College Baseball Week Five Standouts: Brandon Sproat Deals, Hunter Owen Stymies Ole Miss

Image credit: Hunter Owen (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

It was another exciting weekend in college baseball, headlined by the start of SEC and Big 12 conference play. Here were some of the top performers in Week 5.

Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida 

Sproat was magnificent in his first start against an SEC opponent this spring, throwing a complete game shutout against Alabama in which he allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out 11. There is an argument to be made that this was Sproat’s best start of his college career, and for good reason. He sat comfortably in the mid 90s with his fastball, topping out at 99 mph with an average velocity of 96.2 mph on the pitch. It exploded out of his hand and had tons of carry, leading to 10 swings and misses. Sproat’s changeup was his best secondary of the night, and he was comfortable throwing it to both righthanded and lefthanded hitters. It was a strong plus pitch all evening with tons of late, sharp fade. Sproat also mixed in a sharp slider to supplement his two main offerings. Sproat has always had big-time stuff, but staying consistent has been a bit of an issue. If he can string together several strong starts in SEC play, he could hear his name called within the first 40 picks of the 2023 draft.

Hunter Owen, LHP, Vanderbilt

Just one day after Sproat turned in his gem, Owen turned in one of his own. Against a Mississippi team that boasts one of the top offenses in the country, Owen threw a complete game shutout. He allowed two hits (both singles), struck out 11, walked only two and retired the last 23 hitters in a row. Owen has a diverse arsenal, and his relatively short, quick arm action is deceptive on hitters. In this outing, Owen’s fastball and slider were his bread and butter. The two pitches induced 13 of his 16 swings and misses. His fastball topped out at 95 mph and played well up in the zone. He was able to command it well to both sides of the plate. With Friday’s performance, Owen has now thrown 15 straight scoreless innings. He also lowered his season ERA to 2.20 and now boasts an impressive 35-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 28.2 innings pitched. 

Trey Yesavage, RHP, East Carolina

Yesavage continued his outstanding start to the 2023 season, throwing 7.1 shutout innings against a strong Missouri State team on Friday. He walked none, allowed four hits and lowered his season ERA to 1.48. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Yesavage is an imposing figure on the mound and throws from a straight over-the-top slot. His fastball is super heavy with sink and run and it bears in on the hands of righthanded hitters. Yesavage was up to 97 mph with the pitch on Friday and could have even more velocity in the tank. Yesavage’s best secondary offering is his power curve that has plenty of depth and sharp bite. He’s comfortable throwing it to both righthanded and lefthanded hitters and got nine swings and misses with it in this start. Yesavage also mixes in a slider that he’ll use mainly against righthanded hitters and an effective changeup that has anywhere from 12-15 mph of separation off his fastball. With a durable build, a four-pitch mix and the ability to pitch deep into games, Yesavage has the makings of a starter at the professional level.


Jack Findlay, LHP, Notre Dame

Before his start on Sunday, Findlay had been used exclusively out of the bullpen to start the 2023 season. He showed well in his start, carving his way through one of the best lineups in college baseball to the tune of 5.2 shutout innings, 10 strikeouts, zero walks and just two hits allowed. Findlay has an easy, repeatable delivery with above-average arm speed and relies primarily on his fastball and slider. His above-average pitchability and command of each pitch allows him to be effective, especially against a Wake Forest lineup that features several lefthanded hitters. Findlay now has an ERA of 1.99 on the season with an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 35-to-4 in 22.2 innings pitched. While it isn’t confirmed if Findlay will be a starter going forward, he is still the best arm on Notre Dame’s staff.

George Klassen, RHP, Minnesota

Klassen possesses some of the most impressive stuff in all of college baseball, but he has never been able to harness it. This Saturday was by far the best outing of his college career, as he tossed 7.1 shutout innings against Houston, while allowing just one hit and striking out eight. The biggest knock against Klassen has always been his lack of command, but on Saturday he walked just two hitters and a step forward in that department would work wonders for the righthander’s draft stock. Klassen has huge velocity and well above-average arm speed, both of which were on display Saturday. His fastball was up to 100 mph, and he was able to locate the pitch for strikes. Klassen also featured a sharp curveball that comfortably grades out as a plus pitch. With the outing, Klassen lowered his ERA from 8.31 to 5.23 on the season and now has 26 strikeouts across 20.2 innings pitched. 

