Top Draft Prospects in the NCAA Regionals

Texas Longhorns SS Trey Faltine watches National Player of the Year 1B Ivan Melendez take batting practice at Minute Maid Park, March 3, 2022. Photo credit Kurt Moody, @DeT_Guru_Kurt on Twitter

As NCAA Regionals get started, we are taking a look at some of the top draft prospects in each regional. These are not listed in order, nor are they a full list of draftable prospects, but rather the top names and maybe a few to keep in the back of your mind as you watch. The order will be by seed, 1-16, in terms of regionals. The teams will be listed alphabetically, then the players will be sorted alphabetically by team-name-draft year. I also provide a brief paragraph summing up the prospects in each regional.

So, without further ado, here are the regional previews!

Knoxville Regional

Teams: Alabama State, Campbell, Georgia Tech, Tennessee

Top prospects to watch:

Zach Neto, SS, Campbell, Draft Eligible 2022

Andrew Jenkins, 1B, Georgia Tech, Draft Eligible 2022

Chandler Simpson, SS, Georgia Tech, Draft Eligible 2022

Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech, Draft Eligible 2022

Tres Gonzalez, OF, Georgia Tech, Draft Eligible 2022

Zach Maxwell, RHP, Georgia Tech, Draft Eligible 2022

Ben Joyce, RHP, Tennessee, Draft Eligible 2022

Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee, Draft Eligible 2022

Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee, Draft Eligible 2022

Trey Lipscomb, 3B, Tennessee, Draft Eligible 2022

Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee, Draft Eligible 2023

Chase Burns, RHP, Tennessee, Draft Eligible 2024

Summary: Tennessee’s arms are a big reason they are number one in the country, and the one with the biggest fastball, Ben Joyce (105+ MPH), may actually be the fourth highest pick among pitchers currently on the staff. There are bats to watch too. Kevin Parada had an OPS of 1.179 with 26 HR and more walks than strikeouts at the plate and has established himself as the top catcher in the draft. Jordan Beck has been one of the many standout bats on the Tennessee club, but the player to keep an eye on is Zach Neto. He has a big leg kick at the plate and has plenty of pop, but his plus range and above-average arm at short could make him a surprise star of the regional and a name to remember come draft day.

Stanford Regional

Teams: Binghamton, Stanford, Texas State, UCSB

Prospects to Watch:

Brock Jones, OF, Stanford, Draft Year 2022

Kody Huff, C, Stanford, Draft Year 2022

Drew Bowser, 3B, Stanford, Draft Year 2023

Tommy Troy, INF, Stanford, Draft Year 2023

Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Stanford, Draft Year 2024

Jordan Sprinkle, SS, UCSB, Draft Year 2022

Zach Rodriguez, OF, UCSB, Draft Year 2023

Summary: The top 2022 prospects in this regional are a guy who has a shot to go at the end of round one in Brock Jones and a possible second round pick in Jordan Sprinkle, but the real stars aren’t draft-eligible until future seasons. Drew Bowser is a player with plenty of raw power but has only shown average power in games in terms of production. Someone who has plus power is Braden Montgomery, who blasted a 468-foot HR over the batter’s eye in Scottsdale Stadium during the Pac 12 tournament, oh, and he can reach the upper-90s with his fastball as a freshman.

Corvallis Regional

Teams: New Mexico State, Oregon State, San Diego, Vanderbilt

Prospects to Watch:

Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State, Draft Year 2022

Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State, Draft Year 2022

Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State, Draft Year 2024

Brycen Mautz, LHP, San Diego, Draft Year 2022

Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2022

Chris McElvain, RHP, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2022

Spencer Jones, 1B, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2022

Christian Little, RHP, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2023

Enrique Bradfield Jr. OF, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2023

