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College  | Story  | 1/4/2024

Preseason Collegiate All-Americans

Vincent Cervino      Craig Cozart     
College Preview Index

The 2024 College Baseball season is just around the corner and Perfect Game will have you loaded with coverage heading into the year. First order of business is the 2024 Preseason Collegiate All-Americans, headlined by three Wake Forest stars in Nick Kurtz, Chase Burns, and Josh Hartle. The Preseason Top 25 will release tomorrow, Friday January 5th and the College Preview Index linked above will have the dates for all of the preseason content releasing throughout the next two months. Keep plugged in to perfectgame.org to see all of the content and make sure to follow our college team of Coach Craig Cozart and Vinnie Cervino. First team breakdowns as well as Projected Players of the Year are below. 



Preseason Player of the Year: Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest
There might not be a more physically imposing hitter in college baseball as the 6-foot-5, 235-pound first baseman for the Deacs is our pick for Player of the Year. Kurtz has immense power from the left side of the plate, clobbering 39 home runs to date in his career. You’d be hard pressed to find a hitter with better plate discipline across the country, in both of his seasons Kurtz has walked more than he struck out including a walk rate of nearly 24% last year which is absurd. He’s also a plus first base defender and a candidate to go first overall in July’s draft. 

Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest
The Deacs picked up arguably the biggest name in the transfer portal: flame throwing right-hander Chase Burns, who comes over from Tennessee and is our pick for Pitcher of the Year. Burns possesses electric stuff: a fastball up to triple digits, a hellacious slider that sits right around 90 mph, and a competitive fire that draws on his teammates. The Wake Forest pitching staff was excellent in 2023 and replacing Rhett Lowder with Chase Burns is about as good as you can get. 

Preseason Two-Way Player of the Year: Jac Caglianone, TWP, Florida
Arguably the biggest story in the sport a year ago was the emergence of Caglianone for the Gators, who frequently drew comparisons to Shohei Ohtani and is our pick for Two-Way Player of the Year. Caglianone has a couple of 80 grade tools on the card, his power and his fastball. It’s light-tower power as he crushed 33 homers last year and his BP is must-watch TV while the heater will touch triple digits at times. He’s a unicorn in college baseball and the Gators’ two-way star is the only returning Golden Spikes finalist in the sport. 
 
All-Americans chosen based on statistics, prospect status, 2024 projection, among other factors

* denotes Preseason Player, Pitcher, and Two-Way Player of the Year


First Team Hitters

Pos. Name School Class AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Jacob Cozart North Carolina State JR .301 .392 .546 39 59 14 2 10 42 0
1B Nick Kurtz* Wake Forest JR .353 .527 .784 76 67 10 0 24 69 5
2B JJ Wetherholt West Virginia JR .449 .517 .787 67 101 24 2 16 60 36 
3B Tommy White LSU JR .374 .432 .725 64 102 24 0 24 105 0
SS Anthony Silva TCU SO .330 .416 .471 53 75 11 0 7 50 17
IF Travis Bazzana Oregon State JR .374 .500 .622 78 89 20 3 11 55 36
OF Braden Montgomery Texas A&M JR .336 .461 .611 70 82 14 1 17 61 6
OF Ethan Petry South Carolina SO .376 .471 .733 55 83 10 0 23 75 4
OF Mike Sirota Northeastern JR .346 .472 .678 73 74 9 4 18 54 19
DH Charlie Condon Georgia JR .386 .484 .800 61 81 10 1 25 67 0
TWP Jac Caglianone* Florida JR .323 .389 .738 74 91 14 2 33 90 4


Catcher: Jacob Cozart, North Carolina State

There’s an argument to be made that there’s no better defensive catcher in the country than Cozart and that coupled with his over .300 season with ten home runs made him a strong pick behind the plate. Cozart steals strikes at an unbelievable clip and can throw, block, and defend which all translate to the next level. He also mashed this summer at USA Trials and at 6-foot-3, 216-pounds, he could be in store for a huge offensive season in the power department. 

Second Base: JJ Wetherholt, West Virginia
In terms of 2023 statistics, Wetherholt had arguably the best numbers of anyone in the country, hitting a robust .449 to go along with sixteen home runs and 36 stolen bags. The hit tool is outstanding and he can really run too, combining end line speed with excellent baserunning instincts and reads. Wetherholt is truly a complete hitter and should be among the nation’s best again in 2024; he’s another candidate for the 1:1 spot in July’s draft. 

Shortstop: Anthony Silva, TCU
As a true freshman in 2023, Silva manned shortstop admirably for the Frogs as he was a key cog in what ended up being an Omaha team. Silva has a baseline of extremely impressive tools: he can run, throw, defend, and hit for both average and power. Silva had an OPS around .900 as a true freshman and showed excellent defense too; as a draft eligible sophomore there’s real first round upside. 

