Photo: University of Louisville Sport Information

College Preseason All-Americans

College : : Story
Patrick Ebert         Mike Rooney         Jheremy Brown        
Published: Monday, January 09, 2017







Welcome to the beginning of Perfect Game's 2017 College Baseball preview content presented by Rawlings. This is the first of many features between now and the beginning of the season, Friday, February 17. From the Preseason All-Americans, top prospects by class, initial rankings of the Top 25 teams and detailed conference previews, Perfect Game will have you covered.

The Perfect Game/Rawlings Preseason All-American teams consist of 17 players each, with three full teams listed below, including detailed reports on all of the players listed on the first team. The players are selected based on a balance of past performance, 2017 expectations and their prospective talent relative to the MLB Draft.

Player capsules provided by Jheremy Brown



First Team

Pos. Name School Class AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Mike Rivera Florida JR .245 .347 .419 33 56 9 2 9 47 0
1B Pavin Smith Virginia JR .329 .410 .513 43 75 16 1 8 57 2
2B Nick Madrigal Oregon State SO .333 .380 .456 38 65 11 5 1 29 8
3B Jake Burger Missouri State JR .349 .420 .689 59 82 13 2 21 72 3
SS Kevin Smith Maryland JR .259 .308 .409 39 60 9 1 8 34 0
OF Seth Beer Clemson SO .369 .535 .700 57 75 13 0 18 70 1
OF Jeren Kendall Vanderbilt JR .332 .396 .568 63 83 16 8 9 59 28
OF Keston Hiura UC Irvine JR .358 .436 .539 41 73 12 2 7 41 6
DH Nick Feight UNC Wilmington JR .349 .410 .726 60 84 24 2 21 91 1
UT Brendan McKay Louisville JR .333 .414 .513 43 76 19 2 6 41 0

Pos. Name School Class ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB OBA
SP Alex Faedo Florida JR 3.18 13-3 1 0 104.2 87 133 21 .222
SP Kyle Wright Vanderbilt JR 3.09 8-4 1 0 93.1 82 107 32 .238
SP J.B. Bukauskas North Carolina JR 3.10 7-2 0 0 78.1 68 111 29 .213
SP Tanner Houck Missouri JR 2.99 5-6 3 0 105.1 82 106 27 .209
SP Tristan Beck Stanford SO 2.48 6-5 0 0 83.1 60 76 26 .205
RP Dylan Moore Louisiana JR 0.91 6-1 0 14 49.2 24 59 15 .147
RP Tyler Johnson South Carolina JR 2.42 3-2 1 9 52 34 59 8 .187
UT Brendan McKay Louisville JR 2.30 12-4 1 0 109.2 89 128 42 .220


    Photo: Tim Casey

Catcher
Mike Rivera
, Florida

When Rivera made it to campus three years ago nobody had any doubts about his ability to excel at a premium position at the highest level and the fact that he’s now arguably the top defender in the class comes as a surprise to nobody. Rivera, who takes most the reps behind the plate for Coach Kevin O’Sullivan, has received a barrage of premium arms since his freshman year and will continue to do so again in 2017. With advanced receiving and catch-and-throw skills, helping to throw out 15 runners last spring, it’s the improvements Rivera has made offensively that has helped his draft stock steadily climb, particularly this past fall. Rivera showed flashes of strength last season as he finished second on the Gators in home runs with nine, and should the offensive production continue to pick up as we project, then Rivera might be first round pick come June.








    Photo: Virginia Athletics

First Base

Pavin Smith, Virginia

Smith made the transition from high school to college baseball appear rather seamless as he helped the Cavaliers capture the College World Series crown during his freshman year and has continued to improve in all facets of his game. One of the top bats the college side has to offer for this June’s draft, Smith finished his sophomore season hitting .329 with eight home runs and 16 doubles while making a rather noticeable adjustment at the plate as he walked 13 more times than he stuck out. With a smooth and crisp lefthanded stroke, Smith shows advanced bat-to-ball skills and has no problem putting easy plus raw power on display pregame, something to watch for should it continue to translate into live action. On top of the offense, Smith is an above average defender at first base with light and athletic footwork, traits that could help make a transition to the outfield that much easier, only enhancing his overall draft value.







