Top 10 Hitters, Pitchers At The 2024 NAIA World Series


The team at NAIA Ball is previewing the 2024 NAIA World Series. You can find their full breakdown here. Below are the best pitchers and hitters at the event.

Top 10 Pitchers

1. Darien Smith, RHP, Southeastern (FL)

89.1 IP, 1.81 ERA, 12-0, 126 K, 12.69 K/9, 0.84 WHIP

Smith has been the cornerstone ace in the nation’s top staff among a crowded room of aces. Six of his 15 starts this season have resulted in double-digit strikeouts, including his last where he punched out 13 on seven hits and one earned run over nine innings of work against Science & Arts of Oklahoma. Not including the postseason, Smith has faced eight squads who made the national tournament and went 1-0 with a no-decision in two starts against teams who made the World Series.

2. Blake Peyton, LHP, Tennessee Wesleyan

75.1 IP, 2.03 ERA, 9-1, 1 save, 126 K, 15.05 K/9, 0.98 WHIP

Peyton has done it all for the Bulldogs. He is tied with Smith for most strikeouts from a pitcher in the World Series. Peyton has thrown more than 75 innings despite making just six starts on the season, much of that by design for the TWU pitching staff. Since April 21, Peyton has allowed just one earned run in 19 innings. Peyton has elite swing-and-miss stuff and has struck out 30 hitters in those 19 innings. He’ll be electric to watch.

3. Robb Adams, LHP, Southeastern (FL)

81.2 IP, 2.20 ERA, 8-2, 83 K, 9.15 K/9, 1.04 WHIP

Adams has been a mainstay of the Southeastern (FL) rotation for the last three seasons. One of the most dominating arms nationally, Adams has a career 2.64 ERA over 275.2 innings pitched with 320 strikeouts at SEU. Big game and long running experience from arms like Adams gives the Fire an edge in this tournament. Expect Adams to use that previous World Series experience to power him through his starts on the mound. The Fire rotation is a deep one across many of the levels of college baseball. 

4. Andrew Herbert, RHP, Reinhardt (GA)

74.2 IP, 1.81 ERA, 10-1, 80 K, 9.64 K/9, 1.00 WHIP

Herbert has helped be one of the main anchors of this Reinhardt pitching staff and is a big reason as to why the Eagles are making a trip to Lewiston. Every year Herbert has gotten better at Reinhardt. In 181 innings of work, Herbert has a 2.92 earned run average with 193 punchouts. Herbert struck out a season high 14 on April 25 against Columbia International, and is coming off a 6.1 innings pitched outing where he allowed just two runs to a very potent Keiser offense. Herbert has developed and just been better each year at Reinhardt, there should be no surprise that he is inside the top five on this list. 

      5. Cesar Avila, RHP, Cumberlands (KY)

      81.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 12-0, 114 K, 12.61 K/9, 0.98 WHIP

      The Livingston, Calif. native has made himself a memorable home in Williamsburg. Avila made just one start in 2023, and in 2024 he became the team’s full-blown ace this season. After a year where he did not throw 30 innings or have an outing longer than three innings, Avila has thrown just over 81 innings this season, and is tied for the nations leader in wins. Cumberlands (KY) pitching staff is much improved and much deeper this year and Avila emerging as a starter has a lot to do with this team and setting them up for the possibility of a deep tournament run. 

        6. Luke Schafer, RHP, Indiana Southeast

        97 IP, 2.51 ERA, 9-3, 112 K, 10.39 K/9, 1.04 WHIP

        Schafer came to IU-Southeast by way of Ball state in 2023 and has completely dominated the year. The senior from Kansas has struck out 112 while only walking 29 in 97 innings this year, which is fourth nationally in innings pitched. The bad news for opposing hitters? Schafer has been even better on the road and at neutral sites where he has put together a 1.95 era in 46 innings pitched either on the road or at a neutral site setting. 

          7. Ben Harris, RHP, Georgia Gwinnett

          82 IP, 2.52 ERA, 10-1, 94 K, 10.32 K/9, 1.10 WHIP

          Harris has been rock solid throughout his collegiate career. He owns a 2.67 ERA over 138.1 innings pitched the last two seasons, including six complete games and 163 strikeouts. Harris’ numbers in Gwinnett are absolutely stellar with a 1.02 earned run average at home this year, the Grizzlies have a seriously solid pitching staff and Harris is a huge part of making this team dangerous. 

