NCAA Tournament Regional Preview

The NCAA baseball tournament kicks off today at noon. Prospects Live’s college analysts Anthony Franco and Tom Mussa have put together comprehensive reports on all 64 D-I clubs still standing. Are you a college baseball fan looking to make last-minute bracket changes, a proud alumnus looking to scout the opposition, or a draft hound doing some couch scouting before Monday’s draft but unclear where to start? Prospects Live has you covered with analysis and projections.

Los Angeles (AF)

#1 UCLA:                              #2 RPI, 47-8 (24-5 Pac-12)
Baylor:                                  #32 RPI, 34-17 (14-8 Big 12)
Loyola Marymount:        #77 RPI, 32-23 (15-12 WCC)
Nebraska-Omaha:           #198 RPI, 31-22-1 (20-10 Summit)


UCLA is the only team in college baseball to win every series they’ve played this year. They’ve gone 31-7 against teams in the top 100 in the RPI, proof their gaudy record doesn’t just reflect a light schedule. Ace Ryan Garcia won’t wow anyone with stuff, but he’s twirled 76 innings with a 1.42 ERA. Only one pitcher on staff has an ERA above 4.09, while seven members of their lineup posted an OPS over .800. That doesn’t include left fielder Jeremy Ydens, who just returned from injury after a solid showing last summer on the Cape, or former first-rounder Matt McLain, who has struggled to acclimate to campus but clearly has talent. The Bruins have bat-first second Chase Strumpf (#48) and power-hitting first baseman Michael Toglia (#42), as well as a top 2020 draft prospect in right fielder Garrett Mitchell. It’s a relentless two-way attack.


The best team in the country, the Bruins have no holes on either side of the ball.

Players to Watch

·         Michael Toglia, 1B

·         Chase Strumpf, 2B

·         Jeremy Ydens, LF

·         Ryan Garcia, RHP


Baylor’s had a bit of an up-and-down season, but they boast a potent lineup. Junior catcher Shea Langeliers (#19) is one of the nation’s best defenders behind the plate and has hit well despite a broken hamate in March. Langeliers is the best prospect in this regional, but he’s not the anchor of the Bears’ offense. That would be third baseman Davis Wendzel, who might end up a Day One selection after leading the Big 12 in OBP and OPS, drawing 32 walks against 25 strikeouts. Senior outfielders Cole Haring and Richard Cunningham round out an offense which finished second in the conference in scoring. They’ll need to hit, because the Bears lost ace Cody Bradford early in the season and issue too many walks as a staff.


Baylor can hit, but their pitching staff has been spotty this year.

Players to Watch

·         Shea Langeliers, C

·         Davis Wendzel, 3B

·         Richard Cunningham, CF

·         Cole Haring, RF

Loyola Marymount

LMU pitched their way to the West Coast Conference autobid. Their tournament run was kicked off by a gem by senior ace Codie Paiva, who struck out 11 in a complete game win over BYU. That’s nothing new, as the Lions’ Hawaiian has a 1.71 ERA that ranks top 15 nationally, a formidable opponent for that vaunted Baylor offense in Game One. LMU’s pitching staff isn’t a high strikeout unit, but they fill up the strike zone. Junior first baseman Trevin Esquerra has played his way into Day Two contention this June by blasting 16 home runs and pacing the WCC in slugging percentage. Depth is a real concern, though; no other player on the team has hit more than two home runs.


LMU can really pitch, with an ace who can beat anyone. Will they hit enough to get the job done?

Players to Watch

·         Codie Paiva, RHP

·         Trevin Esquerra, 1B

·         Nick Frasso, RHP


Omaha has a senior ace of their own; Payton Kinney has a top 10 ERA nationally in over 100 innings, with his 1.65 mark more than a run better than the next-best arm in the Summit League. He’ll start the first NCAA tournament game in Mavericks’ history, aiming to shut down the Bruins. Senior Parker Smejkal has more than tripled his walk rate in a breakout season and is the bat to watch for Omaha.


The Summit League champions, Omaha has an elite arm at the top of the rotation.

Players to Watch

·         Payton Kinney, RHP

·         Parker Smejkal, DH

·         Thomas Debonville, CF

Projected Champions

Anthony-             UCLA
Tom-                     UCLA

Nashville (TM)


#2 Vanderbilt:   #1 RPI, 49-10 (23-7 SEC)

Indiana State:    #24 RPI, 41-16 (13-8 Missouri Valley)

McNeese State: #85 RPI, 35-24 (16-14 Southland)

Ohio State:         #126 RPI, 35-25 (12-12 Big Ten)



It would be an understatement to say that Vanderbilt is a favorite going into the tournament for this year. Outside of a bit of a rocky start, Vanderbilt has been dominant all year long. Leading the team is the superstar and future Top 10 pick JJ Bleday (#5). Bleday, the SEC player of the year is batting an incredible .357/.467/.752 with a Vanderbilt record of 26 home runs this year, breaking Pedro Alvarez’s old record of 22 from 2006. Around him are the excellent Austin Martin batting .414/.504/.613 this year, Ethan Paul (.325/.388/.529) and Stephen Scott (.335/.457/.579). On the mound for Vanderbilt is Friday night guy Drake Fellows with 108 K in 91 IP with an ERA of 4.05. However, the big part of Vanderbilt’s success has been their pitching getting better throughout the year. Going into the year there were questions as to who in the rotation outside of Fellows would step up and play a big role. Mason Hickman came out of the bullpen and has been fantastic. In nine starts, Hickman has a 2.20 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 73.2 innings. Behind him are Patrick Raby (2.90 ERA) and highly touted freshman Kumar Rocker (4.14 ERA), who has looked his best as of late.  Vanderbilt has talent from front to back that can easily find its way into Omaha.




Get ready to wear your earplugs because you’ll have to deal with the Vandy Whistler for a while in the near future. If you don’t know who that is, look it up, you’ll understand.


Players to Watch


·         JJ Bleday, OF

·         Austin Martin, UTL

·         Stephen Scott, UTL

·         Drake Fellows ,RHP

·         Kumar Rocker, RHP

·         Mason Hickman, RHP

·         Tyler Brown, RHP


Indiana State


The Sycamores are making an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time since 2014. Indiana State has been one of the better mid-major teams in the nation all year long. Although a series sweep loss to DBU killed their regular season title chances, they got their revenge and beat DBU to win the MVC tournament. In their excellent year, the lineup has been lead by Jarrod Watkins (.312/.382/.404) and power hitting Clay Dungan (.298/.404/.489/9 HR). Although the rotation isn’t flashy with stuff, they don't allow many hits. With a team batting average against of only .236 and a team ERA of 3.60, Collin Liberatore (2.78 ERA/.208 b/avg) and Triston Polley (2.53 ERA/.218 b/avg) will be the ones to allow for their great defense to make plays. The Sycamores will try and be the David to Vanderbilt’s Goliath.




The Sycamores will look to spoil the fun for Vanderbilt in their first appearance since 2014.


Players to Watch


·         Jarrod Watkins, INF

·         Clay Dungan, INF

·         Collin Liberatore, RHP


McNeese State


After going 16-14 in conference play out of the Southland, McNeese will be riding off their hot finish into regionals. The Cowboys won 14 out their last 18 games, including their run through the Southland Tournament. In their lineup is Jake Dickerson batting .317/.421/.422, Clayton Rasbeary (.311/.406/.521) and Nate Fisbeck (.304/.376/.543). McNeese has one of the best offenses in the Southland Conference with a team BA of .275 and OPS of .766. On the pitching staff is the closer pairing in the bullpen of Will Dion (2.12 ERA/59 K in 46.2 IP/6 SV) and Aidan Anderson (2.97 ERA/66 K in 75.2 IP/ 7 SV). The Cowboys will have to make sure their offense shows up if they want to make some noise in Nashville.




McNeese State is a solid offensive team but will be challenged against Indiana State and Vanderbilt.


Players to Watch


·         Jake Dickerson, OF

·         Clayton Rasbeary, OF

·         Nate Fisbeck, UTL


Ohio State


Ohio State was one of the more streaky teams this year in the Big Ten. Only going 12-12 in conference play, the Buckeyes needed to play their way into the Big Ten Tournament. With a series sweep of Purdue in the last weekend, Ohio State found its way into the tournament. That’s when they caught fire. Ohio State ran the table in the Big Ten Tournament, only losing once in Omaha. Now the Buckeyes found themselves in an NCAA regional. Ohio State in the last couple weeks of conference play was able to use their pitching staff and some timely hitting to pull off the tournament run. On the offensive side of the team is the ultra-talented Dominic Canzone batting a cool .350/.445/.621 with 15 home runs and right behind him is Brady Cherry also with 15 homers, hitting .308/.379/.559. Their rotation is spearheaded by Seth Lonsway who has an insane 122 strikeouts in 88.2 IP with 3.65 ERA after being redshirted last year. Ohio State will look to keep the hot streak going and not repeat back to back years of two games and done in regionals.




