Shores (No. 90), RHP Adrian Siravo (No. 479), C/RHP Paul Skenes (Air Force), 3B Tommy White (North Carolina State)

    No team has had a better start to the offseason than LSU. The Tigers have been very active in the transfer portal, picking up several impact talents, headlined by two-time first-team All-American Paul Skenes and Freshman of the Year Tommy White. They are bringing to campus what should be the top-ranked recruiting class in the country. Coach Jay Johnson was able to rebuild his staff on the fly after losing both his full-time assistants to Power Five head coaching positions. Hiring pitching coach Wes Johnson away from the Twins, where he held the same role, was especially loud, but bringing in Josh Jordan, the 2018 Assistant Coach of the Year, as recruiting coordinator was also a big move. And those are just the newcomers. LSU returns center fielder Dylan Crews, the co-SEC player of the year and early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. Also back are first baseman Tre’ Morgan and righthander Ty Floyd, as well as a host of other talented players. Put it all together and LSU has made its lofty aspirations clear.

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    Tennessee_Logo.png

    Tennessee

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: SP Drew Beam, OF Blake Burke, SP Chase Burns, RP Kirby Connell, OF Jared Dickey, SP Chase Dollander, 1B Christian Moore, RP Camden Sewell, SP Zander Sechrist
    Projected key departures: OF Jordan Beck, OF Drew Gilbert, RP Ben Joyce, SS Cortland Lawson, 1B Luc Lipcius, 3B Trey Lipscomb, RP Will Mabrey, RP Mark McLaughlin, 2B Jorel Ortega, C Evan Russell, OF Seth Stephenson, SP Blade Tidwell, RP Redmond Walsh
    Projected key newcomers: SS Maui Ahuna (Kansas), 3B Zane Denton (Alabama), OF Griffin Merritt (Cincinnati), OF Alex Stanwich (No. 219), OF Dylan Drelling (No. 336), RHP Caden Marcum (No. 445)

    Tennessee was the runaway No. 1 team of the regular season before getting upset in super regionals by Notre Dame. No team won more games (57) or had a better winning percentage (.864) than the Volunteers. They lost a lot of talent to pro ball, starting with All-Americans Drew Gilbert and Trey Lipscomb. And, yet, Tennessee still figures to again be formidable in 2023. It returns its rotation of righthanders Drew Beam, Chase Burns and Chase Dollander, which should be the best in the nation. Blake Burke, Jared Dickey and Christian Moore are the future of the Vols’ offense and they added a premium talent in shortstop Maui Ahuna, who has impact talent as a hitter and defender. Put it all together and while Tennessee next year might not hit some of the historic highs it did in 2022, it still looks elite.

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    Stanford Updated Logo

    Stanford

    Pac-12
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: 3B Drew Bowser, RP Ryan Bruno, SP Joey Dixon, SP Drew Dowd, 1B Carter Graham, RP Quinn Mathews, OF/RP Braden Montgomery, OF Eddie Park, 2B Tommy Troy
    Projected key departures: 2B Brett Barrera, SS Adam Crampton, C Kody Huff, OF Brock Jones, SP Alex Williams
    Projected key newcomers: C Malcolm Moore (No. 66), RHP Matt Scott (No. 167)

    Stanford has made the last two College World Series and will be looking to make it three straight in 2023. The Cardinal have some key players to replace both on the mound and in the lineup, but they still have plenty of talent to work with. Drew Bowser and Carter Graham will bring thump to the lineup, two-way sensation Braden Montgomery returns as well, and Eddie Park and Tommy Troy bring steady bats. The Cardinal lost Pac-12 pitcher of the year Alex Williams to the draft, but do-it-all lefthander Quinn Mathews unexpectedly returns after not signing as a 19th-round pick. With Mathews back, as well as Ryan Bruno, Joey Dixon and Drew Dowd, Stanford again looks tough on the mound and ready to compete at the top of the Pac-12 and beyond.

