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College Top 150 Players Ranking

Graphic Spencer Torkelson Zachlucyfourseam 1
Spencer Torkelson (Photo by Zach Lucy/Four Seam Images)

At Baseball America, our lists almost always reflect prospect status. We stack players up based on how they rate on MLB draft boards or on future professional potential.

This year, however, we are introducing a new ranking: the Top 150 College Players.

Our intent with this list is to rank the most valuable players in the country, period. All classes, all positions, all conferences. Just the 150 most valuable players in the country. We based it on production, countless conversations with coaches around the country and our expectations for the 2020 season. To say there isn’t some prospect status baked in would be disingenuous because that information is always floating around our heads. But it wasn’t front of mind while putting this list together.

This is intended to be a forward-looking list, not a career-achievement award. There are freshmen and junior college transfers on the list. Frankly, they were hard to rank. But we know freshmen and junior college transfers will be among the most valuable players in college baseball this season. In some ways, it is best to think of it as a watch list for Baseball America’s Player of the Year award.

Arizona State leads all schools with seven players on the list, including top-ranked first baseman Spencer Torkelson. Florida, Miami, UCLA and Vanderbilt, the reigning national champion, all have six players on the list.

150 Matches
See Full List Expand Collapse All Updated on: 2/13/2020
  1. 1

    Spencer Torkelson

    Arizona State 1B
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .351/.446/.707, 242 AB, 23 HR, 66 RBI
    The Skinny: Torkelson comes into the 2020 season as a contender to be selected with the first overall pick after two seasons as one of the most feared sluggers in college baseball. His massive sophomore season was preceded by one that saw the first baseman break the Barry Bonds-held Arizona State record for home runs in a season by a freshman with 25. In a lineup full of mashers poised to lead ASU into its most highly-anticipated season in nearly a decade, Torkelson stands head and shoulders above the rest.

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  2. 2

    Austin Martin

    Vanderbilt 3B
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .392/.486/.604, 268 AB, 10 HR, 46 RBI
    The Skinny: A toolsy player upon enrolling at Vanderbilt in time for the 2018 season, Martin put everything together in an All-American sophomore season in 2019. His overall numbers turns heads on their own, but more impressive is his .424/.500/.610 slash line against SEC competition. A versatile defensive player, Martin can hold his own anywhere on the infield, in addition to left and center field, and with 40 steals over two seasons, he’s a threat on the bases. Nearly half of his 2019 home runs came in the super regional round or later on the Commodores’ run to a national title, perhaps offering a preview of a power surge to come in 2020.

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  3. 3

    Kumar Rocker

    Vanderbilt RHP
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 12-5, 3.25 ERA, 99.2 IP, 114 K, 0 SV
    The Skinny: Rocker’s freshman season got off to a bit of a slow start as he found his footing at the college level, but as the calendar turned to April, he began to fire on all cylinders, culminating in a run for the ages in the postseason. After striking out 19 in a no-hitter against Duke in the super regional round, he surrendered one run in six innings to Mississippi State in his College World Series debut and then followed that up with one run allowed in 6.1 innings against Michigan in a must-win game 2 of the CWS final. With all of that on his resume, Rocker has put himself in good position to be the number one overall pick in the 2021 draft.

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  4. 4

    Emerson Hancock

    Georgia RHP
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 8-3, 1.99 ERA, 90.1 IP, 97 K, 0 SV
    The Skinny: After an up-and-down freshman season that saw him end up with a 5.10 ERA, Hancock came out of the gate on fire in 2019 and never slowed down. In his four non-conference starts combined, he allowed one run in 24 innings of work, and then got SEC play started by striking out 12 against South Carolina and throwing eight innings of two-hit, one-run baseball against Louisiana State. In the end, his 1.99 ERA was third-lowest in the SEC among qualifying starters and is the lowest in that same group among pitchers returning to campus this season. With another campaign like the last, Hancock will put himself in position to be the first arm off the board in the 2020 draft.

