The 8 Most Intriguing Players In The 2024 College World Series


Image credit: Florida State's Jamie Arnold (Photo by Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

The 2024 College World Series is an event full of big moments and star players. This list is meant to get you ready for all the excitement in Omaha over the next two weeks.

These are the eight most intriguing players in the CWS. Not the eight most talented or impactful (though many of these players certainly qualify for those lists), but the eight players who could make the most noise in Omaha. These are some of the most watchable players and the ones who are likely to shape the tournament. I also tried to spread the love around, so there’s one on each team. There’s plenty of intrigue to go around, after all.

Whether you’ve been locked in on college baseball all season or are now dropping in for the CWS, there’s something for you here.

Jamie Arnold, LHP, Florida State

Arnold is the best pitcher in the CWS field and an early favorite to be the first pitcher drafted next year. The sophomore is 11-3, 2.77 with 155 strikeouts and 22 walks in 100.2 innings. He’s coming off a tough start against UConn in super regionals, but 10 of his 17 starts this season have been quality starts. He’ll face Tennessee in Florida State’s opening game and that lineup is a handful. But Arnold gives the Seminoles a strong chance at taming the Volunteers.

Evan Aschenbeck, LHP, Texas A&M

Aschenbeck this season emerged as one of the top relievers in the country and is 6-1, 1.66 with 72 strikeouts and eight walks in 65 innings. He’s a bullpen ace who the Aggies can count on for extended outings and can throw on back-to-back days. If A&M is in a close game in the late innings (or even the middle innings sometimes), coach Jim Schlossnagle will not hesitate to go to Aschenbeck. He isn’t overpowering, but he comes right after hitters with a three-pitch mix and does a good job of mixing arm slots and pitches.

Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP, Florida

Caglianone is the best two-way player in the country and is red-hot at the plate coming into Omaha (11-for-28 with four home runs and 11 walks in the postseason). If Florida is going to make another run at the title, he’ll be at the heart of it. For the season, he’s hitting .411/.532/.860 with 33 home runs and is 5-2, 4.71 on the mound. He’s the most talented player in the field and a must-watch anytime he’s at the plate or on the mound.

Dean Curley, SS, Tennessee

At the start of the season, Tennessee was a little unsettled at shortstop. It’s not anymore. Curley, a freshman, has started 57 games at the position this season and is hitting .273/.384/.505 with 12 home runs and nine stolen bases. He’s handled the position well and added another dynamic presence to the lineup (he ranks second on the team in stolen bases). While Curley has proven more than capable of handling the position all season, he’s still a freshman starting at shortstop in Omaha. That’s a big responsibility and how he handles the moment will be a key for the Volunteers.

Jacob Dudan, RHP, NC State

Dudan is one of the Wolfpack’s most trusted options out of the bullpen. You can expect to see him in any key spot in the game. He is 4-2, 4.40 with 55 strikeouts and 33 walks in 47 innings. The freshman has a devastating slider that makes him especially tough on righthanded hitters. Dudan has handled every big moment this season with aplomb and plenty of freshmen have stepped up in Omaha, but how he’ll handle the sport’s biggest stage is definitely something to watch.

Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina

Honeycutt is hitting .309/.405/.691 with 26 home runs and 28 stolen bases, marking the second time in three seasons that he has produced a 20-20 season. He owns UNC’s career home runs record (63) and ranks sixth in stolen bases (76). Honeycutt is also an elite defensive center fielder, making him one of the best all-around players in the country. He’s also been clutch in the NCAA Tournament. He has homered four times, including a walk-off two-run shot against West Virginia in super regionals and a two-homer game against LSU in a critical game in regionals.

Nick Lopez, DH, Kentucky

Lopez transferred to Kentucky from Southern California after last season and has been a critical addition for the Wildcats. The fifth-year senior is hitting .350/.407/.553 with 22 doubles and six home runs. He’s the team’s leading hitter and bats cleanup for the Wildcats. Lopez also stands out for his mustache, which he has started dyeing to match the team’s uniform. He’s sure to be at the heart of everything in Omaha for Kentucky.  

Jay Woolfolk, RHP, Virginia

Woolfolk has had an up-and-down season but is riding a high in the NCAA Tournament. He has started Virginia’s clinching game in both regionals (against Mississippi State) and super regionals (against Kansas State). He has delivered quality starts in both and is 2-0, 3.14 with 14 strikeouts and three walks in 14.1 innings during the NCAA Tournament. Virginia’s pitching staff overall has been operating at a higher level during the postseason and Woolfolk is a big part of that. If Virginia is going to make a deep run in Omaha, it needs Woolfolk to continue his hot streak.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone