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College  | Story  | 1/9/2015

Preseason College All-Americans

Frankie Piliere      Jheremy Brown      Patrick Ebert     
Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

2015 College Baseball Preview Index

Welcome to the beginning of Perfect Game's 2015 College Baseball preview content. This is the first of many features between now and the beginning of the season 
Friday, February 13 – all of which can be accessed by clicking on the preview index link just above. From the Preseason All-Americans, top prospects by class, initial rankings of the top 25 teams, detailed conference previews and interactive chats, Perfect Game will have you covered.

The 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, 2015 expectations and their prospective talent relative to the MLB Draft.

Similar to recent years, the defining impact talent from the 2015 college baseball season lies in its depth of pitching. That depth caused us to expand each of the three Preseason College All-American teams as listed below to five starters after naming four in previous years. In doing so, some very good arms were still left off.

Most of the talent has been well defined for several years. Of the 12 juniors that are represented on the First Team, eight of them were in attendance at the 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase held in Fort Myers, Fla. that year. One of those eight players, Carson Fulmer, was selected to participate in the PG All-American Classic that same summer.

Of the three sophomores named to the team, Zack Collins and A.J. Puk, are also former PG All-Americans, playing in the Classic during the summer of 2012. Two seniors, first baseman Austin Byler and closer David Berg, have also been named to the First Team.

First Team

Pos. Name School AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Zack Collins Miami .298 .427 .556 32 61 14 3 11 54 0
1B Austin Byler Nevada .326 .420 .624 51 72 14 5 14 47 7
MIF Dansby Swanson Vanderbilt .333 .411 .475 63 94 27 2 3 34 22
MIF Alex Bregman Louisiana State .316 .397 .455 35 77 16 0 6 47 12
3B Andrew Knizner N.C. State .330 .373 .450 34 69 11 1 4 47 0
OF D.J. Stewart Florida State .351 .472 .557 45 68 19 0 7 50 4
OF Chris Shaw Boston College .329 .393 .502 25 68 18 0 6 45 1
OF Ian Happ Cincinnati .322 .443 .497 32 55 13 1 5 27 19
DH Christin Stewart Tennessee .330 .386 .541 45 72 19 6 5 39 7
UT A.J. Puk Florida .222 .319 .270 4 14 3 0 0 6 0

Pos. Name School ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB
SP Carson Fulmer Vanderbilt 1.98 7-1 1 10 91 61 95 41
SP Walker Buehler Vanderbilt 2.64 12-2 2 0 102.1 85 111 31
SP Kyle Funkhouser Louisville 1.94 13-3 0 0 120.1 85 122 65
SP Nathan Kirby Virginia 2.06 9-3 1 0 113.1 68 112 33
SP James Kaprielian UCLA 2.29 7-6 1 0 106 76 108 35
RP Riley Ferrell Texas Christian 0.79 3-1 0 15 45.1 20 70 14
RP David Berg UCLA 1.50 3-2 0 11 48 34 35 8
UT A.J. Puk Florida 3.19 5-2 0 1 42.1 33 46 18

    Photo: Richard Lewis/Miami Athletics


Zack Collins, Miami

Zack Collins has been a well known commodity in the scouting community for some time now, dating back to his early high school years. And, after years starring on the high school circuit, Collins immediately made a splash and became one of college’s baseball brightest stars in his freshman campaign. Providing much needed thump to the Miami lineup, Collins smacked 11 home runs and 14 doubles in 215 at-bats. A patient hitter with a low effort power stroke, Collins is the type of hitter that only figures to break out even further in 2015. Many scouts have already pegged him with early comparisons to a 2014 first-team All-American, Indian’s Kyle Schwarber.

    Photo: John Byrne

First Base

Austin Byler, Nevada

Byler went off the board in the ninth round of the 2014 MLB Draft, but rather than turn professional, he opted to return to anchor the Nevada Wolf Pack lineup for his senior season. The lefty slugger was among the nation’s most dangerous power threats in 2014, mashing 14 home runs and driving in 47, while posting a a gaudy .326/.420/.624 slash line along the way. Byler is a clear-cut next level hitter, and Nevada will be relying on him to put up the same type of numbers in 2015, in a lineup that’s perhaps more dangerous than it is being given credit for.

    Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

Middle Infield

Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt

Only on a roster like Vanderbilt’s could a player as outstanding as Dansby Swanson exist so quietly. Swanson waited in the wings at second base last season behind starting shortstop, Vince Conde, who went on to be drafted by the New York Yankees. Swanson will take over at shortstop in 2015 and is a projected high first round draft choice by almost anyone you could ask in the scouting world. A defender with smooth, polished actions, the righty swinging Swanson has also emerged as a serious threat at the plate. He hit .333 in 2014, slugged three home runs and swiped 22 bases along the way. In other words, there is very little this Commodores’ star can’t do on a baseball diamond.

    Photo: Louisiana State

Middle Infield

Alex Bregman, Louisiana State

Few players in recent memory have been as consistent from the start of their college careers as Alex Bregman has been for LSU. Making an immediate splash as the 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year, the Tigers’ shortstop hit .369 that season and hasn’t looked back since. After another strong 2014 season in which he hit six home runs, 16 doubles and swiped 12 bases, Bregman represented his country for the second straight year, being named to to the USA Collegiate National Team. With a list of accolades simply too long to name, suffice it to say the baseball world expects nothing less than another outstanding season from Bregman in 2015, as he leads a very talented LSU squad.

    Photo: N.C. State

Third Base

Andrew Knizner, N.C. State

The way rosters are constructed around college baseball right now, there is an extreme amount of depth at shortstop, but a distinct lack of true corner infielders, particularly third basemen. But, Andrew Knizner is a a very clear exception to that, and figures to be one of the most exciting sophomores in the nation in 2015. One of the surprise performers in the ACC as a freshman in 2014, the Wolfpack third baseman hit .330 with four home runs as he became an immediate anchor in that lineup. With the loss of stalwarts like Trea Turner and Brett Austin to the draft, N.C. State will need another big season from Knizner in 2015.

    Photo: Larry Novey


D.J. Stewart, Florida State

In a college game that is more starved for offense than we’ve seen in any time in recent memory, D.J. Stewart is a beacon to look toward. A lefthanded slugger with an obvious bright future as a professional, Stewart has performed in every setting he’s played in, including the Cape Cod League and with Team USA in 2014. The 2014 ACC Player of the Year is the favorite to take home that award for the second year in a row, coming off a season in which he led the conference with his .351 average and .472 on-base percentage. Given his development over the summer with Team USA, many in the scouting world also suspect his home run total in 2014 (7) is a number we will see rise significantly in 2015 as well.

     Photo: BC Athletics


Chris Shaw, Boston College

Opening eyes in front of scouts by performing against elite ACC pitching like Jake Stinnett on a weekly basis last spring, Chris Shaw cemented his reputation as one of the most dangerous hitters in the country with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League in 2014. Shaw’s eight home runs on the Cape led the league, and also could serve as foreshadowing for a significant increase in his home run total in 2015 after he slugged six last spring for the Eagles. Shaw brings more than just power to the table, however, as his 2014 slash line of .329/.393/.502 would indicate. The scary part for ACC pitchers, however, is that Shaw came out of his Cape Cod League season an even better hitter than he was before.

    Photo: Cincinnati


Ian Happ, Cincinnati

Happ has done something over the last two years that very few hitters can say they’ve done; he’s had two highly productive summers playing in the Cape Cod League. A league known to carve up even some of the nation’s elite hitters, it was seemingly no issue for the athletic, switch-hitting Bearcat. After hitting .293 with five homers in the summer following his freshman year, Happ returned to the Cape and performed even better in 2014, hitting .329 with four home runs. He also significantly cut down on his strikeouts and increased his walks. And, that came off a spring in which he posted a slash line of .322/.443/.497 and stole 19 bases. A versatile, multi-faceted player, Happ appears settled in the outfield now and is poised for a monster junior season.

    Photo: Tennessee Athletics

Designated Hitter

Christin Stewart, Tennessee

If you talk to scouts who saw a lot of Christin Stewart last summer during his time with the USA Collegiate National Team, you’d hear many of them refer to him as something akin to a ticking time bomb. It may sound strange to say that a player who hit .330, slugged five home runs and posted a .541 slugging percentage has yet to tap into his potential, but that truly is the case with Stewart. During his tour with Team USA Stewart often looked like the squad’s best pure hitter and like a player who could produce massive power numbers. An elite 2015 draft pick in the making, Stewart could prove to be the x-factor for the Vols as he anchors the middle of their lineup.