            8. Jon Snyder, RHP, William Carey (MS)

            29.1 IP, 1.23 ERA, 0-1, 13 saves, 43 K, 0.92 WHIP

            Bullpens play an important role throughout the World Series, and having a lockdown closer like Snyder will be a big boost for William Carey. Snyder is second in the nation in saves this season, and eight of his 13 saves came in conference play. Snyder keeps runners off base and elicits plenty of whiffs. Bullpens can make or break a team’s time in Lewiston, having Snyder as your closer may just extend it. 

              9. Ramsey David, RHP, Southeastern (FL)

              59.2 IP, 2.56 ERA, 6-1, 84 K, 12.67 K/9

              The sophomore Northwestern Florida State transfer has made an immediate impact in his first season in Lakeland. David has made 20 appearances this season with 10 starts on the mound for the Fire, and offers versatility for SEU since he can start or come in and give multiple innings out of the pen. There’s plenty of swing and miss stuff in the arsenal, including double-digit strikeout games twice this season. David is just another reason why the Southeastern (FL) pitching staff has been tops nationally this year. 

                10. Kaleb Hill, LHP, Georgia Gwinnett

                80.2 IP, 2.01 ERA, 10-1, 92 K, 10.26 K/9, 1.26 WHIP

                The Guardians drafted Hill in the 39th round of the 2018 draft. Over the years, he found himself a home in Lawrenceville. In just over 80 innings on the bump, Hill is 10-1 with four complete games, a save, and 92 strikeouts. Hill has been excellent in limiting damage and not allowing extra bases off him. In those 80.2 innings pitched there have only been a total of eight extra bases hit off Kaleb Hill, and only one has left the yard. Hill also has a sub 1 earned run average this season on the road and in neutral site action. 

                Other pitchers to watch- Knicko Billings- Cumberlands (KY)/ Gage Williams- Georgia Gwinnett/ Trey Seeley- Hope International (CA)/ Justin Drury- Hope International (CA)/ Jarrett Brannen- Kansas Wesleyan/ Eli Elliot- Arizona Christian/ Adrian Santa Cruz- Arizona Christian/ Brett Allen- Reinhardt (GA)/ Garrett Hill- Indiana Southeast. 

                Top 10 Hitters

                1. Charlie Muniz, Cumberlands (KY) –.392, 85 H, 96 RBI, 34 HR

                The Puerto Rican junior has been this season for the Patriots. Muniz has put together quite the career in Williamsburg, Kentucky with a career .412 average, 273 hits, 235 RBI and 77 homers in his first three seasons. In what figures to be an extremely offensive World Series, Muniz stands out as a bright spot among many great hitters. It will be interesting to see if the Patriots can make an extended run in Lewiston as Muniz trails single-season home run leader former Lewis-Clark State slugger Beau Mills by just four homers (Mills hit 38). Either way this trip to Lewiston is going to be a great end to an incredible season at the plate for Muniz. 

                2. Evan St. Claire, Cumberlands (KY) — .420, 92 H, 95 RBI, 19 HR

                The native New Yorker has made his mark in Williamsburg, Kentucky setting a new record of 86 runs scored for his program. The Patriots have several players who have made consistent impacts this season but the combination of Muniz and St. Claire is like seeing Juan Soto then getting to face Aaron Judge next. The Cumberlands (KY) offense is seriously good and has been for a long time. Expect hitters like Evan St. Claire to help ensure they stay in Lewiston longer this time around. 

                3. Blaze O’Saben, Georgia Gwinnett –.454, 104 H, 82 RBI, 14 HR

                O’Saben makes his third trip to Lewiston and in 2022 was a member of the World Series all-tournament team. A .418 average career hitter with 236 hits in three seasons, O’Saben is having his best season at Georgia Gwinnett. 16 doubles, 12 triples, and 14 homers, with a career high 82 RBI, has made this season for O’Saben a memorable one, in a career with many highlights.

                4. Ajay Sczepkowski, Georgia Gwinnett — .424, 84 H, 90 RBI, 19 HR

                The reigning NAIA Ball Lou Brock Player of the Year is once again back in Lewiston. In 2023 Sczepkowski made history by being the second player in NAIA college baseball to ever have a 30-30 season in which he hit 33 homers with 36 stolen bags and drove in 102 runs. This year, Sczepkowski has continued his dominance of the sport and continues to destroy baseballs. He has also improved on his on-base percentage by 20 points, and has walked more than he’s struck out. This is definitely one hitter that is must watch every time he comes up to the plate. 