Ohio State is looking to keep their hot streak going into Nashville and make their year even sweeter and Dominic Canzone and Seth Lonsway are ready for the battle.


Players to Watch


·         Dominic Canzone, OF

·         Brady Cherry, UTL

·         Dillon Dingler, C

·         Seth Lonsway, LHP


Projected Champions


Tom-                     Vanderbilt

Anthony-             Vanderbilt


Atlanta (TM)


#3 Georgia Tech-              #8 RPI, 41-17 (19-11 ACC)

Auburn-                               #19 RPI, 33-25 (14-16 SEC)

Coastal Carolina-              #57 RPI, 35-24-1 (15-13 Sun Belt)

Florida A&M-                     #235 RPI, 27-32 (14-10 MEAC)


Georgia Tech


I’ve been all over Georgia Tech since the beginning of the year. Thanks to one of the best lineups in the ACC and a dominant 1-2 punch with a two-way star they were able to host in Atlanta and be in a regional for the first time since 2016. On the mound for Georgia Tech is ace of Connor Thomas, who, despite not having the greatest stuff, has insane durability and takes care of business. He has a 3.28 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 104.1 innings. Xzavion Curry has missed some time, but should be back for the tournament, sporting a 4.08 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. The bullpen is headlined by two-way star Tristin English, who has team-leading five saves.


With a team BA of .297, GT has seven guys all hitting above or near .300. At the top of the list is Michael Guldberg (.366/.450/.436), a true contact hitter that gets on base near 50% of the time. Behind Guldberg, Jackson Webb (.325/.440/.421), Nick Wilhite (.320/.432/.396), Luke Waddell (.318/.435/.415), and Colin Hall (.304/.361/.424) rounds out the contact focused hitters. Just when you thought they were a contact hitting only team, they have great power too, with 67 team homers on the year. The power hitters are led by highly-touted catcher Kyle McCann (.298/.471/.693). He currently has 23 homers on the year, good for fourth in the nation. They also have Baron Radcliff (.271/.420/.542/12 HR) and Tristin English who has hit .315/.403/.675/17 HR as part of his two-way efforts. I’ve been drooling over GT all year and will continue now, don’t be surprised if you see GT in Omaha.




I wrote way too much for you not to read the full thing. If you really don’t want to though, Georgia Tech is good- really, really good.


Players to Watch


·         Kyle McCann, C

·         Michael Guldberg, UTL

·         Tristin English, INF/RHP

·         Luke Waddell, INF

·         Baron Radcliff, OF

·         Connor Thomas, LHP

·         Xzavion Curry, RHP




The Auburn Tigers haven’t had the most fun of years to say the least. They struggled in the middle to late part of the year after winning their first 20 of 24 including a sweep of Tennessee, finishing only 14-16 in conference play with ranked #1 SOS in the nation. Their lineup had been one big part of their skid, with the touted Will Holland only hitting (.240/.367/.417), with only Connor Davis (.290/.350/.429) and Judd Ward (.281/.389/.403) hitting more than .275. Not only did their bats struggle but their best players on the mound injured too. Having lost ace Tanner Burns (2.80 ERA/95 SO in 74.0 IP) at the latter half of the year and being questionable going into the weekend, Jack Owen (2.29 ERA/.220 b/avg) a pop up guy that had a great start of the year missed a lot of time in the year, and Davis Daniel has been out all year. The Tiger had to switch a lot around on the mound and are still struggling into the regionals. If Auburn wants to do well in Atlanta they’ll need their bats to be back to their old selves and hope Tanner Burns is back. The good thing though, is if they catch fire, Auburn would be hard to beat.




Auburn is banged up and struggling but if they get hot they could be hard to beat.


Players to Watch


·         Tanner Burns, RHP

·         Jack Owen, LHP (2.29 ERA)

·         Will Holland, INF


Coastal Carolina


Another team that struggled their way through their year was Coastal Carolina. However, they were able to win the Sun Belt tournament to sneak their way into a regional.  That tournament run was thanks to the offense which, led by Zach Biermann, who is hitting .309/.391/.558/17 HR has a team batting average of .309 with home runs this year. Scott McKeon (.339/.401/.492) is a solid contact bat and Kieton Rivers is batting (.327/.429/.600/13 HR). They’ll need their hitting to stay hot with how much their pitching has struggled this year. Their lowest ERA on the team with more than 5 appearance is Matt Eardensohn’s 3.86. That means Coastal’s team ERA is sitting at an atrocious team ERA of 5.55 and a team b/avg of .277. Coastal will need to be better on the mound and have the bats stay hot to win in Atlanta.




If you like offense, you’ll want to watch this team, if you like great pitching, you most likely won’t have fun.


Players to Watch


·         Zach Biermann, INF/DH

·         Scott McKeon, INF

·         Jake Wright, OF

·         Kieton Rivers, OF


Florida A&M


Congrats to the Florida A&M Rattlers for making it to the regionals. I truly hope they have a great time because it could get ugly. All joking aside, the Rattlers are making it to their second regional is school history and will look to be the ultra-underdog in the tournament. Leading the offense is Octavien Moyer (.312/.417/.459) and Robert Robinson (.297/.400/.359). Their pitching revolves around go to closer Jeremiah McCollum (3.13 ERA/32 Ks in 31.2 IP). Florida A&M will look to shock the world in Atlanta.



Florida A&M is the ultimate underdog and will look to shock the world.


Player to Watch


·         Octavien Moyer, INF


Projected Champion


Tom-                     Georgia Tech

Anthony-             Georgia Tech


Athens (TM)


#4 Georgia-        #3 RPI, 44-15 (21-9 SEC)
Florida Atlantic- #37 RPI, 40-19 (22-8 C-USA)
Florida State-     #50 RPI, 36-21 (17-13 ACC)
Mercer-               #107 RPI, 35-27 (14-10 Southern)




The Bulldogs will once again host a regional after a disappointing end last year that saw them lose to Duke. After going 44-15 and 21-9 in the SEC, Georgia has been one of the top teams in the SEC all year long. That’s mainly thanks to their top tier pitching rotation of potential top pick next year Emerson Hancock (1.56 ERA/94 strikeouts in 86.1 innings), Tony Locey (2.68 ERA/90 strikeouts in 84 IP), Tim Elliott (2.70 ERA/64 strikeouts in 66.2 innings) and Cole Wilcox (3.70 ERA/63 strikeouts in 56 innings). Those are insane numbers for a rotation pitching in the toughest conference in the nation. In their bullpen is the go-to closer for the Bulldogs, two-way player Aaron Schunk (2.49 ERA/12 saves). Although the hitting isn’t the best in the nation there still quality bats with power in the lineup. That’s including previously mentioned Schunk (.336/370/.565/11 HR), LJ Talley (.327/.438/.484/8 HR), John Cable (.314/.415/.527/7 HR), and Riley King (.295/.404/.449/8 HR). I would be very surprised if this stacked team didn’t make it out of Athens again.




The Bulldogs have extremely good pitching with good bats, making them quite the force to deal with in the tournament.

Players to Watch


·         Emerson Hancock, RHP

·         Tony Locey, RHP

·         Cole Wilcox, RHP

·         Aaron Schunk, 3B/RHP

·         LJ Talley, 2B


Florida Atlantic


If anyone in this regional is going to pull off an upset, it’d be the Owls. FAU, who already previously upset Florida earlier this year, has a deep lineup that won them 40 games this year. At the top of their offense are Eric Rivera, batting a smooth .340/.446/.448, and Francisco Urbaez (.330/.444/.534/10 HR). FAU is so deep on offense they have 9 players on their roster hitting over .300 with a team BA of .299. No wonder the Owls are 35th in the nation is runs scored per game at 7. If the Owls are going to get out of Athens, they’ll need for their pitching to be good enough for their bats to win it. The pitching is made up of closer Zach Schneider with a 3.20 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 50.2 IP, with 15 saves, ace Blake Sanderson (3.93 ERA/72 strikeouts in 91.2 innings) and…that’s pretty much it. Everyone else has had a poor year. However, all FAU needs is a successful time at the plate and they could win a game or two.




If the pitching is good enough, then FAU should see themselves in the regional championship game against Georgia.


Players to Watch


·         Eric Rivera, UTL

·         Francisco Urbaez, INF

·         Joe Montes, INF

·         Zach Schneider, RHP


Florida State


The streakiest of streaky teams in the ACC, Seminoles had some high ups and some really low downs. With legendary head coach Mike Martin retiring after this year after 40 long seasons with the Seminoles, I think many are happy to see his regionals streak continue and not end on the final year of his career. They started the season with an excellent start, winning 12 straight before losing to Virginia Tech. In that time, Martin hit the record books, becoming the first coach to ever have 2000 total wins. After their series win over Virginia Tech they lost 12 out of their next 18, including a 20-7 loss to Florida and a 16-0 loss to NC State, back to back. However, they pulled together and swept Clemson. After that, they were back to their winning ways getting to the regionals once again. On the offensive side is Drew Mendoza hitting .309/.481/.597/14 HR and another two way player, J.C. Flowers (.282/.383/.530/12 HR/1.59 ERA/11 SV), with Robby Martin batting .346/.427/.503 and Mike Salvatore at .323/.415/.526. The real problem that’s holding the team back is the lack of production from big name players like Nander De Sedas (.233/.366/.358), with pitchers CJ Van Eyk (3.74 ERA/106 strikeouts in 79.1 innings) and Drew Parrish (4.81 ERA/105 strikeouts in 76.2 innings) having various struggles throughout the year. If the Seminoles can get the most out of their best players, they will be able to beat FAU, but it is crucial that their pitching doesn’t fall apart as it did in the middle of the year.




If FSU is able to have its pitching play as it was expected to at the beginning of the year,they will be able to send out Mike Martin’s career at FSU on a high note.


Players to Watch


·         Drew Mendoza, INF

·         J.C. Flowers, OF/RHP

·         Robby Martin, OF

·         Nander de Sedas, INF

·         CJ Van Eyk, RHP

·         Drew Parrish, LHP




Mercer will be going into the weekend with a young team with not much experience but they will try to make the big brother fall to the little brother. Mercer is led on offense by Kel Johnson (.297/.399/.629/22 HR) and Kyle Dockus (.317/.416/.367). They are led on the mound by Kevin Coulter (3.95 ERA) and talented Sawyer Gipson-Long (4.90 ERA/ 96 K’s in 79 IP/.282 b/avg). I would personally love to see a team like Mercer steal a game or two and they’ll need to play excellently to do so.




Good luck Mercer, you’re going to need it.


Players to Watch


·         Kel Johnson, OF

·         Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP


Projected Champion


Tom-                     Georgia

Anthony-             Georgia


Fayetteville (AF)

#5 Arkansas-     #6 RPI, 41-17 (20-10 SEC)
California-           #30 RPI, 32-18 (17-11 Pac-12)
TCU-                      #59 RPI, 32-26 (11-13 Big 12)
CCSU-                   #183 RPI, 30-21 (16-8 Northeast)


Arkansas is top twenty nationally in every major offensive category, anchored by a pair of top 2020 prospects. Shortstop Casey Martin overcame a bit of a slow start and is rolling as of late, while right fielder Heston Kjerstad avoided the sophomore slump altogether. Left fielder Christian Franklin has emerged as the Hogs’ next freshman phenom, while JUCO transfers Jack Kenley and Trevor Ezell have helped to replace what departed from last year’s national runner-up lineup. Arkansas boasts a true ace in likely Day One pick Isaiah Campbell and a few power arms at the back end of the bullpen, which should make them especially lethal in short series.


The Hogs have replaced last season’s lineup departures with aplomb.

Players to Watch

·         Isaiah Campbell, RHP

·         Casey Martin, SS

·         Heston Kjerstad, RF

·         Jacob Kostyshock, RHP


Cal has one of the few offenses capable of going toe to toe with the Razorback’s. First baseman Andrew Vaughn (#3) is one of the best offensive players in college baseball history, with a career .377/.495/.695 line in one of the nation’s best conferences. Even as a short, righthanded first baseman, Vaughn’s a likely top five next week as a potential plus-plus hitter with plus power and plate discipline. When teams inevitably pitch around Vaughn, the offensive burden will fall on center fielder Cameron Eden and catcher Korey Lee, a pair of draft-eligible players with favorable defensive profiles who are having career seasons in the batters’ box. They’ll have to score in bunches, as Cal’s pitching staff had the second-lowest strikeout rate in the Pac-12; even ace Jared Horn, a top prospect in high school who overcame personal tragedy to post a 1.82 ERA this season, has underwhelming strikeout numbers.


Sporting a talented lineup with the best hitter in college baseball, the Golden Bears are a dangerous #2 seed.

Players to Watch

·         Andrew Vaughn, 1B

·         Jared Horn, RHP

·         Cameron Eden, CF

·         Korey Lee, C

Texas Christian

TCU snuck into the field as one of the last four in, a selection many, including myself, bemoaned. Whatever one thinks of the Horned Frogs’ merits, they’re in now, and at least we get to see more Nick Lodolo (#20). Lodolo isn’t going to be an ace, but he’s as high-floor as any pitcher in this year’s class, sporting a pair of above-average offerings in his fastball and slider with advanced control. If any pitcher can stifle Vaughn and the Golden Bears’ offense, Lodolo is the guy. #2 starter Brandon Williamson has good velocity and an above-average curveball, but strike-throwing issues kept him from emerging as a co-ace. TCU has solid depth in the lineup, especially since defensive whiz Adam Oviedo is hitting better as a sophomore, but they lack the middle-of-the-order thump of the region’s top two seeds.


TCU snuck in as a bubble team; they’ve got the pitching to reward the committee’s faith

Players to Watch

·         Nick Lodolo, LHP

·         Brandon Williamson, LHP

·         Adam Oviedo, SS

·         Josh Watson, LF

Central Connecticut State

Central Connecticut State returns to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years, but the Blue Devils had one of the weaker offenses in the Northeast Conference all season. They can pitch, and they got a good season from senior ace Tom Curtin, but he threw 183 pitches over a three-day span last weekend in the conference tournament, so he might not have much left for Arkansas.


The Northeast Conference tournament champs upset Bryant on the backs of a strong pitching staff.

Players to Watch

·         Tom Curtin, RHP

·         Dave Matthews, RF

·         Patrick Mitchell, RHP

Projected Champion

Anthony-             Arkansas
Tom-                     Arkansas

Starkville (AF)

#6 Mississippi State-       #4 RPI, 46-13 (20-10 SEC)
Miami (Fl)-                          #17 RPI, 39-18 (18-12 ACC)
Central Michigan-            #73 RPI, 46-12 (22-5 MAC)
Southern-                           #206 RPI, 32-22 (17-6 SWAC)

Mississippi State

Mississippi State has a pair of aces. LHP Ethan Small (#44) has an invisiball- one of those average-velocity, high-spin offerings that lead to deceptively high strikeout totals if located up in the zone. While Small’s dominance might take a few innings to appreciate, J.T. Ginn’s should not. He’s a former first-rounder with mid-90’s gas and a potential plus curveball who struck out 100 hitters as a freshman. That duo is complemented by a relentless lineup. Jake Mangum, the career SEC hit leader, typifies the Bulldogs’ offense- low strikeout and walk rates, a gap-to-gap approach. It’s not the most prospect-heavy bunch (although 2020 second baseman Justin Foscue might play his way into first-round consideration), but they’re one of the nation’s deepest groups. If there’s one nit to pick, it’s probably the Bulldog defense. College baseball doesn’t have advanced, range-based defensive metrics, but MSU has several bulky, nontraditional defenders around the diamond. Fortunately, their pitchers strike everyone out anyways.


The Bulldogs are one of the nation’s best teams on both sides of the ball.

Players to Watch

·         Ethan Small, LHP

·         Justin Foscue, 2B

·         JT Ginn, RHP

·         Jake Mangum, CF

Miami (Fl)

If we’re placing bets on 2020 College World Series odds, Miami has to be near the top. Not only were they a host contender this season, they did it without a single senior on their roster. Can their young, uber-talented lineup make a run a year ahead of schedule? Shortstop Freddy Zamora is a high-contact bat with a plus glove. Corner bats Raymond Gil, Adrian del Castillo and Alex Toral are among the most powerful underclassmen in the country. They’re must-watch TV, especially on days when they start right-hander Evan McKendry, who might have the best changeup in the 2019 draft class.


