Perfect Game is back with college preview coverage for the 2021 baseball season. We start our coverage with the 2021 Preseason All-Americans and will have content throughout the next two months which include Top 25 rankings, conference previews, as well as lists of the top players by year in college.
The Perfect Game/Rawlings Preseason All-American teams are listed below, broken down into three separate teams along with breakdowns of the members of the first team. Because of the length of the 2020 season the players listed below were selected based on a combination of factors including statistics from both 2019 and 2020, prospect status, 2021 expectations, and ranking relative to their draft status.
Adrian Del Castillo, Miami
The top catching prospect in the draft, Del Castillo drew rave reviews for his hit tool coming out of high school and he’s done nothing but rake during his time in Coral Gables. He hit .317 as a true freshman and was well on his way to replicating that performance before the shutdown. There’s a legitimate chance that Del Castillo is the best pure hitter in the college ranks today, but he’ll have to answer some questions about his defensive ability and look to tap into a bit more power in 2021. He’s got terrific strike zone discipline and walks more than he strikes out, while he should be one of the more feared hitters in the ACC heading into the season.
Bobby Seymour, Wake Forest
All Seymour has done since he got to campus is rake and we fully expect him to do so in 2021. The numbers were a bit down in the abbreviated 2020 campaign but that doesn’t diminish the 2019 campaign that saw him slash .377/.439/.576 along with nine home runs. He’s a monster of a physical prospect with a 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame and he uses that strength and physicality to tap into some serious raw power. The Demon Deacons are expected to bring back one of the more experienced lineups in the ACC and there’s good reason to believe that Seymour is going to be a massive part of that lineup.
Cody Morissette, Boston College
Morissette has one of the sweetest lefthanded swings in the sport and forms a pretty formidable trio for the Eagles as expectations are high heading into 2021. He’s been a starter right away since he got to campus as he hit .320 with an OPS north of .800 his freshman campaign before going bonkers over the first four weeks of the 2020 campaign with a .448 mark and already getting to half of his home run total from 2019. He’s a good athlete who could play either of the positions in the middle infield and also is a pretty good runner, too. There’s a well-balanced profile overall and if he can improve his power output this season he’ll soar up boards.
Matt McLain, UCLA
After turning down the draft in the first round, McLain was one of the more hyped prospects to enter college baseball. He took his lumps starting everyday as a freshman and was well on his way to a monster 2020 campaign before the shutdown. He’s a true five-tool shortstop who does a little bit of everything well. McLain will be in his second year at shortstop as he’s continued to improve upon his peripheral tools during his time in Los Angeles. He scorched close to .400 in the shortened season along with three home runs and the power appears to be in store for a breakout during the 2021 season.
Alex Binelas, Louisville
After suffering an injury that put a premature end to his 2020 season, Binelas has drawn rave reviews during his time on campus as one of the better hitters in the sport. He had a monster freshman campaign in 2019 where he hit over .300 and launched 14 home runs. Binelas has an excellent combination of hit and power tools which could lead to a monster 2021 campaign. He’s back and fully healthy for a Cardinals team that is going to have no shortage of heavy hitters. Binelas has the potential to not only go in the top half of the first round but also to have some of the best numbers in the sport.
Jud Fabian, Florida
One of the top position players in the sport, Fabian is a true superstar at the college level who’s in store for a monster 2021 campaign. Fabian enrolled early to play in 2019 where he started as an 18-year-old freshman in the SEC, then he put together impressive performances on the Cape and in the abbreviated 2020 season. The power was beginning to show up in a big way with five home runs in just four weeks and adding power to an already impressive profile when you look at his speed and center field defense makes for a complete prospect.
Christian Franklin, Arkansas
Franklin has the potential to be one of the best bats in the SEC and was off to a torrid start to the 2021 season before the cancellation. He’s an excellent athlete who impacts the ball extremely hard on a consistent basis. He’ll play center field and offers tremendous peripheral tools in terms of speed and power potential that give him the potential to be one of the best hitters in the country. Franklin is a game-changing type of prospect who should be in store for a very big season.
Grant Richardson, Indiana
After not being selected in the 2020 five-round draft, Richardson returns following a torrid four-week stretch to start the year where he hit .424 with five home runs. He’s got excellent physicality along with all the peripheral tools to be successful and the hit tool and power combination should pay dividends come this spring. There’s excellent bat speed along with the physicality and strength to posit double dight home run upside. Throw in the rest of his tools in that he can run, throw, and defend and you have a very well-rounded prospect who should be one of the top hitters in the Big Ten.
TJ Collett, Kentucky
Double digit home run hitters in the SEC don’t grow on trees and Collett has 25 big flies to his name in a little over two full years playing. Collett returns for his fourth year in Lexington and should be a fixture right in the middle of Kentucky’s lineup with the potential to go deep on any swing that he takes. He’s a first base/designated hitter type of slugger whose value is going to be derived from his bat. Collett takes big hacks from the left side of the dish with the potential to go deep to any part of the ballpark and should be in store for another 10+ home run year.
