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College Baseball Programs With The Most Players On 2020 MLB Opening Day Rosters

The MLB season opened this weekend to the delight of many around the game. Included in that group are many in college baseball who beyond just wanting to watch the highest level of baseball also have a rooting interest as they keep a close eye on their former players.

Cal State Fullerton had the most former players on Opening Day active rosters with 12, just ahead of North Carolina's 11. It is the second straight year Fullerton has held that honor. In 2019, the Titans had 10 players on Opening Day rosters, matched by Long Beach State. North Carolina ranked sixth with seven.

There were 185 four-year colleges represented on Opening Day rosters, from Akron to Wright State. Eighty-nine of those schools produced multiple big leaguers this season.

This count credits players only for their final college season before they went to pro ball. Players who began their careers at junior colleges but were drafted out of a four-year school are counted, but not the reverse. This count also only includes players on the active roster, not players on the injured list or the taxi squad.

Here's the full breakdown by school. 

Cal State Fullerton12
North Carolina11
Mississippi State8
South Carolina7
Arizona State6
Texas A&M6
Fresno State5
Notre Dame5
Oregon State5
Missouri State4
San Diego4
Southern California4

Cal State Fullerton—12

Reds RHP Michael Lorenzen, Astros C Dustin Garneau, Astros RHP Chris Devenski, Angels RHP Noe Ramirez, Dodgers RHP Dylan Floro, Marlins C Chad Wallach, Mets 3B J.D. Davis, Athletics 3B Matt Chapman, Athletics OF Khris Davis, Dodgers 3B Justin Turner, Nationals C Kurt Suzuki, Reds INF Christian Colon.

It speaks to the program’s consistency through the years that Fullerton has 11 big leaguers on Opening Day rosters from all different eras of Titan baseball. Pitching is the bread and butter of the program, but there are also a number of accomplished position players in this group.

North Carolina—11

Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen, Brewers RHP Mike Morin, Phillies RHP Trevor Kelley, Pirates C Jacob Stallings, Pirates 3B Colin Moran, Mariners 3B Kyle Seager, Blue Jays RHP Trent Thornton, Rockies RHP Daniel Bard, Yankees C Chris Iannetta, Cardinals LHP Andrew Miller, Blue Jays LHP Brian Moran

North Carolina’s numbers were bolstered this season by the inspiring story of Daniel Bard, who overcame a case of the yips to break back into the big leagues after seven years. There is a veteran feel to this group, with the presence of longtime MLB players like Chris Iannetta and Andrew Miller.

Louisiana State—9

Tigers OF JaCoby Jones, Astros 3B Alex Bregman, Yankees 2B D.J. LeMahieu, Phillies RHP Aaron Nola, Giants RHP Kevin Gausman, Mariners C Austin Nola, Rangers RHP Nick Goody, Nationals OF Andrew Stevenson, Nationals RHP Will Harris

The Tigers boast some of the best players going in MLB these days, with two all-star level hitters in Bregman and LeMahieu and a workhorse starting pitcher in Nola. Without as many of the accolades, Harris has also emerged as one of the best at what he does as a reliever.


Braves SS Dansby Swanson, Braves RHP Kyle Wright, Reds C Curt Casali, Reds RHP Sonny Gray, Dodgers RHP Walker Buehler, Athletics OF Tony Kemp, Pirates Bryan Reynolds, Giants OF Mike Yastrzemski, Rangers LHP Mike Minor

Had it not been for injuries to the Braves’ Phil Pfeifer and Giants’ Tyler Beede, and for the Dodgers’ David Price opting out, Vanderbilt likely would have had 12 alumni on Opening Day rosters. As it is, it’s still an impressive group that reflects the Commodores’ continued excellence at putting loads of talent into pro baseball.