Jack Bulger, C/OF, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2023

Patrick Reilly, RHP, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2023

Carter Holton, LHP, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2024

Davis Diaz, 3B, Vanderbilt, Draft Year 2024

Summary: The top college arm off the board come July could very well be Cooper Hjerpe who has a combination of stuff and deception given he comes from a near side-arm slot as a lefty. The top 2022 bats are Spencer Jones and Carter Young from Vandy, but the best offensive talent just may be the speed of Enrique Bradfield Jr. Bradfield was successful in all 43 of his steal attempts this season and plays an excellent centerfield. Vandy likely has as good a 2023 crop of talent as any team in the country as both Patrick Reily and Christian Little currently project as possible first rounders. The name to look for in the 2024 class is Australia-native Travis Bazzana. He is as pure a hitter as Oregon State has had in the infield since Nick Madrigal.

Blacksburg Regional

Teams: Columbia, Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, Wright State

Prospects to Watch:

Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga, Draft Year 2022

Travis Vrieling, RHP, Gonzaga, Draft Year 2022

Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech, Draft Year 2022

Carson DeMartini, 3B, Virginia Tech, Draft Year 2024

Alec Sare, OF, Wright State, Draft Year 2024

Andrew Patrick, OF, Wright State, Draft Year 2024

Summary: Don’t let the relatively minimal big names fool you, this will be a fun regional to watch. Columbia looks to prove two years off didn’t hurt the Ivy League, while Gonzaga has one of the top pitching duos of any non-power 5 school. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech may have a top ten overall selection in the July draft in Gavin Cross who just put up his second consecutive season with an OPS over 1. Andrew Patrick is most highly touted member of Wright State and, after a slow start to his season, hit seven of his eight HR in the month of May.

College Station Regional

Teams: Louisiana, Oral Roberts, TCU, Texas A&M

Prospects to Watch:

Brayden Taylor, INF, TCU, Draft Year 2023

Cam Brown, RHP, TCU, Draft Year 2023

Elijah Nunez, OF, TCU Draft Year 2023

Jack Moss, 1B, Texas A&M, Draft Year 2023

Summary: This is not the greatest of draft prospect regionals, but is a well-balanced regional. While the top talent is all in next year’s draft class, and none is projected as a first rounder yet, the overall competition will be good. Riley Cornelio and Austin Krob are a couple of arms that could surprise come this July draft, but right now, the draft focus here will be for 2023.

Coral Gables Regional

Teams: Arizona, Canisius, Miami, Ole Miss

Prospects to Watch:

Daniel Susac, C, Arizona, Draft Year 2022

Anthony Susac, RHP, Arizona, Draft Year 2023

Chase Davis, OF, Arizona, Draft Year 2023

TJ Nichols, RHP, Arizona, Draft Year 2023

Alex McFarlane, RHP, Miami, Draft Year 2022

Andrew Walters, RHP, Miami, Draft Year 2022

Carson Palmquist, LHP, Miami, Draft Year 2022

Alejandro Rosario, RHP, Miami, Draft Year 2023

Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami, Draft Year 2023

Lorenzo Carrier, OF, Miami, Draft Year 2024

Derek Diamond, RHP, Ole Miss, Draft Year 2022

Hayden Dunhurst, C, Ole Miss, Draft Year 2022

Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss, Draft Year 2023

Summary: An absolute ton of talent in this regional, with the second-ranked catcher in the class behind the dish in Daniel Susac, along with a seasoned catcher for Ole Miss in Hayden Dunhurst. There was a point this season Carson Palmquist was inching towards being the first college arm selected but has slipped down boards in recent weeks. Due to his height and arm slot, he gets plenty of Chris Sale comps even though the stuff is not on that level. Jacob Gonzalez could be in the discussion to go 1-1 in 2023 while there may not be a prettier swing in college baseball than Chase Davis. Lorenzo Carrier with Miami looks like a prototypical NFL tight end who just happens to play baseball and has the raw power to match the look.

