News Top 20 College Baseball Teams In 2021 Based On...

Top 20 College Baseball Teams In 2021 Based On MLB Draft Rankings

*In our initial post we incorrectly included RHP Josh Swales with Arizona as a member of the 2023 class, ranked No. 47. Swales instead is on the roster for JC of Southern Nevada. We removed Swales and included RHP Jaxon Wiggins at No. 50 in the 2023 class, which shifted the overall team rankings. That change moved Arkansas up into the top 10 and pushed UCLA to No. 11. We apologize for this error.


Earlier this week, we completed our initial draft lists of the 2023 class, with separate top 50s for the best high school and college players in the country. With those completed, we now have rankings for college players in each of the next three drafts.

While plenty will change with those rankings as players live up to, exceed or underwhelm expectations, we wanted to take stock of the full group of classes and see which college programs had the most draft talent.

This isn’t an all-encompassing ranking of the draft-eligible talent in the country, as there are plenty of players who didn’t crack an early top 100 or top 50 list but will still go on to be drafted. Teams with a few highly-ranked players will grade out better than teams that make up for lack of star power with plenty of quality depth.

Additionally, this isn’t an attempt to gauge the best college teams in the country—unlike our Never Too Early Top 25, released in late June.

Put simply, the following are the top 10 teams in the country when accounting for our combined 2021, 2022 and 2023 collegiate draft rankings.

We used a points-based scoring system, with the No. 1 player in each class counting for 100 points and the No. 100 player in each class counting for one point. We explored a few weighted scoring systems as well, valuing the 2022 and 2023 classes to a lesser degree than the 2021 class, but the top teams largely remained the same in each system. We stuck with the unweighted system for simplicity. Each team’s total points are listed.

See each of our college draft rankings here:

1. Vanderbilt—883

CLASS RANK PLAYER POSITION
2021 1 RHP
2021 2 RHP
2021 47 OF
2021 54 Hugh Fisher LHP
2021 78 C
2022 7 LHP/1B
2022 32 SS
2022 57 Maxwell Romero C
2022 58 TJ McKenzie SS
2022 78 RHP/OF
2022 86 RHP
2022 90 SS
2022 97 1B
2023 7 Enrique Bradfield OF
2023 10 RHP
2023 29 C

Vanderbilt placed 16 players among all three lists—the most of any school—and combines both excellent depth and quality. In addition to the number of prospects the Commodores have ranked, they also boast a top 10 player in each class, including two in the 2021 and 2023 draft classes.

It’s unsurprising to see Vanderbilt here, as the program has ranked first (2019), second (2018) and third (2020) in Baseball America’s recruiting rankings in the past three years. While high-profile pitchers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter are the headliners, Vanderbilt actually leads all teams in ranked hitting prospects. Outside of Florida, Miami and Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt’s nine hitters are more than any other team has players overall.

2. Florida—806

Florida is a solid 1B to Vanderbilt’s 1A in this exercise, and the only other team with double-digit ranked prospects, checking in with 15. While outfielder Jud Fabian is the star of its 2021 college class, the Gators live up to their reputation as a pitching pipeline here, with eight ranked pitching prospects—two more than runner up South Carolina.

Returning arms Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich give Florida a pair of high-profile and experienced arms, while lefthander Timmy Manning was one of the more polished high school pitchers to not get drafted in 2020. The Gators are the only school that has multiple draft classes with at least seven players ranked, with seven each in the 2021 and 2022 classes.

3. Miami—592

In 2018, Miami had the 10th overall recruiting class led by catcher Adrian Del Castillo and righthander Slade Cecconi. Cecconi is gone after being a draft-eligible sophomore who went in the supplemental first round of the 2020 draft, but Del Castillo has blossomed into arguably the best hitting prospect in the 2021 class.

Miami’s top-ranked 2020 recruiting class is a real difference-maker for the Hurricanes here and would have landed them three top-10 prospects in the 2023 class if righthander Victor Mederos weren’t draft-eligible in 2022. The Hurricanes have a good balance of hitting and pitching and a number of players with a chance to develop into first-round picks.

4. Louisiana State—554

Louisiana State has just seven ranked players—tied for eighth among all schools—but boasts exceptional quality. The average rank of Louisiana State’s three classes (21.86) is the lowest of all the teams among the top 10 and second to only Boston College (17.0) among top 25 teams.

Almost every player ranked has top-three round potential, from high-octane righthander Jaden Hill to catcher Hayden Travinski, who has massive power potential. The Tigers have polished players like righthander Landon Marceaux and infielder Cade Doughty to go along with the massive upside of tooled-up outfielders Maurice Hampton and Dylan Crews.

5. Louisville—502

Louisville has just one player in the 2022 and 2023 classes, but is buoyed by a deep and talented crop of 2021 prospects. Alex Binelas is one of the top power hitters in the game and Henry Davis has developed his bat nicely with the Cardinals and is now the second-ranked catcher in the 2021 class. On top of that Louisville has tooled-up outfielder Levi Usher and a trio of pitchers.