    Photo: Oregon State

Second Base
Nick Madrigal, Oregon State

A Perfect Game Freshman First Team All-American at the conclusion of the 2016 season, Madrigal looks to improve upon his numbers though the success he’s already had comes as a surprise to no one. He might not be the biggest player on the First Team, as he’s listed at 5-foot-8, 160-pounds on the Oregon State website, but his skills with both the bat and glove more than merit this selection. In 195 at-bats last spring as a true freshman Madrigal managed to connect for 65 base hits, 11 of which were doubles while adding another five triples, finishing the year with a solid .333 average. Almost more impressive was his ability to manage the strike zone with 15 walks compared to just 14 strikeouts, but the glove is just as strong of a tool as the rest of his arsenal. After making just five errors last spring, Madrigal possesses the footwork as well as the arm strength to slide to the other side of second base, only further adding to the intrigue of Madrigal as a pro prospect.







    Photo: Missouri State
    Photographic Services

Third Base
Jake Burger, Missouri State

Without surveying every coaching staff in the Missouri Valley Conference this preseason it would be a safe conclusion to assume Burger would get the nod for Preseason Player of the Year. After all, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Missouri native is coming off a sophomore season in which he belted 21 home runs, good for second best in the nation, and tied with UNC-Wilmington’s Nick Feight. A primary corner infielder who should be able to stick at the hot corner thanks to playable hands and a strong arm across the diamond, Burger’s righthanded swing is the most alluring aspect of the game as it’s one of the loudest bats in the country. His approach at the plate evolved nicely from his freshman to sophomore year and finished 2016 with a .349/.420/.680 triple slash while proving capable of turning on inner-half pitches as well as anybody while showing advanced strength and a strong feel for the barrel.






    Photo: Maryland Athletics

Shortstop

Kevin Smith, Maryland

After a eye-opening freshman season at Maryland, in which he hit .273 with seven home runs and 14 doubles while serving as the everyday shortstop, Smith broke out on the national stage in a big way this past summer. One of the top players on the eventual Cape Cod League champion Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Smith will once again be relied upon this upcoming spring as the Terps appear to be one of the top contenders in the Big Ten. A true shortstop who projects to stay up the middle at the next level courtesy of a quick and fluid first step, Smith shows plenty of lateral range and balance as well as soft hands to complete both the routine and difficult play. Smith will be looked at as a middle-of-the-order run producer this spring where his numbers could explode in a big way thanks to a simple, repeatable swing from the right side which offers both looseness and leverage at the point of contact.







    Photo: Clemson

Outfield

Seth Beer, Clemson

Could you imagine what Beer would have done had he stayed at Lambert High School for his senior year rather than enrolling a year early at Clemson? The .369/.535/.700 slash with 18 home runs and 70 RBI might be what you’d expect from a player of Beer’s caliber during his senior year but that’s what he posted during his freshman campaign for coach Monte Lee, taking the college world by storm with majestical shot after shot. Not only does the 6-foot-2 lefthanded hitting Beer possess the prototypical build with broad swimmers shoulders and a long, projectable frame, but the Georgia native also shows some of the best power in the college game with a full and leveraged swing path. Even more remarkable than those offensive numbers however was the near 2-to-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio Beer compiled (62 walks to just 27 strikeouts), proving his keen eye and patient approach at the plate.







     Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

Outfield

Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt

In a draft year that may not be heavy at the top with college bats, it is Vanderbilt’s Jeren Kendall who stands atop the list with a very well-rounded skill-set. A true center fielder who possesses plus speed that not only impacts his defensive game with excellent range to either gap, Kendall’s speed also plays on the bases with 28 swipes last spring. A player with true five-tool potential thanks to an above average throwing arm in center, a position where he projects to stay, Kendall has proven just as lethal with his lefthanded stroke, and don’t let the 5-foot-10, 170-pound stature take you by surprise. With an ever-evolving approach at the plate, though there’s still some swing-and-miss, Kendall was the top position player on the USA Collegiate National Team last summer and looks every bit a part of a top-of-the-draft talent. His overall offensive approach is simple and he brings the same explosiveness we see in other parts of his game to the batter’s box with extremely quick hands, loose wrists and a tension free swing.