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    Florida

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: DH Jac Caglianone, RP Nick Ficarrotta, INF Colby Halter, OF Wyatt Langford, SP Brandon Neely, RP Blake Purnell, C BT Riopelle, SS Josh Rivera, SP Brandon Sproat
    Projected key departures: SP Hunter Barco, OF Jud Fabian, SP Nick Pogue, OF/2B Sterlin Thompson
    Projected key newcomers: RHP Jake Clemente (No. 374), LHP Cade Fisher (No. 221), C Luke Heyman (No. 234), INF Dale Thomas (Coastal Carolina), 1B/RHP Yoel Tejeda Jr. (No. 372), RHP Hurston Waldrep (Southern Mississippi)

    Florida has hosted regionals in back-to-back years but it hasn’t advanced past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament since 2018, when it went to Omaha. After getting some good fortune in the draft, however, the Gators will look to end that drought in 2023. Righthander Brandon Sproat returns to Gainesville after not signing as a third-round pick and Colby Halter, BT Riopelle and Josh Rivera all return as well, despite being draft eligible. Halter’s all-star summer in the Cape Cod League makes his return even sweeter for Florida. With All-American outfielder Wyatt Langford back to anchor the lineup and a 1-2 punch in the rotation of Sproat and righthander Hurston Waldrep, Florida has serious star power. The Gators have some real depth as well and if a player or two like Jac Caglianone, who was limited in 2022 following Tommy John surgery, can take a step forward, they have what it takes to return to the top of the sport.

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    Louisville

    ACC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: 2B Logan Beard, OF Isaac Humphrey, SS Christian Knapczyk, RP Tate Kuehner, C Jack Payton, SP Riley Phillips
    Projected key departures: OF Cam Masterman, 3B Ben Metzinger, SP Jared Poland, RP Michael Prosecky, C Dalton Rushing, OF Levi Usher
    Projected key newcomers: OF Korbyn Dickerson (No. 188), SS Gavin Kilen No. 149), RHP Ethan Patera (No. 401), C Will Vierling (No. 204)

    Louisville bounced back from missing the NCAA Tournament in 2021 to this spring advance to super regionals. The Cardinals will look to keep that momentum going in 2022 with a roster that looks especially strong in the lineup. Their top three hitters—Jack Payton, Christian Knapczyk and Isaac Humphrey—all return and that combination will keep them strong up the middle. Louisville will need to replace its top power threats, but it has the makings of a dynamic offense. It loses its top starter and closer in Jared Poland and Michael Prosecky, but lefthanders Tate Kuehner and Riley Phillips give the Cardinals something to build around. Louisville has a strong recruiting class coming to school and a long history of developing underclassmen into stars. Put it all together, and the Cardinals may be the ACC favorites in 2023.

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    Miami

    ACC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: 1B CJ Kayfus, SP Karson Ligon, 3B Yohandy Morales, SS Dominic Pitelli, SP Alejandro Rosario, RP Andrew Walters, RP Gage Ziehl
    Projected key departures: OF Jacob Burke, SP Jake Garland, RP Alex McFarlane, SP Carson Palmquist, C Maxwell Romero Jr.
    Projected key newcomers: SS Blake Cyr (No. 210), OF Ian Farrow (Florida Gulf Coast), OF Kaden Martin (No. 385), 3B Jason Torres (No. 392)

    The Hurricanes led the ACC for nearly the whole year before slipping down the stretch and ultimately losing at home in regionals. While that ending was disappointing and Miami will have to deal with the losses of ace Carson Palmquist and outfielder Jacob Burke, 2023 comes with great promise. All-American closer Andrew Walters unexpectedly will return and anchor a staff that also brings back Karson Ligon, Alejandro Rosario and Gage Ziehl to form a strong core on the mound. CJ Kayfus, the team’s leading hitter, and Yohandy Morales, the team’s leading slugger, will anchor the lineup and Ian Farrow is an impact transfer who can join them in the heart of the order. This spring will be the third season on campus for Miami’s top-ranked 2020 recruiting class, making this spring a crucial one in Coral Gables.