Louisville ranked No. 4 among recruiting classes in 2018 but has ranked No. 20 and 22 in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Each of the team’s top-ranked recruits from those classes make the list here, with Prosecky bringing a solid fastball and control and Knapczyk being the heady sort of player who could easily make a jump given Louisville’s development track record.

6. South Carolina—476

Only Florida has more ranked pitchers than South Carolina, who boasts six ranked arms, including a pair who will be back after going undrafted in 2020. Righthanders Brannon Jordan and Thomas Farr almost certainly would have been selected in a draft longer than five rounds and should give the Gamecocks a reliable core in the rotation.

Righthander Brett Thomas has a fastball that’s been into the upper 90s as a member of the 2022 class and the Gamecocks boast even more upside in the 2023 class, with three pitchers ranked among the top 50. Righthander Will Sanders was a favorite among area scouts as a potential name to watch out for in college given time to develop physically, while lefthanders Jackson Phipps and Magdiel Cotto also have big frames with exciting upside. No team has more ranked 2023 players than South Carolina’s four.

7. Texas—468

Texas has as much quality young pitching as any team in the country and is well-positioned heading into 2021 in large part because of that. The Longhorns checked in at No. 11 in our Never Too Early Top 25 thanks to high-upside arms like Ty Madden, Pete Hansen, Kolby Kubichek and Jared Southard returning.

The eighth-ranked 2020 recruiting class added more depth with Tanner Witt and Travis Sthele, with Witt reportedly turning down big money out of the draft to bring his two-way ability to Texas. Excluding a pair of two-way players (Witt and Trey Faltine), Texas is the only program among the top 25 that boasts no hitters among the group. Just imagine this group if the draft hadn’t taken such a heavy toll—with righthanders Jared Kelley and Jared Jones, outfielder Petey Halpin and shortstop Carson Tucker all poached by the professional game.

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8. Georgia Tech—436

Having shortstop Luke Waddell return to a 2021 draft class that is heavy on arms helps Georgia Tech, but this group is led by a strong and deep 2022 group. That group is bolstered by a few members of Georgia Tech’s 10th-ranked 2020 recruiting class who will be eligible after just two years in Atlanta.

Catcher Kevin Parada looks like the next big backstop to come out of a program known for producing them and is currently the top hitter in the group after being the highest-ranked position player to go undrafted in 2022. Outfielder Drew Compton was off to a strong start in 16 games in the 2020 season and looks right at home with the bat in college ball.

9. Arkansas — 441

 

Arkansas’ strong 2021 class is bolstered by the return of one of the best catchers in the nation. Casey Opitz likely would have been drafted in a normal year, and will bring excellent defensive work to the team again in 2021.

The Razorbacks’ ninth-ranked 2020 recruiting class gives them another upside infielder to join Robert Moore in the 2022 class, with third baseman Cayden Wallace bringing raw power and a consistent swing to the table. Righthander Nate Wohlgemuth has an electric fastball and potential for a few secondaries and is another 2022 eligible player who comes from the 2020 recruiting class.

10. Auburn—422

Auburn has had three consecutive top-15 recruiting classes, headlined by a No. 9 2019 class that makes up the bulk of Auburn’s players here, represented in the 2022 class. Even with righthander Ramsey David moving on from the program, the Tigers have plenty of arms with upside, especially if lefthander Hayden Mullins is able to rediscover his healthy pre-draft form out of high school.

A group heavier on pitchers is bolstered by a pair of middle infielders with exciting toolsets. Ryan Bliss was off to a scorching start in the 2020 season and Foster brings an advanced, all-around toolset that should impact the game in a variety of ways.

11. UCLA—416

Like Texas, UCLA’s 2020 class lost four players to the draft and because of that doesn’t have a single prospect ranked in the top 50 2023 class. Even without players like Tyler Soderstrom, Kyle Harrison, Jake Vogel and Milan Tolentino, the Bruins have the prospect power to just land just outside the top ten.

Shortstop Matt McLain is one of the best position players in the country and right at the top of the 2021 class, while catcher Noah Cardenas has vastly exceeded his hitting expectations as a high schooler, while bringing impressive defensive acumen to the table. Michael Curialle has athleticism and strength with a potential big-time bat, while righthander Max Rajcic is among the more refined and college-ready arms to come out of the 2020 prep class, and will again be draft-eligible in 2022.

12. Virginia—413

Virginia has a strong 2020 class that includes four players among the top 100, but a pair of elite-level 2021 prospects might steal the show here. Both lefthander Nate Savino and outfielder Chris Newell have a chance to be top-15 picks in 2015.

The Cavaliers are likely one of the teams underrated by this scoring system, but not having a 2023 member on the list hinders them in the final tally. Virginia didn’t crack the list of the top 25 recruiting class rankings, but they have a solid group of players on both sides of the ball in 2021 and maybe the best 1-2 combo in the 2022 class.