    Photo: UCI Media Relations/
    Duke Burchell

Outfield

Keston Hiura, UC Irvine

Ask a panel of college coaches and scouts who has one of, if not the best, pure hit tool in college baseball and odds are you’ll hear Hiura’s name more than once. After hitting a rather remarkable .330 during his freshman campaign at Irvine, in which he started all 56 games, Hiura thrived in the West Coast League hitting the following summer, hitting .356 and earning the nod as the No. 4 prospect in the league. This was just paving the way for his sophomore year as he connected for another 73 base hits (giving him 148 collectively over two seasons) en route to slashing .358/.436/.539 while showing surprising pop. Hiura has a patient approach with outstanding pitch recognition, the ability to make an adjustment mid at-bat and a natural feel for working all parts of the field. He also provides versatility defensively, capable of playing either second base or left field.







    Photo: John Crouch

Designated Hitter

Nick Feight, UNC Wilmington

 
You would be hard pressed to find a player who made larger improvement in offensive production than UNC-Wilmington’s Nick Feight. After hitting .231 in a limited role as a freshman with just one home run, the Virginia native took the college world by storm and nobody in the Colonial Conference was safe. Not only was he the top hitter in his conference, Feight is one of the more revered hitters in the entire country as his video game numbers in 2016 would indicate, slashing .349/.412/.726 with 21 home runs and a nation’s best 91 RBI, 14 more than the second place finisher. His knowledge and discipline of the strike zone are two attributes that helped pave the way for such a breakout season for the Seahawks before once again showing his power on the Cape. There he hit three home runs in 89 at-bats as he took a brief hiatus to join the USA Collegiate National Team.







  Photo: Louisville Sports Information

Utility

Brendan McKay, Louisville

Rather than have this position labeled 'utility' it should simply bear McKay’s name as he’s been one of the top two-way talents in recent memory and claims this spot for the second consecutive year. If you take either just his offensive numbers or only what he’s done on the mound odds are you’d see McKay’s name somewhere on the First Team, but his abilities to do both at such a high level are what makes him one of the most unique players in college baseball. Strongly build at 6-foot-2, 212-pounds, McKay is one of the more polished lefthanded pitchers in the entire draft class with a fastball that routinely works into the low-90s and bumps 94 mph to go along with a sharp 12-to-6 curveball that will show above average all while throwing a barrage of strikes. Just like on the mound, McKay’s swing and overall approach at the plate are very relaxed and tension free with an advanced overall approach, as well as big raw power from the left side. A potential first rounder on either side of the ball, it will be interesting to hear what position is announced in front of McKay’s name come June.






    Photo: Tim Casey

Starting Pitcher
Alex Faedo, Florida

Even on a weekend staff that featured the likes of A.J. Puk and Logan Shore last spring, Faedo made him mark and was perhaps the most consistent arm Coach Kevin O’Sullivan had. After going 6-1 during his freshman season Faedo upped the ante with 13 wins, a mark that led the Gators pitching staff and a number he looks to build upon as he assumes the Friday night role this year. Faedo has proven to be a workhorse already to this point in his career and even after a lengthy 2016 he put on the Red, White and Blue last summer. With a prototypical starter’s build at 6-foot-5, 220-pounds, the Florida native checks all the boxes of a top 10 pick courtesy of a well-rounded arsenal that includes a fastball that routinely works into the mid-90s, one of the better sliders in all of college baseball and an ever-evolving changeup.








    Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

Starting Pitcher
Kyle Wright, Vanderbilt

The SEC will be absolutely loaded in virtually every Friday night matchup and the good news for coach Tim Corbin and Vanderbilt fans alike is Wright stands out as one of the best in the country. A consistent arm who went 8-4 last spring with an ERA just a tick over 3.00, the Alabama native has both the present stuff on the mound and the future physical projection to make him the latest Commodore arm to be selected in the first round. With more than one swing-and-miss pitch at his disposal, Wright managed to rack up 107 punchouts last spring and averaged one per inning with the Collegiate National Team as well. His fastball very regularly works in the mid-90s at the start of a game and can touch upwards of 97 mph with relative ease while manipulating the fastball to cut at times. He also shows both a slider and curveball, as well as a changeup, to give him one of the more complete repertoires in college baseball.