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    Arkansas Razorbacks Baseball Logo

    Arkansas

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: 3B Kendall Diggs, SP Will McEntire, RP Zack Morris, SP Hagen Smith, DH Brady Slavens, 1B Peyton Stovall, RP Brady Tygart, SP Jaxon Wiggins
    Projected key departures: SS Jalen Battles, OF Chris Lanzilli, 2B Robert Moore, SP Connor Noland, RP Evan Taylor, C Michael Turner, RP Zebulon Vermillion, 3B Cayden Wallace, OF Braydon Webb
    Projected key newcomers: LHP Parker Coil (No. 244), RHP Koty Frank (Nebraska), 3B Jason Jones (No. 186), OF/2B Tavian Josenberger (Kansas), OF/LHP Mason Neville (No. 184), OF Jared Wegner (Creighton)

    The Razorbacks have been one of the most consistent teams in the country for the last six years and 2023 figures to be more of the same. Arkansas loses some key figures, but it has a strong core on the mound with the return of starters Will McEntire, Hagen Smith and Jaxon Wiggins and relievers Zack Morris and Brady Tygart. No matter how the Razorbacks line that group up, they figure to be among the SEC’s best. Offensively, Arkansas will need some new players to step up as it has several holes to fill in the lineup. Peyton Stovall leads the returners after a solid freshman season and slugger Brady Slavens unexpectedly is back after going undrafted. Arkansas has also played well in the transfer portal (again), picking up Tavian Josenberger and Jared Wegner, both of whom can make a quick impact. With that core, the Razorbacks have the makings of another solid lineup.

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    vanderbilt.jpg

    Vanderbilt

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: C Jack Bulger, OF Enrique Bradfield, SP Bryce Cunningham, INF Davis Diaz, SP Devin Futrell, SP Carter Holton, 1B Tate Kolwyck, RP Nick Maldonado, INF Parker Noland, SP Patrick Reilly, RP Thomas Schultz
    Projected key departures: OF Spencer Jones, C/1B Dominic Keegan, RP Christian Little, SP Chris McElvain, OF Javier Vaz, SS Carter Young
    Projected key newcomers: SS R.J. Austin, RHP Andrew Dutkanych, OF Devan Kodali (No. 442), SS Chris Maldonado (No. 338), OF RJ Schreck (Duke)

    Vanderbilt endured a tough 2022, especially by the program’s lofty standards. The Commodores didn’t win 40 games (39), went just 14-16 in the SEC and exited the NCAA Tournament in regionals for the first time since 2016. But there’s plenty of reason to expect a bounce back in 2023. With Bryce Cunningham, Devin Futrell, Carter Holton and Patrick Reilly all returning, Vanderbilt could have a premium rotation. The Commodores also got some good news in the draft, as Nick Maldonado, Grayson Moore and Thomas Schultz all will return, adding even more depth to the pitching staff. The offense is more of a question, outside of All-American center fielder Enrique Bradfield. If Vanderbilt can get talents like Davis Diaz to take a step forward and a bump from returning veterans like Parker Noland, it should have a solid lineup.

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    Wake Forest Logo

    Wake Forest

    ACC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: OF Pierce Bennett, OF Adam Cecere, 2B Danny Corona, SP Josh Hartle, OF Tommy Hawke, 1B Nick Kurtz, SP Rhett Lowder, SP Teddy McGraw, RP Camden Minacci, DH Jake Reinisch, RP Crawford Wade, 3B Brock Wilken
    Projected key departures: RP Gabe Golob, C Brendan Tinsman, SS Michael Turconi
    Projected key newcomers: SS Marek Houston (No. 284), C Bennett Lee (Tulane), RHP Michael Massey (Tulane), LHP Sean Sullivan (Northwestern)

    Few teams in the country can boost as much talent on their 2023 roster as Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons return their full rotation, which could be made up of a trio of first-rounders in 2023 and 2024, as well as closer Camden Minacci. Offensively, Wake figures to lose catcher Brendan Tinsman and shortstop Michael Turconi to pro ball, but should get seven regulars back, including the powerful bats of Nick Kurtz and Brock Wilken and leading hitter Tommy Hawke. The Deacons have further buttressed their roster with savvy additions from the transfer portal, including catcher Bennett Lee. Wake hasn’t won a regional since 2017, but that—if not its first trip to Omaha since winning the 1955 national title—will be the expectation for 2023.

