College : : Rankings
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

College Top 25: Team Capsules

Patrick Ebert         Jheremy Brown         Mike Rooney         Andrew Krause         Brian Sakowski        
Photo: University of Louisville Sports Information

Preseason College Top 25 | Preseason All-American Team | 2016 College Baseball Preview Index

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Prospect number in parenthesis is player's rank in Perfect Game's most recent ranking of the top 250 prospects
 eligible for the 2015 draft.

1. Florida

J.J. Schwarz (Tim Casey)
Head coach: Kevin O'Sullivan
Conference: Southeastern
2015 record: 52-18 (19-11 SEC)
2015 finish: 3rd place College World Series

Top returning hitters: OF Jeremy Vasquez (.339-2-20), C/DH J.J. Schwarz (.332-18-73), OF Buddy Reed (.305-4-47), 1B Peter Alonso (.301-5-32), SS Dalton Guthrie (.287-2-26), C Mike Rivera (.271-3-48)

Top returning pitchers: RHP Logan Shore (11-6, 2.72 ERA, 112.1 IP, 84:24), RHP Alex Faedo (6-1, 3.23 ERA, 61.1 IP, 59:16), LHP A.J. Puk (9-4, 3.81 ERA, 78 IP, 104:35), Dane Dunning (5-2, 4.03 ERA, 60.1 IP, 55:23)

Top newcomers: RHP Jackson Kowar, RHP Brady Singer, OF Daniel Reyes, MIF Jonathan India

Top 2016 prospects: LHP A.J. Puk (2), OF Buddy Reed (4), RHP Logan Shore (12), RHP Dane Dunning (70), 1B Peter Alonso (91), RHP Shaun Anderson (186), LHP Scott Moss (192)

Why they're here: Depth of impact talent. Florida has two starting rotations deep that gives them an incredible number of power arms to turn to out of the bullpen and even during their mid-week contests. Logan Shore and A.J. Puk will be tough to beat on Friday and Saturdays, while Alex Faedo and Dane Dunning – or whoever they choose to turn to – won't make it any easier. The lineup is stacked from top to bottom with star power and emerging young talent to help carry the torch in future years.

Difference maker: Freshman arms. Jackson Kowar generated a lot of buzz in fall practice, just as he did last spring as the MLB Draft approached, and he may force the team for more playing time. Brady Singer was one of the highest unsigned picks from the 2015 draft and has also made significant strides since arriving on campus. Coach O'Sullivan isn't afraid of shaking up his pitching staff and he has plenty of interchangeable pieces should any of his starters struggle.

Fun fact: The Gators won 16 of 24 games in 2015 against teams that open the 2016 season ranked in the top 25 including series wins over No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 11 Miami and No. 17 Mississippi State.

2. Louisville

Nick Solak (University of Louisville Sports Information)
Head Coach: Dan McDonnell
Conference: Atlantic Coast
2015 record: 47-18 (25-5 ACC)
2015 finish: Louisville Super Regional

Top returning hitters: OF Corey Ray (.325-11-56), 2B Nick Solak (.324-3-40), LHP/1B Brendan McKay (.308-4-34), OF Logan Taylor (.358-1-13)

Top returning pitchers: RHP Kyle Funkhouser (8-5, 3.20 ERA, 112.1 IP, 104:45), LHP/1B Brendan McKay (9-3, 1.77 ERA, 96.2 IP, 117:34), RHP Zack Burdi (6-1, 9 SV, 0.92 ERA, 29.1 IP, 30:8), LHP Drew Harrington (3-1, 0.29 ERA, 31 IP, 42:12), RHP Lincoln Henzman (5-2, 2.32 ERA, 54.1 IP, 47:14)

Top newcomers: LHP Adam Wolf, RHP Bryan Hoeing, RHP Sam Bordner, OF Josh Stowers, OF Chris Botsoe, SS Daniel Little

Top 2015 prospects: OF Corey Ray (3), RHP Kyle Funkhouser (10), RHP Zack Burdi (34), 2B Nick Solak (166), LHP Drew Harrington (220)