    Photo: UNC Athletic Communications

Starting Pitcher

J.B. Bukauskas, North Carolina

In terms of pure performance and overall stuff the Tar Heels have one of the nation’s best arms taking the hill every Friday night in Bukauskas. Though he should technically just be entering his sophomore season of college had he not enrolled early, the physically built righthander managed to collect 111 punchouts last spring despite throwing just 78 1/3 innings, a true testament to his stuff. Coming out and attacking hitters with a fastball that comfortably sits in the mid-90s, and can still touch as high as 97 mph in the later frames of a game, Bukauskas is much more than a one-pitch arm as his slider is one of the best in the collegiate game. While the 85-87 mph velocity screams power pitch, which it is, Bukauskas has an uncanny feel for the pitch and can throw it for strikes seemingly at will and regardless of the count. His changeup is a pitch that already shows above average and with that type of arsenal don’t be surprised if the North Carolina ace is leading the country in strikeouts by the end of the season.







    Photo: Mizzou Athletic
    Strategic Communications

Starting Pitcher

Tanner Houck, Missouri

If you ask hitters in the SEC who makes for the most difficult, uncomfortable at-bat odds are Houck’s name will come up more than a handful of times. Attacking hitters from an angle that’s somewhat reminiscent of former Mizzou star Max Scherzer, Houck has been a proven workhorse with over 100 innings pitched in each of his first two seasons before suiting up for Team USA last summer. The arm action is plenty quick and the ball jumps out of his hand in a big way, working consistently in the 93-95 mph range with hard running life through the zone. His slider is a pitch that can truly be devastating for the opposition in the low-80s with tight, late tilt and a changeup that shows above average life with late fading action in the mid-80s. With nearly a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, don’t be surprised if you see Houck taking down some of the top teams in the conference once again this spring.








    Photo: Stanford Athletics

Starting Pitcher

Tristan Beck, Stanford

A projected first-round pick coming out of Corona High School back in 2015 before making his intentions know about attending Stanford, Beck appears destined for the first-round once again this coming June as a draft-eligible sophomore as he only further cemented his potential as a true freshman. Tabbed as the opening day starter last spring – just the third freshman since 1988 to have done so for Stanford – the 6-foot-4 Beck immediately lived up to the hype and set the tone for the rest of the spring, finishing the year with an impressive 2.48 ERA over 14 starts and 83 innings. One of the more complete arms in the draft class in terms of delivery, command and arsenal, Beck attacks hitters with a low-90s fastball and a pair of off-speed pitches that he shows plenty of confidence in throwing to either side of the plate, especially with his changeup.








    Photo: Brad Kemp

Relief Pitcher

Dylan Moore, Louisiana

There’s no doubting that Moore is among the nation’s best relievers and he has the stats to back it up collecting 27 saves over the last two seasons, appearing in 58 games while racking up just over 100 innings pitched. Listed at an impressive and strongly built 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, Moore may not light up the radars guns as the others arms on the First Team but he doesn’t have to as his fastball generally works in the 87-90 mph range, but more than gets the job done thanks to the life on the pitch, deception in his delivery, command and big confidence he shows in his slider. His 14 saves last spring set a new high in Louisiana’s record books and if his 0.91 ERA is any indication of things to come then Head Coach Tony Robichaux has as close to a sure thing to close out games as any coach in the country.









    Photo: South Carolina

Relief Pitcher

Tyler Johnson, South Carolina

The complement to lefthander Josh Reagan as coach Chad Holbrook’s co-closers, the righthanded Johnson has all the makings of a high-level starter at the next level as he has both the build and arsenal to match. A strongly built and well-proportioned 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, Johnson comes out and attacks hitters with a fastball that routinely works in the mid-90s while showing a sharp breaking ball and an advanced feel, another sign pointing to a potential starting role. After a freshman season in which he worked just 7 2/3 innings, Johnson saw his stuff stick up across the boards and transformed into one of the top relievers as he collected nine saves over 52 innings, a stretch in which he made 29 appearances and struck out 59 while walking just a mere eight hitters. It’s worth noting that Johnson’s lone start came last postseason in Regional play, a complete game victory over UNC-Wilmington in which he scattered five hits and issued a single walk while punching out 11.