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    ole_miss.jpg

    Mississippi

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: DH Kemp Alderman, 2B Peyton Chatagnier, SP Hunter Elliott, SS Jacob Gonzalez, OF Calvin Harris, RP Josh Mallitz, OF TJ McCants, RP Mason Nichols
    Projected key departures: 3B/OF Justin Bench, SP Dylan DeLucia, SP Derek Diamond, C Hayden Dunhurst, 1B Tim Elko, SP John Gaddis, OF Kevin Graham
    Projected key newcomers: 1B Anthony Calarco (Northwestern), OF Ethan Groff (Tulane), 3B Ethan Lege (No. 376), RHP JT Quinn (No. 116), LHP Xavier Rivas (Indianapolis), RHP Grayson Saunier (No. 181), SS James Smith (No. 283), 3B Judd Utermark (No. 492)

    The reigning national champions lost a lot of talent to professional baseball, but they will again be a strong team in 2023. Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, a potential top-10 pick next summer, and slugger Kemp Alderman will anchor the lineup, and Peyton Chatagnier and TJ McCants also will return to the lineup. Freshman All-American Hunter Elliott is ready to lead the rotation and classmate Mason Nichols will take on a larger role. Ole Miss has added sluggers Anthony Calarco and Ethan Groff in the transfer portal, crucially bolstering the lineup after the loss of veterans Tim Elko, Justin Bench and Kevin Graham. Their leadership and production will be missed but the Rebels again will be among the national contenders.

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    Virginiatech Logo

    Virginia Tech

    ACC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: 3B Carson DeMartini, SP Griffin Green, SP Drue Hackenberg, OF Jack Hurley, RP Jonah Hurney, 2B Eduardo Malinowski
    Projected key departures: 1B Nick Biddison, OF Gavin Cross, RP Kiernan Higgins, C Cade Hunter, SS Tanner Schobel
    Projected key newcomers: SS David Bryant (Radford), RHP Griffin Steig (No. 459)

    The Hokies broke through in 2022 with their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2013 and their first ever appearance in super regionals. While some key pieces of that team are bound for professional baseball, Virginia Tech has staying power. Leading hitter Jack Hurley returns, as does Freshman All-American third baseman Carson DeMartini. On the mound, Virginia Tech should get back its 1-2 punch of Griffin Green and Drue Hackenberg, who this spring helped push it to the top of the ACC. The Hokies haven’t been to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments since 1999-2000 and they have everything necessary to break that streak.

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    Maryland.png

    Maryland

    Big Ten
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: SP Nick Dean, RP David Falco Jr., 2B Kevin Keister, RP Andrew Johnson, 3B Nick Lorusso, OF Ian Petrutz, SP Jason Savacool, SS Matt Shaw, C Luke Shliger, OF Bobby Zmarzlak
    Projected key departures: OF Chris Alleyne, 1B Maxwell Costes, SP Ryan Ramsey, OF Troy Scheffler Jr.
    Projected key newcomers: LHP Kyle McCoy (No. 357), OF Matt Woods (Bryant)

    Maryland this year won the Big Ten title and hosted regionals for the first time in program history. The Terrapins have the potential for another standout season in 2023. All-American Chris Alleyne and slugger Maxwell Costes move on, but they get six regulars back from the lineup that ranked fifth nationally in scoring. Matt Shaw is starring in the Cape Cod League this summer and leading hitter Luke Shilger returns. On the mound, Maryland will have a premium 1-2 punch in the rotation as righthanders Nick Dean and Jason Savacool return. Veteran reliever David Falco Jr. and high-end freshman Kyle McCoy add more quality to the pitching staff.

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    texas_a_m.jpg

    Texas A&M

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: DH Austin Bost, RP Chris Cortez, SP Nathan Dettmer, RP Will Johnston, 1B Jack Moss, RP Brad Rudis, 2B Ryan Targac, 3B Trevor Werner
    Projected key departures: C Troy Claunch, SP Micah Dallas, RP Jacob Palisch, OF Dylan Rock
    Projected key newcomers: LHP Matt Dillard (Sam Houston State), INF Hunter Haas (Arizona State), RHP Carson Lambert (Southern California), LHP Jesse Lamkin (No. 246), OF Jace LaViolette (No. 222), C Joe Powell (Cincinnati), SS Stanley Tucker (No. 329)

