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Best College Baseball Players of 2016

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College Baseball has never been as profitable, exciting, or dominate as college football and basketball. In fact, during last season’s College World Series Final between Virginia and Arkansas, the highest viewership, according to Nielsen TV Ratings, was 900,000 viewers. That seems high but when you compare it to 2015’s March Madness tournament, college baseball seems like a sport desperate for more viewers. The NCAA basketball tournament’s lowest rated game was around 6 million viewers. The Championship game, which is the equivalent to the College Baseball World Series had 28.3 million viewers.

Why is a sport known as America’s Pastime struggling to survive in the country it was invented? Well, for starters, the College Basketball tournament beats the NBA in viewership too. But the gambling aspect produces such a wider margin of viewers that the comparison is a bit one-sided. Still, college baseball has been struggling to grow its fan base and it is fair to say that the low scoring match-ups when the NCAA changed the bats to be similar to the Major League Baseball, MLB, bats caused a lot of those fans to phone it in.

Outside of LSU, South Carolina, the SEC, and Texas, college baseball needs your help. They changed the baseball last season and it helped get a higher scoring output but that just isn’t enough. So we are going to show you some of the reasons to watch College Baseball in 2016 with our own player rankings and projections.

The Future of the MLB (2016 Draft-Eligible Players)

1. A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida

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2015

  • Games Started (GS): 14
  • Win/Loss Record (W-L): 9-4
  • Innings Pitched (IP): 78.0
  • Earned Run Average (ERA): 3.81
  • Hits (H): 59
  • Strikeouts (SO): 104
  • Walks (BB): 35
  • Shutouts (SHO): 1

2016

  • 1st Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 1st Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 1st Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 2nd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top 3)

MLB Scouts have been following A.J. Puk since high school and they have a very good reason for it. He has huge upside. Not only is he big (6’7″), but he has a big time fastball from the left side. He also has a few other pitches that turn that fastball into an even smaller target to hit for opposing batters. If there was anything to dislike, it would be his control. But that can be fixed.

2. Corey Ray, OF, Louisville

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2015 Performance

  • Batting Avg (BA): .325
  • Hits (H): 86
  • Runs (R): 46
  • Doubles (2B): 15
  • Triples (3B): 5
  • Home Runs (HR): 11
  • Runs Batted In (RBI): 56
  • Walks (BB): 24
  • Stolen Bases: (SB): 34

2016

  • 1st Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 1st Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 1st Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 1st Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top 15)

Corey Ray should find himself signing a first round MLB contract this June. This kid is absolutely amazing. He has plus speed and a very good baseball IQ making him a tough out on the basepaths. The fact that he has both power and range means he can hit for a high average while also being a HR threat. He has been starting in RF but should be a better CF when he gets to the next level. There is a very high probability that a MLB team is going to go all-in and take him almost near the top of the draft simply because he has things that you cannot teach already.

3. Alec Hansen, RHP, Oklahoma

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 15
  • W-L: 5-6
  • IP: 82.0
  • ERA: 3.95
  • H: 75
  • SO: 94
  • BB: 44

2016

  • 2nd Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 3rd Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 2nd Team Rawlings PG All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top 5)

Much like A.J., Alec Hansen is a beast on the mound that pitches downward giving his fastball a quicker approach to the plate. There are a lot of scouts that think he should work on his changeup and also get a little tighter around the strike zone. If he can show off those improvements this season, he will be the top pick of the draft, guaranteed.

4. Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .367
  • H: 83
  • R: 49
  • 2B: 19
  • HR: 17
  • RBIs: 56
  • BB: 19
  • SB: 3

2016

  • 2nd Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 1st Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 1st Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 1st Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top 5)

Based on production levels and overall talent, a lot of scouts are comparing Kyle Lewis to Jason Heyward but with more power at the plate. With his size and hitting ability, it would not be a shock to see him develop into a MLB power hitter. He came virtually out of nowhere but has improved his stock in one season proving that all it takes is one year to develop into something special so don’t ever give up on a player, regardless of what they have done in the past.

5. Buddy Reed, OF, Florida

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .305
  • H: 86
  • R: 51
  • 2B: 14
  • 3B: 5
  • HR: 4
  • RBIs: 47
  • SB: 18

2016

  • 1st Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 1st Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 3rd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top 15)

Scouts love a switch-hitter that can steal bases. Buddy Reed has the speed to be dangerous on the base paths and the potential for a career in CF. The scouts want to see him improve at the plate and become a more consistent hitter this year. If he does, he might jump up to number one overall.

