What have you accomplished in the last two months? Personally, I’ve picked up roughly 350 bags of dog crap, learned how to make banana bread and endlessly yelled at Fessy on MTV’s The Challenge at the top of my lungs for being the world’s worst human being. Two major takeaways there. One: you just realized you take fantasy baseball advice from someone who quantifies time in terms of how much dog poop he has picked up. Two: none of those things are impressive. Hopefully, you’ve accomplished more the past two months, much like many of the incredible athletes currently competing in the college baseball realm have. Since the 2021 season began in mid-February, we’ve seen a lot of awesome things happen in the college game, from Jack Leiter’s ridiculous no-hit inning streak to the emergence of NC State catcher Luca Tresh as a legitimate first round MLB Draft prospect. We’ll get to both of those items in this week’s Collegiate Corner and more, as we touch base on six must-know names for this July’s draft. I’ll continue to provide a Collegiate Corner once-per-month leading up to my 2021 Complete College Top 100, which I intend to release in the weeks leading up to the MLB Draft as an all-encompassing guide to this year’s collegiate talent for all of you dedicated dynasty leaguers out there. Without further adieu, let’s get to it.
Prior to getting into this week’s installment, here are a few quick links to assist you in your prospect analysis as we continue to break down a handful of this year’s draft hopefuls. Chances are, if you want to read more about a particular player, you can find further analysis via the links below.
Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter – Would you rather have a Rocker, or a Leiter? I guess it depends if you’re retired and living in Florida or if you’re a 17-year-old kid ready to hot box your parents’ car. Truth is, I don’t know if you can go wrong at No. 1 overall here, but Leiter is beginning to make a legitimate case for himself as the top pick in the 2021 MLB Draft class. Earlier this season, Leiter tossed 20 consecutive no-hit innings, all of which came against SEC competition and featured a complete game no-hitter against South Carolina on March 20 in which he struck out 16 and walked one. Overall, Leiter now owns a 0.55 ERA on the season with 84 strikeouts (15.4 K/9) and a .082 BAA in 49 innings of work. He has walked 19, which translates to 3.45 BB/9, but I don’t think that’s of any concern. I’ve seen some people say that Leiter might have the best amateur heater they’ve ever seen, as it’s one he can consistently fire at a lively 98 MPH with command on both sides of the plate while elevating it to make it a true put-away pitch. Meanwhile, Rocker has been excellent, just not quite to the same degree as his Vanderbilt teammate: 48 IP, 1.88 ERA, 73 K, .161 BAA, 13.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9. It’s going to be an interesting battle by these two Commodores (along with prep prospect Jordan Lawlar) for the No. 1 overall pick, especially because there’s a good chance both pitch back-to-back all the way to Super Regionals and potentially a College World Series berth.
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) March 20, 2021
Jud Fabian – Ranked No. 7 in my Top 50 Preseason College MLB Draft Prospects, I’m remaining bullish on Fabian despite some concerning swing-and-miss tendencies that have become increasingly more prominent in 2021. Through 148 plate appearances this season, Fabian has struck out 49 times, translating to a 33% strikeout rate. Yes, that’s a concern. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Fabian possesses some of the quickest hands and best bat speed I’ve observed over the past two draft classes combined, and he wields elite power to go with what could very well develop into Gold Glove caliber defense in centerfield. So far in 2021, Fabian owns a .228/.331/.520 batting line with 11 home runs, four doubles, 30 runs, 29 RBI and one steal while producing a .988 fielding percentage in center across 80 defensive chances. When you can draw walks at a 13.5% clip and pair that with strong defense and elite pop, MLB teams are going to give you every opportunity to work through swing-and-miss struggles throughout the Minor League ladder. Plus, Fabian only stuck out in 22.2% of plate appearances in 2020 and had a 26.3% strikeout rate in the 2019 Cape Cod League. He’s without-a-doubt still a top-10 collegiate prospect in my book and will likely go in the first 15 picks this July. Fabian is someone I will personally be investing in during the first-year player draft season and I urge you to do the same.
MLB scouting departments voted Jud Fabian as the best athlete of any hitter in the draft.
This ball went 441 feet ?