  Photo: Tim Casey


A.J. Puk, Florida

A heralded prospect who projected well coming out of Iowa in 2013, Puk flashed a fastball that would creep in the low-90s on the mound while also swinging a big lefthanded stick. Jump to 2015 and the 6-foot-7 Puk is slated to play a big role for Coach Kevin O’Sullivan, serving as a weekend arm in the rotation and a middle-of-the-order bat. It’s safe to say his velocity has continued to climb since high school, now peaking at 95 mph with severe downhill plane and improved command of his entire repertoire on the mound. As a freshman Puk went 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA and with more reps and a sound approach at the plate he should prove to be equally as big with the bat this spring. 

    Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

Starting Pitcher

Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt

To keep it simple, one can describe Fulmer’s 2014 campaign with one word; dominant. Going 7-1 with 10 saves while keeping hitters to a modest .195 average stands out in a power conference such as the SEC, as does his 1.98 ERA. As impressive as those numbers are, so is the fact that Fulmer moved from a closing role to a starting role midseason without missing a beat. Those numbers didn’t happen by accident as the former Perfect Game All-American shows a fastball that works in the mid-90s over the course of an outing and will use his hard, downward breaking curveball to pick up plenty of swings and misses. Fulmer continued to dominate throughout the summer with Team USA after leading the Commodores to a College World Series title, and all reports from the fall point to another strong season in store for the Florida native. 

    Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

Starting Pitcher

Walker Buehler, Vanderbilt

Buehler and fellow staff member Carson Fulmer form one of the most lethal duos atop a college rotation in recent years. With a lean, quick-twitch 6-foot-2 frame Buehler shows a fast and loose arm that produces a mid-90s fastball with strong command of both sides of the plate. The command is something Buehler has always shown, as is his hard, late-breaking plus curveball which has only continued to progress since his prep days and now works in the upper-70s to low-80s. With an above average slider and changeup rounding out the arsenal, Buehler led the highly impressive Commodore staff with 12 wins last spring and is ready to take Vanderbilt on another ride this spring.

    Photo: Louisville Sports Information

Starting Pitcher

Kyle Funkhouser, Louisville

A strongly built 6-foot-2 righthander, Funkhouser will look to lead the Cardinals as they compete in the ACC for their first season, and should he repeat the success he had last year, he’ll be just fine. Armed with a fastball that works in the mid-90s and can climb higher at times, Funkhouser shows advanced command of the pitch and features a full four-pitch arsenal. His feel for his changeup continues to evolve into a true weapon and he shows a low-80s slider with two-plane break. Over the course of 120 innings last spring the Louisville ace racked up 122 punchouts and collected 13 wins while sporting a 1.94 ERA. 

    Photo: Virginia Athletics

Starting Pitcher

Nathan Kirby, Virginia

Kirby had quite the season last year for the Cavaliers going 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA while averaging nearly a strikeout per inning as a sophomore. That’s good news for Virginia as the lefthander and reining ACC Pitcher of the Year is back for his junior season. A highly regarded prospect out of high school, Kirby is once again hearing big buzz around his name and rightfully so. Throwing from a loose and easy arm action, Kirby works his fastball in the low-90s and will hold it consistently throughout the course of a game to go along with his put-away breaking ball. Kirby is an elite draft prospect heading into the spring and with high level of pitchability he looks to lead a Cavalier pitching staff back to the College World Series. 

    Photo: Don Liebig

Starting Pitcher

James Kaprielian, UCLA

Over the last two years Kaprielian went from working exclusively out of the bullpen his freshman year to filling the role of ace on the Bruins rotation last spring. The 6-foot-4 righthanded junior will once again lead the Bruins in Pac-12 competition under the Friday night lights this spring, going 7-6 and striking out 108 batters in 106.1 innings of work last year. Armed with a fastball that sits in the upper-80s to low-90s, and will flash higher in any given outing, Kaprielian shines with both his curveball and slider, both of which he controls with precision in the strike zone and exemplifies the feel to throw in any count. His frame is strong and durable and will be ready to lead the Bruins into a strong 2015 campaign. 

    Photo: TCU

Relief Pitcher

Riley Ferrell, Texas Christian

There was some buzz surrounding Ferrell’s name this fall as to whether he would start or close again this spring, and the Horned Frogs depth in their weekend rotation allowed them to keep Ferrell’s powerful right arm at the backend of the bullpen. Ferrell was electric last spring going 3-1 with 15 saves over 45 innings while posting a miniscule 0.79 ERA. Coming out of the pen Ferrell works in the mid- to upper-90s with his fastball and shows an above average slider in the upper-80s, a combination that he used to record 70 strikeouts last spring. Ferrell will be looked upon again this year late in games, and with his high octane stuff, he should be ready for the challenge. 