Stillwater Regional

Teams: Arkansas, Grand Canyon, Missouri State, Oklahoma State

Prospects to Watch:

Cayden Wallace, OF, Arkansas, Draft Year 2022

Jalen Battles, SS, Arkansas, Draft Year

Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas, Draft Year 2022

Jace Bohrofen, OF, Arkansas, Draft Year 2023

Jaxon Wiggins, RHP, Arkansas, Draft Year 2023

Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas, Draft Year 2024

Peyton Stovall, INF, Arkansas, Draft Year 2024

Jacob Wilson, INF, Grand Canyon, Draft Year 2023

Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State, Draft Year 2022

Nolan McLean, 3B, Oklahoma State, Draft Year 2022

Trevor Martin, RHP, Oklahoma State, Draft Year 2022

Victor Mederos, RHP, Oklahoma State, Draft Year 2022

Roc Riggio, 2B, Oklahoma State, Draft Year 2023

Summary: Peyton Pallette is not listed here as he has undergone Tommy John surgery, otherwise he would likely be the top arm in the regional. Arguably the best double play combo in the nation belongs to the Razorbacks as Robert Moore and Jalen Battles hold it down up the middle, while one of the best freshman infielders in the country is also on the club in Peyton Stovall. Meanwhile Jacob Wilson holds down a spot in the Grand Canyon middle infield, and freshman Roc Riggio plays second for Oklahoma State, making this possibly the best middle infield regional of all.

Greenville Regional

Teams: Coastal Carolina, Coppin State, East Carolina, Virginia

Prospects to Watch:

Eric Brown, SS, Coastal Carolina, Draft Year 2022

Josh Moylan, 1B, East Carolina, Draft Year 2023

Nate Savino, LHP, Virginia, Draft Year 2022

Jake Gelof, 3B, Virginia, Draft Year 2023

Kyle Teel, C, Virginia, Draft Year 2023

Summary: One of the more unique batting stances in the country belongs to Eric Brown, who starts with his hands on the pitcher side of his own helmet. He doesn’t get cheated at the plate, and holds down shortstop pretty well, although a move to the outfield may be in his future. The only arm highlighted in this regional is Nate Savino after ECU lefty Carson Whisenhunt was suspended for the season due to a failed drug test. For Virginia, Kyle Teel is far and away the top college backstop for the 2023 Draft, while Jake Gelof will likely be a first round pick next season as well.

Austin Regional

Teams: Air Force, Dallas Baptist, Louisiana Tech, Texas

Prospects to Watch:

Paul Skenes, RHP/DH, Air Force, Draft Year 2023

Jace Grady, OF, Dallas Baptist, Draft Year 2022

Luke Heefner, DH, Dallas Baptist, Draft Year 2024

Ivan Melendez, 1B, Texas, Draft Year 2022

Pete Hansen, LHP, Texas, Draft Year 2022

Trey Faltine, SS, Texas, Draft Year 2022

Tanner Witt, RHP, Texas, Draft Year 2023

Summary: It has been a while since a player from a service academy has been in real consideration for a first-round pick, but Paul Skenes has a shot to be just that next season. The ace on the mound and best bat in the lineup, Skenes went 10-2 with an ERA of 2.42 in 14 starts while adding a dozen home runs at the plate, three times more than he gave up on the mound. There are few bats in the 2024 class as polished as Luke Heefner for Dallas Baptist, while there are few bats with as much power as possessed by the Hispanic Titanic in Ivan Melendez for Texas. Pete Hansen is the ace of the staff for the Longhorns, who will be without Tanner Witt who, like seemingly half the other arms in the country, is out with injury.

Chapel Hill Regional

Teams: Georgia, Hofstra, North Carolina, VCU

Prospects to Watch:

Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia, Draft Year 2022

Corey Collins, C, Georgia, Draft Year 2023

Coleman Willis, RHP, Georgia, Draft Year 2024

Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina, Draft Year 2024

Tyler Locklear, 3B, VCU, Draft Year 2022

Summary: If there is a college catcher who has a shot to leap Teel at Virginia as the top prospect at the position next season it is Corey Collins with Georgia. He could find himself with his hands full in this regional if he finds himself behind the dish with Vance Honeycutt on the bases, who stole 28 bags as a freshman for the Tarheels this season. Tyler Locklear primarily plays third for VCU, but his position at the next level is likely at first base, but this could be a good final showing for a prospect who seems to be moving up a lot of draft boards as the season progresses.