                  5. Marques Titialii, Arizona Christian –.384, 83 H, 83 RBI, 24 HR

                  The senior out of Seattle returns to the Pacific Northwest in search of continuing his dominance in Lewiston. During the Lewiston bracket at Harris Field, Marques went 10-17, four runs, eight RBI, one double, and two homers that helped his squad advance to another week in Lewiston. Titialii has 160 hits in his two seasons at Arizona Christian and has been a cornerstone of Joe McDonald’s club and this team’s rise to national recognition. 

                  6. Dylan Lewis, Reinhardt (GA) –.431, 88 H, 69 RBI, 21 HR

                  Reinhardt (GA) continues the trend of potent offenses in Lewiston, and Dylan Lewis is one of many solid bats in that Eagles lineup. Lewis has made major improvements as an already solid bat. His average has gone up from .306 in 2023 to .431 average, major improvements in power have led to 22 more extra-base hits this season, and Lewis drew just 16 walks last season compared to 40 this year. Lewis’ bat is a big part of Reinhardt (GA) getting to Lewiston, and will look to help them stay around longer. 

                  7. JJ Cruz, Hope International (CA) –.408, 89 H, 70 RBI, 12 HR

                  Hope International looks to become the second straight GSAC team to claim the National Championship, and that run will start with senior shortstop Cruz. In his second season after transferring across town from Cal State Fullerton, Cruz has powered the Royals offense to Lewiston, and is one of three different hitters at the top of the lineup with over 20 doubles. Cruz has increased his average by over 100 points from 2023, and his Hope International squad will look for another big weekend from the captain on the big stage this week in Lewiston

                    8. Mason White, Indiana Southeast — .429, 90 H, 73 RBI, 17 HR

                    Recently named the 2024 River States Conference Player Of The Year, White leads the nation’s Cinderella story into Lewiston for the second time in four seasons. Coming into the Opening Round as a No. 4 seed, White and the Grenadiers used what is now the comeback heard ‘round the world with 12 runs down to their final out in ninth inning on Day 1 and swept their way to the World Series. Fueled by a run that magical can only mean good things for this offense, and White will need to continue his stellar 2024 campaign in order for Cinderella to continue its run towards a potential national championship. The senior can also beat you on the bases, having stolen 17 bags on the year and should be one of the more exciting players to watch in Lewiston.

                      9. Jarrett Gable, Kansas Wesleyan — .386, 93 H, 76 RBI, 19 HR

                      This Kansas Wesleyan offense is really good. That all starts with the senior shortstop Gable. Coming off of a 2023 season where he was named as a second team NAIA All-American, the Colleyville, Texas native has improved his numbers in 2024 with an average over 40 points higher at .386 to go along with a team leading 93 hits. This Coyotes squad has been on the rise in recent years under the guidance of head coach Bill Neale, and players like Gable have had a massive contribution into taking the program to new heights as this will be their first trip to Lewiston in school history. Gable leads an offense that ranks second nationally with 127 home runs, and in a ballpark that caters to offense at Harris Field, look for him and this potent lineup to make some noise in Lewiston. 

                        10. Max Harper, Cumberlands (KY) — .369 avg, 76 H, 70 RBI, 21 HR

                        Stop me if you’ve heard this before but this Patriots offense is really good. Senior Max Harper has been another big piece of this offense. 13 doubles, a triple, and 21 homers for his club, 164 hits in his career with 137 runs scored. This offense bodes well for Harris Field, deep lineups like Cumberlands (KY) and bats like Max Harper should be able to feast on pitching in Lewiston.

                          Other hitters to watch- Braxton Meguiar- Georgia Gwinnett/ Tucker Zdunich- Reinhardt (GA)/ Jarrett Burney- Reinhardt (GA)/ Nash Crowell- Reinhardt (GA)/ Paul Winland Jr- Georgia Gwinnett/ Kendall Foster- Kansas Wesleyan/ Braxton Turner- Tennessee Wesleyan/ Marco Martinez- Tennessee Wesleyan/ David River- Hope International (CA)/ Gary Lora- Southeastern (FL)/ Josh Pigozzo- Southeastern (FL)/ Isaac Nunez- Southeastern (FL)/ Christopher Munoz- Southeastern (FL)/ Jacob Williamson- Kansas Wesleyan/ RJ Stinson- William Carey (MS). 

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