College Podcast: Preseason Awards Edition
On this episode of the Baseball America college podcast, presented by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy reveal their crystal ball picks for the 2021 season.
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They begin by discussing their unanimous pick of the Florida Gators as national champion. Teams like UCLA, Texas Tech, Mississippi and Virginia deserve mention as part of the discussion, but there's really no rational selection other than Florida to begin the season, given what the Gators return.
They also discuss their picks for player of the year, where there is more debate to be had. Louisville third baseman Alex Binelas, Miami catcher Adrian Del Castillo, UCLA shortstop Matt McLain, Florida outfielder Jud Fabian, Sam Houston State outfielder Colton Cowser and South Alabama outfielder Ethan Wilson are all discussed as possible choices.
When it comes to pitcher of the year, Vanderbilt's Kumar Rocker is perhaps the most obvious choice, but there is no shortage of reasonable options in college baseball this season, including Louisiana State's Jaden Hill, Texas' Ty Madden, Rocker's teammate Jack Leiter and Alabama's Connor Prielipp.
In a year when college baseball has more talented freshmen than ever, the race for freshman of the year will be particularly interesting. A position player group that includes LSU outfielder Dylan Crews and Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada provides plenty of viable choices, but so does a new crop of pitchers led by Florida State righthander Carson Montgomery, and you can't count out a potential two-way difference-maker like Texas' Tanner Witt.
They wrap up by discussing their Omaha sleepers, defined as a team outside the Top 25 that could make a run to the College World Series. After Teddy and Joe reveal their selections, they work through some of the other teams that could make a run when it's all said and done.