Third Base: Tommy White, LSU
Tommy Tanks became a household name in his true freshman season at NC State, and he followed up that campaign with a 100+ RBI season and a national championship for LSU. Power is the calling card here and White is among the nation’s best longball artists, launching 24 in 2023 to give him 51 for his career. White is an electric hitter when he’s on a hot streak and the likely first-rounder will look to lead LSU back to another title in 2024. 

Infield: Travis Bazzana, Oregon State
Bazzana has been an excellent player for two seasons at Oregon State and the Australian native has a chance to be the first player selected in July’s draft. Bazzana got on base at a .500 clip last year and can really run with 36 stolen bases. The hit tool and plate discipline are excellent as he makes good swing decisions and can generate impact on a consistent basis. He’s a very complete player and among the best in the country heading into 2024. 

Outfield: Braden Montgomery, Texas A&M
If Chase Burns was the biggest name in the transfer portal then Braden Montgomery is probably on equal footing, as he shockingly departed Stanford and will be spending his draft year in College Station. Montgomery has a silky smooth swing from both sides of the plate and OPS’d over 1.000 with seventeen home runs for the Cardinal last year. He’s got an absolute cannon from the outfield and should pitch some too. Montgomery is another name on this list with top ten draft and Golden Spikes upside. 

Outfield: Ethan Petry, South Carolina
Petry was a sensation in his true freshman campaign as a still-eighteen year old, eventually leading to Freshman of the Year honors in the process. He OPS’d north of 1.100 and crushed 23 home runs, leading the Gamecocks to the Gainesville Super Regional. Petry is a true power hitter with a big arm from right field and is one of the top prospects in the country for the 2025 MLB Draft.

Outfield: Mike Sirota, Northeastern
Sirota has been a standout for two years at Northeastern and it looks like the likely first round pick will have another strong season in 2024. Sirota is toolsy and can run and defend in centerfield while also showing big impact offensively. He’s a true five tool threat and should be in store for a monster season for the Huskies.

Designated Hitter: Charlie Condon, Georgia
It was a breakout 2023 campaign for Condon who had a slugging percentage of .800 and crushed 25 home runs for the Bulldogs. Condon is among the nation’s most prolific power hitters, leaving the yard with consistency and frequency while the batted ball numbers are among the best in the country. He’s a likely first round pick and one that could go very early come July’s draft. 

First Team Pitchers

Pos. Name School Class ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB OBA
SP Chase Burns* Wake Forest JR 4.25 5-3 0 2 72 60 73 19 .225
SP Brody Brecht Iowa JR 3.74 5-2 0 0 77 37 109 61 .143
SP Josh Hartle Wake Forest JR 2.81 11-2 0 0 102.1 91 140 24 .237
SP Hagen Smith Arkansas JR 3.64 8-2 0 2 71.2 56 109 42 .217
SP Trey Yesavage East Carolina JR 2.61 7-1 0 1 76 53 105 23 .193
RP Tyson Neighbors Kansas State JR 1.85 5-1 0 11 48.2 22 86 16 .135
RP Fran Oschell Duke JR 0.69 6-0 0 0 39.1 18 66 18 .133
TWP Jac Caglianone* Florida JR 4.34 7-4 0 0 74.2 51 87 55 .190


Starting Pitcher: Brody Brecht, Iowa
Very few players in the country can match the pure stuff that Brecht possesses and it’s why Brecht will be one of the first college arms off the board in July’s draft. He can run the fastball up to triple digits and his slider might be the best pitch in the country. Brecht is an excellent athlete too, he played two years on the football team as a wide receiver, and made notable improvements to his command throughout the year, leaving the possibility for a huge breakout in 2024 possible. 

Starting Pitcher: Josh Hartle, Wake Forest
Hartle’s teammate Rhett Lowder went 7th overall in the draft and you could argue that Hartle was the best pitcher on the Deacs in 2023. The southpaw has poise, command, a low-90s heater, and a full arsenal to attack hitters. Hartle had 140 strikeouts to just 24 walks in over 100 innings which is just otherworldly command combined with bat miss. He’s another candidate to be the first college arm off the board in July and should solidly be a first rounder. 

Starting Pitcher: Hagen Smith, Arkansas
Smith jumped around in terms of role a little bit for the Hogs in 2023, as Smith figures to be Arkansas’ biggest weapon on the mound in 2024. It’s electric from the left side with an upper-90s fastball and a wipeout breaking ball. The walks got a little high last year but in terms of competitiveness and overall stuff, Smith ranks among the best in the nation. 

Starting Pitcher: Trey Yesavage, East Carolina
The defending AAC Pitcher of the Year, Yesavage was a breakout for the Pirates in 2023 and looks to be among the nation’s best Friday night arms in 2024. He’s a big right-hander with a mid-90s heater and a full four pitch mix, traits which could propel him to be a first round pick in July. It’s a deep arsenal and Yesavage has a lot of ways to miss bats. He held opponents to under a .200 batting average in 2023 and should be in store for a big season. 

