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Ten Sneaky Good Players to Look out for in 2024

By Alyssa Cooper


The 2024 college baseball season is officially underway. The casual college baseball fan has probably heard of Jac Caglianone and Chase Burns, but I think some names fans may not have heard of will have massive impacts on their respective rosters this season.

 

1.    Cam Smith: Sophomore (draft eligible*)|Florida State

 

Photo Courtesy: FSU Baseball Twitter

Cam Smith’s first season in the garnet and gold was solid as he earned his household name among FSU fans.

 

In 2023, Smith hit .253 with 54 hits, five triples, and 12 home runs while driving in 36 runs. Smith was an Atlantic Coast Conference all-freshman team selection.

 

This season, Smith has earned preseason honors. His biggest strength in 2023 was his dependability and reliability. He has the experience to improve defensively at third base while increasing his plate discipline and power. If Smith breaks out this year, he will be a day-one pick come July.

 

2.    Danny Corona: Junior (transfer from Wake Forest*)|Missouri

 

Photo Courtesy of Our Esquina

Danny Corona caught my eye during the Super Regionals against Alabama last season. I thought he may have locked up a spot in the Demon Deacons lineup for 2024, but he is now a Missouri Tiger. Hmm.


Corona finds himself in a new conference and with a new coach. He hit .279 in 2023 with 41 hits, nine doubles, and 13 home runs while driving in 45 runs. He also had an OPS of .962. This year, Corona will have more playing time and an opportunity to be a leader in the clubhouse. Missouri finished at the bottom of the SEC East last year, and with the competition in the division this year, Corona may not experience the success he did back in Winston-Salem.

 

3.    Michael Robertson: Junior|University of Florida

 

Photo Courtesy of Florida Gators Athletics

Robertson was an important defensive piece for the Gators in 2023, with a fielding percentage of .992.

 

The offense has been a struggle for Robertson. He hit just .231 with the Gators in 2023. At the Cape, he hit .226 with only 12 hits. None of those were extra-base hits. 


Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan brought in a fifth-year senior, Jaylen Guy, from Liberty University. Guy had a .309 batting average and 16 extra-base hits to Robertson’s six in 2023.

 

4.   Ben Barrett: Sophomore|Florida State

 

Photo Courtesy of the Osceola

Like Cam Smith, Ben Barrett had a huge role as a freshman in 2023. Barrett is a two-way player, meaning he will have an even more prominent role this year. 


Barrett made 13 appearances with seven starts as a pitcher and earned a 5.20 ERA. Through 27.2 innings, he allowed 16 earned runs and 10 walks while striking out 25. Barrett also hit .359 in 33 games with seven doubles, a triple, and two home runs. 

 

Even with the addition of position players from high school and the portal, Barrett will probably have an opportunity to hit even more. 

 

5.    Zack Davidson: Senior|Indiana State

 

Photo Courtesy of Indiana State Athletics

The entire weekend rotation for Indiana State will be new for 2024. The Sycamores have many arms for that rotation for 2024, including Davidson. 

 

Davidson was Indiana State’s midweek starter in 2023, earning an ERA of 1.65 in 17 appearances. In 32.2 innings, he allowed 28 hits, six earned runs, and 14 walks while striking out 50. 

 

Should Davidson replicate his success from the previous season, he has the potential to play a pivotal role in securing another conference championship for Indiana State in the MVC.


6.   Maxx Yehl: Sophomore|West Virginia

 

Photo Courtesy of West Virginia Athletics

The Mountaineers finished first in a three-way tie for the Big 12 championship. West Virginia desperately needs to reload their rotation for 2024, and sophomore Maxx Yehl is a prime candidate.


In 17 appearances in 2023, Yehl had a 3.54 ERA, throwing innings and allowing 23 hits, 11 earned runs, and 15 walks while striking out 19. The sophomore is underrated in the Big 12. If Yehl breaks out, it will tremendously help the Mountaineers earn another bid into the NCAA tournament.

 

7.    Duce Gourson: Junior|UCLA

Photo Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

Duce Gourson was a bright spot for the Bruins’ down year in 2023. Gourson hit .319 with 66 hits, including 10 doubles and 10 home runs while driving in 48. 

 

Gourson will have to lead the offense for UCLA to become a top program out west; however,  in a loaded Pac-12, it is going to be tough. 

 

8.   Tanner Witt: Redshirt Senior|Texas

 

Photo Courtesy of Austin American-Statesman

Tanner Witt’s journey in college baseball has been eventful. In 2022, a sophomore Witt earned a spot in the Longhorn’s weekend rotation, earning a 1.65 ERA before suffering an early-season elbow injury and undergoing Tommy John surgery. 

 Witt missed most of the 2023, only throwing 10.2 innings and allowing 11 hits, 13 earned runs, and eight walks while striking out eight. Reclaiming the efficiency and success that Witt demonstrated in 2022, in any capacity, will significantly enhance Texas' prospects of returning to Omaha. 


Edited by Sydney Rogers

Social media content created by Melissa Neglio

 

 


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