13. Florida State—383

Florida State likely would have had just one player in the 2021 class in a normal year, but Reese Albert opted out of the draft and will be back in the fold in Tallahassee. Outfielder Robby Martin has exceptional offensive upside and has been arguably the best Florida State hitter since he reached campus.

The talent of Florida State’s underclassmen is focused around pitchers, with the Seminoles landing the highest-rated prospect in the 2020 draft to not get selected in righthander Carson Montgomery. Montgomery has an electric two-pitch mix and should be an immediate contributor for the Seminoles.

14. Mississippi—365

In a college year where there are very few proven starters in the 2021 class, Mississippi has the benefit of having two pitchers who can make that claim in righthander Gunnar Hoglund and lefthander Doug Nikhazy. Hoglund has untapped upside with a still-projectable frame, while Nikhazy’s feel for his breaking ball consistency leaves hitters off-balance.

Mississippi also has athleticism and plenty of upside on the hitting side, with multi-sport athletes like outfielders Jerrion Ealy and John Rhys Plumlee who have plenty of tools but also plenty of refinement to make on the baseball field.

15. Alabama—334

Alabama ranked No. 15 in our recruiting class rankings in both 2018 and 2019 and brings a solid mix of depth and upside with all of its classes now. Righthander Tyler Ras is the sole ranked member of the 2021 class, but perhaps no player increased his draft stock more than lefthander Connor Prielipp in the shortened 2020 season. Prielipp didn’t allow an earned run over 21 innings and four starts, while striking out 35 batters and walking just six.

Shortstop Myles Austin was the top-ranked hitter of the Sooners’ 2019 recruiting class and brings plenty of upside and athleticism, while Canadian product Owen Diodati has solid power potential. Alabama also has upside with a 2023 member in lefthander Grayson Hitt, who was also a talented high school football player and brings an exciting fastball/curveball combination to the mound.

16. Mississippi State—317

Mississippi State is tied for third among all teams with five total ranked pitchers, not including two-way player Logan Allen. The Bulldogs have ranked no worse than No. 17 in each of the last three years in terms of recruiting rankings.

A pitcher has topped the list of their recruiting classes in each of those seasons, with righthander JT Ginn leading the list in 2018, righthander Will Bednar at the forefront of the group in 2019 and righthander Jackson Fristoe heading the class of 2020.

17. Oklahoma—307

Oklahoma didn’t land a single player on the 2021 top 100, with righthander Wyatt Olds being the closest to the list, but adds several impact underclassmen. The team has two top-15 members of the 2022 class and another top-25 prospect in 2023 with Cade Horton, Peyton Graham and Jace Bohrofen. The average rank of Oklahoma’s group of players (24.25) is good for the third-lowest of top 25 teams.

Horton was a top-100 player in the 2020 class but will be draft-eligible in 2022. He immediately joined the top 10 of the 2022 college class thanks to his two-way ability on both sides, with athleticism and above-average instincts. Outfielder Jace Bohrofen has exciting power potential if he can clean up his swing a bit.

18. Maryland—253

Like Oklahoma, Maryland has just four players ranked in each of the three draft classes but makes up for those numbers with quality. Righthander Jason Savacool is the highest ranked player, checking in at No. 12 in the 2023 class with a strong sinker/slider combination. He ranked No. 115 in the 2020 draft class.

Outfielder Bobby Zmarzlak was a talented high school basketball player and has big upside thanks to a solid power and speed combination. Righthander Sean Burke also played basketball in high school, but has grown into his frame as a pitcher and has an electric fastball/curveball combination and real first-round potential in 2021.

19. Stanford—252

Stanford has had strong back-to-back recruiting classes, with its 2019 group checking in at No. 19 and the 2020 class ranking No. 7. That 2020 group was led by shortstop Drew Bowser, who was long considered a difficult sign—like most Stanford commits—and brings exceptional upside thanks to a projectable frame, huge raw power and a big arm that could play at the hot corner.

Lefthander Jacob Palisch returns after ranking No. 229 in the 2020 draft class, giving the group some draft power in the current year, but Stanford is certainly buoyed by the upside that comes with its underclassmen in this ranking.

20. Boston College—252

Boston College has the most unique path to a top 25 team, with only three players ranked and none in the 2022 or 2023 draft classes. However, each of those players are ranked among the top 25, which gives the Eagles the best average ranking among the top 25 teams.

Righthander Mason Pelio was likely the most highly thought of prepster of the bunch coming out of high school, and has started to tap into the upside that was seen at Rancho Bernardo High in San Diego. However, both hitters have done exceptionally in their time in the ACC, with both bringing impressive hit tools in different ways while Frelick has the edge in raw tools and Morissette has the advantage of being able to stick in the dirt. This class has the least depth of any team, but the impact at the top is unquestionable.

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