(Photo via Chipola College’s website, seen here)
With the College World Series in the books, CBBSN looks back letter-by-letter at the 2018 season in all levels of college baseball. In this first installment, let’s look at letters A-K.
The Augustana Vikings took the NCAA Division II Championship back home to Sioux Falls, SD after defeating Columbus State 3-2 in the national championship game. Augustana ace Jacob Blank, a 22nd round pick of the Minnesota Twins, threw a complete game to win the first-ever title for the school, which has a student population of 2,080. Other Vikings continuing their careers in pro baseball as undrafted free agents are Tyler Mitzel and Zach Reeg. Mitzel is now in the Miami Marlins’ organization, while Reeg signed with the Texas Rangers. The Vikings finished the 2018 campaign 52-9.
Honorable Mention: Arkansas, Andrew Vaughn, Alec Bohm, Adley Rutschman
The winner of the 2018 Dick Howser Award and a semi-finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Brady Singer was selected 18th overall by the Kansas City Royals in the MLB Draft. The Florida righty finished fourth in the country with 12 wins, and also had a 2.55 ERA & 114 K’s. Opponents batted just .203 against him in 2018. He features a 2-seam fastball and a slider in his repertoire, along with a developing changeup. Singer outdueled #1 overall pick Casey Mize in the Gainesville Super Regional, which I wrote about here.
Honorable Mention: Big 12 Conference, Baylor University, Bryant Packard
Chipola College in Marianna, FL took home its second consecutive NJCAA Baseball Championship this season, defeating Walters State 10-7. They became the first JUCO national champs to repeat since the 1999-2000 Greyson College Vikings. After having 10 MLB Draft selections in 2017 (!!!!), Chipola’s Edmond Americaan was selected by the Cubs in the 35th round in 2018. This dominant program has churned out great players in recent history, including MLB All-Stars Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, and Patrick Corbin. They also won the 2007 title.
Honorable Mention: Casey Mize
Devlin Granberg slashed .443/.541/.680 during his senior season and was named an All-American by six national publications. An outfielder at Dallas Baptist University, he was awarded Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and was selected in the sixth round by the Boston Red Sox. He led the nation with 112 hits and finished second in batting average, all while going 26/27 on stolen base attempts. Before transferring to DBU, he led the Cisco Wranglers to the 2016 NJCAA World Series, where they finished fifth. He also has a 70-grade name.
Honorable Mention: Daytona Bryden, David Villar
East Carolina University
The Pirates of the American Athletic Conference finished 44-18 during the 2018 season and 12th in RPI. They were outstanding away from Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium, going 19-4 on the road. Three Pirates were drafted: Dwayna Williams-Sutton, Chris Holba, and Connor Litton. Sophomore Bryant Packard was the AAC Player of the Year, as he slashed .406/.462/.671 and was named to 7 different All-American teams. He was also on a CBBSN podcast! In the AAC Tournament Championship Game, ECU defeated UConn 4-3. However, their season ended in the Greenville Regional.
Honorable Mention: Elon University, East Tennessee State University
Frank German is a right-handed pitcher for the North Florida Ospreys that was selected 127th overall by the New York Yankees. He posted a sparkling 1.58 ERA, which ranked fifth in the nation. The 6’2”, 195 lb. junior finished 8-3, with 108 K’s to only 14 walks. He was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Golden Spikes award and was named a second-team All-American by D1baseball. In UNF’s opening game in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, German threw a complete game, allowing one run while striking out ten and walking none.
Honorable Mention: Florida, Friends University
Although often overshadowed at Wichita State by #3 overall pick Alec Bohm, Greyson Jenista was productive in many ways for the Shockers. He slashed .309/.446/.475 while adding nine homers and twelve stolen bases. He was versatile, playing all three outfield positions and first base. Jenista also passes the eye test, coming in at an imposing 6’4”, 210 lbs. I saw him in person many times at Wichita State, where I shot this video and wrote this article about him. He was selected 49th overall by the Atlanta Braves in the MLB Draft.
Honorable Mention: Grant Koch, Grant Witherspoon, Griffin Roberts, Griffin Conine
One of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft class, 6’10” righty Hugh Smith burst onto the scene out of D-3 Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. Smith dominated the Northwest Conference and was named their pitcher of the year, posting a 1.58 ERA and 9.62 K/9 over 62.2 innings. He was selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Tigers, which made him the highest D3 pick in the draft. Baseball America had a great writeup of Smith and his quick ascension to becoming a draft prospect. In addition to his pitching prowess, he studied biophysics at Whitworth.
Honorable Mention: Hofstra University, Hogan Harris
Want an 80-grade name & a plus hit tool? Look no further than Itchy Burts, an outfielder for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He led the Southland Conference in hitting at .401, although he only appeared in 43 games. Additionally, the 5’8”, 160 lb. Burts got on base 47% of the time and walked more than he struck out. This is an interesting profile for teams to consider as he becomes draft-eligible next year. According to this NCAA.com article, Burts got the nickname after being compared to Ichiro. His given name is David.
Honorable Mention: Incarnate Word, Illinois, Indiana
The first D-2 player selected in the 2018 Draft at pick #72, right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray of Le Moyne College will now join the Cincinnati Reds organization. Gray finished his junior campaign with a sparkling 11-0 record, and a 1.25 ERA and a .192 Opponent’s Batting Average. He’s been up to 97 on the gun and was profiled twice by CBBSN’s very own Anthony Franco! During the 2017 Cape Cod League season, facing better hitters, he struck out 21 while only allowing three walks in his 13 innings. He earned numerous national awards in 2018.
Honorable Mention: Joey Bart, Jonathan India, Josh Breaux, Jonathan Bermudez
Kyler Murray, a 5’11” 195 lb. dynamo out of Oklahoma, was surprisingly selected 9th overall by the Oakland A’s in the MLB Draft. One of the toolsiest prospects in recent memory, Murray also plays football for OU and is projected to take over Baker Mayfield’s spot as QB in the fall. On the baseball field, he features plus-plus speed but is still raw across the board. However, as CBBSN’s own Curtis Leister noted here, he had a decision to make. Now he has. Murray recently signed with the A’s for 4.66M, but Oakland has agreed for Murray to quarterback the Sooners for one season before transitioning fully to baseball.
Honorable Mention: Kody Clemens, Kiki Menendez