Mississippi State—8 

Red Sox 1B Mitch Moreland, Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff, Yankees RHP Jonathan Holder, Pirates 2B Adam Frazier, Pirates RHP Chris Stratton, Mariners RHP Kendall Graveman, Cardinals RHP Dakota Hudson, Rays OF Hunter Renfroe

The Mississippi State group is fairly pitching heavy, but all three of the hitters on the list are accomplished big leaguers. Moreland has been a fixture at this level for 11 years now, Frazier just began his fifth season and Renfroe is entering his first season with the Rays but fourth season as a full-time power bat.


Red Sox OF Andrew Benintendi, White Sox C James McCann, White Sox LHP Dallas Keuchel, Marlins 3B Brian Anderson, Marlins RHP Ryne Stanek, Giants LHP Drew Smyly, Rays LHP Jalen Beeks

Andrew Benintendi and Dallas Keuchel lead a really solid group of Razorbacks' big leaguers. Those two are the headliners, but McCann was an all-star in 2019, Stanek has emerged as an effective reliever, Smyly has pitched for five clubs over seven years in a number of roles and Anderson finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2018.


Braves OF Adam Duvall, White Sox OF Adam Engel, Tigers RHP Kyle Funkhouser, Dodgers C Will Smith, Yankees RHP Chad Green, Pirates RHP Nick Burdi, Rangers OF Nick Solak

Louisville’s list leans heavily on the recent wave of players it has put into pro baseball, highlighted by the debuts of Kyle Funkhouser, Will Smith, Nick Burdi and Nick Solak, all within the last several years.

South Carolina—7

Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker, Diamondbacks RHP Taylor Widener, Red Sox OF Jackie Bradley, Jr., Tigers C Grayson Greiner, Royals 2B/OF Whit Merrifield, Brewers 1B Justin Smoak, Cardinals LHP Tyler Webb

South Carolina was the toast of college baseball at the start of the last decade, winning back-to-back national titles in 2010-11 and reaching a third consecutive College World Series final in 2012. With those players now populating big league rosters, it’s no surprise to see the Gamecocks on this list.


Orioles 3B Pat Valaika, Reds RHP Trevor Bauer, Indians RHP Adam Plutko, Angels RHP Griffin Canning, Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole, Giants C Tyler Heineman, Giants SS Brandon Crawford

The presence of Cole and Bauer is going to make UCLA’s list of alumni among the most impressive one can put together. Having a longtime starter at shortstop in Brandon Crawford and an exciting young arm in righthander Griffin Canning makes it even better.

Arizona State—6

Diamondbacks OF Kole Calhoun, Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly, Cubs 2B Jason Kipnis, Dodgers C Austin Barnes, Brewers 2B Eric Sogard, Pirates RHP Trevor Williams

The dean of Arizona State products in MLB, Dustin Pedroia, is absent from this list due to injury, but it’s still an impressive showing for the Sun Devils. It seems to be a safe assumption that this list will grow significantly in the coming years as all of ASU’s 2020 draftees, led by Spencer Torkelson, make their way through the minor leagues.


Cubs SS Nico Hoerner, Angels C Jason Castro, Athletics RF Stephen Piscotty, Padres RHP Cal Quantrill, Giants OF Austin Slater, Cardinals SS Tommy Edman

There is a real mix of eras here for Stanford, with Jason Castro having played on The Farm from 2006-2008 and Nico Hoerner having done so just two years ago for a Cardinal team that was the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas A&M—6

Braves LHP A.J. Minter, Reds LHP Brooks Raley, Indians OF Tyler Naquin, Dodgers RHP Ross Stripling, Mets RHP Michael Wacha, Athletics RHP Daniel Mengden

Texas A&M has developed a ton of pitching in recent years, which shows on its list of alumni. Wacha, after seven productive seasons with the Cardinals, is entering his first year with the Mets, while Stripling has emerged as an extremely valuable, versatile piece of the puzzle for the Dodgers.

