It’s here! It’s here! It’s College Baseball Opening Day Eve, the night when your favorite head coach shimmies down your chimney and fills the living room with dirt and freshly cut grass! And don’t forget the Dubble Bubble. Fifteen seconds and the flavor is all gone. Hoorah, hoorah! But now, my friends, I must be Frank (not the scary one from Donnie Darko dressed as a rabbit). Originally, this was going to be a top-20 prospects post, but I’ve decided to mold it into a top-15 with some insight into the start of the 2023 college season. Prospects 10-15 are all position players and there’s a healthy dosage of pop included in this week’s installment. So let’s get to it and prime up the 2023 college baseball season!

No different than most years, 2023 is littered with SEC teams atop the preseason rankings: No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Tennessee, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Ole Miss, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Wake Forest, No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Vanderbilt. That’s four of the top five and seven of the top 10 from the SEC. Then you have Maryland down at No. 13 as the lone Big Ten squad in the rankings. You can check out the full top 25 here.

Safe to say, there’s a good chance an SEC team is crowned champion this summer. Some of the most popular predictions? LSU vs. Tennesee. LSU vs. Stanford. LSU vs. Florida. See any type of theme here? LSU has the most top-100 prospects for the draft, bringing in the No. 1 freshman class and the No. 1 transfer class. It’s championship or bust in Baton Rouge this season.

Today, however, our five prospects come from two SEC schools, two ACC programs, and a lone Big Ten team. We’ll dive into those names now as teams all across the country embark on the journey to hoisting the College World Series trophy at the end of June.

1A. Dylan Crews | OF | LSU

1B. Wyatt Langford | OF | Florida

Went over them in my top five college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

3. Chase Dollander | RHP | Tennessee 

Went over him in my top five college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

4. Brayden Taylor | INF | TCU

Went over him in my top five college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

5. Enrique Bradfield Jr. | OF | Vanderbilt

Went over him in my top five college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

6. Hurston Waldrep | RHP | Florida

Went over him in my top 10 college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

7. Jacob Wilson | SS | Grand Canyon

Went over him in my top 10 college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

8. Rhett Lowder | RHP | Wake Forest

Went over him in my top 10 college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

9. Jacob Gonzalez | SS | Ole Miss

Went over him in my top 10 college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

10. Paul Skenes | RHP/UT | LSU

Went over him in my top 10 college prospects for the 2023 MLB Draft.

11. Brock Wilken | 3B | Wake Forest

Wilken can flat-out mash baseballs, hitting .275/.363/.609 with 40 jacks across his first two college seasons at Wake (107 games). He’s shown up with the wood, owning a .269/.402/.471 line with 11 tanks across a 68-game sample in the Cape Cod League from 2021-22. That’s an ample sample! The question is getting on base enough to offset the swing and miss, which he’s done to this point thanks to an 11.4 BB%, 21.3 K%, and .363 career OBP. I like the mechanics a lot and am buying on the development of the bat, projecting him to be more of a 60-power/50-hit type than the 60/40 grade he’s been given. No legs, but a whole lotta juice. He’s a gosh-darn gusher.

12. Will Sanders | RHP | South Carolina

Sanders has one of the best pure arms in the entire draft. Maybe the best when you mix his stuff with the ever-dangerous word, projectability. Six-foot-nine, 215 pounds, and a four-pitch mix. He’ll sit 91-94 MPH with his heater and top out at 96, combining that with an advanced change and slider which both sit in the mid-80s. His offerings all grade at slightly above-average, including the low-80s deuce, although the fastball and changeup both flash plus. While he hasn’t been otherworldly with the Gamecocks, his performance has been solid: 13-6, 142 2/3 IP, 3.47 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, and 2.6 BB/9. The walks did rise from 1.9 to 3.1 per nine from his freshman to sophomore seasons, but otherwise, Sanders has a relatively safe floor as a prospect and his size gives him an even more appealing ceiling.

13. Matt Shaw | INF | Maryland

I originally left Shaw outside of the top 15. But while comparing him against the likes of Tennessee’s Maui Ahuna and Virginia’s Kyle Teel, I found myself not giving Shaw’s bat enough credit. He hits in the Big Ten. We know this. So did Kyle Schwarber. And Alex Gordon. And Alex Dickerson. And Todd Frazier. And fellow Terp Brandon Lowe. The list goes on. Shaw can hit. Even with the wood, too, winning Cape Cod League MVP honors this past summer with a .360/.432/.574 batting line. In two seasons in College Park, Shaw has slashed .308/.393/.578 with 29 homers and 19 steals in 105 games. That came with a 15.8 K% and 11.7% percentage, which is healthier than an Instagram fitness model on Emergen-C. Don’t discount Shaw. He’s a plus runner and could develop into an above-league-average hitter.

14. Jake Gelof | 3B | Virginia

Jake is a pure hitter/slugger type just like his brother Zack, who is quickly rising up the farm in Oakland after being a second-round pick in 2021. Both played at Virginia, but Jake’s 2022 campaign but have been the best by either brother yet: .377/.477/.764, 21 HR, 15 2B, 3 SB, 18.7 K%, 15.6 BB%. There’s some swing and miss, but he gets on base at a high clip and possesses a 60-grade power tool. He’ll end up at one of the two corner infield spots as a pro, but Gelof’s profile all centers around the thunder stick. If he posts another season in 2023 like he did last year, this ranking will prove to be far too low.

15. Maui Ahuna | SS | Tennessee

The last spot in the top 15 was between Ahuna and Teel, and Ahuna profiles better as a long-term fantasy prospect, while Teel is the better real-world prospect. Teel is the best college-catching prospect in the draft, but I have concerns about the hit tool, and there’s no position scarcity bias here. So Ahuna it is. The young infielder is entering his first year as a Vol after transferring in from Kansas, where he hit .357/.447/.532 with nine jacks, 21 steals, a 19.1 K%, and 10.3 BB%. He’ll have to make contact more consistently to succeed in the SEC, but there are a lot of tools here featuring lightning-fast hands and a quick-twitch swing. Ahuna should run and play solid defense at the next level, it’s just a matter of the hit tool developing as expected and whether or not we’ll see a surge in power across the next year-plus.

That’s all for this week, Razzball fam! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.