6. Cal Quantrill, RHP, Stanford

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 3
  • W-L: 2-0
  • IP: 18.2
  • ERA: 1.93
  • H: 15
  • SO: 20
  • BB: 8

2016

  • 3rd Team Louisville Slugger All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Mid-Late)

7. Matt Krook, LHP, Oregon

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 8
  • W-L: 2-1
  • IP: 45.1
  • ERA: 1.79
  • H: 22
  • SO: 60
  • BB: 19

2016

  • 3rd Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 3rd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Late) – 2nd Round (Early)

8. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Vanderbilt

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .318
  • H: 91
  • R: 56
  • 2B: 18
  • 3B: 4
  • HR: 5
  • RBIs: 49
  • SB: 17
  • Nashville Regional All-Tournament Team
  • SEC All-Tournament Team
  • SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll

2016

  • 2nd Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 2nd Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 2nd Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 2nd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Late)

9. Logan Shore, RHP, Florida

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 19
  • W-L: 11-6
  • IP: 112.1
  • ERA: 2.72
  • H: 97
  • SO: 84
  • BB: 24
  • USA Collegiate National Team
  • USA Golden Spikes Preseason Watch List

2016

  • 1st Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 2nd Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 1st Team Rawlings PG All-American

MLB Projection

  • 2nd Round (Early)

10. Chris Okey, C, Clemson

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .315
  • H: 74
  • R: 50
  • 2B: 16
  • 3B: 1
  • HR: 12
  • RBIs: 57
  • SB: 3

2016

  • 2nd Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 2nd Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 1st Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 2nd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top 15)

11. Connor Jones, RHP, Virginia

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 18
  • W-L: 7-3
  • IP: 115.2
  • ERA: 3.19
  • H: 94
  • SO: 113
  • BB: 52

2016

  • 2nd Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 1st Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 2nd Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 2nd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top Ten)

12. Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Vanderbilt

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 6
  • W-L: 5-2
  • IP: 60.0
  • ERA: 2.85
  • H: 39
  • SO: 55
  • BB: 43

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Late)

13. Zack Collins, C, Miami (FL)

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .305
  • H: 73
  • R: 61
  • 2B: 14
  • 3B: 5
  • HR: 15
  • RBIs: 70
  • BB: 56
  • SB: 7

2016

  • 1st Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 1st Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 2nd Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 3rd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 2nd Round (Early)

14. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Arizona

Bobby Dalbec 560x373

2015 Performance

  • BA: .319
  • H: 68
  • R: 43
  • 2B: 11
  • 3B: 2
  • HR: 15
  • RBIs: 53
  • BB: 32

2016

  • 2nd Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 2nd Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 2nd Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 1st Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Mid)

15. Nick Banks, OF, Texas A&M

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .364
  • H: 87
  • R: 51
  • 2B: 11
  • 3B: 3
  • HR: 8
  • RBIs: 48
  • BB: 34
  • SB: 9

2016

  • 1st Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 2nd Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 2nd Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 1st Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top Ten)

16. Ryan Boldt, OF, Nebraska

Ryan Boldt 560x368

2015 Performance

  • BA: .344
  • H: 75
  • R: 45
  • 2B: 7
  • 3B: 2
  • HR: 1
  • RBIs: 21
  • BB: 27
  • SB: 9

2016

  • 2nd Team Baseball America All-American
  • 2nd Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 3rd Team D1 Baseball All-American

MLB Projection

  • 2nd Round (Mid)

17. Robert Tyler, RHP, Georgia

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 6
  • W-L: 1-1
  • IP: 23.2
  • ERA: 5.32
  • H: 22
  • SO: 29
  • BB: 11

2016

  • 2nd Team Louisville Slugger All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Top Ten)

18. Willie Abreu, OF, Miami (FL)

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .293
  • H: 66
  • R: 44
  • 2B: 10
  • 3B: 1
  • HR: 6
  • RBIs: 47
  • BB: 27
  • SB: 4

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Late) – 2nd Round (Early)

19. Zach Jackson, RHP, Arkansas

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2015 Performance

  • GS: 3
  • W-L: 5-1
  • IP: 60.0
  • ERA: 2.10
  • H: 43
  • SO: 89
  • BB: 38
  • Saves: 9
  • USA Collegiate National Team
  • 1st Team All-SEC
  • Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team
  • SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll

2016

  • 1st Team Louisville Slugger All-American
  • 1st Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 1st Team Rawlings PG All-American
  • 2nd Team NCBWA All-American

MLB Projection

  • 2nd Round (Early)

20. Jake Fraley, OF, LSU

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2015 Performance

  • BA: .307
  • H: 69
  • R: 50
  • 2B: 11
  • 3B: 5
  • HR: 2
  • RBIs: 35
  • BB: 21
  • SB: 23

2016

  • 3rd Team D1 Baseball All-American
  • 3rd Team Rawlings PG All-American

MLB Projection

  • 1st Round (Late) – 2nd Round (Early)
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