Second Team


Pos. Name School Class AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Evan Skoug Texas Christian JR .301 .390 .502 54 75 21 1 9 51 7
1B Evan White Kentucky JR .376 .419 .535 44 85 15 3 5 40 10
2B Brian Mims UNC Wilmington JR .371 .443 .614 71 96 17 2 14 64 4
3B Elliott Barzilli Texas Christian SR .339 .418 .518 44 85 16 4 7 48 14
SS Dalton Guthrie Florida JR .305 .367 .366 47 85 14 0 1 22 8
OF Brian Miller North Carolina JR .345 .440 .469 56 78 12 5 2 33 21
OF Jake Mangum Mississippi State SO .408 .458 .510 40 84 12 3 1 28 6
OF Michael Gigliotti Lipscomb JR .302 .409 .464 55 58 12 5 3 24 15
DH Luken Baker Texas Christian SO .379 .483 .577 59 94 16 0 11 62 1
UT Adam Haseley Virginia JR .304 .377 .502 61 75 19 6 6 37 3

Pos. Name School Class ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB OBA
SP Alex Lange Louisiana State JR 3.79 8-4 2 0 111.2 97 125 49 .226
SP Brian Howard Texas Christian SR 3.19 10-2 1 0 98.2 80 93 30 .228
SP Andrew Beckwith Coastal Carolina SR 1.85 15-1 2 2 117 113 75 18 .255
SP Clarke Schmidt South Carolina JR 3.40 9-5 2 0 111.1 107 129 27 .248
SP Erich Uelmen Cal Poly JR 3.68 5-3 2 1 93 95 70 22 .265
RP Durbin Feltman Texas Christian SO 1.56 3-0 0 9 34.2 15 49 11 .129
RP Kyle Nelson UC Santa Barbara JR 2.18 7-2 0 10 74.1 56 87 18 .209
UT Adam Haseley Virginia JR 1.73 9-3 1 0 78 54 48 21 .194


Third Team

Pos. Name School Class AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Cal Raleigh Florida State SO .301 .412 .511 45 69 16 1 10 50 1
1B K.J. Harrison Oregon State JR .265 .381 .525 48 53 14 4 10 57 4
2B Zach Kirtley Saint Mary's JR .323 .428 .504 49 73 20 0 7 43 4
3B Carl Stajduhar New Mexico JR .331 .411 .623 51 85 17 2 18 66 1
SS Taylor Walls Florida State SR .355 .479 .516 72 88 20 1 6 46 14
OF Trey Truitt Mercer JR .335 .430 .636 64 79 16 2 17 54 2
OF Kevin Strohschein Tennessee Tech SO .393 .447 .707 57 90 21 3 15 73 2
OF Stuart Fairchild Wake Forest JR .293 .403 .470 50 68 20 3 5 47 14
DH J.J. Schwarz Florida JR .290 .397 .456 47 73 15 3 7 60 2
UT Jake Meyers Nebraska JR .326 .402 .458 39 74 12 6 2 29 10

Pos. Name School Class ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB OBA
SP Tyler Wilson Rhode Island JR 2.29 13-1 3 0 102.1 53 122 33 .148
SP James Karinchak Bryant JR 2.00 12-3 0 0 94.2 70 112 43 .205
SP Kade McClure Louisville JR 2.54 12-0 0 0 78 49 77 20 .179
SP Darren McCaughan Long Beach State JR 2.03 10-1 1 0 111 76 84 16 .193
SP Evan Kruczynski East Carolina SR 2.01 8-1 0 0 116.2 107 95 27 .245
RP Glenn Otto Rice JR 2.26 9-2 0 8 71.2 53 76 30 .209
RP Sam Donko VCU SR 2.63 3-2 0 20 54.2 48 53 14 .233
UT Jake Meyers Nebraska JR 1.42 6-1 0 0 50.2 37 26 10 .210


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