Luke Sinnard, RHP, Indiana

Sinnard has always had big stuff, but as a freshman at Western Kentucky in 2022 he struggled to find consistency. However, since transferring to Indiana, the towering 6-foot-8 righthanded pitcher has blossomed, with his start Friday being the best of his college career to this point. He went six strong innings, allowed two earned runs, struck out 13 and walked just one. Sinnard can run his fastball up to 95, but his secondary offerings allow the righthander to really shine, the best of which is a big downer curveball that has a 68% miss rate on the season. Sinnard throws from a high three-quarter slot, and with continued refinement to his delivery his stuff should become that much more impressive. After Friday’s start, he now has a 3.33 ERA on the season with 39 strikeouts to six walks in 27 innings pitched. 

Mac Horvath, 3B, North Carolina

Horvath came into the 2023 season as somewhat of a dark horse player to be selected in the first 100 picks of this year’s draft. It’s still early, but Horvath has more than lived up to those expectations. Over the week he went 5-for-14 with two doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs. Horvath has a simple operation at the plate with very little moving parts and features an explosive lower half with above-average hand speed. He has an advanced approach that has allowed him to walk (14) nearly as many times as he’s struck out (18). Horvath also has underrated speed, turning in above-average run times and already logging 11 stolen bases. He is a plus athlete with a plus arm and could man an outfield spot in pro ball. Horvath is now hitting .321 on the season with eight doubles and 11 home runs as his stock continues to rise. 


Homer Bush Jr., OF, Grand Canyon

Bush continues to impress this season, turning in a 9-for-17 week in which he hit one double, one home run and drove in four runs. His best single-game performance came on Saturday against Sacramento State in which he went 5-for-5 with a double, a home run and three RBIs. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Bush is a well above-average defender in center field and a plus runner. He gets great reads off the bat and his long strides combined with his natural speed allow him to cover ample ground in the outfield. Bush has plenty of room to fill out physically, which will likely be accompanied by an increase of power. After this week, Bush is now hitting a gaudy .419 on the season with more walks (12) than strikeouts (7). A pick to click by many heading into the 2023 season, Bush has only improved his stock and could be selected in the first three rounds of the 2023 draft.

Ben Barrett, DH/RHP, Florida State

The 6-foot-4 true freshman impressed on both sides of the baseball last week, going 8-for-15 at the plate with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs, while also throwing 3.1 perfect innings on the mound with five strikeouts. Barrett’s 5-for-5 performance in Friday’s game against Boston College in which he blasted two home runs, laced a double, and drove in six runs was the best single-game performance of his young college career. While his future is almost certainly as a hitter, Barrett provides a strike thrower out of the bullpen for Link Jarrett, and his versatility will be incredibly useful going forward. Barrett is a physical specimen at the plate who allows his natural strength to shine—it is an operation with plenty of torque and an explosive lower half. Barrett will be a key piece for the Seminoles not only this spring, but in the years to come.  

J.J. Wetherholt, 2B, West Virginia

Headlined by a 5-for-6, six-RBI performance on Tuesday, Wetherholt went 11-for-22 with nine RBIs and two doubles this past week. After an impressive true freshman campaign in which he hit .308 with 17 doubles and five home runs, Wetherholt is off to a great start in 2023—he’s currently hitting .462 with nine doubles, five home runs, and 25 RBIs in 19 games played. A plus runner, Wetherholt has already swiped 17 bases this season, which is tied for the third-highest total nationally. Wetherholt has an advanced approach at the plate with fantastic pitch recognition skills and has an innate ability to barrel the baseball. He plays the game hard and his tool set allows him to be all over the box score.

Jonah Cox, CF, Oral Roberts 

The junior center fielder may have had the best individual week of anyone in the country, going 15-for-25 with 11 RBIs as well as a double, a triple and a home run across five games played. Cox collected multiple hits in each of his five games played and strung together four consecutive games in which he had three or more hits. A third team NJCAA All-American in 2022, Cox came to Oral Roberts by way of Eastern Oklahoma State JC. He’s always been an advanced hitter; he hit .431 in 2022 with 22 doubles and 71 RBIs. The transition from junior college to Division I often comes with growing pains, but Cox has hit the ground running to the tune of a .466 batting average, 21 RBIs and seven doubles in 20 games played.  

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