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  5. 5

    Nick Gonzales

    New Mexico State 2B
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .432/.532/.773, 220 AB, 16 HR, 80 RBI
    The Skinny: New Mexico State hitters putting up gaudy numbers in the thin Las Cruces air is nothing new, but Gonzales is on another level. His batting average led the country in 2019, and his absurd 1.305 OPS shows that it was far from an empty stat. Already possessing impressive raw talent that made evaluators stand up and take notice, Gonzales went out on the Cape and raked, cementing his place as a first-round talent for the upcoming draft.

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  6. 6

    Asa Lacy

    Texas A&M LHP
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 8-4, 2.13 ERA, 88.2 IP, 130 K, 0 SV
    The Skinny: Lacy took a big step forward as a sophomore in 2019. As a freshman, he was a quality piece out of the Aggies’ bullpen, putting up a 2.75 ERA in 39.1 innings of work, but in his second season, he blossomed and set the stage for him to become the latest in a long line of A&M staff aces turned high-round draft picks. His ERA and strikeout total were both good for sixth or better among qualifying SEC pitchers and his opponent batting average of .162 was best in the league.

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  7. 7

    Reid Detmers

    Louisville LHP
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 13-4, 2.78 ERA, 113.1 IP, 167 K, 0 SV
    The Skinny: Louisville’s lefty ace piled up strikeouts at an incredible clip in 2019, as his 167 punch outs placed him second in the country, behind only Mississippi State’s Ethan Small, who had 176. He continued his dominance over the summer as a member of Team USA by leading the squad in ERA at 0.69 and tossing five shutout innings against Japan as part of a combined one-hit shutout. In 2020, Detmers will be one half of a fearsome one-two rotation punch with righthander Bobby Miller on a Cardinals team with national title aspirations.

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  8. 8

    Heston Kjerstad

    Arkansas OF
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .327/.400/.575, 266 AB, 17 HR, 51 RBI
    The Skinny: Like teammate Casey Martin, Kjerstad took to college baseball immediately, hitting .332/.419/.553 with 14 home runs on the way to Freshman All-American honors before putting up a similarly outstanding encore performance as a sophomore. His partnership with Martin in the middle of the Razorbacks’ order will go a long way toward putting Arkansas back on the path to Omaha.

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  9. 9

    Casey Martin

    Arkansas SS
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .286/.364/.548, 283 AB, 15 HR, 57 RBI
    The Skinny: Martin burst onto the scene in a big way as a freshman in 2018, hitting .345/.418/.556 to earn Freshman All-American honors at third base. The 2019 season saw Martin shift to his left to man shortstop, and after getting off to a relatively slow start offensively, with his average sitting below .240 as late as March 22, he turned it on as the Razorbacks got into the thick of conference play. Outside of his batting average, his sophomore season numbers ended up in the neighborhood of those he put up in his first season, all while proving more than capable of handling the more demanding defensive position.

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  10. 10

    JT Ginn

    Mississippi State RHP
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 8-4, 3.13 ERA, 86.1 IP, 105 K, 0 SV
    The Skinny: A 2018 first-round pick who spurned the Dodgers to attend Mississippi State, Ginn lived up to every bit of the hype as a freshman. He announced himself as a force to be reckoned with in his second and third starts, when he threw seven shutout innings against Southern Miss and then followed that up with two runs allowed in seven innings against Texas Tech. He took some lumps in SEC play, but came up huge in his biggest start of the year, throwing six shutout innings against Louisville in the College World Series.

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  11. 11

    Garrett Mitchell

    UCLA OF
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .349/.418/.566, 258 AB, 6 HR, 41 RBI
    The Skinny: As a freshman, Mitchell had a .668 OPS and struck out nearly four times as often as he walked. As a sophomore, his OPS spiked to .984 and his walks increased from 11 to 27, all while his strikeouts increased by just one, from 40 to 41. For good measure, he also swiped 18 bases in his second season. So suffice it to say that Mitchell enjoyed a breakout as a sophomore. In a 2020 UCLA lineup that will be without Michael Toglia, Ryan Kreidler, Chase Strumpf, and Jake Pries, Mitchell will take on more of a starring role, but it seems a safe bet that he’ll be able to handle it.