Relief Pitcher: Tyson Neighbors, Kansas State
Neighbors has electric stuff and was among the nation’s best closers in 2023. Neighbors struck out 86 hitters in 48.2 innings while allowing a miniscule .135 opponent batting average. He had a very strong summer, showing out with USA where he showed a mid-90s heater with excellent ride and one of the best breaking balls in the country. Whether Neighbors starts or relieves in 2024 is yet to be known but what is known is that hitters are not going to want to face him. 

Relief Pitcher: Fran Oschell, Duke
Oschell wasn’t Duke’s closer in 2023, that would be James Tallon who saved twelve games and appears later on the list, but he was definitely the arm to turn to when you had to get out of a jam. Oschell had an ERA of just 0.69 across 39.1 innings, striking out 66 hitters and allowing opponents to hit just .133. The fastball has explosive riding life in the mid to upper-90s with a downer curveball. Oschell might have a chance to start in 2024 but he’s shown already he can be a dominant reliever. 

Second Team Hitters

Pos. Name School Class AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Derek Bender Coastal Carolina JR .341 .399 .635 61 86 13 2 19 83 2
1B Gavin Kash Texas Tech JR .327 .397 .692 67 86 12 3 26 84 2
2B Duce Gourson UCLA JR .319 .438 .515 48 65 10 0 10 48 8
3B Billy Amick Tennessee JR .416 .464 .772 37 69 17 2 13 63 2
SS Griff O'Ferrall Virginia JR .396 .453 .495 76 108 20 2 1 42 16
IF Colby Shelton Florida SO .300 .419 .729 49 61 10 1 25 51 0
OF Cam Cannarella Clemson SO .388 .462 .580 72 97 16 3 7 47 24
OF Jace LaViolette Texas A&M SO .287 .414 .632 50 64 10 2 21 63 18
OF Devin Taylor Indiana SO .315 .430 .650 61 63 13 3 16 59 1
DH Malcolm Moore Stanford SO .311 .386 .564 50 80 20 0 15 63 3
TWP Payton Tolle TCU JR .311 .361 .538 32 66 9 0 13 50 1

Second Team Pitchers

Pos. Name School Class ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB OBA
SP Drew Beam Tennessee JR 3.63 9-4 0 0 84.1 88 88 23 .267
SP Evan Chrest Jacksonville SO 2.68 8-2 0 0 90.2 83 98 36 .249
SP Devin Futrell Vanderbilt JR 3.44 8-3 0 0 83.2 71 72 20 .226
SP Lebarron Johnson Texas SR 2.91 8-4 1 1 86.2 73 98 38 .231
SP Ryan Johnson Dallas Baptist JR 4.43 8-4 0 0 87.1 79 116 22 .239
RP Hudson Barrett UC Santa Barbara SO 1.92 6-1 0 6 61 42 82 32 .195
RP Jared Spencer Indiana State JR 3.86 3-2 0 7 37.1 27 51 20 .203
TWP Payton Tolle TCU JR 4.62 9-3 2 0 85.2 81 97 19 .245

Third Team Hitters

Pos. Name School Class AVG OBP SLG R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
C Cole Messina South Carolina JR .307 .428 .615 62 71 18 1 17 65 8
1B Hunter Hines Mississippi State JR .297 .375 .683 44 60 12 0 22 61 0
2B Christian Moore Tennessee JR .304 .444 .603 66 65 13 0 17 50 16
SS Kyle Debarge Louisiana JR .371 .448 .546 53 76 15 0 7 38 18
3B Carson DeMartini Virginia Tech JR .323 .455 .593 58 61 13 4 10 57 9
IF Sam Kulasingam Air Force SR .426 .537 .655 71 100 28 4 6 51 6
OF Vance Honeycutt North Carolina JR .257 .418 .492 51 49 7 1 12 43 19
OF Andrew Patrick Wright State JR .326 .433 .703 72 77 21 4 20 59 31
OF James Tibbs III Florida State JR .338 .471 .682 61 66 14 1 17 43 5
DH Lawson Harrill Campbell SR .371 .475 .761 61 79 17 0 22 69 6
TWP Carson Benge Oklahoma State JR .345 .468 .538 59 68 17 0 7 43 8

Third Team Pitchers

Pos. Name School Class ERA W-L CG SV IP H SO BB OBA
SP Matt Ager UC Santa Barbara JR 3.12 5-4 0 0 92.1 71 83 32 .195
SP Daniel Avitia Grand Canyon JR 3.92 7-1 1 0 82.2 77 81 19 .252
SP Jakob Hall Oral Roberts JR 3.56 8-3 0 0 98.2 93 94 17 .251
SP Luke Holman LSU JR 3.67 7-4 0 0 81 54 87 31 .186
SP Jacob Mayers Nicholls State SO 2.02 9-1 0 0 75.2 44 105 58 .175
RP Brandon Neely Florida JR 3.58 2-3 0 13 55.1 46 72 22 .223
RP James Tallon Duke SO 1.64 1-1 0 12 33 22 54 11 .185
TWP Carson Benge Oklahoma State JR 6.69 2-2 0 0 35 38 35 24 .279