Davis Sharpe, Clemson
Perhaps the most accomplished two-way player in the country, Sharpe took to doing both immediately upon getting to campus, hitting in the middle of the lineup and starting on weekends right away. He’s a physical, 6-foot-4 and 210-pound two-way player who could likely do either at the professional level. On the mound he’s a polished, low-90s pitcher with a dastardly slider and a very good repertoire overall. Sharpe started 15 games as a true freshman and looked good out of the gate. Offensively, he’s a righthanded hitting slugger with big power potential. The results were middling from an offensive perspective in his first year and already eclipsed his power output in four weeks to start the year. He’s got the potential to be one of the most valuable pieces in the nation given how involved he’ll be in the Tigers’ success.
Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt
Possibly the most famous college prospect in terms of notoriety, Rocker’s story is well-known as he bypassed the MLB Draft in favor of suiting up for Tim Corbin and the Commodores. He’s the current favorite to go 1:1 in July’s draft and there’s good reason for it. Rocker’s a massive and physical righthanded pitcher who routinely works into the upper-90s and is one of the sports most accomplished pitchers. He pounds the zone and has a power slider, along with a changeup, that give him numerous ways to attack a lineup. There’s not much more to say other than to buckle up as Rocker’s season could be one of the better from a statistical standpoint in recent memory.
Connor Prielipp, Alabama
The No. 1 prospect for the 2022 draft, Prielipp broke out in a massive way during the 2020 season where he made four starts and didn’t allow a single earned run while striking out 35 batters over 21 innings with just six walks. He’s got true Friday night ace-level stuff with a physical build and an easy mid-90s fastball. Prielipp dominated hitters in a way freshmen don’t normally do and he’s got a banger of a breaking ball with elite spin rates and biting break to it. He’s likely to give up at least one run this season, but he’ll be leading a talented and hungry Alabama team that could break out in 2021. Look for Prielipp to have a big season as the Crimson Tide have their dude on Fridays who can compete against any other starter in the league.
Ty Madden, Texas
Madden had a lot of success as a true freshman before ascending to the weekend rotation for 2020, where it looks like the Longhorns have their ace. Madden has the potential to go in the top-15 picks as he’s got a workhorse build, a consistent mid-90s heater that will touch higher, and one of the best sliders in the class. He’s the epitome of a hard-throwing Texas right-hander who was having a breakout campaign before the shutdown with a 1.80 ERA that included a complete game. Madden’s fiery repertoire and workhorse potential at the top of the rotation give the Longhorns a true ace who should attract a lot of scouting attention during the course of the spring.
Doug Nikhazy, Mississippi
Another bona fide Friday night SEC arm, Nikhazy will not only lead a talented Rebels team but forms one of the best pitching duos in the country along with teammate Gunnar Hoglund. He had tremendous success as a true freshman starting out right away in the weekend rotation before looking like a true ace in the shortened 2020 season. Nikhazy won’t blow you away with his size nor his stuff, he’s 5-foot-10 and has a fastball that sits right around the low-90s, but he knows how to pitch and his fastball has excellent spin metrics along with his bread-and-butter plus curveball. Nikhazy has been one of the more reliable arms in the SEC over the last two seasons and it won’t be surprising to see him be uber-consistent once more for the Rebels during the 2021 spring.
Trenton Denholm, UC Irvine
Pitching nearly 200 innings over the course of the last three seasons, there might not be a pitcher on this list who has accomplished more and is as reliable as Denholm. He put forth a sparkling line in 2019 with a 1.81 ERA over close to 100 innings that included four complete games. Denholm won’t blow you away with his stuff or size but what he does well is absolutely pound the strike zone and attack with his low- to mid-90s fastballs. Denholm also has a breaking ball that’s made enormous strides during his time in Irvine while the changeup is his best secondary pitch that avoids barrels very well. His ability to pitch is matched by very few nationwide and he’s looking for a big year in his fourth year in college baseball.
Jaden Hill, Louisiana State
All signs point toward Hill making the jump to the starting rotation next spring, and although he doesn’t have many innings logged during his career he may have the best stuff in the class. Hill is a super physical, electric-armed right-hander who has been up to 99 mph in terms of velocity to go along with a plus slider and, potentially, a plus-plus changeup. He’s got electric arm speed and due to the low mileage the ceiling is incredibly high for Hill. He’s always excelled at both avoiding hits and missing bats as he’s sure to rack up the strikeout numbers along with avoiding contact. He’s due for a significant breakout and how well he pitches will likely determine his draft stock next spring.
Michael Kirian, Louisville
Kirian has been one of the most reliable stoppers in the sport over the last two years, having an ERA just north of 1.00 in that span while racking up 10 combined saves during the 2019 and 2020 campaigns. He’s a 6-foot-6 left-hander who pounds the strike zone and has a low- to mid 90s fastball that he uses to challenge hitters throughout the zone. He’ll likely have the opportunity to earn a starting role this spring, but even if he doesn’t the Cardinals have a reliable, potential multi-inning option out of the back end. If his last two seasons are any indication you can expect a microscopic ERA along with true run prevention ability.