The college baseball season is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes, you reach in to grab a bite of a salted chocolate cup, and instead, your mouth is unexpectedly filled with an almond truffle. The college baseball season is like that. So are prospects. Some end up being precisely what you expected them to be. Others change dramatically from one moment to the next. It’s impossible to tell which are which, unlike a box of chocolates, which should definitely have a contents list, or else I’m pretty sure that’s an FDA violation. I’ll try to make my own contests list of this year’s collegiate box of prospects the best I can with the words below. At least if I’m wrong, no one will have an allergic reaction.
Kevin Parada – Parada has had an incredible season — one that has him firmly in the mix for the Golden Spikes Award. He’s slashed .356/.451/.726 on the year with 26 homers and nine steals, all the while drawing more walks (28) than strikeouts (27) across 56 games. He has some funky mechanics in his pre-swing timing mechanism, or else he would be even higher on this list. Nevertheless, he’s a top-12 pick come July and projects to stick behind the plate long term.
Brandon Sproat – The Florida righty has quite possibly passed his southpaw teammate, Hunter Barco, on a lot of organizations’ draft boards. He works in the high 90s with his fastball and can touch triple digits while mixing in a wipeout slider and average curveball and changeup that have the ability to develop into plus pitches. He finally figured it all out this year after taking over duties as the Gators’ staff ace halfway through the season, owning a 3.59 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.3 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9 across 82 2/3 innings. The primary concern is that his stuff should generate more swing and miss at the college level than it does.
Robert Moore – The Razorbacks’ second baseman is one of the biggest fallers from the preseason to now, but he continues to hold one of the higher ceilings in the class. Many scouts were incredibly high on Moore coming into the year, and I was no different. But he has struggled mightily as a junior, hitting just .232/.367/.419 with six home runs. That’s a far cry from his 2021 output of .283/.384/.558, especially when you look at the slugging. Still, his 16.4 K% this season isn’t bad, and he remains a prospect that I’m highly interested in across dynasty formats — especially with the reduced price.
Gabriel Hughes – Hughes wasn’t on my radar much in the preseason, but he’s vaulted himself into the late first-round/second-round conversation with a strong effort in 2022. Backed by a mid-to-upper 90s heater and a hard slider in the high 80s, Hughes has pitched to a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season with 131 strikeouts in 92 innings — translating to 12.8 K/9. He also wields an average change that he commands well enough and shows flashes of plus, but there’s frontline stuff here.
Jacob Melton – Fresh off Pac-12 Player of the Year honors, Melton followed up a 2021 campaign in which he batted .404/.466/.697 with six homers with a nearly identical season, showing more home run potential while logging twice as many at-bats: .375/.439/.694, 15 HR, 20 SB, 15.9 K%, 9.1 BB%. His 6-3 frame should add even more power as he transitions to pro ball. Think of him as this year’s value version of Colton Cowser. He could be just as good, if not better.
|2||Jace Jung||2B/3B||Texas Tech||L||R||6-0||200|
|3||Brooks Lee||SS||Cal Poly||S||R||6-2||195|
|4||Kevin Parada||C||Georgia Tech||R||R||6-1||200|
|6||Gavin Cross||OF||Virginia Tech||L||L||6-3||215|
|7||Chase DeLauter||OF||James Madison||L||L||6-4||235|
|11||Justin Campbell||RHP||Oklahoma St.||L||R||6-7||220|
|17||Logan Tanner||C||Miss. St.||R||R||6-0||230|
|18||Landon Sims||RHP||Miss St.||R||R||6-2||235|
|24||Connor Hjerpe||LHP||Oregon State||L||L||6-3||200|
|27||Carson Whisenhunt||LHP||East Carolina||L||L||6-3||205|
|30||Jacob Melton||OF||Oregon State||L||L||6-3||210|
Next up: Carson Palmquist, LHP, Miami; Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
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.