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) February 2, 2021
Alex Binelas – When we lasted checked in on Binelas, he was off to a .145/.247/.274 start to the season and I mentioned he had little chance of remaining inside my top 10 college prospects as of my next pre-draft update. To be fair, that had a lot to do with his declining ceiling to do questions about his defensive versatility. Since then, Binelas has woken up a bit, even being named one of Collegiate Baseball’s National Players of the Week back on March 29. At present, the Louisville corner infielder is batting .231/.319/.496 with seven home runs, two triples, six doubles, 33 RBI, 24 runs, two steals, a 21.7 K% and 8.7 BB%. When you consider Binelas isn’t nearly the same athlete as Fabian, and is looking more like a first base-only prospect as opposed to a potential third base prospect, which would you rather have, given the face value numbers? I can tell you it’s an easy call for me: Fabian. I may have been overreacting a bit to Binelas’ start, but he’s still likely to fall outside my top 10 in my next pre-draft rankings. For now, he’s at 10 exactly, as detailed in my preseason top 50.
Don't sleep on Louisville 1B/3B Alex Binelas. After a terribly slow start, he's tearing the cover off the ball of late. 10 for his last 18 with 2 3Bs and 2 HR. Lefty-lefty nuke out to RF. Looking sharp late. Maybe a little Anthony Rizzo in the final package here.#MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/PlYX8xdHp2
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) March 26, 2021
Sam Bachman – This marks the first time I have included Bachman in the Collegiate Corner, although he did gain mention at No. 34 in my preseason top 50. Bachman is a six-foot-one, 235-pound right-hander currently pitching at Miami (Ohio), who is quickly rising up draft boards due to his performance on the mound and enhanced arsenal. So far in 2021, Bachman has thrown 26 innings of 1.04 ERA ball, striking out 43 batters for a 14.8 K/9. Opposing batters are hitting just .133 against Bachman, who sports good command (2.77 BB/9) to go with the strikeout stuff. He has been good overall throughout his Redhawk career (10-3, 3.23 ERA, 125.1 IP, 149 K, .218 BAA), but the swing-and-miss stuff has vastly improved this year, and when you look at his mix, it’s no wonder why. It’s quite possible Bachman will receive 70-grades on both his fastball (sits 96 MPH, touches 100) and hard slider (86-89 MPH) leading up to the 2021 MLB Draft, and the latter may even be plus-plus. It’s worth noting that Bachman has already missed some time this season due to arm soreness, and with a high velo guy also producing a hard slider, it’s quite possible health could be a recurring problem. Nevertheless, the ceiling here is far higher than where I originally ranked him, and he’s a near lock to be inside my top 20 when I next update my rankings. Don’t be surprised if his name is called inside the top 20 overall this summer.
The last video of Sam Bachman didn't have enough sliders so here's an at-bat from the 4th inning. Three pitches/three sliders/thanks for your time. Oh, and if you cheat and sit on this pitch on the outer half, he can bust you in with 99 on your hands. Good luck folks. pic.twitter.com/ETfgQEBOGr
— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) April 11, 2021
Luca Tresh – Similarly to Bachman, Tresh is someone I have yet to discuss in the Collegiate Corner, but he didn’t even crack my preseason top 50, either. I’m okay admitting that, as I haven’t seen anyone who had Tresh super high prior to the start of the 2021 season, but the NC State catching prospect has been loud with the bat thus far and could potentially be playing himself into the first round this July. If you perform at a premier ACC program like NC State, especially as a catcher, people are going to notice. And Tresh has proven that his .405/.444/.690 batting line in the abbreviated 2020 campaign was no joke. So far this year, Tresh is slashing .303/.364/.586 with eight home runs, four doubles, 22 RBI, 19 runs while producing a .985 fielding percentage behind the dish. Teams are still assessing whether the defense is good enough to warrant a top-15 pick, but the ball is loud off his bat, and he can produce exit velocities up there with some of the best hitters in all of college baseball. Plus, his name is sick, and he sounds more like a villain in a James Bond flick than he does an elite athlete. Still, this is a name to add to your board. Even though I won’t specifically be targeting Tresh, he’s a sure-fire top-50 college prospect and I’ll be correcting that in my next set of pre-draft rankings.
Following an AB in which he just missed it on a deep F7 to the track, #Pack9 catcher Luca Tresh gets the barrel out front here for a no-doubt shot over the LF wall. #PGDraft pic.twitter.com/MaxCAP8gm9
— PG College Baseball (@PGCollegeBall) April 9, 2021
That’s all for this week! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.