Every week, I will be breaking down the top teams and players in college baseball. Here are the top performers for the week of April 2-8.
Team of the week: Miami Hurricanes (24-8, 11-4 in ACC)
The Hurricanes started off the week with a 4-1 loss to UCF, then went on to sweep number-three North Carolina in three games by outscoring them 16-3, including two shutouts. Left-hander Eric Erickson tossed seven scoreless innings in game one, allowing four hits while striking out five to no walks. Top catching prospect Peter O’Brien hit a grand slam, his 10th home run on the season. Right fielder Mack Chantz went 3-for-5 and added three RBI to cap off the 8-0 shutout.
In the second game, freshman Esteban Tresgallo hit a two-run home run and junior Eric Whaley went seven strong innings in a 4-3 win that lasted 14 innings. Whaley allowed two runs on seven hits while not walking a batter. Junior left-hander Steven Ewing capped off the sweep by tossing six scoreless innings, striking out nine while walking seven in the 4-0 win. O’Brien, Brad Fiegler and Jarred Mederos all added an RBI in the win.
Offensive player of the week: Adam Brett-Walker, OF, Jacksonville
Brett-Walker, one of the top outfield prospects in the draft, had an impressive week as he displayed the power that scouts love from the 6’-5”, 225-pound junior. Over five games, he went 7-for-20 (.350) with three home runs and nine RBI. He also added two stolen bases, showing good instincts on the base paths. Over 33 games, he is hitting .300 with nine doubles, six home runs, 28 RBI, five stolen bases and a slash line of .393/.625/1.018. He has drawn 19 walks on the season, but his 29 strikeouts remain a concern as his long swing leads to a lot of misses.
Pitcher of the week: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
Stroman took a no-decision in a 4-1 loss to Clemson on April 6 in a game that went 12 innings. However, he still turned in the most dominant pitching performance of the week as he went nine scoreless innings, scattering seven hits while striking out 13 batters to three walks. It marked the fifth time he has had double digit strikeouts in his eight starts. On the season, he is 3-3, with a 2.17 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 85 K/17 BB over 58 innings. His 13.2 K/9 leads the nation, as well as his 85 total strikeouts.
Freshman of the week: Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
Considered the top freshman pitcher in the nation by many, the 6’-3”, 235-pound left-hander tossed his first complete game of the season on April 7, beating Maryland 3-2. He allowed one earned run on five hits, striking out eight while walking three. Through eight starts, he is 5-0 with a 1.41 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 67 K/15 BB over 57.1 innings.
Other top performers:
D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Arkansas
The junior got back on track after being abused over his last two starts, giving up 12 runs on 17 hits over a combined 5.1 innings. He went eight scoreless in a 8-0 win over Georgia on April 8, giving up six hits, while striking out seven to no walks. On the season, he is 6-1, with a 4.20 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 34 K/10 BB over 40.2 innings.
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Appel threw his third complete-game of the season on April 5, allowing two runs on four hits in a 5-2 win over Washington. The 6’-5”, 220-pound workhorse is now averaging 8.2 innings per start, a big reason why he is considered a top-five pick in the draft. On the season, he is 4-1, with a 3.32 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 55 K/16 BB over 57 innings for the Cardinal.
Kurt Heyer, RHP, Arizona
Heyer threw his second complete game of the season, allowing two runs on eight hits, in a 11-2 win over Utah on April 5. He struck out four and didn’t allow a walk in picking up his fifth win of the year. Over 60 innings, he has a 2.10 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 55 K/9 BB. His 6.1 K/BB ratio is one of the best in the nation for a starter.
Brady Rodgers, RHP, Arizona State
One of the best control pitchers in the draft, Rodgers tossed eight shutout innings in a 8-2 win over Oregon State on April 5. He struck out six to just one walk, and now has 48 K/7 BB over 64 innings on the season. He also is among the leaders in ERA (1.13), WHIP (0.84) as well as innings pitched.
Justin Amlung, RHP, Louisville
Amlung continues to be one of the best pitchers in the nation this year as he picked up his fifth straight win going seven innings, allowing one run on three hits in a 5-1 win over Georgetown on April 5. He struck out eight and walked two in the victory. Over his last four starts, he is 4-0 with a 0.94 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 35 K/6 BB over 28.2 innings. On the season, he is 6-2 with a 2.24 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 57 K/11 BB over 56.1 innings while holding opponents to a .168 batting average.
Alex Kuedell, RHP, Oregon
Kuedell didn’t allow a run for the second straight start as he went seven scoreless in a 6-2 win over UCLA on April 5. He is 3-0 over his last three starts, allowing just one run in 23 innings. On the season, he is 4-3 with a 2.10 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 30 K/10 BB over 55.2 innings for the Ducks.
Andrew Vasquez, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
Vasquez, another top freshman pitcher, threw six scoreless innings in an 11-1 win over Cal State Northridge on April 5. He gave up three hits, struck out seven, but did allow six walks. On the season, he is 5-2 with a 1.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 62 K/30 BB over 49 innings. He can be extremely wild sometimes, but he is holding opponents to a .165 batting average. Once he gets his control issues down, he is going to be scary good.
Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
Wacha, a projected top-10 pick in the draft, had a typical game for him. He went eight innings, allowed three runs, scattered eight hits and struck out eight to two walks in a 4-3 win over Oklahoma on April 5 in a game he took a no-decision. He is 4-0 on the season with a 2.82 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 60 K/11 BB over 54.1 innings.
Luke Maile, C, Kentucky
The 6’-3”, 220-pound Maile is quickly emerging as one of the best catching prospects in the draft. He has the ideal size defensively, and is offense potential is catching every scout’s eye. He went 9-for-22 (.409) on the week, with three doubles, three home runs and six RBI over five games. He is hitting .341 with nine doubles, nine home runs, 36 RBI and seven stolen bases through 33 games for the Wildcats this season.
L.J. Mazzilli, 2B, Connecticut
Mazzilli continues to shoot up draft boards as he put together another impressive week at the dish, going 9-for-21 (.429) with three doubles, a home run, six RBI and a stolen base. Over 30 games this season, he is hitting .358 with 12 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 27 RBI, five stolen bases and a slash line of .447/.858/.1.305. The son of former big leaguer Lee Mazzilli is playing his way into the first round.
Brandon Thomas, OF, Georgia Tech
Thomas, one of the top outfield prospects in the draft, continued his hot hitting as he went 9-for-17 (.529) over four games for the Yellow Jackets last week. He added three doubles, a triple and five RBI, and is now hitting .365 with 12 doubles, four triples, one home run, 25 RBI and 11 stolen bases through 32 games. The 6’-3”, 205-pound switch-hitter has 15 multi-hit games on the season.
Austin Cousino, OF, Kentucky
Cousino, another stand out freshman on this list, seems to get better every game. He went 9-for-22 (.409) with three doubles, a home run, two stolen bases and six RBI over five games last week. On the season, he is hitting .365 with 13 doubles, five home runs, 27 RBI, seven stolen bases and a slash line of .420/.584/1.004. He has recorded a hit in 27 of his 32 games played, and has reached safely in 30.