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  12. 12

    Patrick Bailey

    North Carolina State C
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .288/.390/.513, 236 AB, 10 HR, 46 RBI
    The Skinny: Coming into his NC State career, Bailey was universally lauded for his defensive skills behind the plate. Two years later, he has continued to turn heads as a defender, has proven his ability to handle a pitching staff, and he has answered questions about his offensive skills by putting up two incredibly productive years in Raleigh. With a career .303/.403/.553 slash line with 23 homers and 86 RBI, it’s clear that he is the type of well-rounded catcher that can help carry a team deep into the postseason.

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  13. 13

    Max Meyer

    Minnesota RHP/OF
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 5-3, 2.11 ERA, 76.2 IP, 87 K, 2 SV; .256/.323/.314, 121 AB, 1 HR, 12 RBI
    The Skinny: Meyer has done a bit of everything for the Gophers. As a freshman, he was one of the nation’s best closers, putting up a 2.06 ERA and 16 saves. Last season, he began in the bullpen, but quickly transitioned to the rotation as the team’s Friday starter and excelled in that role as well. To top it off, he emerged as a regular in the lineup. This time around, Meyer will go into the season expected to be the team’s Friday starter and primary DH from the jump, as the Gophers look to compete for their second Big Ten title in three years.

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  14. 14

    Daniel Cabrera

    Louisiana State OF
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .284/.359/.516, 225 AB, 12 HR, 50 RBI
    The Skinny: Although Cabrera spent the first two years of his career sharing an LSU outfield with Zach Watson and Antoine Duplantis, he stood out on his own because he started hitting the ball hard the minute he stepped inside Alex Box Stadium and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to his career .300/.382/.500 slash line with LSU, he hit .300 as a member of Team USA in the summer of 2018 and was an All-Star on the Cape with Harwich this past summer, proving that he hits wherever he goes.

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  15. 15

    Aaron Sabato

    North Carolina 1B
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .343/.453/.696, 230 AB, 18 HR, 63 RBI
    The Skinny: Going into UNC’s series with Clemson in early-March, Sabato was hitting just .175 with one home run. But from that point forward, the freshman was one of the best power hitters in the Atlantic Coast Conference. A draft-eligible sophomore, Sabato will look to have a massive second year in Chapel Hill and follow in the footsteps of California’s Andrew Vaughn, the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, and Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson as right-handed first basemen able to mash their way into high draft picks, even in the face of their limited defensive versatility.

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  16. 16

    Austin Wells

    Arizona C/OF
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .353/.462/.552, 221 AB, 5 HR, 60 RBI
    The Skinny: Wells earned first-team Freshman All-American honors last season after a monster first year in Tucson and then followed that up with a huge summer on the Cape, where he hit .308 with 13 doubles and seven home runs. He’s a patient hitter who walked more than he struck out last season and he shows some athleticism on the bases, proven by going 6-for-6 in stolen bases and legging out a team-leading seven triples in 2019. He also provides value defensively behind the plate, where he flashes a plus throwing arm. Wells will be a player to watch ahead of a highly-anticipated season for the Wildcats.

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  17. 17

    Alika Williams

    Arizona State SS
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .333/.429/.474, 213 AB, 4 HR, 53 RBI
    The Skinny: Williams came to Tempe as a slick-fielding shortstop who was more of a question mark offensively. That profile was largely borne out during his freshman season, but he made a jump with the bat as a sophomore, raising his batting average 53 points, his on-base percentage 96 points, and his slugging percentage 141 points, all while increasing his output as a base stealer and holding his position as perhaps the best defensive infielder in college baseball right now. Williams has emerged as a dynamic all-around talent on an Arizona State squad teeming with them.

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  18. 18

    Justin Foscue

    Mississippi State 2B
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .331/.395/.564, 275 AB, 14 HR, 60 RBI
    The Skinny: In a 2019 Mississippi State lineup that featured college baseball folk heroes like Jake Mangum and Elijah MacNamee, Foscue established himself as one of the team’s primary run producers. His productive sophomore campaign was a big step up from his first season in 2018, when he hit .241/.332/.353. Foscue spent the summer playing for Team USA and will return to Starkville to serve as a key cog in the lineup for a Bulldogs team that will once again have national title aspirations.

