Sign in
Create Account
College  | Story  | 1/27/2012

All-American expectations

Kendall Rogers     

You can follow Kendall Rogers on Twitter @KendallRogersPG and can like the Perfect Game College Baseball Facebook page

Like the college baseball content we provide at Perfect Game? If so, have the ultimate college baseball experience by subscribing to the College Baseball Ticket for the low price of $60 annually. If you're interested in subscribing to the CBT and getting college baseball coverage like no other, Click Here

Check out PG's preseason position/coach power rankings

It’s amazing how much things can change in a year of college baseball.

Before last season, South Carolina’s Michael Roth was just a reliever who willed his way to a pair of great starts in the College World Series. Then, last season, Roth evolved into one of the nation’s premier ace pitchers.

Similar stories played out with several players on Perfect Game’s 2012 College Baseball Preseason All-America teams.

Georgia Southern outfielder Victor Roache evolved into one of the game’s premier outfielders with an amazing 30 home runs and 84 RBIs last season. He, too, is expected to have another banner campaign.

There also are guys such as Arizona State’s Deven Marrero, Texas A&M’s Tyler Naquin, Florida State’s James Ramsey and Duke’s Marcus Stroman, who have increased their stock as college players and MLB draft prospects.

Marrero is college baseball’s elite defensive shortstop and is expected to be more offensive this spring, while Naquin, an outfielder, has a consistent bat, a great arm, good speed and excellent defensive skills. Meanwhile, Ramsey, another outfielder, took a huge step forward with a productive 2011 campaign followed by an outstanding summer, while Stroman electrified observers last summer with a fastball in the 95-98 mph range.

Though all the above players are excellent at their respective positions, only two players from the overall three teams will take home national individual awards at the conclusion of the 2012 campaign. They’re expected to be Florida catcher Mike Zunino and Stanford right-handed pitcher Mark Appel.

Zunino is the ringleader of the Gators, who are expected to compete for the national title. He’s a fantastic defensive catcher who’s expected to have a highly productive spring at the plate. He’s also slated to be a first-round draft pick. Meanwhile, Appel is a shooting star for the Cardinal. He has a fastball that sits in the mid 90s. And though he’s not quite the strikeout pitcher some aces are, he’s coming off an impressive campaign.

After seeing how much has changed in the landscape of college baseball in the past year, excitement fills the air as we ponder which stars will rise to the occasion this spring.

College baseball’s preseason All-Americans are unveiled.

PG Preseason Pitcher of the Year
: RHP Mark Appel, Stanford
PG Preseason Player of the Year: C Mike Zunino, Florida