    Texas A&M this spring reached the College World Series in coach Jim Schlossnagle’s first season in College Station. The Aggies have some big holes to fill from that team and have gone back to the transfer portal to bolster their roster, a strategy that was especially fruitful in 2022. Between the newcomers and returners like Jack Moss and Austin Bost, their top two hitters, and Nathan Dettmers, their No. 1 starter, the Aggies again figure to be among the SEC’s best. One challenge will be how to replace lefthander Jacob Palisch, who evolved into one of the best bullpen aces in the country after joining A&M as a grad transfer from Stanford.

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    NEWUCLALOGO.png

    UCLA

    Pac-12
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: SP Kelly Austin, SP Jake Brooks, RP Ethan Flanagan, 2B Ethan Gourson, RP Luke Jewett, RP Gage Jump, 3B Kyle Karros, OF Malakhi Knight, C Darrius Perry, SS Cody Schrier, RP Alonzo Tredwell
    Projected key departures: OF Michael Curialle, SP Thatcher Hurd, OF Kenny Oyama, OF Jake Palmer, SP Max Rajcic
    Projected key newcomers: OF Payton Brennan (No. 218), LHP Ben Jacobs (No. 342)

    UCLA had a young roster in 2022 following the arrival of the top-ranked recruiting class in the country. That led to some up-and-down moments and plenty to look forward to in 2023 and beyond. UCLA lost righthander Max Rajcic in the draft and righthander Thatcher Hurd, who spent a month in the rotation before he was injured, transferred to Louisiana State. But the Bruins unexpectedly bring back righthander Jake Brooks, who fronted the rotation much of the season, and have plenty of depth beyond him. They could end up with the top pitching staff on the West Coast, with the likes of Ethan Flanagan, Luke Jewett, Gage Jump and Alonzo Tredwell joining Brooks in key roles. UCLA was not an offensive power in 2022 and now loses leading hitter Michael Curialle, but infielders Ethan Gourson, Kyle Karros and Cody Schrier form a solid core. If a couple other young players take a step forward, UCLA has tremendous upside.

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    TCU Logo Dark

    Texas Christian

    Big 12
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: 1B David Bishop, SP Cam Brown, C Kurtis Byrne, OF Elijah Nunuez, RP River Ridings, RP Luke Savage, 3B Brayden Taylor, RP Garrett Wright
    Projected key departures: SP Riley Cornelio, SP Austin Krob, SP Marcelo Perez, SS Tommy Sacco, SP Brett Walker
    Projected key newcomers: OF Austin Davis (West Virginia), RHP Hunter Hodges (UNC Wilmington), LHP Chase Hoover (No. 163), SS Fisher Ingersoll (No. 333), RHP Kade Morris (Nevada), INF Tre Richardson (Baylor), SS Anthony Silva, RHP Sam Stoutenborough (California)

    TCU this spring won the Big 12 in Kirk Saarloos’ first season as head coach and the Horned Frogs are poised to again contend in 2023. TCU will have to replace its rotation and leading hitter Tommy Sacco, but it still has a talented roster. The Horned Frogs will need their transfer portal additions to step up on the mound, but with the likes of Cam Brown, Kade Morris and a stout bullpen, they have a chance to have the best pitching staff in the conference. Offensively, third baseman Brayden Taylor will anchor the lineup and Elijah Nunez provides speed at the top of the order, but TCU will need someone to step up to fill Sacco’s big shoes.

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    OSU Brand Primary RGB

    Oklahoma State

    Big 12
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: SS Marcus Brown, OF Zach Ehrhard, RP/3B Nolan McLean, 1B David Mendham, 2B Roc Riggio
    Projected key departures: SP Justin Campbell, DH Griffin Doersching, RP Trevor Martin, SP Victor Mederos, SP Bryce Osmond, RP Roman Phansalkar, OF Jake Thompson, OF Caden Trenkle
    Projected key newcomers: RHP Will Carsten (No. 419), RHP Gabe Davis (No. 199), RHP Janzen Keisel (Brigham Young), LHP Brennan Phillips (No. 194), OF Nolan Schubart (No. 380), LHP Trenton Shaw (No. 314), RHP Juaron Watts-Brown (Long Beach State)