Miami’s a year ahead of schedule, but they’ve got talent everywhere on the diamond.

Players to Watch

·         Evan McKendry, RHP

·         Chris McMahon, RHP

·         Freddy Zamora, SS

·         Alex Toral, 1B

Central Michigan

Central Michigan enters the tournament on the nation’s longest active win streak (18 games). Only UCLA, UCSB and Vanderbilt sport better winning percentages than the Chippewas. Of course, strength of schedule has something to do with that, but they can really hit. The nation’s leader in scoring, and the tournament leader in team OBP, the Chips are the epitome of “fundamental baseball.” They control the strike zone, run the bases efficiently, make productive outs. A pair of sophomores, Griffin Lockwood-Powell and Zavier Warren are neck-and-neck for the best player in the conference, and they both play for CMU. This isn’t a one-year wonder in Mount Pleasant.


CMU plays fundamentals as well as anyone in the country and is on an 18-game win streak.

Players to Watch

·         Griffin Lockwood-Powell, C

·         Zavier Warren, SS

·         Pat Leatherman, RHP


Southern has a high-octane, speed-oriented offense, led by a pair of seniors. Outfielder Javeyan Williams had a breakout season, hitting .385/.466/.582 and going 26-27 on the basepaths. Third baseman Tyler LaPorte, meanwhile, hit the first six home runs of his Jaguar career this season and swiped 21 bags of his own.


The SWAC champs are among the nation’s leaders in stolen bases.

Players to Watch

·         Tyler LaPorte, 3B

·         Javeyan Williams, CF

·         Eli Finney, RHP

Projected Champion

Anthony-             Mississippi State
Tom-                     Mississippi State

Louisville (TM)

#7 Louisville-      #9 RPI, 43-15 (21-9 ACC)
Indiana-               #36 RPI, 36-21 (17-7 Big Ten)
Illinois State-      #26 RPI, 34-24 (14-7 Missouri Valley)
Illinois-Chicago- #187 RPI, 29-21 (18-11 Horizon)



After going 43-15, Louisville will be taking their top pitching and bats against a slew of other good Midwestern teams. Louisville had long streaks of wins but in the ACC tournament they lost back to back games to immediately get knocked out. Louisville will need ace Reid Detmers (2.80 ERA/145 strikeout in 93.1 innings) to play his best and for their bats to carry the load. Since Louisville is playing UIC in game one, I would expect them to save Reid for Game 2. Behind Detmers is a dominant bullpen headed by Michael Kirian (1.73 ERA/35 strikeouts in 26 innings) and Michael McAvene (2.22 ERA/41 strikeouts in 28.1 innings). Louisville won’t need to rely on them too much with an offense averaging .292 at the plate. Logan Wyatt (#31) has generated a lot of hype, hitting .299/.471/.498 with nine homers. Around him is Tyler Fitzgerald (.327/.405/.507/7 HR) and Alex Binelas (.315/.407/.679/13 HR). Louisville is a big favorite this year for a reason.


Reid Detmers and Logan Wyatt look to add the Cardinals to superregionals yet again.

Players to Watch

·         Reid Detmers, LHP

·         Logan Wyatt, 1B

·         Tyler Fitzgerald, SS

·         Alex Binelas, UTL


If there has been a solid and steady team in the Big Ten this year, it is Indiana. After a historic year offensively for Indiana they get an unlucky draw after a quick exit in the Big Ten Tournament. They will now have to go through Louisville if they want to make it to a superregional. Indiana has the number one offense in the Big Ten, with their 90 home runs ranking second in the nation (behind Arizona State). On offense, Indiana is headed by Matt Gorski (.279/.385/.516/12 HR) and Matt Lloyd (.291/.592/.398/16 HR). Around the pair of Matt’s are Elijah Dunham (.313/.446/.560/7 HR) and Drew Ashley (.275/.395/.368). On the mound is Pauly Milto (3.51 ERA/94 strikeouts in 95.0 innings), who pitched a gem in the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana can hit enough to beat anyone in the regional.


Indiana has a fantastic, powerful offense.

Players to Watch

·         Matt Lloyd, UTL

·         Matt Gorski, CF

·         Pauly Milto, RHP

Illinois State

As much I love Illinois State, man, it was heartbreaking to see the draw they got. ISU won a piece of the Missouri Valley regular season title this year and was one of three MVC teams to make it into the NCAA tournament. The Redbird offense is led by the touted John Rave (.304/.384/.521/12 HR) and Joe Aeilts (.350/.408/.558/10 HR). They will help lead the Redbirds into the matchup against Indiana. The Butler’s will also help the Redbirds, with Joe batting (.323/.375/.464) and Jack is batting (.304/.371/.449). On the mound for the Redbirds is Brent Headrick (3.50 ERA/101 strikeouts in 90 innings). He has had a good year for the Redbirds and been a key part of Illinois State’s success this year.


Illinois State’s offense is good enough to hold their own against the powerful offenses in the regional.

Players to Watch

·         John Rave, OF

·         Joe Aeilts, C

·         Brent, Headrick


Owners of one of the most scenic fields in all of college baseball, UIC beat UW-Milwaukee to win the Horizon League autobid. After going 18-11 in-conference, UIC has their sights set on an upset. Having to face Louisville in Game 1, UIC will rely on freshman catcher Ryan Hampe (.369/.415/.550) and senior outfielder Scott Ota, who has put up insane numbers this year (.358/.454/.746/19 HR). On the mound for the Flames, which, by the way, is one of the best mascot names in the tournament, are Jacob Key (3.67 ERA/87 strikeouts in 100.2 innings) and closer Alex Padilla (0.90 ERA/7 saves in 30 innings).


Keep an eye on Scott Ota. He’s a beast.

Players to Watch

·         Ryan Hampe, C

·         Scott Ota, OF

·         Jacob Key, RHP

Projected Champion

Tom-                     Louisville
Anthony-             Illinois State

Lubbock (AF)

#8 Texas Tech:                   #11 RPI, 39-17 (16-8 Big 12)
Dallas Baptist:                    #25 RPI, 41-18 (14-7 Missouri Valley)
Florida:                                 #27 RPI, 33-24 (13-17 SEC)
Army:                                    #150 RPI, 35-24 (15-10 Patriot)

Texas Tech

Texas Tech has one of the best offenses in the country. Lubbock’s a hitter-friendly environment, which helps, but the talent is real. Josh Jung (#9) won’t be a shortstop at the next level, but he’s a complete package offensively. Statistically, though, Jung isn’t even the top hitter in the Red Raider lineup. That would be first baseman Cameron Warren, who led the Big 12 in slugging, finished third in homers and (like Jung) had more walks than strikeouts. Tech has discipline up and down the lineup, with Brian Klein, Dylan Neuse and speedster Gabe Holt all joining Jung and Warren in the top 12 in the conference in OBP. The pitching staff is a question, though. There’s talent there, too, and an abundance of power arms in the bullpen, but can anyone join Caleb Killian in throwing enough strikes to survive a tough field?


The Red Raiders rake, capable of outslugging anyone in the country.

Players to Watch

·         Josh Jung, SS

·         Cameron Warren, 1B

·         Dylan Neuse, CF

·         Caleb Killian, RHP

Dallas Baptist

Traditionally a pitching program, DBU slugged their way to a regular-season Missouri Valley championship. It’s not a prospect-laden club, although 2020 shortstop Jimmy Glowenke has hit well over the past two seasons and is ticketed for the Cape Cod League this summer. MVC home run leader Bryce Ball and junior Luke Bandy join Glowenke in a deep lineup, where each regular has at least a .750 OPS. A pair of senior arms- Jordan Martinson and MD Johnson- lead the Patriots’ rotation and finished 1-2 in the Valley in strikeouts.


DBU is perennially a mid-major powerhouse, with a couple of the best arms in the conference and a deep lineup.

Players to Watch

·         Jimmy Glowenke, SS

·         Jordan Martinson, LHP

·         MD Johnson, RHP

·         Augie Isaacson, LF


Florida’s a dangerous 3-seed. They’ve underachieved all season and barely snuck into the tournament, but they’ve gotten to Omaha each of the past four seasons. Draft-eligible sophomore shortstop Brady McConnell (#38), a plus defensive shortstop with power, is the best 2019 prospect on the roster despite concerns about his bat path. Florida has it all: veterans with strong track records (Nelson Maldonado, Wil Dalton, Austin Langworthy), young and exciting freshmen (Cory Acton, Jud Fabian, Kendrick Calilao) a talented rotation (Tyler Dyson, Jack Leftwich and Tommy Mace). We’re now four months into the season, though, and the Gators haven’t found any semblance of consistency.


