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2021 College Baseball Preseason All-Americans

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Vanderbilt righthander Kumar Rocker, the 2019 Freshman of the Year, and Miami catcher Adrian Del Castillo, the top-ranked college position player in the draft class, highlight the 2021 Baseball America Preseason All-America team.

Baseball America annually polls major league organizations’ scouting departments to vote on the team and asks that they make their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential. In the past, the Baseball America Preseason All-America team has been a predictor both of the first round of the draft and of team success.

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Eleven members of the 2020 preseason first-team became first-round picks last June, including the first seven picks. In all, 16 of the 29 first-round picks were Preseason All-Americans.

Rocker and Florida outfielder Jud Fabian were unanimous first-team selections. Rocker is also one of four players to repeat as Preseason All-Americans. He is joined by Sam Houston State outfielder Colton Cowser, Notre Dame first baseman Niko Kavadas and Miami first baseman Alex Toral. Rocker was a second-team selection in 2020, while Cowser, Kavadas and Toral were all voted to the third team.

Vanderbilt and Louisville lead all teams with four selections apiece. Miami and Vanderbilt are the only teams with two players voted to the first-team.

Baseball America received votes from 16 major league organizations.


FIRST TEAM
Pos.Name, SchoolAVGOBPSLGABHRRBI
CAdrian Del Castillo, Miami.358,478.54753215
1BAlex Toral, Miami.296.435.59354516
2BMax Ferguson, Tennessee.333.462.5244226
3BAlex Binelas, Louisville.143.143.143701
SSMatt McLain, UCLA.397.422.62158319
OFColton Cowser, Sam Houston State.255.379.3645516
OFJud Fabian, Florida.294.407.60368513
OFEthan Wilson, South Alabama.282.329.46571312
UTGrant Holman, California.250.324.33360110
Pos.Name, SchoolWLERAIPSOSV
SPJaden Hill, LSU000.0011.2172
SPJack Leiter, Vanderbilt201.7215.2220
SPTy Madden, Texas301.8025260
SPKumar Rocker, Vanderbilt211.8015280
RPRyan Webb, Georgia201.2015261
UTGrant Holman, California133.2824.2200

Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami

Del Castillo came to campus with a reputation for hitting. He lived up to that billing, hitting .331 with 78 hits, 22 doubles and 72 RBIs—all team-bests for the Hurricanes in his 2019 freshman season. Now perceived as the best pure hitter in the 2021 draft class, Del Castillo combines exceptional barrel accuracy with strike zone discipline (43 walks, 32 strikeouts) but has defensive questions.

Alex Toral, 1B, Miami

Toral struggled against college pitching initially at Miami, posting just a .559 OPS in 33 games as a freshman in 2018. After getting less pull-oriented and less steep in his bat path, Toral cut down his strikeouts and tapped into his massive raw power. In the shortened 2020 season, he hit .296/.435/.593 with five home runs in just 16 games with more walks (13) than strikeouts (nine).

Max Ferguson, 2B, Tennessee

Ferguson has displayed exemplary on-base skills in his 47 games, posting a career .414 on-base percentage even after struggling to a .231 average as a freshman. Ferguson was off to a breakout campaign in 2020 with a .333/.462/.524 line through 13 games. While he won’t be a major home run threat, Ferguson has a quality hit tool and productive speed—13-for-14 in career stolen base attempts.

Alex Binelas, 3B, Louisville

Binelas enters the 2021 campaign as one of college baseball’s most productive power hitters. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound third baseman hit 14 homers as a freshman with 14 doubles. He drives the ball to all fields, and while his operation comes with some swing-and-miss, scouts have high confidence in his hit and power tools. If he proves he can stick at the hot corner, the track record for college third basemen is good.

Matt McLain, SS UCLA

The D-backs drafted McLain in the first round in the 2018 draft, but the two sides couldn’t agree to a deal and the SoCal shortstop headed to UCLA, where he played center field and struggled to a .203/.276/.335 triple slash line. He was off to a much better start in the 2020 season (1.043 OPS) and while he doesn’t boast one standout tool, at his best he does everything on the field at a high level.

Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State

Cowser has more track record than many draft-eligible hitters after a breakout freshman season (.361/.450/.602) landed him on the Collegiate National Team. Cowser has shown an ability to control the zone and limit his strikeouts, with solid run and power tools. He’ll need to prove he’s a center fielder at the next level and hit well enough in the Southland Conference to erase any small-school skepticism.

Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

As his contemporaries were playing their senior seasons in high school, Fabian was starting every day as Florida’s center fielder as a true freshman in 2019. While Fabian still has some pure hit tool and swing-and-miss questions to answer (.250 career average, 22% strikeout rate), he has a high-upside blend of athleticism, power that has been proven with wood, speed and defense and will still be 20 on draft day.

Ethan Wilson, OF, South Alabama

Wilson has a left field profile, which puts plenty of pressure on his bat. Fortunately, he checks off the hit and power tool boxes with bold marks. Wilson’s 17 home runs as a freshman in 2019 broke a program record and he pairs that power with high average (.330) and on-base (.425) numbers. Wilson has real middle-of-the-lineup potential but didn’t get a chance to prove that last summer.

Jaden Hill, SP, Louisiana State

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Hill has the best pure stuff in the 2021 class. His lethal fastball/changeup combination was present in high school, but at LSU he has added a power slider that could be plus and a cutter that gives him a fourth offering. Hill also has impressive athleticism and physicality, but with just 21.1 innings under his belt and limited time as a starter, he needs to prove he can handle that role.

Jack Leiter, SP, Vanderbilt

The son of former big leaguer Al Leiter, Jack was a first-round talent out of high school, but a high price tag meant teams let him get to campus at Vanderbilt. One of the most advanced pitchers as a prep, Leiter’s stuff played in a short college stint (15.2 innings) last spring where he struck out 22 batters and walked eight with a 1.72 ERA. Leiter has a deep, well-rounded pitch mix.

Ty Madden, SP, Texas

Madden has flashed loud starter traits since getting to campus at Texas. He’s filled out his frame to a solid 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and has improved his strike-throwing to better harness one of college baseball’s best fastballs as well as a solid changeup and slider. In four starts last spring, Madden posted a 1.80 ERA with 26 strikeouts to just four walks in 25 innings.

Kumar Rocker, SP, Vanderbilt

Rocker is one of the few collegiate players in the 2021 class who can pair exceptional stuff with a
fairly extensive track record. His 2019 postseason exploits made him one of the more famous college players, and he has real No. 1 starter stuff and upside that could have him selected with the No. 1 overall pick. He has three potential plus offerings along with a workhorse frame.

Ryan Webb, RP, Georgia

Webb has improved in each of the last two seasons with Georgia as a reliever, and increased his draft stock in 2020 after striking out 26 batters to just five walks in 15 innings. He has a career 3.70 ERA in 92.1 innings with a 9.8 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. While most of his time has been spent in the bullpen with the Bulldogs, Webb’s four-pitch mix from the left side and improved command give him a real chance to start at the next level.

Grant Holman, UT, California

Holman was a two-way star in the 2013 Little League World Series, when he was already 6-foot-4 as a 13-year-old. In two college seasons, Holman has also contributed on both sides. He has managed a 4.21 ERA in a mostly starting role while hitting .264/.348/.414 as a first baseman and DH. Holman has recently gotten his fastball into the upper-90s and likely has better pro upside on the mound instead of the batter’s box.

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SECOND TEAM

C -- Henry Davis, Louisville
1B -- Bobby Seymour, Wake Forest
2B -- Robert Moore, Arkansas
3B -- Zack Gelof, Virginia
SS -- Cody Morissette, Boston College
OF -- Christian Franklin, Arkansas
OF -- Sal Frelick, Boston College
OF -- Levi Usher, Louisville

SP -- Ryan Cusick, Wake Forest
SP -- Steve Hajjar, Michigan
SP -- Gunnar Hoglund, Mississippi
SP -- Jordan Wicks, Kansas State
RP -- Jackson Leath, Tennessee
UT -- Spencer Jones, Vanderbilt

THIRD TEAM

C -- Hunter Goodman, Memphis
1B -- Niko Kavadas, Notre Dame
2B -- Darren Baker, California
3B -- Jake Rucker, Tennessee
SS -- Ryan Bliss, Auburn
OF -- Robby Martin, Florida State
OF -- John Rhodes, Kentucky
OF -- Isaiah Thomas, Vanderbilt

SP -- Mason Black, Lehigh
SP -- Richard Fitts, Auburn
SP -- Tommy Mace, Florida
SP -- Mason Pelio, Boston College
RP -- Jack Perkins, Louisville
UT -- Spencer Schwellenbach, Nebraska

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