    Oklahoma State has a lot of turnover coming out of this season with players like Justin Campbell and Victor Mederos on their way to pro ball, but the Cowboys still have a strong foundation. Marcus Brown was steady all season at shortstop and Roc Riggio came on strong in the second half, earning Freshman All-America honors. Oklahoma State unexpectedly got back two-way star Nolan McLean after he didn’t sign as a third-round pick. It also picked up one of the best pitchers in the transfer portal in righthander Juaron Watts-Brown, two moves that will be important as it rebuilds its pitching staff. Getting its new-look pitching staff to gel will be critical to the Cowboys’ success in 2023.

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    auburn_logo.jpg

    Auburn

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: RP Chase Allsup, RP John Armstrong, 2B Cole Foster, SP Joseph Gonzalez, OF Kason Howell, C Nate LaRue
    Projected key departures: SP Mason Barnett, SP Trace Bright, RP Blake Burkhalter, DH Brooks Carlson, 1B Sonny DiChiara, SS Brody Moore, SP Hayden Mullins, 3B Blake Rambusch, RP Carson Skipper
    Projected key newcomers: LHP Zach Crotchfelt (No. 428), C Ike Irish (No. 174), 1B Justin Kirby (Kent State), 1B Cooper McMurray (Kansas), RHP Hayden Murphy (No. 171), OF Chris Stanfield (No. 172)

    Auburn bounced back from a difficult 2021 season to advance to Omaha in 2022, reaching the CWS for the second time in three seasons. Expect the Tigers to again be tough in 2023, but they must replace All-American slugger Sonny DiChiara and some high-powered arms on the mound. Righthander Joseph Gonzalez is ready to lead the rotation and they have a lot of depth returning in the lineup. Mix in some talented newcomers and Auburn won’t be sneaking up on anyone next spring.

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    Oregon State

    Pac-12
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: 2B Travis Bazzana, RP Ryan Brown, RP Ben Ferrer, 1B Garrett Forrester, SP Jaren Hunter, SP Jake Kmatz
    Projected key departures: OF Justin Boyd, SP Cooper Hjerpe, C Gavin Logan, OF Wade Meckler, OF Jacob Melton, SP Jake Pfennigs
    Projected key newcomers: SS Dallas Macias (No. 220), OF Gavin Turley (No. 85)

    Oregon State this spring fell just shy of Omaha but still had a strong season and could be in line for more of the same in 2023. The Beavers will have the difficult task of replacing a pair of first-team All-Americans in Cooper Hjerpe and Jacob Melton. Oregon State will get back a lot of talent, however. Freshmen like second baseman Travis Bazzana, closer Ryan Brown and starter Jake Kmatz will be asked to take on bigger roles in their second year in Corvallis. The Beavers have recruited well under Mitch Canham and added another premium freshman this year in outfielder Gavin Turley. Now it will be time for some of those younger players to take the lead for the Beavers.

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    Southern Miss Logo

    Southern Mississippi

    Sun Belt
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: SS Dustin Dickerson, OF Reece Ewing, SP Tanner Hall, 3B Danny Lynch, OF Carson Paetow, 1B Christopher Sargent, OF Slade Wilks
    Projected key departures: RP Landon Harper, OF Gabe Montenegro, RP Garrett Ramsey, SP Hunter Riggins, RP Dalton Rogers, RP Tyler Stuart, SP Hurston Waldrep
    Projected key newcomers: OF Matthew Etzel (No. 250), LHP Tyler Martin (Nebraska)

    Southern Miss this spring finished first in Conference USA and advanced to super regionals for the first time since 2009. While that was an older, veteran team, the Golden Eagles will return several key players. That starts with first-team All-American righthander Tanner Hall, who should be one of the best pitchers in the country next year. Hall does lose his rotationmates Hunter Riggins and Hurston Waldrep, but Southern Miss still returns a lot of depth from a pitching staff that ranked second nationally in team ERA and should again be strong on the mound. The Golden Eagles will lose outfielder Gabe Montenegro, whose 319 hits rank second all-time in program history, but could return the rest of the lineup. Southern Miss has moved to the Sun Belt and could be in for a special year.