Underachievers all season, Florida’s got the talent to win a regional but no performance track record to suggest they’ll do so.

Players to Watch

·         Brady McConnell, SS

·         Tommy Mace, RHP

·         Tyler Dyson, RHP

·         Kendrick Calilao, 1B


Army upset Navy to win their second-consecutive Patriot League bid. The Black Knights don’t have any pro prospects, but Tyler Giovinco is back after pitching them to an upset as a #4 seed last season. Keep an eye on junior outfielder Jacob Hurtubise, who sports one of the most interesting lines in the country. Despite no homers all season, Hurtubise is second only to Adley Rutschman in walks and OBP with an absurd .383/.550/.456 line.


The back-to-back Patriot League champions upset a host last season.

Players to Watch

·         Jacob Hurtubise, CF

·         Tyler Giovinco, LHP

·         Anthony Giachin, 3B

Projected Champion

Anthony-             Texas Tech
Tom-                     Texas Tech

Oklahoma City (TM)


#9 Oklahoma State-        #7 RPI, 36-18 (14-9 Big 12)

Connecticut-                      #29 RPI, 36-23 (12-12 AAC)

Nebraska-                           #35 RPI, 31-22 (15-9 Big Ten)

Harvard-                              #100 RPI, 27-14 (14-7 Ivy)


Oklahoma State


Oklahoma State, for the most part, lived up to their preseason hype. Well, outside of the start of their year at least. At the beginning of the year the team struggled to stay in the Top 25 but thanks to a strong year in conference play going 14-9, a series sweep in Corvallis against Oregon State and a Big 12 tournament title, the Cowboys are playing host. The offense is led by the three headed horse of Trevor Boone (.294/.374/.649/19 HR), Collin Simpson (.251/.364/.532/15 HR), and Andrew Navigato (.303/.378/.553/12HR). The Cowboys have one of best offenses in the Big 12. However, their biggest question mark all year was their pitching. With a team ERA of 4.07, they’ll need their offense to show up if they want to defend successfully.




Cowboys will need their power hitting to show up, otherwise it might get ugly for them. I would make an Old Town Road reference here, but then I would lose all self-dignity so I won’t.


Players to Watch


·         Trevor Boone, OF

·         Collin Simpson, C/OF

·         Andrew Navigato, INF

·         Max Hewitt, INF

·         Parker Scott, LHP




UConn started their year off with a surprise series win over Louisville. Ever since, they slightly cooled down but never had many problems. After losing in the championship game of the American conference, UConn look to put it to the past. UConn hasn’t gotten much media attention thanks to a lack of star power and an average year from stud Mason Feole. However, UConn is a really good team. It’s the classic college team that is just filled with good team players that play hard and are successful. That showed this season as they went 36-23 this year. In their lineup isn’t too much power, but they don’t need it to win games. Their leading hitters are Michael Woodworth (.319/.414/.438), John Toppa (.318/.424/.429), and Anthony Prato (.311/.434/.405). On the mound is the Lefty Mason Feole. Feole (3.50 ERA/.233 b/avg) missed time at the beginning of the year because of a shoulder strain, and although he hasn’t looked his best this year, he pitched his way onto the collegiate national team last summer. In the bullpen is the fantastic Jacob Wallace (0.73 ERA/56 K in 37 IP/15 SV) who is arguably one of the best closers in the nation. The Huskies may not be the hottest name in the tournament but they’re still a very good team.




The Huskies are sneaky good and if you look past them they might just look past you in the next round.


Players to Watch


·         Mason Feole, LHP

·         Jacob Wallace, RHP

·         Michael Woodworth, UTL




Nebraska is back in the tournament and they’re ready to represent their state well. Nebraska is an interesting team, to say the least. They had some of the biggest ups and downs in the Big Ten, but their ups were huge. A win against Texas Tech, a series win over Baylor, a win over Creighton, a series win over Arizona State and a good run in the tournament saw them in a regional once again. The team is built around solid pitching that throws right at you and dares them to hit you, led by senior Matt Waldron (3.11 ERA/.250 b/avg) and Nate Fisher (2.88 ERA/.220 b/avg). In the lineup are a solid bunch of bats that they like to platoon, my favorite being freshman Spencer Schwellenbach (.278/.412/.411). If their run in the Big Ten Tournament was any notifier, the Huskers are peaking at the right time.




The Huskers are hungry to go home and play in front of their own fans in Omaha. It’s like a pilgrimage but for baseball.


Players to Watch


·         Spencer Schwellenbach, SS

·         Nate Fisher, LHP

·         Matt Waldron, RHP

·         Aaron Palensky, OF

·         Colby Gomes, INF/RHP




Yes, Harvard has a baseball team, and they’re pretty good too. Led by first baseman Patrick McColl, Harvard is ready to do damage. After going 27-14 this year, Harvard sees them in a regional once again. Like I previously mentioned, Harvard is led by Patrick McColl, a personal favorite of mine ever since I saw some footage of the guy. McColl is currently smashing the ball at .399/.462/.734 with 12 home runs on the year. Behind him is Jake Suddleson batting a very solid .382/.431/.673, with eleven homers of his own. The pitching hasn’t been the best for Harvard but anything can happen in the tournament. If the Crimson want to splash thing up in Stillwater, they’ll need McColl and Suddleson to show up.




Harvard has some solid potential to shake things up in OKC.


Players to Watch


·         Patrick McColl, 1B

·         Jake Suddleson, OF


Projected Champions


Tom-                     Nebraska

Anthony-             Oklahoma State


Greenville (AF)

#10 East Carolina-           #5 RPI, 43-15 (20-4 AAC)
North Carolina State-     #18 RPI, 42-17 (18-12 ACC)
Campbell-                           #56 RPI, 35-19 (19-7 Big South)
Quinnipiac-                         #177 RPI, 29-27 (17-7 MAAC)

East Carolina

ECU boasts one of the most balanced teams in the country, equally capable of winning a shootout or pitchers’ duel. The lineup revolves around Bryant Packard, Spencer Brickhouse and Alec Burleson, all of whom are hitting over .330. None of them have favorable defensive profiles, but all three should hit enough to be Day Two selections- the latter in 2020. Redshirt junior Jake Washer isn’t that level of prospect, but he’s slugging .561 to give the Pirates a fourth fearsome bat. That has been more than enough for their pitching staff. Jake Agnos and Jake Kuchmaner are two of three qualified pitchers in the American with a sub-3.00 ERA. They’ve bridged the gap to a loaded bullpen, which includes Burleson, one of the top two-way talents in the country. Agnos is probably a reliever at the next level, and Kuchmaner doesn’t throw hard enough to generate huge pro interest, but they’ve dominated one of the best conferences in the country start to finish this season.


A balanced two-way juggernaut, ECU is a legitimate Omaha contender.

Players to Watch

·         Bryant Packard, LF

·         Spencer Brickhouse, 1B

·         Jake Agnos, RHP

·         Alec Burleson, DH/RHP

North Carolina State

North Carolina State rode a magical start to the top five nationally, but that was always a bit above their true talent. That’s not to say they don’t have pieces, though; junior shortstop Will Wilson (#24) is one of the best hitters in the 2019 draft class and has surprising pop despite a smaller build. First baseman Evan Edwards is one of the top senior prospects in the country, a strong defender who cut his strikeouts significantly this spring. The best prospect on the team, though, will have one more year on campus. Switch-hitting catcher Patrick Bailey is a quality defender with a chance to be an impact bat from the left side. He might be a top ten pick in 2020. Given that trio, it’s not surprising the Wolfpack boast one of the nation’s best offenses, but they lack any semblance of stability on the pitching staff.


The Wolfpack boast a prospect-heavy lineup and an uncertain pitching staff.