Texas Christian—6

Diamondbacks 1B Kevin Cron, Diamondbacks, RHP Stefan Crichton, Diamondbacks LHP Alex Young, Tigers LHP Tyler Alexander, Phillies RHP Jake Arrieta, Cardinals 3B Matt Carpenter

Although their respective 2019 seasons weren’t their best, TCU’s list will always stand out so long as Jake Arrieta and Matt Carpenter, two of the most productive players in the game over the last five to seven years, are on it.


Angels 1B Matt Thaiss, Dodgers OF Chris Taylor, Phillies Adam Haseley, Giants OF Joe McCarthy, Blue Jays OF Derek Fisher, Nationals LHP Sean Doolittle

Ryan Zimmerman opting out of the 2020 season made Virginia’s list a tad bit shorter, but this is still a very solid list full of productive players at the major league level, including one of the best relievers in the business in Sean Doolittle.


Diamondbacks RHP Kevin Ginkel, Phillies 3B Scott Kingery, Pirates SS Kevin Newman, Rangers OF Rob Refsnyder, Braves RHP Mark Melancon

Mark Melancon, a three-time all-star, is the elder statesman of a list that also includes young position players in Scott Kingery and Kevin Newman who are just beginning to come into their own as regulars at the big league level.


Mets 1B Pete Alonso, Giants RHP Shaun Anderson, Cardinals OF Harrison Bader, Rays C Mike Zunino, Braves RHP Darren O’Day

Pete Alonso, one of the brightest young stars in baseball, headlines the Gators’ list, which was as affected as any by injuries. Had it not been for players held out with various ailments, UF would have had eight players listed. As it is, the Gators have already added one more, with righthander Brady Singer, the 2018 College Player of the Year, debuting Saturday for the Royals.

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Fresno State—5

White Sox RHP Jimmy Lambert, Indians OF Jordan Luplow, Angels OF Taylor Ward, Mets LHP Justin Wilson, Yankees OF Aaron Judge

Even with its national title in 2008, Fresno State is a name you might not have expected to see on this list, especially when you consider that Justin Wilson was the only player of the five who played on that championship-winning team. Aaron Judge adds some serious star power to the group.


White Sox C Zack Collins, White Sox C Yasmani Grandal, Tigers RHP Bryan Garcia, Diamondbacks OF Jon Jay, Brewers OF Ryan Braun

With accomplished careers behind them already, Ryan Braun, Jon Jay and Yasmani Grandal have been carrying the UM flag for a long time in the major leagues. Zack Collins and Bryan Garcia, both drafted in the last several years, bring some new blood to the group.


Angels RHP Mike Mayers, Brewers RHP Bobby Wahl, Padres LHP Drew Pomeranz, Rangers RHP Lance Lynn, Blue Jays RHP Jacob Waguespack

It’s all arms for Ole Miss. Lance Lynn started on Opening Day for the Rangers and was dominant as he begins his ninth season in the big leagues. All told, it’s an impressive array of pitchers that have come through Oxford.

Notre Dame—5

Dodgers OF A.J. Pollock, Brewers RHP David Phelps, Mariners C Joe Hudson, Blue Jays 2B Cavan Biggio, Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija

The Fighting Irish have made regionals just once since 2006—Jeff Samardzija’s last season in South Bend—but are still well represented on MLB rosters. Biggio gives the group a fresh face to go with the more established veterans like Samardzija.

Oregon State—5

Red Sox LHP Josh Osich, White Sox LHP Jace Fry, Tigers LHP Matthew Boyd, Mets OF Michael Conforto, Blue Jays RHP Sam Gaviglio

The Oregon State pitching pipeline has been strong, as evidenced by this list. There’s another wave of talent on the way from Corvallis as well, as the 2018 national champions work their way through the minor league system.


Tigers RHP Spencer Turnbull, Phillies RHP Tommy Hunter, Phillies LHP Adam Morgan, Twins C Alex Avila

Alabama’s struggles over the last several years have left it out of the spotlight in college baseball. But the Crimson Tide still have a strong presence in the big leagues, particularly this year in Philadelphia.