C Mike Zunino
School: Florida
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-2, Wt.: 220
Hometown.: Cape Coral, Fla.
High school: Mariner
Zunino established himself as an elite catcher last season and is expected to have a great 2012 campaign. A top prospect, Zunino is a good defensive catcher and an excellent hitter with big-time power. Hit .371 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs last season.
1B Christian Walker
School: South Carolina
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-0, Wt.: 220
Hometown.: Limerick, Pa.
High school: Kennedy-Kenrick
Walker’s stock as a prospect continues to rise, but his status as a college baseball player has been excellent for the past couple of seasons. Walker is a solid defender at first base and has a consistent bat. In 2011, Walker hit .358 with 10 home runs and 62 RBIs.
2B LJ Mazzilli
School: Connecticut
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-1, Wt.: 190
Hometown.: Greenwich, Conn.
High school: IMG Pendleton School
Mazzilli was hampered at times last season with an injury, but enters 2012 with a full head of steam and high expectations. The talented two-bagger is a solid defender and has a good bat. In 2011, he batted .338 with 23 doubles, three home runs and 32 RBIs.
SS Deven Marrero
School: Arizona State
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-1, Wt.: 194
Hometown.: Davie, Fla.
High school: American Heritage
Marrero solidified himself as a top prospect as a sophomore last season and could be the top pick in this summer’s MLB draft. Marrero is an excellent defender and has a fantastic arm. Additionally, he has a ton of upside at the plate. Hit .315 with two home runs and 20 RBIs last season.
3B Stephen Piscotty
School: Stanford
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-3, Wt.: 215
Hometown.: Pleasanton, Calif.
High school: Amador Valley
There’s a lot to like about the Stanford third baseman. He has an impressive frame and plenty of overall upside. His offensive skills also are advanced, as he led the Cardinal in hitting last season. In 2011, Piscotty batted .364 with three home runs and 40 RBIs. Also had a .423 OBP.
OF Victor Roache
School: Georgia Southern
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-1, Wt.: 225
Hometown.: Ypsilanti, Mich.
High school: Lincoln
While many hitters struggled with the BBCOR bats last season, Roache did the opposite. The hard-hitting outfielder turned into an elite prospect with a mammoth campaign. He also raised eyebrows at the Cape Cod League. In 2011, he batted .326 with 30 home runs and 84 RBIs.
OF Tyler Naquin
School: Texas A&M
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-2, Wt.: 170
Hometown.: Spring, Texas
High school: Klein Collins
Naquin evolved into an elite player last season, and is expected to have an even better 2012 campaign. The speedy outfielder is a good defender with an excellent arm. He also has an impressive offensive skill set, expected to hit for more power this spring. In 2011, hit .381 with 23 doubles and 44 RBIs.
OF James Ramsey
School: Florida State
Cl.: Senior, Ht.: 6-0, Wt.: 190
Hometown.: Alpharetta, Ga.
High school: Wesleyan
Ramsey blossomed into an elite hitter last season and almost ended up signing professional after an impressive summer at the Cape Cod League, ranking No. 48 in terms of prospects in the league. In 2011, Ramsey batted 364 with 18 doubles, 10 home runs and 67 RBIs.
DH Adam Brett Walker
School: Jacksonville
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-5, Wt.: 222
Hometown.: Milwaukee, Wis.
High school: Milwaukee Lutheran
Walker is having an exceptional collegiate career. He had a good freshman campaign and went a step further last season with an amazing sophomore campaign. He has involved into an elite hitting prospect. In 2011, he batted .409 with 23 doubles, 13 home runs and 75 RBIs.
UT Brian Johnson
School: Florida
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-3, Wt.: 235
Hometown.: Cocoa Beach, Fla.
High school: Cocoa Beach
Johnson surely is expected to have an elite 2012 campaign. A talented prospect, Johnson is very talented as both a hitter and pitcher. In 2011, he batted .307 with 11 doubles, five home runs and 29 RBIs. On the mound, he had a 3.62 ERA in 79 2/3 innings.
SP Michael Roth
School: South Carolina
Cl.: Senior, Ht.: 6-1, Wt.: 210
Hometown.: Greer, S.C.
High school: Riverside
Two seasons ago, the talented left-handed pitcher was just a reliever for the Gamecocks. Now he’s one of the nation’s elite starters. Roth had a magical junior campaign for the Gamecocks and returned for another season. In 2011, he had a 1.06 ERA in 145 innings, limiting teams to a .208 average.
SP Mark Appel
School: Stanford
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-5, Wt.: 215
Hometown.: San Ramon, Calif.
High school: Monte Vista
Appel is an ultra-talented right-hander who could very well be the top pick in the upcoming MLB draft with a fastball in the mid 90s. He’s expected to be even better this spring, as the Cardinal aims for Omaha. In 2011, Appel had a 3.02 ERA in 110 1/3 innings. He also struck out 86 and walked 20.
SP Michael Wacha
School: Texas A&M
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-6, Wt.: 200
Hometown.: Texarkana, Texas
High school: Pleasant Grove
The tallish and talented right-handed pitcher has had a pair of productive campaigns to begin his collegiate career. Now, as a junior, he’s a top prospect with a great changeup and fastball in the 92-94 mph range. In 2011, Wacha tallied a 2.29 ERA in 129 2/3 innings. Also struck out 123 and walked 30.
SP Hudson Randall
School: Florida
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-3, Wt.: 180
Hometown.: Atlanta, Ga.
High school: Dunwoody
Randall isn’t quite the prospect of weekend rotation counterparts Karsten Whitson and Brian Johnson, but is expected to be a top three-to-four rounder. Randall clearly is the most efficient pitcher on the Gators’ talented pitching staff. In 2011, tallied a 2.17 ERA in 124 1/3 innings and teams hit him at a .227 clip.
RP Marcus Stroman
School: Duke
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 5-9 Wt.: 185
Hometown.: Medford, N.Y.
High school: Patchogue-Medford
Stroman certainly isn’t the most intimidating pitcher in college baseball with his smallish size, but his stuff is electric. The righty dazzled observers at the Cape Cod League over the summer with his 95-98 mph fastball and outstanding slider. In 2011, Stroman had a 2.80 ERA in 64 1/3 innings.
RP Matt Price
School: South Carolina
Cl.: Junior, Ht.: 6-2, Wt.: 215
Hometown.: Sumter, S.C.
High school: Sumter
The Gamecocks are slated to start Price to begin the 2012 campaign, but the hard-throwing right-hander could evolve back to the bullpen should things not work out with a new closer. Price has a fastball in the mid 90s and was great last season, collecting 20 saves with a 1.83 ERA in 59 innings.

PG Second Team All-Americans

C Josh Elander, junior, TCU
1B Richie Shaffer, junior, Clemson
2B Tony Renda, junior, California
SS Nolan Fontana, junior, Florida
3B Colin Moran, sophomore, North Carolina
OF Taylor Dugas, senior, Alabama
OF Jeremy Baltz, junior, St. John’s
OF Michael Lorenzen, sophomore, Cal State Fullerton
DH Joey DeMichele, junior, Arizona State
UT Austin Maddox, junior, Florida

SP Karsten Whitson, sophomore, Florida
SP Chris Beck, junior, Georgia Southern
SP Kevin Gausman, sophomore, LSU
SP Austin Kubitza, sophomore, Rice
RP Corey Knebel, sophomore, Texas
RP Tony Bryant, junior, Oregon State

PG Third Team All-Americans

C Peter O’Brien, senior, Miami
1B Jayce Boyd, junior, Florida State
2B Ross Heffley, senior, Western Carolina
SS Kenny Diekroeger, junior, Stanford
3B Erich Weiss, sophomore, Texas
OF Travis Jankowski, junior, Stony Brook
OF Austin Wilson, sophomore, Stanford
OF Barrett Barnes, junior, Texas Tech
DH Kris Bryant, sophomore, San Diego
UT J.T. Chargois, junior, Rice

SP Ross Stripling, senior, Texas A&M
SP D.J. Baxendale, junior, Arkansas
SP Branden Kline, junior, Virginia
SP Brady Rodgers, junior, Arizona State
RP Matt Carasiti, junior, St. John’s
RP Caleb Reed, senior, Mississippi State

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball managing editor for Perfect Game USA and can be reached at kendall@perfectgame.org