Players to Watch

·         Will Wilson, SS

·         Patrick Bailey, C

·         Evan Edwards, 1B

·         Brad Debo, DH


Surprising though it may be, the best pitching prospect in this regional actually comes from the mid-major three seed. Campbell’s Seth Johnson (#34) is a former JUCO shortstop whom the Camels converted to the mound last fall. He immediately touched the mid-90’s with a promising breaking ball. Predictably for someone this new to pitching, the results have been mixed, but draft hounds should tune into Johnson’s start. Nevertheless, Johnson’s only the Camels’ third-best starter right now. Freshman Ryan Chasse led the Big South in ERA, while senior Michael Horrell sports the best strikeout-walk numbers on staff. Campbell will need to pitch its way to the upset with an unspectacular offense, although right fielder Matthew Barefoot is worth following. He might have played his way into Day Two contention with a fantastic showing on the Cape last summer.


Campbell has a chance to pull the upset over their in-state foes on the back of its rotation.

Players to Watch

·         Seth Johnson, RHP

·         Matthew Barefoot, RF

·         Ryan Chasse, LHP


Quinnipiac returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time in fourteen years after winning the MAAC tournament. The Bobcats are an offensive-minded team, led by junior left fielder Andre Marrero. With ten homers and 19 steals, Marrero was the MAAC’s top power-speed threat this year.


The Bobcats won the MAAC regular-season and conference tournaments with one of the best offenses in the league.

Players to Watch

·         Andre Marrero, LF

·         Tyler Poulin, RHP

·         Evan Vulgamore, 3B

Projected Champion

Anthony-             East Carolina
Tom-                     East Carolina

Stanford (AF)

#11 Stanford-                    #10 RPI, 41-11 (22-7 Pac-12)
UC Santa Barbara-            #21 RPI, 45-9 (19-5 Big West)
Fresno State-                     #34 RPI, 38-14-1 (20-8-2 Mountain West)
Sacramento State-           #117 RPI, 39-23 (18-9 WAC)


Strength of schedule concerns kept the Cardinal from building a top-eight resume. They’ve got top eight talent, though. These aren’t the small-ball Cardinal of old; they can mash. Stanford finished in the top twenty nationally in home runs and slugging, with five regulars slugging above .500. Junior first baseman Andrew Daschbach is one of the most impactful bats in the Pac-12, while outfielder Kyle Stowers looks like a potential Day One pick. Erik Miller and Brendan Beck, the younger brother of former Stanford ace and current Braves prospect Tristan, lead a solid rotation. Even the bullpen sports notable depth, led by All-American closer Jack Little. Stanford isn’t the highest-profile team in the country, but they’ve got good players everywhere.


Stanford stands out more for its enviable depth than superstar talent.

Players to Watch

·         Kyle Stowers, CF

·         Erik Miller, LHP

·         Andrew Daschbach, 1B

·         Tim Tawa, SS

UC Santa Barbara

A season-ending series loss to Cal Poly kept UCSB from securing a hosting spot. Nevertheless, the Gauchos join UCLA as the only teams with single-digit losses on the season and make for a dangerous #2 seed. Like the Cardinal, UCSB has moved past traditional West Coast baseball, prioritizing slug over bunts. The results speak for themselves. Right fielder Armani Smith has as much power as anyone in the conference, and he finally tapped into it this spring. Ditto speedy center fielder Tommy Jew and bat-first catcher Eric Yang, all of whom project as Day Two draft choices. UCSB is also decidedly modern on the mound, prioritizing size and strikeout stuff. 6’9” ace Ben Brecht has both.


UCSB has adapted to modern baseball significantly better than the rest of the conference.

Players to Watch

·         Tommy Jew, CF

·         Armani Smith, RF

·         Eric Yang, C

·         Ben Brecht, LHP

Fresno State

The Mountain West is a pitcher’s nightmare. With stadiums at altitude, college arms can struggle with their version of the ‘Coors Effect.’ Someone forgot to remind the Bulldogs, though. Fresno’s 3.72 team ERA ranked 31st in the nation; only one other team from the conference finished in the top 100. A big reason is power-armed right-hander Ryan Jensen, who has touched 99 MPH for some scouts this spring. A fastball-slider guy with control issues, Jensen might be a reliever at the next level, but he’s a college ace for now. Davis Moore gives the Bulldogs a second reliable starter, while closer Jaime Arias has excelled all year. How much credit should also be heaped upon Carter Bins, one of the nation’s top defensive catchers?


It’s no surprise Fresno can hit; their pitching depth is the separator.

Players to Watch

·         Ryan Jensen, RHP

·         Carter Bins, C

·         Davis Moore, RHP

·         Zach Ashford, CF

Sacramento State

Sac State is one of the worst offensive teams in the country, making them a major longshot to pull off an upset in the all-California regional. A trio of solid starters made them easily the top pitching staff in the WAC, though.


The Hornets probably won’t hit enough to compete, but they can keep things close through run prevention.

Players to Watch

·         Parker Brahms, RHP

·         Scott Randall, RHP

·         Austin Roberts, RHP

Projected Champion

Anthony-             Stanford
Tom-                     UCSB

Oxford (AF)

#12 Mississippi-                 #22 RPI, 37-25 (16-14 SEC)
Illinois-                                  #28 RPI, 36-19 (15-9 Big Ten)
Clemson-                             #38 RPI, 34-24 (15-15 ACC)
Jacksonville State-           #89 RPI, 37-21 (22-8 Ohio Valley)


Ole Miss went on a magical run in the SEC tournament and looked poised for a conference title; then they blew a 9-1 lead to Vanderbilt in the championship game. No matter, they did enough to convince the committee to send a regional to Oxford. The Rebels epitomize a balanced lineup; their seven top players each have an OBP between .362 and .444, with six of the seven slugging between .433 and .500. It’s the last hurrah for their vaunted recruiting class from a few years ago, which hasn’t quite borne out thus far. Catcher Cooper Johnson, an elite defender, has finally stayed healthy but isn’t a big offensive threat. Corner outfielder Thomas Dillard has the exact opposite profile, while shortstop Grae Kessinger has performed but doesn’t have huge pro tools. On the pitching side, the bullpen has disappointed, as has former first-round starter Gunner Hoglund, but fellow freshman Doug Nikhazy has paired with junior Will Ethridge to form a strong one-two punch.


Ole Miss’ vaunted junior class gets one last run at a trip to Omaha.

Players to Watch

·         Cooper Johnson, C

·         Doug Nikhazy, LHP

·         Thomas Dillard, LF

·         Grae Kessinger, SS


Illinois doesn’t have eye-popping stats, but they’ve performed despite that, going 13-7 against fellow NCAA tournament teams. Junior second baseman Michael Massey is the prospect to watch, a high-contact left-handed hitter who gets raves for his defensive prowess at the keystone. He doesn’t walk much or hit for power, making him something of a microcosm for the lineup generally. The one exception might be fifth-year center fielder Zac Taylor, whose .637 SLG would’ve led the Big Ten had he enough plate appearances to qualify. A March injury kept him from doing that, but he’s back at full strength entering regionals.


A strong one-two punch in the order gives the Illini a chance.

Players to Watch

·         Michael Massey, 2B

·         Zac Taylor, CF

·         Andy Fisher, LHP

·         Garrett Acton, RHP


One of the most consistent programs of the decade, Clemson found itself in an unfamiliar bubble position thanks to a midseason swoon. Ultimately, they did enough to get in, securing their position with a blowout win over Louisville in the ACC tournament, but they were a middle-of-the-pack ACC squad across-the-board. Shortstop Logan Davidson (#23), a switch-hitter with power, plate discipline and athleticism, had a great year offensively, but the support was few and far between. Powerful third baseman Grayson Bird was the Tigers’ only other big bat. Freshman Davis Sharpe made an impact as a two-way player, while ace Mat Clark pitched to a 2.84 ERA, but this isn’t one of the more talented Tiger teams in recent memory.


Clemson has had better clubs in recent memory, but Logan Davidson’s a star.

Players to Watch

·         Logan Davidson, SS

·         Mat Clark, LHP

·         Grayson Bird, 3B

·         Keyshawn Askew, LHP

Jacksonville State

Jacksonville State is one of the better mid-majors in the tournament. They dominated the Ohio Valley, winning the regular season by three games before cementing their bid with a conference tournament title. Redshirt junior ace Garrett Farmer was the OVC’s top arm, spinning a 104:12 strikeout-to-walk with a 2.24 ERA. The Gamecocks are a pitching-and-defense club, with a 4.30 team ERA that ranked second in the hitter-friendly league. Third baseman Nic Gaddis anchors the offense, while junior catcher Alex Webb should be unfazed by the uptick in competition, having played his freshman season at Alabama.