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    virginia_cavs.jpg

    Virginia

    ACC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: DH Ethan Anderson, RP Matthew Buchanan, SS Griff O’Ferrall, 3B Jake Gelof, OF Casey Saucke, C Kyle Teel, RP Jay Woolfolk
    Projected key departures: SP Brian Gursky, RP Brandon Neeck, OF Chris Newell, 1B/RP Devin Ortiz, SP Nate Savino, OF Alex Tappen, RP Matt Wyatt
    Projected key newcomers: RHP Harrison Cohen (George Washington), OF Thomas Courtney (Pennsylvania), RHP Brian Edgington (Elon), SS Henry Godbout (No. 353), RHP Jack O’Connor (No. 231), OF Ethan O’Donnell (Northwestern), RHP Nick Parker (Coastal Carolina), LHP Donovan Zsak (No. 461)

    Virginia had a top-15 offense in 2022 and the lineup again looks to be the Cavaliers’ strength in 2023. Five regulars return from the lineup, including All-American Jake Gelof, Team USA member Kyle Teel and Freshman All-Americans Griff O’Ferrall and Casey Saucke. Where the Cavaliers have more questions is on the mound. They’ll have to reset their rotation, but with top relievers Matthew Buchanan and Jay Woolfolk back and a couple key newcomers arriving in Charlottesville, Virginia should have enough firepower in its pitching staff to contend in the ACC.

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    North Carolina

    ACC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: SP Max Carlson, C Tomas Frick, 3B Mac Horvath, OF Vance Honeycutt, 1B Alberto Osuna
    Projected key departures: 2B Mikey Madej, RP Caden O’Brien, RP Davis Palermo, RP Shawn Rapp, SP Brandon Schaeffer, SS Danny Serretti, OF Angel Zarate
    Projected key newcomers: LHP Nelson Berkwich (Vanderbilt), RHP Michael Colonna, RHP Matthew Matthijs

    UNC this spring won the ACC Tournament and hosted regionals and will look to build on that momentum despite taking some tough hits in the draft. The good news for the Tar Heels starts with the return of All-American outfielder Vance Honeycutt, who hit 25 home runs and stole 29 bases as a freshman. UNC lost its three leading hitters, but with Honeycutt at the heart of the lineup, as well as infielders Mac Horvath and Alberto Osuna, it will have plenty of firepower. On the mound, the Tar Heels leaned on the 1-2 punch of Brandon Schaeffer and Max Carlson in the rotation and a deep, talented bullpen. Carlson is back to lead the rotation, but new pitchers will have to step up in 2023.

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    Oregon

    Pac-12
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: SP Isaac Ayon, DH Drew Cowley, SP RJ Gordon, 2B Gavin Grant, RP Logan Mercado, OF Colby Shade, OF Tanner Smith, 1B Jacob Walsh
    Projected key departures: OF Anthony Hall, SS Josh Kasevich, SP Adam Maier, 1B Brennan Milone, RP Kolby Somers
    Projected key newcomers: DH Owen Diodati (Alabama), SS Carter Garate (No. 195), RHP Matthew Grabmann (No. 489), RHP Cade Halemanu (Hawaii), OF Dominic Hellman (No. 304), OF Tafton Hensley (No. 432), INF/OF Towns King (Samford), RHP Josh Mollerus (San Francisco), 2B Rikuu Nishida, 3B Drew Smith (No. 214), RHP Turner Spoljaric (No. 403)

    Oregon has taken steps forward under coach Mark Wasikowski and now looks like a consistent Top 25 team. While the Ducks lose a lot of talent this year, they have a solid core returning. Injuries on the mound this year pressed Isaac Ayon and RJ Gordon into big roles and they return with more experience and the help of some key newcomers like righthanders Cade Halemanu and Josh Mollerus. Offensively, Oregon will undergo a lot of turnover, but it gets several regulars back, like Tanner Smith, and if someone like slugger Jacob Walsh can take a step forward, the Ducks have a lot of upside.