    Photo: Don Liebig

Relief Pitcher

David Berg, UCLA

After turning in three standout seasons out of the Bruins' bullpen, it’s safe to say that Berg is one of the most consistent arms in collegiate baseball and they are glad to have him back for his senior season. After appearing in 50 games his freshman year and holding opponents to a .165 average, Berg went on to save 24 games in 2013, and closed out another 11 games his junior year, appearing in 31 games with a 1.50 ERA. The righthander makes for a tough at-bat as he creates big deception in his delivery, throwing from a lower arm slot that generates big run on his fastball that he shows strong feel and command for. His slider is equally as effective, and with all the ingredients put together, Berg makes for a very uncomfortable at-bat on hitters. 

Second Team

Pos. Name School AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Taylor Ward Fresno State .320 .395 .438 29 70 8 0 6 41 3
1B Eric Gutierrez Texas Tech .302 .399 .539 46 74 18 2 12 58 0
MIF Richie Martin Florida .265 .354 .337 49 66 11 2 1 27 18
MIF Blake Trahan Louisiana-Lafayette .355 .455 .465 58 91 12 2 4 49 14
3B Sheldon Neuse Oklahoma .304 .369 .521 43 73 17 7 7 47 7
OF Nick Banks Texas A&M .327 .386 .427 29 65 10 2 2 26 7
OF Tate Matheny Missouri State .330 .421 .528 42 72 9 2 10 37 7
OF Joe McCarthy Virginia .301 .417 .449 55 77 16 2 6 49 11
DH Bryan Reynolds Vanderbilt .338 .395 .480 53 95 24 2 4 54 14
UT Jacob Cronenworth Michigan .268 .391 .366 41 55 6 4 2 28 19

Pos. Name School ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB
SP Jake Lemoine Houston 2.87 6-8 1 0 106.2 98 87 29
SP Blake Fox Rice 1.46 12-0 0 0 104.2 88 69 27
SP Cal Quantrill Stanford 2.68 7-5 2 0 110.2 90 98 34
SP Thomas Eshelman Cal State Fullerton 1.89 8-3 5 0 123.2 100 99 8
SP Preston Morrison Texas Christian 1.32 9-4 5 0 129.2 90 95 21
RP Tyler Jay Illinois 1.94 4-1 0 10 41.2 28 47 13
RP Dillon Tate UC Santa Barbara 1.45 2-1 0 12 43.1 32 46 17
UT Jacob Cronenworth Michigan 1.75 2-3 0 12 25.2 21 27 13

Third Team

Pos. Name School AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Chris Okey Clemson .248 .311 .350 27 56 9 1 4 41 3
1B Alex Close Liberty .323 .370 .512 36 70 14 0 9 46 3
MIF Kevin Newman Arizona .304 .362 .383 39 70 10 4 0 34 13
MIF Mikey White Alabama .300 .399 .443 50 71 9 2 7 33 3
3B Mitchell Tolman Oregon .315 .438 .470 45 69 18 5 2 49 5
OF Gio Brusa Pacific .257 .322 .406 30 52 17 2 3 40 1
OF Andrew Stevenson Lousiana State .335 .393 .419 41 68 7 5 0 32 9
OF Steven Duggar Clemson .294 .368 .378 45 70 11 3 1 36 25
DH Mark Mathias Cal Poly .386 .455 .490 48 81 14 1 2 39 12
UT Bobby Dalbec Arizona .266 .333 .355 22 45 9 0 2 30 1

Pos. Name School ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB
SP Michael Matuella Duke 2.78 1-3 1 0 58.1 40 69 15
SP Logan Shore Florida 2.16 7-4 0 0 95.2 86 68 20
SP Bailey Ober College of Charleston 1.52 10-3 2 0 106.2 73 85 19
SP Brandon Waddell Virginia 2.45 10-3 2 0 114 98 73 19
SP Michael Murray Florida Gulf Coast 1.85 13-1 2 0 107 92 79 14
RP Brandon Koch Dallas Baptist 0.64 8-1 0 9 42.1 25 70 22
RP Bryan Garcia Miami 1.75 7-4 0 15 51.1 40 56 19
UT Bobby Dalbec Arizona 2.13 3-5 0 2 38 35 24 10