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Offseason Acquisitions vs Potential: Comparing the D1 Baseball and Perfect Preseason Polls for the 2024 College Baseball Season

By Alyssa Cooper

 

The college baseball season is set to begin in less than a month, and preseason polls from two highly respected news coverage and scouting websites for amateur baseball have been released.  

 

Perfect Game’s emphasis on scouting high school players leads them to put more stock into the freshman classes of certain programs. In comparison, D1 Baseball’s extensive coverage of the college level players leads them to put more stock into returning rosters and high-profile transfer acquisitions.

 

Nonetheless, with their similarities and differences, it is guaranteed the polls will shake up and change, as teams fail to meet expectations and previously overlooked teams break out as the season rolls along.

 

Hey, where’s Indiana State?

 

Despite the Sycamores returning a solid lineup for 2024 and having a promising group of young pitchers to take the weekend rotation spots of Matt Jachec, Connor Fenlong and Lane Miller. Neither D1 Baseball nor Perfect Game has a spot for Indiana State in their preseason polls. 

 

Indiana State, comes off of a 24-3 conference record in the Missouri Valley, along with a conference tournament championship and a hosting bid in Terra Haute. Despite these achievements, it is possible that questions surrounding the staff for this season dissuaded Perfect Game and D1 Baseball from including the Sycamores in their polls. 

 

However, this doesn't eliminate the fact that Indiana State won’t find themselves in either of the polls during the regular season, especially if they address any concerns on the mound.

 

Two Different Outlooks on Stanford, I See

 

The difference between a preseason No. 12 ranking by one outlet and leaving out another team from the poll speaks volumes. D1 Baseball and Perfect Game agree that Oregon State is the best team in the Pac-12 heading into ’24. 

 

Still, D1 Baseball predicts that a team with an uncharacteristically bad 2023 season (UCLA) will have a resurgence in 2024 above a program that has taken three straight trips to Omaha from 2021 to 2023. 

Courtesy of UCLA Photo Caption: UCLA is leaving the Pac-12 after the 2024 season for the Big 10

Granted, Stanford has but only one win at TD Ameritrade to show for their recent appearances in the College World Series. They also lost arguably their best player to the Aggies from College Station in 

junior Braden Montgomery. The Cardinal has eight players within Perfect Game’s Top 500 Incoming Freshman for this upcoming season, so Perfect Game may believe they will contribute positively at the plate and on the mound with what’s left of Stanford’s lineup and staff.

 

Who’s the Second-Best team in the ACC?

 

Perfect Game and D1 Baseball named potential college baseball powerhouse Wake Forest as preseason No.1. Both have five teams in the Southeastern Conference in the Top 10 against two Atlantic Coast Conference teams, including the Demon Deacons. 

 

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated Photo Caption: Virginia has taken two recent trips to Omaha in ‘21 and ‘23.

D1 Baseball has ACC Tournament champion Clemson taking the last spot in the Top 10, while Perfect Game slid College World Series participant Virginia in that final spot.

 

The Tigers were one of the more surprising teams to come out of the 2023 season, earning the No.4 seed in the NCAA Tournament before losing in their regional to Tennessee and Charlotte. Virginia has been to Omaha twice in the past three years but hasn’t been able to break through the tournament’s semi finals since their championship run back in 2015.

 

Florida, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt, because of course

 

Courtesy of The Tennessean Photo Caption: Vanderbilt finished second in the SEC East in 2023 with a 19-11 record

There is little discrepancy between D1 Baseball and Perfect Game regarding the order of these five SEC teams in the Top 10 of this poll. All five programs are mainstays in Omaha and have been for the past decade or so. D1 Baseball slipped the Tennessee Volunteers into the top 10 at No. 9, while Perfect Game placed them just outside at No. 11. 

 

Both outlets see all five teams as serious contenders not only for the regular season and  championship in the SEC but  for Omaha in June.


Duke and South Carolina: Looking at the Same Teams?

 

The difference in placement between Duke and South Carolina in each poll is striking. The Blue Devils come in No. 11 for D1 Baseball, but Perfect Game has  them ranked No. 23. Perfect Game has South Carolina sitting pretty at No. 12 in their poll, while the Gamecocks barely make it into D1 Baseball’s rankings at No. 25. 

 

The Gamecock’s lineup is still potent  for this upcoming season, but the absence of arms from the 2023 Super Regional squad might be a problem in a loaded SEC. Duke is the complete opposite, possessing great arms but is facing issues  in the lineup and on defense. 

 

The 2024 season kicks off on Friday, Feb. 16.


Edited by Sydney Rogers

Content Creator by Melissa Neglio

 


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