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    Texas_Logo.gif

    Texas

    Big 12
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: OF Dylan Campbell, 2B Mitchell Daly, RP Andre Duplantier II, SP Lucas Gordon, RP Luke Harrison, OF Eric Kennedy, SP Tanner Witt
    Projected key departures: C Silas Ardoin, SS Trey Faltine, SP Pete Hansen, OF Douglas Hodo III, 1B Ivan Melendez, 3B Skyler Messinger, RP Aaron Nixon, OF Murphy Stehly, SP Tristan Stevens, RP Joshua Stewart, OF Austin Todd
    Projected key newcomers: OF Max Belyeu (No. 168), OF Porter Brown (TCU), SS Jalin Flores (No. 89), RHP Pierce George (No. 439), C Garret Guillemette (Southern California), RHP Charlie Hurley (Southern California), RHP Heston Tole (Arkansas)

    Things will look very different in Austin in 2023. The Longhorns stand to lose as much talent as nearly any team in the country, starting with Player of the Year Ivan Melendez. But Texas has recruited at a high level and still has the firepower to contend in the Big 12. The Longhorns look the strongest on the mound, where lefthander Lucas Gordon figures to move to the front of the rotation with the likes of Andre Duplantier II, Luke Harrison and Lebarron Johnson Jr. helping him out. Righthander Tanner Witt could also give the Longhorns a boost, if he is able to make a good recovery from Tommy John surgery. The offense is more of a concern for Texas and it will need some new faces to step up in the lineup.

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    ecu_logo.jpg

    East Carolina

    AAC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: OF Lane Hoover, OF Jacob Jenkins-Cowart, 1B Josh Moylan, RP Trey Yesavage
    Projected key departures: SS/RP Zach Agnos, SP Ryder Giles, SP C.J. Mayhue, C Ben Newton, RP Carter Spivey, RP Ben Terwilliger, OF Bryson Worrell
    Projected key newcomers: RHP Tyler Bradt (Virginia MIlitary Institute), LHP Zachary Root (No. 394)

    East Carolina has hosted four straight regionals and advanced to super regionals three straight times. The Pirates have achieved remarkable consistency as they have established themselves as the team to beat in the American Athletic Conference. So, while they do lose a lot of talent from this year’s team, they should still be well positioned to contend in 2023. ECU lost Zach Agnos and Bryson Worrell, but Lane Hoover and Jacob Jenkins-Cowart will keep the lineup strong. The pitching staff will have a bit of a new look, but there won’t be a shortage of talented arms for the Pirates to call on. Look for another solid all-around season from ECU.

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    New Mississippi State Logo

    Mississippi State

    SEC
    Notes:

    Projected key returners: OF Kellum Clark, 1B Luke Hancock, DH Hunter Hines, SP Preston Johnson, RP Pico Kohn, SP Cade Smith
    Projected key departures: OF Brad Cumbest, 3B Kamren James, RP Drew Talley, C Logan Tanner, 2B RJ Yeager
    Projected key newcomers: BHP Jurrangelo Cijntje (No. 259), LHP Tyler Davis (Virginia Commonwealth), RHP Nathan Dohm (Ball State), RHP Landon Gartman (Memphis), C Ross Highfill (No. 257), RHP Colby Holcombe (No. 157), OF Dakota Jordan (No. 377), INF Amani Larry (New Orleans), OF Colton Ledbetter (Samford), LHP Brady Loftin (No. 264), RHP Aaron Nixon (Texas)

    Mississippi State had a brutal 2022 season, as it finished last in the SEC and missed the NCAA Tournament a year after its College World Series triumph. But SEC West rivals Auburn and Texas A&M this year showed just how quickly teams can turn things around. Like those teams a year ago, Mississippi State has played heavily in the transfer portal this summer and its incoming transfers and recruits give it a strong crop of newcomers to join with some quality returners. The Bulldogs will have a lot of work to do to go from nine SEC wins to the NCAA Tournament and beyond, but the upside is clear. Freshman All-American slugger Hunter Hines is back to anchor the lineup and Preston Johnson, Pico Kohn and Cade Smith bring a lot of experience back to the mound. If newcomers like righthanders Landon Gartman and Colby Holcombe bring instant impact, Mississippi State can make a leap forward in 2023.

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