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  19. 19

    Nick Loftin

    Baylor SS
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .323/.380/.502, 235 BA, 6 HR, 41 RBI
    The Skinny: Along with 2019 first-round picks Shea Langeliers and Davis Wendzel, Loftin has been a key piece of the Baylor program turnaround under Steve Rodriguez. After splitting time between shortstop and left field as a freshman all while hitting .306/.370/.441, he took over at shortstop full-time last season and not only handled the role with aplomb, but took a step forward at the plate as well. He’ll go into 2020 with a chance not only to extend the Bears’ regional streak to four, but also to join Langeliers and Wendzel as early draft selections.

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  20. 20

    Jordan Westburg

    Mississippi State SS
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .294/.402/.457, 265 AB, 6 HR, 61 RBI
    The Skinny: The New Braunfels, Texas, native was another Mississippi State hitter who enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign. A .248/.319/.388 slash line in Westburg’s freshman season turned into .294/.402/.457 in year two, all while handling the shortstop position in the always-tough Southeastern Conference. He continued to hit over the summer, with a .326 batting average for Hyannis on the Cape. Westburg will be a part of what will again be a stacked MSU lineup in 2020.

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  21. 21

    Alex Binelas

    Louisville 3B
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .291/.383/.612, 206 AB, 14 HR, 59 RBI
    The Skinny: Binelas’ Louisville career got off to a bit of a slow start. He went 2-for-19 to start the season and didn’t really get full-time at-bats until the season was a month old. But he turned his season around from there on the way to earning Freshman All-American honors. He’ll be a primary run producer for a Louisville team looking to get to Omaha in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2013 and 2014.

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  22. 22

    Adrian Del Castillo

    Miami C/OF
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: .331/.418/.576, 236 AB, 12 HR, 72 RBI
    The Skinny: Del Castillo moved all around the diamond for the Hurricanes in 2019, spending some time in left field, third base, and catcher, along with some starts at designated hitter. But no matter what position got penciled in next to his name on the lineup card, he mashed, leading him to a spot as a Freshman All-American. In 2020, he is slated to take over catching duties full-time for the Canes in a season with Omaha expectations.

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  23. 23

    Tanner Burns

    Auburn RHP
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 4-4, 2.82 ERA, 79.2 IP, 101 K, 0 SV
    The Skinny: There might not be a junior pitcher at a power conference program who has been as productive through two seasons as Burns. Even supremely talented pitchers, like Emerson Hancock, have some growing pains as freshmen, but that wasn’t really the case with the Auburn righty. In his first season, he put up a 3.01 ERA, 77 strikeouts, and a .225 opponent batting average in 86.2 innings. Then he improved those numbers in year two with a 2.82 ERA, 101 strikeouts, and a .218 opponent batting average in 79.2 innings.

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  24. 24

    Garrett Crochet

    Tennessee LHP
    Video
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 5-3, 4.02 ERA, 65 IP, 81 K, 3 SV
    The Skinny: Crochet’s elite raw ability, including an arm that can run his fastball into the high-90s, isn’t a question. His place as a potential first-round pick in the draft, his time with Team USA over the summer, and some stats, like his 81 strikeouts in 65 innings in 2019, prove that out. But while he has been solid in a number of roles for the Volunteers in his two seasons, he has yet to put everything together during a spring season. The hope is that 2020 will be that season.

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  25. 25

    Carmen Mlodzinski

    South Carolina RHP
    Notes:

    2019 Stats: 0-0, 5.91 ERA, 10.2 IP, 11 K, 0 SV
    The Skinny: The South Carolina righthander is high on this list for a couple of reasons. For one, the stuff is absolutely there. He can run his fastball into the mid-90s and he possesses a wipeout breaking ball. Secondly, he spent his summer dominating the Cape after missing nearly all of the Gamecocks’ 2019 season with a broken foot. With Falmouth, he struck out 40 and walked just four in 29.1 innings. His body of work in just 56.1 innings over two seasons will raise questions about what to expect in the spring, but the tools are there for Mlodzinski to give South Carolina an ace as good as almost any in the SEC in 2020.

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