By: Josh Axelrod > University of Maryland > Freshman > Journalism, Photo by: Jon DeJong
March may be know for its Madness more than any other college sport, but it also marks the beginning of the college baseball season. If your school’s chances of making the big dance in basketball have already become nonexistent (thanks for nothing Terrapins), check out College Baseball Daily’s list of 2011’s Top 100 college baseball players. Here is a breakdown of the best players on this list by position:
First Baseman: Alex Dickerson
The Poway, California native is now a junior at Indiana, but he was actually in the 2008 MLB Draft and was drafted by the Washington Nationals. He elected to stay at Indiana, and for good reason. He finished his sophomore season with a .419 batting average, 24 home runs, and 75 RBI. Dickerson was also the 2010 Big Ten Player of the Year.
Middle Infielder: Ryan Wright
The Louisville junior is coming off a sophomore season where he hit .366 with 16 homers and 80 RBI. He was also 10 for 11 in attempts to steal bases. Wright spent the summer with the USA Collegiate National Team and was the designated hitter in the 2010 University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
Third Baseman: Anthony Rendon
Rice junior Rendon topped College Baseball Daily’s list, and his statistics certainly support his projected position as the best college baseball player in the country. He hit .394 with 26 homers and 85 RBI, “one of the best seasons in college baseball history” according to CBD’s Brian Foley. Rendon also won 2010’s Dick Howser Award and Baseball America’s Player of the Year Award.
Outfielder: Jackie Bradley Jr.
The junior outfielder led his South Carolina Gamecocks to the 2010 NCAA National Championships and was named the MVP of the College Baseball World Series. Bradley was also incredibly consistent in his 2010 season, with a .997 fielding percentage (meaning he only made one error the entire season).
Centerfielder: George Springer
Like Dickerson, the University of Connecticut junior was selected in the 2008 MLB Draft but was unable to sign with the Minnesota Twins. He had a relatively subpar 2010 season, but he was still named to the All-Big East Second Team and All-New England Second Team. Springer was also 33 of 35 in stealing bases.
Catcher: Peter O’Brien
O’Brien attends Bethune-Cookman, a historically black college in Daytona Beach, Florida. The junior catcher was 2010’s MEAC Conference MVP and a third team All-American. He played for the 2010 USA Collegiate National Team and hit .306 with four homers and 10 RBI.
Left-Handed Pitcher: Matt Purke
TCU sophomore Purke is number two on CBD’s list. He was selected by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft but was never signed. During his freshman season, Purke went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA in 116.1 innings with 142 strikeouts. He was the Consensus Freshman of the Year.
Right-Handed Pitcher: Gerrit Cole
The UCLA junior was selected 28th overall in the 2008 MLB draft by the New York Yankees but turned down a multi-million dollar contract so he could attend college. Cole led the Bruins to the 2010 College World Series where they eventually fell in two games to South Carolina. He finished the 2010 season with a 11-4 record, a 3.37 ERA, and 153 strikeouts in 123.0 innings.