Hattiesburg Regional

Teams: Army, Kennesaw State, LSU, Southern Miss

Prospects to Watch:

Cade Doughty, 3B, LSU, Draft Year 2022

Jacob Berry, 1B, LSU, Draft Year 2022

Ty Floyd, RHP, LSU, Draft Year 2022

Dylan Crews, OF, LSU, Draft Year 2023

Tre’ Morgan, 1B, LSU, Draft Year 2023

Blake Money, RHP, LSU, Draft Year 2023

Jordan Thompson, SS, LSU, 2023

Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Southern Miss, Draft Year 2023

Summary: It is not surprising to see that this is the LSU show, there have been mock drafts projecting Jacob Berry to go 1-1 in the draft, and you are hard-pressed to find an early mock for 2023 that doesn’t have Dylan Crews at the top. If there’s a star in the regional that does not play for LSU, it will likely be Hurston Waldrep, who may not have made it to campus in 2020 if not for the Covid shortened draft.

Louisville Regional

Teams: Louisville, Michigan, Oregon, SE Missouri State

Prospects to Watch:

Dalton Rushing, C/1B. Louisville, Draft Year 2022

Christian Knapczyk, MIF, Louisville, Draft Year 2023

Will Cook, CIF, Louisville, Draft Year 2024

Clark Elliott, OF, Michigan, Draft Year 2022

Adam Maier, RHP, Oregon, Draft Year 2022

Anthony Hall, OF, Oregon, Draft Year 2022

Josh Kasevich, SS, Oregon, Draft Year 2022

Jacob Walsh, 1B, Oregon, Draft Year 2024

Summary: It seems like there are a handful of guys who have been on campus forever, mostly because they have been contributors since they set foot on campus, and Dalton Rushing is one of those guys for Louisville. It is unlikely he sticks behind the plate at the next level, but his bat will play if he moves to first. The Big Ten is not exactly an MLB Draft hotbed considering it is a power five conference, but Clark Elliot is the latest Michigan outfielder to go in the top three rounds of the draft. Kasevich is the current star in the lineup for the Ducks, but the best bat belongs to freshman Jacob Walsh. Listed at 6-4 and a, let’s call it questionable, 225 lbs., Walsh looks like a masher at the plate. He makes plenty of hard contact despite just six home runs this season, but what will really open some eyes is the speed and athleticism coming from such a big guy.

Gainesville Regional

Teams: Central Michigan, Florida, Liberty, Oklahoma

Prospects to Watch:

Andrew Taylor, RHP, Central Michigan, Draft Year 2022

Jud Fabian, OF, Florida, Draft Year 2022

Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida, Draft Year 2022

Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida, Draft Year 2022

Philip Abner, LHP, Florida, Draft Year 2023

Pierce Coppola, LHP, Florida, Draft Year 2024

Trey Gibson, RHP, Liberty, Draft Year 2023

Cade Horton, INF/RHP, Oklahoma, Draft Year 2022

Jake Bennett, LHP, Oklahoma, Draft Year 2022

Jimmy Crooks, C, Oklahoma, Draft Year 2022

Peyton Graham, 3B/SS, Oklahoma, Draft Year 2022

Summary: Hunter Barco would be the top arm in this regional if he weren’t out with TJ. Peyton Graham has played elite 3B and SS in his time in Norman, while Trey Gibson leads a quality pitching staff for Liberty. While all the focus was on the fact the New York Mets failed to sign Kumar Rocker after the Draft last season, an underrated non-signing was the Boston Red Sox failing to sign Jud Fabian. All Fabian did this season was improve his power output, draw more walks, and cut his strikeouts by nearly 25% compared to last season.