JSU has a real chance to pull off the upset behind the Ohio Valley’s best pitcher.

Players to Watch

·         Nic Gaddis, 3B

·         Garrett Farmer, RHP

·         Alex Webb, C

Projected Champion

Anthony-             Clemson
Tom-                     Illinois

Baton Rouge (AF)

#13 LSU-              #16 RPI, 37-24 (17-13 SEC)
Arizona State-   #33 RPI, 37-17 (16-13 Pac-12)
Southern Miss- #45 RPI, 38-19 (20-10 C-USA)
Stony Brook-      #138 RPI, 31-21 (15-9 America East)


LSU was probably miscast as a preseason top-three team. They quietly weathered a rough start, though, and put together a deserving hosting resume. Shortstop Josh Smith returned from an injury-ravaged 2018 to slash .343/.429/.513 and put himself into Day One contention. The rest of the infield is shaky, but the outfield is one of the best in the nation. Sophomore left fielder Daniel Cabrera took a bit of a step back from his fabulous freshman season, but he was still plenty good and looks like a potential first-rounder in 2020. Right fielder Antoine Duplantis is chasing the program’s career hits record, while center fielder Zach Watson is one of the best defenders in the country. Who can the Tigers trust on the mound, though? Zack Hess is back in the bullpen after never clicking as a starter, while highly touted prospect Landon Marceaux has scuffled. Cole Henry has passed Marceaux as LSU’s top freshman arm, but he may need to shake off some rust after an end-of-season injury. LSU can mash, especially at home, but their inconsistent pitching staff is going to be given a run for its money by the rest of the offenses in the regional.


LSU’s outfield is elite, but is this team deep enough to make a run to Omaha?

Players to Watch

·         Daniel Cabrera, LF

·         Zach Watson, CF

·         Zack Hess, RHP

·         Cole Henry, RHP

Arizona State

Arizona State is even more extreme than LSU. Their offense is among the best in the nation, ninth in scoring, twelfth in batting average, third in slugging. We need to temper those numbers somewhat based on the hitter-friendly environment of Tempe, but eyeball evaluations tell us the Devils can hit. First baseman Spencer Torkelson has been among the nation’s best hitters since stepping on campus and looks like a potential top five pick in 2020. We needn’t wait that long for a top draft prospect at ASU, though. Center fielder Hunter Bishop (#16) has some strikeout concerns, but he can fly and led the Pac-12 (which, of course, features Vaughn, Torkelson and Rutschman) with 24 home runs. Gage Workman, Trevor Hauver, Carter Aldrete and Alika Williams comprise a stellar supporting cast. The Sun Devils can outslug anyone, but they’ll need to do just that on days when ace Alec Marsh is unavailable.


Few can mash like the Devils, but the pitching staff is a real question mark.

Players to Watch

·         Hunter Bishop, CF

·         Spencer Torkelson, 1B

·         Alec Marsh, RHP

·         Trevor Hauver, LF

Southern Mississippi

Southern Miss can slug too. They don’t have the lineup depth of the higher seeds in the region, but right fielder Matt Wallner has massive power and plate discipline and should be a Day One pick. Junior catcher Bryant Bowen and senior Hunter Slater joined Wallner in blasting double-digit homers to support a solid, but unspectacular, pitching staff. Ace Walker Powell doesn’t have huge stuff, but he throws a ton of strikes and blanked a powerful Mississippi State offense over 7.2 innings in February.


Southern Miss can hit for power, they’re just not quite as deep as the top teams in the regional.

Players to Watch

·         Matt Wallner, RF

·         Walker Powell, RHP

·         Hunter Slater, 1B

Stony Brook

Stony Brook rounds out this explosive regional. It’s been a patchwork effort on the mound for the Seawolves, but they led the America East in every major offensive category. Junior shortstop Nick Grande has been one of the nation’s best players over the past two seasons and might be a Day Two pick, while center fielder Michael Wilson hit ten home runs in a breakout effort.


Another offensive-minded team in the Baton Rouge regional, Stony Brook outslugged the America East.

Players to Watch

·         Nick Grande, SS

·         Michael Wilson, CF

·         Greg Marino, RHP

Projected Champs

Anthony-             LSU
Tom-                     Arizona State

Chapel Hill (AF)

#14 North Carolina-        #12 RPI, 42-17 (17-13 ACC)
Tennessee-                        #14 RPI, 38-19 (14-16 SEC)
Liberty-                                #40 RPI, 42-19 (15-9 A-Sun)
UNC-Wilmington-            #147 RPI, 32-29 (12-12 Colonial)

North Carolina

North Carolina brings back a good chunk of its College World Series club from last season. Michael Busch (#21) has some defensive question marks, but no one doubts he’ll rake at the next level, just as he has in Chapel Hill. Sophomore first baseman Aaron Sabato is the other big bopper in the Tar Heel lineup, while guys like Ike Freeman, Danny Serretti and Dylan Harris are solid role players. None have huge tools, but Mike Fox’s club has advanced instincts and is one of the best in the country at implementing analytics into their decision-making.


The Tar Heels have a deep lineup, but can they coax results from their talented arms when they need them most?

Players to Watch

·         Michael Busch, 1B

·         Austin Bergner, RHP

·         Tyler Baum, RHP

·         Aaron Sabato, 1B


Tennessee has the best pitching staff in this regional. A mentality change helped unlock an ace-level season from Garrett Stallings, who should be a Day Two pick next week. Freshman Garrett Crochet looks like a first-round talent for 2020, holding plus velocity following a midseason move from the bullpen to the rotation. Even third starter Zach Linginfelter touches 97 MPH, although his control comes and goes. Ditto Andrew Schultz, who throws 100 MPH out of the bullpen. The Vols can’t match North Carolina’s lineup depth, though. Beyond junior shortstop Andre Lipcius and JUCO transfer Alerick Soularie, a left fielder, there isn’t much impact. They’ll need to pitch at the top of their game to get to supers.


Tennessee can really pitch, but they need offensive role players to contribute.

Players to Watch

·         Garrett Stallings, RHP

·         Andrew Schultz, RHP

·         Alerick Soularie, LF

·         Garrett Crochet, LHP


Liberty had a strong case for an at-large bid after winning 40 games with a top-45 RPI. No matter, they made it a lock by winning the A-Sun conference tournament. Jonathan Embry’s a fun player, an athletic catcher who hits leadoff and lapped the conference in walks. There’s not a ton of power in the lineup, but the Flames control the strike zone and have the A-Sun’s best pitching staff. Junior ace Andrew McInvale struck out 97 batters in as many innings, and Garret Price has excelled as a fireman reliever.


Liberty’s a pitching-and-defense club, but they control the strike zone offensively.

Players to Watch

·         Jonathan Embry, C

·         Garret Price, RHP

·         Andrew McInvale, RHP


For prospect watchers, UNCW is an interesting #4 seed. Draft-eligible sophomore shortstop Greg Jones (#29) is a premier athlete with strike zone discipline, one of the higher-variance prospects in the class. Optimists see a power-hitting shortstop, pessimists a strikeout-prone center fielder. Guys with these kind of tools don’t get past Day One, though. Jones has been pitched around all year, though, so someone else in the Seahawk lineup will need to step up this weekend.


UNCW is a must-watch, if only to see toolsy shortstop Greg Jones.

Players to Watch

·         Greg Jones, SS

·         Landen Roupp, RHP

·         Cole Weiss, 3B

Morgantown (TM)

#15 West Virginia-           #13 RPI, 37-20 (13-11 Big 12)
Texas A&M-                       #15 RPI, 37-21-1 (16-13-1 SEC)
Duke-                                    #44 RPI, 31-25 (15-15 ACC)
Fordham-                            #135 RPI, 38-22 (15-9 Atlantic 10)

West Virginia


What a ride for West Virginia. It can be hard to compete in the Big 12 as a cold weather team, especially one without great facilities. However, thanks to having arguably the best pitcher in this year’s draft, Alek Manoah (#10), they found themselves hosting in Morgantown. Manoah will be one of the bigger names in this regional thanks to his potential of being a Top 15 pick this year’s draft. Alek currently owns a 1.85 ERA/0.88 WHIP/135 strikeouts in 102.1 innings. The Mountaineers aren’t very dominant on offense but still have some good bats, including Tyler Doanes (.318/.402/.509) and Darius Hill (.304/.365/.511). The Mountaineers will look to ride their star pitcher to a Super Regional, and with some timely hitting and dominant pitching anything is possible.