Why they’re here: Talent everywhere. If not for the talent assembled in Gainesville, Louisville likely would have opened the year as the top ranked program in the country. Outfielder Corey Ray broke out last spring in a big way and carried that momentum into the summer where he solidified himself as a premier draft prospect, while Nick Solak has been nothing but consistent with the bat wherever he goes. Righthander Kyle Funkhouser returns and is an immediate boost to a rotation that will also feature do-it-all sophomore Brendan McKay, while flame-throwing closer Zack Burdi and his triple-digit fastball look to anchor the ‘pen.

Difference maker: Ace Kyle Funkhouser. If Kyle Funkhouser had elected to sign after his supplemental first-round selection with the Dodgers the Cardinals would still enter the 2016 season as a contender for the national title. Getting him back to anchor the rotation makes Coach Dan McDonnell’s team that much more potent as he’s a bona fide ace with first round stuff across the board and ample experience in the Friday night role, something that’s vital in a run to Omaha.

Fun fact: Louisville has four Preseason First Team All-Americans on their roster, one of only two teams to have multiple selections (No. 1 Florida with three). In addition second baseman Nick Solak earned a spot on the Third Team.

3. Texas A&M

Nick Banks (Texas A&M)
Head Coach: Rob Childress
Conference: Southeastern
2015 record: 50-14 (23-13 SEC)
2015 finish: Fort Worth Super Regional

Top returning hitters: OF Nick Banks (.364-8-48), 1B Hunter Melton (.300-8-37), DH/1B Ronnie Gideon (.294-7-41), 2B Ryne Birk (.275-10-35)

Top returning pitchers: RHP Kyle Simonds (3-2, 2.38 ERA, 52.2 IP, 32:18), RHP Ryan Hendrix (6-4, 3.66 ERA, 59 IP, 69:26, 5 SV), RHP Mark Ecker (1-2, 2.45 ERA, 33 IP, 36:13, 8 SV), RHP Turner Larkins (5-1, 3.96 ERA, 50 IP, 46:16), RHP Andrew Vinson (5-2, 2.11 ERA, 63.2 IP, 64:14, 5 SV), RHP Corbin Martin (2-0, 3.00 ERA, 18.1 IP, 21:12), LHP Tyler Stubblefield (0-0, 5.25 ERA, 12 IP, 10:4)

Top newcomers: RHP Tyler Ivey, SS Alan Campero, OF Joel Davis, RHP Stephen Kolek

Top 2016 prospects: OF Nick Banks (11), RHP Ryan Hendrix (71), LHP Tyler Stubblefield (94), RHP Mark Ecker, RHP Kyle Simonds, RHP Jace Vines

Why they’re here: Array of arms. Outside of perhaps the top-ranked Florida Gators, the Aggies have arguably the deepest pitching staff in the entire country. Kyle Simonds is often overlooked but his combination of poise, polish and experience will be invaluable in conference play. Lefty Tyler Stubblefield has early-round draft potential and will return after missing much of 2015 with a knee injury. Additionally, the Aggies have a plethora of power arms in Corbin Martin, Mark Ecker, and Ryan Hendrix. The upside is sky-high and opposing lineups are surely to face a tough task in each and every half inning.

Difference maker: Nick Banks. For all the imposing arms on the pitching staff the Aggies will still need to score runs and their offense runs through talented junior outfielder Nick Banks. It won’t be easy to replace the experience and production of players like Blake Allemand and Logan Taylor, but Banks has been as consistent as any player in the conference the last two seasons and there’s no reason to think that he won’t hit over .300 for a third straight season.

Fun fact: Banks has a chance to become the 13th Aggie selected in the first round of the MLB Draft (Billy Hodge was selected in the first round in both 1970 and 1971). The most recent first-round pick out of Texas A&M was Michael Wacha (19th overall in 2012), although fellow Aggie Tyler Naquin was selected four slots ahead of Wacha, going 15th overall to the Cleveland Indians.

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