Auburn Regional

Teams: Auburn, Florida State, SE Louisiana, UCLA

Prospects to Watch:

Mason Barnett, RHP, Auburn, Draft Year 2022

Joseph Gonzalez, RHP, Auburn, Draft Year 2023

Chase Allsup, RHP, Auburn, Draft Year 2024

Bryce Hubbart, LHP, Florida State, Draft Year 2022

Parker Messick, LHP, Florida State, Draft Year 2022

Carson Montgomery, RHP, Florida State, Draft Year 2023

Jackson Baumeister, RHP, Florida State, Draft Year 2023

Ross Dunn, LHP, Florida State, Draft Year 2023

Max Rajcic, RHP, UCLA, Draft Year 2022

Cody Schrier, 2B, UCLA, Draft Year 2024

Gage Jump, LHP, UCLA, Draft Year 2024

Malakhi Knight, OF, UCLA, Draft Year 2024

Summary: This may be one of the toughest regionals of all, with Auburn hosting and rolling out legit draft prospects for each of the next three draft classes. Meanwhile, Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart give the Seminoles a duo that may see them be the first team with two arms selected in the July draft. Then there is UCLA who has a freshman class that would make for a good start to any pro farm system much less a college program. Thatcher Hurd won’t pitch anytime soon due to injury, but when they lost him Gage Jump just stepped in and took his place as a stud freshman. Malakhi Knight has been the starting center fielder all season and he may be the second-best freshman bat behind Cody Schrier. With all of that, the Bruins still have veteran talent, and none with more promise than Max Rajcic, who should be off the board early in day two of the daft.

College Park Regional

Teams: Long Island, Maryland, UConn, Wake Forest

Prospects to Watch:

Reggie Crawford, LHP, UConn, Draft Year 2022

Eric Adler, RHP, Wake Forest, Draft Year 2022

Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest, Draft Year 2023

Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest, Draft Year 2023

Teddy McGraw, RHP, Wake Forest, Draft Year 2023

Danny Corona, SS, Wake Forest, Draft Year 2024

Josh Hartle, LHP, Wake Forest, Draft Year 2024

Summary: To start the season, Reggie Crawford was one of the top two-way prospects out there, but this season it has become rather clear he will be a pitcher only at the pro level. Wake Forest has Brock Wilken in the heart of their lineup who will likely be a top ten selection in 2023, and they may be the pre-season favorites for best weekend pitching staff next season with Rhett Lowder, Teddy McGraw, and Josh Hartle all looking like Friday night starting potential aces, and all coming back for at least one more year.

Statesboro Regional

Teams: Georgia Southern, Notre Dame, Texas Tech, UNC Greensboro

Prospects to Watch:

Jack Brannigan, 3B/RHP, Notre Dame, Draft Year 2022

Brandon Birdsell, RHP, Texas Tech, Draft Year 2022

Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech, Draft Year 2022

Hudson White, C, Texas Tech, Draft Year 2024

Mason Molina, LHP, Texas Tech, Draft Year 2024

Pres Cavenaugh, OF, UNC Greensboro, Draft Year 2022

Summary: Notre Dame features Jack Brannigan who is a quality reliever but is probably a better position player moving forward. UNC Greensboro has Pres Cavenaugh who has slipped some this season but has big league upside. Then there is Texas Tech, where Jace Jung has as much power as anyone in the country, and the best defensive catcher in the country just may be Hudson White, who just happens to be only a freshman. Oh, and the team hosting this regional doesn’t have anyone listed as a top draft prospect. They’re just a darn good team!

Shaun Kernahan is the MLB Draft correspondent for Prospects1500. When not at a game, chances are the TV and/or tablet has a game on and he has a notepad out taking notes. When not scouting draft prospects, he is the Director of Baseball Operations for the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League, a collegiate wood bat league in Colorado. Shaun can be found on Twitter at @ShaunKernahan.

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