The Alek Manoah train knows no brakes.


Players to Watch


·         Alek Manoah, RHP

·         Tyler Doanes, INF

·         Darius Hill, OF

·         Nick Snyder, LHP


Texas A&M


The Aggies were one of the SEC hopefuls to host but were unlucky. However, this team is plenty good enough to host, despite the team’s struggles in the tournament, where back-to-back brutal loses at the start of the tournament saw them have an early exit and killed their hosting chances. At the head of their team is the 1-2 punch of John Doxakis (have fun pronouncing that in your head) and Asa Lacy. Doxakis is a trend upriser in the drafts thanks to his 1.84 ERA with 106 strikeouts in 97.2 innings. Meanwhile, Lacy has a stellar 2.20 ERA with an insane 123 strikeouts in only 81.2 frames. Lacy is one of the biggest names in next year’s already-stacked pitching class. In their lineup is another potential first-rounder, Braden Shewmake (#43), who hit a cool .315/.376/.487 with some solid defensive tools. Other solid hitters in the lineup include Mikey Hoehner (.286/.380/.377) and Bryce Blaum (.275/.374/.413). Texas A&M might be the best team in this regional, but they will need their bats to be better if they want to make it out of Morgantown.




Aggies will have ace stuff on the mound with Asa Lacy and John Doxakis, but will need their bats give them enough run support to make it to the Supers.


Players to Watch


·         John Doxakis, LHP

·         Asa Lacy, LHP

·         Braden Shewmake, INF




After losing their ace Graeme Stinson for the year thanks to an injury, Duke has some work to do. However, they can carry their way to another superregional thanks to a solid lineup with a healthy Joey Loperfido. Loperfido is batting .280/.381/.424 on the year, but we will have to wait and see if this is just a hot stretch or not.  Duke will also look to Kennie Taylor (.333/.400/.527) and Ethan Murray (.316/.403/.458) to provide the offensive push they will need. Thomas Girard in the bullpen is a very solid closer, working to a 1.44 ERA/.168 b/avg/9 SV. Duke will need their lineup to take the pressure off their rotation to be successful in Morgantown.




Losing Graeme Stinson hurts but if their bats can score runs they’ll be fine- maybe.


Players to Watch


·         Thomas Girard, RHP

·         Joey Loperfido, INF

·         Kennie Taylor, OF

·         Ethan Murray, RHP/INF




The Rams will look to shake things up this year with some solid bats and a pretty good rotation. On the mound for the Rams is stud John Stankiewicz. Stankiewicz is having an amazing year for Fordham and currently has a 1.21 ERA/102 strikeouts in 89.1 innings on the year. Around him is some solid bullpen arms in Anthony Zimmerman (0.76 ERA/.163 b/avg) and closer Kyler Martin (10 SV/64 Ks in 43 IP). Anchoring their lineup are Jake MacKenzie (.313/.364/.463) and Jake Baker (.305/.359/.364).




The Rams could fully compete in Morgantown, don’t be surprised if Fordham get a win or two.


Players to Watch


·         John Stankiewicz, RHP

·         Anthony Zimmerman, RHP

·         Jake McKenzie, INF

·         Jake Baker, OF


Projected Champions


Tom-                     Texas A&M

Anthony-             Texas A&M


Corvallis (TM)


#16 Oregon State-           #20 RPI, 36-18-1 (21-8 Pac-12)

Creighton-                          #23 RPI, 38-11 (14-4 Big East)

Michigan-                            #39 RPI, 41-18 (16-7 Big Ten)

Cincinnati-                           #96 RPI, 30-29 (13-11 AAC)


Oregon State


Going into the year, Oregon St had a lot to replace. Losing the likes of Nick Madrigal, Trevor Larnach, Cadyn Grenier, and Steven Kwan all to the draft last year leaving plenty of holes in their lineup. However, they were still returning future 1.1 Adley Rutschman (#1) and Kevin Abel and one of better bullpens in the Pac-12 so they were primed to compete, and compete they did. They started off the year hot after winning multiple tournament and series wins over fellow teams such as Nebraska and West Virginia. However, it all went downhill when the Beavers headed out to UCLA and lost which followed them losing their ace Kevin Abel to TJ. Times were grim and the lineup outside of Adley struggled. Then, the Beavers pulled it back together with series wins over ASU and cold at the time Arizona. Despite dropping a series at home against Oklahoma State, they were able to rally around a resurgence of pitching from the highly skilled Grant Gambrell and Bryce Fehmel, with their replacement ace Brandon Eisert pitching excellently. Even though it may seem like a down year in Corvallis, the Beavers are still built to compete.




Replaced a lot, but Adley and the boys are still competing.


Players to Watch


·         Adley Rutschman, C

·         Grant Gambrell, RHP

·         Brandon Eisert, RHP

·         Beau Phillip, SS




Making their first tournament appearance since 2012, the Bluejays are ready to spoil. Creighton might just be the best team coming out of the state of Nebraska. With series wins over Illinois State (a sweep), Kansas State, Nebraska and Maryland (another sweep), the Bluejays are a team that is hungry to hit. Keep in mind while reading these stats that they play their home games at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, a famously pitcher-friendly park. Highly touted corner outfielder Will Robertson (.309/.402/.583) is an athletic batter with a sweet stroke from the left side with some good pop. Behind him is the JUCO transfer, Jake Holton. Holton is batting an outstanding (.405/.502/.726) on the year and is attracting some Day 3 interest from it. Parker Upton is another slugger on the team, hitting .327/.495/.597. Isaac Collins is another Bluejay with some dominance at the plate batting .303/.377/.482 with 13 SB on 16 attempts. Those four have combined for 41 home runs in a very pitcher-friendly home park.




The Bluejays are nothing scoff at. Don’t let their mid-major appearance fool you, these guys can rake.


Players to watch


·         Will Robertson, RF

·         Jake Holton, 1B

·         Isaac Collins, 2B

·         Parker Upton, LF




Michigan is a team with plenty to prove. Outside of a fantastic Big Ten regular season for the Wolverines, their chances to prove their strength on the national scale were failed. With only a record of 6-10 against the RPI Top 50, including a big win over UCLA but losses to the likes of Oklahoma State, being swept at Texas Tech, a split at Indiana State, and losses to Nebraska, Indiana, Kentucky, and USC led to Michigan being on bubble into tournament weekend. A good run in Omaha saved their regional dreams. Michigan has unfinished business against the rest of the nation. The Wolverines are led by their Big Ten best pitching staff, consisting of potential early Day 2 pick Tommy Henry (3.61 ERA/104 SO in 92.1 IP), Karl Kauffmann (2.86 ERA/.220 b/avg) and closer Willie Weiss (47 K in 36.1 IP/9 SV). In their lineup is Big Ten Player of the Year Jordan Brewer, batting a team-best.342/.402/.609 with 12 homers. Thanks to his dominant year, Brewer has been getting noticed and is being considered as a potential Day 2 pick. Behind him and now leading off is the powerful DH, Jordan Nwogu. Nwogu is batting a powerful .338/.456/.590 with 10 homers, 4 triples and 15 SB on 17 attempts. Behind them, Jack Blomgren .310/.419/.414 and the strong Jesse Franklin .254/.392/.488/12 HR round out the lineup. Michigan has a good chance to make a run but will have to prove themselves against good Creighton and Oregon State teams.




Michigan has the talent to make a run but will have to prove themselves on the national level.


Players to Watch


·         Tommy Henry, LHP

·         Karl Kauffmann, RHP

·         Jordan Brewer, CF

·         Jordan Nwogu, DH




Nobody was quite sure how new head coach Scott Googins would do in his second year at Cincinnati. After 13 great years at Xavier, Googins would lead the Bearcats to their best finish in a while last year, and this year led Cincinnati to the promised land for the first time since 1974. Yeah, it’s been that long. Cincinnati had one of more dominant tournament runs this year by winning all four of their games, outscoring their opponents 51-21. The Bearcats are led by Joey Bellini (.302/.383/.400) and SEC transfer Wyatt Stapp (.297/.367/.374), with AJ Bumpass as the power hitter with 7 HR on the season. The Bearcats aren’t ready for their Cinderella to run to end.




The Bearcats are making their first regional appearance since 1974, and they’ll enjoy every minute of it.


Players to watch


·         Joey Bellini, SS

·         Wyatt Stapp, DH

·         Garrett Schoenle, LHP


Projected Champions


Tom-                     Creighton

Anthony-             Michigan