Ranking the 25 Best College Summer League Teams In 2020
USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and the Cape Cod League typically account for the best collection of talent in summer ball on an annual basis. But with neither playing this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, talent has spread out far and wide as many players opted to stay close to home for summer ball.
That has led many to wonder what leagues and teams are the best for watching summer ball action. We last week ranked 25 players to watch this summer and this week, we’re ranking the best rosters in summer ball.
The Orlando Scorpions of the Florida League have the best roster, featuring projected first-round picks Jud Fabian (Florida) and Robby Martin (Florida State) in the outfield, as well as two-thirds of Florida’s rotation and Central Florida’s ace, to say nothing of a host of talented players around them like veterans Reese Albert (Florida State), Kirby McMullen (Florida) and Jacob Teter (Florida Southern) and impressive incoming freshmen Colby Halter (Florida) and Sterlin Thompson (Florida), who both ranked in the top 200 of the 2020 BA 500.
But the Scorpions are far from the only super team to watch this summer. From the Northwoods League to the Florida League to the San Diego League and everywhere in between, there are talented teams for fans to follow.
1. Orlando Scorpions (Florida League)
Key players: Florida State OF Reese Albert, Florida OF Jud Fabian, Central Florida LHP Colton Gordon, Florida RHP Jack Leftwich, Florida RHP Tommy Mace, Florida State OF Robby Martin, Florida Southern 1B Jacob Teter
The Scorpions’ outfield alone would earn them a spot on this list—all three are well-established ACC or SEC players and Fabian and Martin are projected first-rounders. Add in a pitching staff that features two-thirds of Florida’s rotation and UCF’s ace, not to mention plenty more depth beyond those six standouts, and you have the best roster in summer ball.
2. Santa Barbara Foresters (Independent)
The Foresters’ roster is highlighted by McLain, a potential top-five pick next year, and outfielder Christian Franklin (Arkansas), another potential 2021 first-rounder, while first baseman/lefthander Spencer Jones has that potential in 2022. There’s plenty of depth around them, especially in the lineup, from the likes of Cardenas and Holgate.
3. Tulsa Drillers (Texas Collegiate League)
Key players: Florida LHP Hunter Barco, Georgia Tech RHP Zach Maxwell, Oklahoma State INF Hueston Morrill, Southern California OF/3B Jamal O’Guinn, Oklahoma State RHP Bryce Osmond, Southern California SS Ben Ramirez, Florida RHP Brandon Sproat
The Drillers look like a Cape Cod League team and for good reason—manager Tom Holliday was able to bring some of the players he was slated to have in Chatham to Tulsa instead. Barco is an early favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2022, and there’s plenty of talent behind him on the mound. O’Guinn this spring was seemingly on his way to a breakout 2020 and anchors the lineup.
4. High Point-Thomasville HiToms (Coastal Plain League)
The HiToms undoubtedly benefited from local players needing a place to play this summer and put together a roster heavy on some of the best players in the area, including Wake Forest's Ryan Cusick, who could be a first-round pick in the 2021 draft.
5. Rockford Rivets (Northwoods League)
In righthander Carson Seymour and lefthander Jordan Wicks, Rockford boasts two-thirds of the Kansas State weekend rotation, which is part of a pitching staff that K-State coach Pete Hughes calls the most talented of his career. Wake Forest first baseman Bobby Seymour should also provide plenty of pop.
6. North Shore Navigators (Futures League)
With the presence of Boston College teammates Frelick and Morissette alone, North Shore has the best roster in the Futures League. Both players have been productive in their BC careers and will go into the 2021 season as highly-touted prospects for the draft.
7. Wisconsin Rapid Rafters (Northwoods League)
The Rapid Rafters’ roster is filled with really talented players that have been overshadowed a bit for one reason or another, whether it’s because they’ve been on extremely talented pitching staffs with more famous teammates, like Hliboki, or because they play for a lower-profile program like Garriola or Cook at Old Dominion and Pepperdine, respectively.
8. Waterloo Bucks (Northwoods League)
In Usher, Waterloo has one of the most dynamic players in college baseball. He’ll pair nicely in the lineup with Peterson, who this summer transferred to Washington State and will be eager to mash the way he did as a teammate of Nick Gonzales at New Mexico State.
9. Blue Rocks (Honor the Game League)
Key players: Alabama LHP Brock Guffey, South Alabama INF Santiago Montiel, South Alabama C Reid Powers, South Alabama OF Ethan Wilson
If your roster is going to feature a handful of players from South Alabama, it’s hard to do better than Wilson, a top prospect for the 2021 draft, Montiel, a shortstop with pop, and Powers, a catcher who was hitting .339/.439/.500 when the 2020 season ended.
10. Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (Northwoods League)
Diamond heads up a strong contingent of four Ole Miss players spending the summer in Fond du Lac, which also includes slugger Tim Elko, catcher Knox Loposer and lefthander Ryan Duffy. Leonard is a veteran arm out of the bullpen (he’s Iowa’s closer) and Noland is coming off a spring in which he broke into Vanderbilt’s starting lineup as a freshman.
11. Lexington County Blowfish (Coastal Plain League)
The Palmetto State influence is clear on the Blowfish roster, what with the presence of South Carolina standouts Kerry and Allen, plus Milone, whose freshman season was cut short. Anglin represents the other side of the rivalry on the roster.
12. Rochester Honkers (Northwoods League)
Moore, who last winter graduated high school early to in January enroll at Arkansas, proved this spring to be one of the country’s most dynamic freshmen. Now, he’s brought that ability to Rochester, which also has some exciting talent on the mound. Churby and Krechely are two of the better relievers in the nation.
13. Amarillo Sod Squad (Texas Collegiate League)
In a summer that will feature lots of players staying close to home to play, the Sod Squad pulled in talent from all over, from the East Coast with the dynamic Torres, to the Midwest with the powerful Ceballos and close to home with Marusak, a burner in the outfield and on the base paths.
14. Frisco Roughriders (Texas Collegiate League)
Frisco should pitch well this summer thanks to a roster led by Cornelio and Meador, a pair of promising young TCU righthanders. Hamel led the Patriots with 27 strikeouts during the 2020 season.
15. Sanford River Rats (Florida League)
The trio of Crews, Fields and Hall are oozing with talent, though none of them has had much of an opportunity to prove it in college. Crews and Fields are both incoming freshmen who ranked in the top 150 of the BA 500 before they removed themselves from the draft. Hall was ranked in a similar spot in 2019, but played just 17 games for the Warriors in the abbreviated spring.
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16. Local Legends (Grand Park League)
In a league heavy on talent from around Indianapolis, the Local Legends have some of the best of the bunch. Bachman and McDermott could be the next Mid-American Conference pitchers to turn into high draft picks, while Louisville teammates Borden and Poland have high-end upside.
17. Jets (San Diego League)
The Jets have some solid 2021 draft talent in Holman, Miller and Ricketts. Holman has true two-way ability and is playing both roles this summer. Miller and Ricketts have already built strong track records at USD and could take further steps forward still.
18. The A-Team (Grand Park League)
The A-Team lives up to its name with talents like Barr, Prosecky and Richardson. Richardson this spring was off to a superb start, hitting .424/.453/.797, and Barr also packs a powerful bat. Prosecky is expected to move into Louisville’s rotation in 2021 after serving as its midweek starter.
19. West Linn (Wild Wild West League)
The Wild Wild West League sprung up after the West Coast League was canceled and West Linn put together the most exciting roster. Dukart and Pfennings will have key roles next season in Corvallis, while Stringer and Tawa are Pac-12 veterans.
20. Lugnuts (Honor the Game League)
Nearly the whole Lugnuts roster plays for a school in Alabama and that includes some of the state’s best, most exciting players. DiChara and Praytor both have powerful bats, while Fitts and Jean both are key pitchers on SEC staffs.
21. Winter Garden Squeeze (Florida League)
Montgomery, an incoming freshman at Florida State, is the highest-ranked player on the BA 500 to go undrafted and end up on campus for next season. Dunn missed most of the 2020 season due to injury, but in 2019, served as a catalyst in the Louisville lineup.
22. Snapping Turtles (Grand Park League)
Perkins is one of the best 2021 draft-eligible pitchers in action this summer, at least in terms of upside. He missed this spring while he recovered from Tommy John surgery but has first-round potential. Tirotta had some draft buzz coming into the spring, but hadn’t gotten on track when the season was halted, though his upside remains considerable.
23. Macon Bacon (Coastal Plain League)
Macon boasts a diverse roster full of talented players, including Hood, one of the best players in the Ivy League, Yeager, a productive player, and pitchers in Manous and Sinclair who had dominant seasons interrupted in 2020.
24. Phipps Park Barracudas (South Florida League)
The Barracudas have an intriguing roster, starting with Beloso’s powerful bat in the heart of the order. Arnold missed this spring at LSU due to injury, but was expected to return and possibly step right into the starting shortstop job as a true freshman had the season not been halted. Dana this spring was off to his best start in three years at Seton Hall, and gives Phipps Park another powerful bat.
25. Long Boarders (San Diego League)
The Long Boarders have one of the most exciting lineups in the league with the powerful bats of Hendrie and Samuelson leading the way. Perez is a different kind of hitter, but this spring at UCLA showed how much he has to offer.