College baseball season returns on Feb. 17. With that in mind, here are 10 players to watch in 2017:
ANDREW BECKWITH, Coastal Carolina, Sr., RHP: Led nation in wins with 15-1 record and was Most Outstanding Player in College World Series. Moved from bullpen to starter’s role second half of season and finished with 1.85 ERA. At CWS had two complete games in three starts and 0.76 ERA.
LUKEN BAKER, TCU, So., IF: Hit seven of team-leading 11 homers in postseason. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder led Big 12 with .379 batting average, 94 hits, 59 runs and 62 RBIs. Was 3-1 with 1.70 ERA before injuring arm in April. Expected to be first baseman and designated hitter and won’t pitch this season.
Congrats to Evan Skoug (2nd team) and Luken Baker (3rd team) on earning preseason All-American recognition from @BaseballAmerica. pic.twitter.com/E5MeffCgyo
? TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) January 30, 2017
SETH BEER, Clemson, So., IF: Became first freshman to win the Dick Howser Trophy as national player of the year. First baseman also was Golden Spikes Award finalist. ACC player of the year batted .369 with 13 doubles, 18 homers, 70 RBIs and had a .700 slugging percentage.
RELATED:?2017 college baseball season preview
J.B. BUKAUSKAS, North Carolina, Jr., RHP: Went 7-2 with 3.10 ERA, including 6-2 with 2.45 ERA in 10 ACC starts. Ranked third in nation with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Allowed one unearned run in 21 2/3 innings on U.S. college national team last summer.
Congrats to J.B. Bukauskas on being named to Collegiate Baseball’s preseason All-America second team: https://t.co/0GB8hyphAh pic.twitter.com/9nzsIUlooH
? Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) December 19, 2016
CARLOS CORTES, South Carolina, Fr., OF/DH: One of the top high school players in Florida (Oviedo) last season. The 5-7, 195-pounder is ambidextrous, throwing with right hand when playing infield and with left hand when playing outfield.
COLTON EASTMAN, Cal State Fullerton, So., RHP: Big West freshman of the year heads a strong group of starters for Titans. Went 8-3 with 2.24 ERA and struck out a freshman school record-tying 100 in 100 2/3 innings.
ALEX FAEDO, Florida, Jr. RHP: Went 13-3 with 3.18 ERA in 17 starts, including 7-1 in SEC play. His 133 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings were most by a Florida pitcher in 18 years. Had five 10-plus strikeout games.
JEREN KENDALL, Vanderbilt, Jr., OF: No. 1 college player, and No. 2 overall on MLB.com’s list of top 50 draft prospects. Led team with .332 batting average, 63 runs and 59 RBIs. Tied school record with eight triples and hit career-high nine homers.
NICK MADRIGAL, Oregon State, So., IF: Pac-12 freshman of the year. The 5-7, 161-pounder batted .333 with 11 doubles, five triples, one homer and 29 RBIs. Played second base in 2016 but goes into week of opener competing for SS job.
RELATED:?Five big-time power threats returning in 2017
BRENDAN McKAY, Louisville, Jr. IF /LHP: The first baseman-pitcher is two-time winner of John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year. Lefty was 12-4 with 2.30 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 17 starts. Batted .333 with six home runs, 19 doubles and 41 RBIs.
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