The College Baseball Preseason Top 40

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The College Baseball Preseason Top 40

With the college baseball season set to kick off later this month (Opening Day is Friday, Feb. 20 across the country), now is an ideal time to switch gears and talk some ping.  We’ll dedicate this week’s columns to previewing the 2009 college season.

Here’s the lineup:

Today we’ll give our Preseason Top 40.

Tomorrow we’ll provide our Preseason First Team All-Americans.

Wednesday our Preseason Second Team All-Americans will be available.

Thursday we’ll uncover the Freshman All-Americans.

Finally, Friday we’ll cover the Top 30 Recruits for 2010.

So, without further ado, here’s your Preseason Top 40 for 2009.

 

1) North Carolina

No school has a 1-2 starting pitching tandem as intimidating as Alex White and Matt Harvey. 

 

2) Louisiana State

They have college baseball's most toxic lineup with a perfect mix of speed, power and high average hitters.

 

3) Rice

Will Rick Hague be next year's Grant Green?

 

4) Texas

Chance Ruffin, Brandon Workman, Cole Green, Cameron Rupp, and Kevin Keyes give the 'Horns the best sophomore class in the nation.

 

5) Texas A&M

Barret Loux, Alex Wilson, Brooks Raley, and Clayton Ehlert represent the deepest starting pitching quartet in the country.

 

6) Stanford

Brent Milleville, Joey August, and Jeff Whitlow will add senior experience to an otherwise underwhelming lineup.

 

7) Clemson

Once again, Coach Jack Leggett fields the deepest team in the ACC.

 

8) San Diego

The million-dollar question: Will Kyle Blair be able to replace Brian Matusz at the top of USD's vaunted rotation?

 

9) Georgia Tech

Coach Hall's decision to insert freshman Mark Pope into the closer's role speaks volumes as to the sorry state of the Yellow Jackets' bullpen.

 

10) Missouri

Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow...Kyle Gibson.  Mizzou is developing quite a pitching legacy.

 

11) Cal State Fullerton

Gary Brown, Christian Colon, and Josh Fellhauer are all locks to steal 20 bases in '09.

 

12) Oklahoma State

Much of their success will hinge on whether stud southpaw Andy Oliver is deemed eligible by the NCAA.

 

13) Baylor

This is the last chance for Kendal Volz, Aaron Miller, and Dustin Dickerson to justify all the hype that surrounded them as incoming freshmen.

 

14) Georgia

Growing pains?  On any one day there might be as many as four freshmen starting for Coach David Perno.

 

15) Miami (FL)

The loss of Erik Erickson to arm surgery could have a devastating effect on the Hurricanes' pitching staff.

 

16) Arkansas

Brett Eibner is the best prospect no one's ever heard of.

 

17) Arizona State

Will this year's freshman crop be as good as the one from '06?  It better be, because the Sun Devils' fortunes depend on it.

 

18) Mississippi

After Arizona State's Carlos Ramirez, David Phillips will be the JuCo transfer to make the biggest impact in '09.

 

19) Florida State

Unlike highly-ranked FSU squads of the past, this year's version has no surefire early round picks.

 

20) Kentucky

The Wildcats will get as far as the freshman trio of Alex Meyer, Andy Burns, and Cory Farris take them.

 

21) Louisville

6'4", 240-lb. man-child Chris Dominguez gives new meaning to the moniker "Louisville Slugger."

 

22) UCLA

Gerrit Cole is our early favorite for Freshman of the Year.

 

23) UC Irvine

Talk about underwhelming on paper—we'd be shocked if ONE player from this team advances past Double A in pro ball.

 

24) California (Berkeley)

If Brett Jackson puts it all together, he could emerge as the Pac-10's most dynamic player.

 

25) Florida

There's always next year.  The Gators are the unanimous choice for the strongest 2010 recruiting class.  However, that may change on draft day.

 

26) Oklahoma

As good as the Sooners are, they're only the consensus sixth-best team in the Big 12.

 

27) Fresno State

On paper, the Bulldogs look merely pedestrian.  Then again, last year this time people were saying the exact same thing about the defending champs.

 

28) Southern California

He's still only 19, yet we've seemingly been waiting forever for junior Robert Stock to bust out.

 

29) Pepperdine

Seeing how newcomer Brian Humphries develops will be one of this year's most interesting storylines.  He has a chance to be a five-tool superstar.

 

30) Coastal Carolina

If Scott Woodward hangs around for all four years, he's almost a sure bet to swipe 200 bags.

 

31) Tulane

The Green Wave will battle East Carolina all season for the C-USA's second slot behind perennial powerhouse Rice.

 

32) Michigan

Chris Fetter is faced with the daunting task of replacing departed staff ace Zach Putnam.

 

33) East Carolina

Say all you want about Rice and its dominance, but sophomore Seth Maness could easily emerge as the C-USA's top pitcher in 2009.

 

34) Alabama

Brandon May, Ross Wilson, Josh Rutledge, and Jake Smith comprise college baseball's most talented all-around infield.

 

35) Nebraska

With six teams ranked in front of them in the Big 12, the Cornhuskers would have to put together a dream season to make it to the 64-team dance.

 

36) Auburn

Watching Kevin Patterson and Hunter Morris hit is in itself worth the price of admission.

 

37) Wichita State

The fact that Wichita State is ranked first in the MVC after losing its six best players speaks to the weakness of the MVC more than anything else.

 

38) South Carolina

Huge shoes to fill...Justin Smoak, Phil Disher, Reese Havens, and James Darnell took 79 home runs and 267 RBI with them to the pros.

 

39) Virginia

The Cavaliers have a solid core of underclassmen, but replacing David Adams, Greg Miclat, Jeremy Farrell, and Jacob Thompson is a lot to

 

40) Oregon State

If their pitching performs up to expectations, the Beavers could easily shock people and wind up in Omaha for the third time in four years.

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