Diamondbacks SS Nick Ahmed, Red Sox RHP Matt Barnes, Astros OF George Springer, Blue Jays LHP Anthony Kay

The trio of Nick Ahmed, Matt Barnes and George Springer have long been carrying the UConn flag in the big leagues after playing a big part in the Huskies’ great teams in 2010-11. Now, Anthony Kay, a 2016 draftee, could be at the forefront of a new wave of Huskies.


Reds C Kyle Farmer, Angels 1B Jared Walsh, Dodgers LHP Alex Wood, Brewers RHP Justin Grimm

The Bulldogs spent much of the 2010s scuffling in the SEC, but that hasn’t stopped them from putting players on big league rosters. The pipeline should strengthen in the coming seasons as the likes of righthanders Emerson Hancock and Cole Wilcox work their way up.


Twins LHP Taylor Rogers, Yankees, LHP James Paxton, Giants RHP Trevor Gott, Mariners 1B Evan White

James Paxton is the standout of this group as a veteran starting pitcher with 132 starts under his belt, most of which came in a Mariners uniform. White, a first-year starter at first base for the Mariners, could be at the start of a similarly long run in Seattle.


Cubs C Josh Phegley, Cubs OF Kyle Schwarber, Giants OF Alex Dickerson, Giants LHP Caleb Baragar

Not one, but two former Indiana catchers are listed here, although Schwarber has found his home in the big leagues in the outfield rather than behind the plate. Baragar just made his debut over the weekend.


Phillies RHP Reggie McClain, Rays RHP Peter Fairbanks, Rangers RHP Kyle Gibson, Nationals RHP Max Scherzer

Given its history of developing pitchers, it’s no surprise that all four of the Missouri players on Opening Day rosters are hurlers. Scherzer and Gibson are veterans in the game, while McClain and Fairbanks are two of the program’s newer big leaguers.

Missouri State—4

Red Sox LHP Matt Hall, White Sox LHP Ross Detwiler, Yankees 1B Luke Voit, Padres RHP Pierce Johnson

It might be easy to overlook Missouri State, especially since it shares a state with a program in Missouri that is famous for developing pitching prospects, but the Bears do a nice job as well, as shown by having three pitchers on Opening Day rosters. Luke Voit, a former 22nd-round pick out of the school, is icing on the cake.


Rockies RHP Jon Gray, Astros 2B Jack Mayfield, Athletics RHP Burch Smith, Padres RHP Garrett Richards

Given that they had all three members of their weekend rotation drafted in 2020, the Sooners will likely add to this group soon. For now, the list is headlined by righthander Jon Gray, a dependable starter for five seasons, and Jack Mayfield, a rookie in 2020, is the newest addition.

San Diego—4

Red Sox RHP Dylan Covey, Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, Rockies LHP James Pazos, Mets RHP Paul Sewald

Kris Bryant, a Rookie of the Year and MVP, gives San Diego a headliner here, but having three pitchers on Opening Day rosters also reflects the Toreros’ history of putting together excellent pitching staffs and moving those pitchers along into pro baseball.

Southern California—4

Royals RHP Ian Kennedy, Orioles LHP Tommy Milone, Astros C Garrett Stubbs, Marlins RHP Brad Boxberger

USC for years has had a strong pipeline to pro ball and it's still going in 2020. Garrett Stubbs is the only one of this quartet to have been drafted in the last decade, as Boxberger, Kennedy and Milone bring plenty of experience to their team’s pitching staff.


Diamondbacks 1B Jake Lamb, Marlins RHP Jeff Brigham, Rays RHP Andrew Kittredge, Nationals RHP Austin Voth

Jake Lamb, who was named an all-star in 2017, has proven himself as a productive hitter at the big league level when he’s been healthy. The three Washington pitchers are all relatively new to MLB, with Andrew Kittredge and his 85 career appearances the most experienced of the bunch.

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