The freshman class for this season is the best in recent years with two top 15 picks deciding to spurn the MLB Draft for the next three seasons in Dylan Covey and Karsten Whitson. Covey decided to head to San Diego while Whitson ended up at Florida. They are not the only ones that decided to head to college as we have put together our 2011 Top Freshmen to Watch.
Dylan Covey (San Diego)– is a 6’0 200 pound righthanded pitcher out of Maranatha High School and Pasadena California. He was selected with the 14th overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft but during his physical it was discovered he suffered from Type 1 Diabetes. He decided to head to the University of San Diego as he learned to control his new situation.
Karsten Whitson (Florida)– is a 6’4 215 pound righthanded pitcher from Chipley Florida where he attended Chipley High School. He had an outstanding high school career as he was rated the number three rated high school prospect by Baseball America for the 2010 MLB Draft. The San Diego Padres selected him with the ninth overall pick in the draft offering over 2.1 million dollars but spurned the offer to attend the University of Florida.
Tim Kiene (Maryland)– is a 6’4 240 pound left-handed hitting first baseman out of South Windsor, Connecticut where he attended Avon Old Farms. He had an outstanding career at the school winning hree Colonial League championships and a New England regional championship. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 2010 MLB Draft but decided to take on the challenge of playing in the competitive ACC for the next three seasons.
Andrew Knapp (Cal)– is a 6’1 180 pound switch-hitting catcher out of Granite Bay, California where he attended Granite Bay High School. He is the son of former minor leaguer and Cal alum Mike Knapp who spent eleven seasons in the minors reaching as high as AAA. His son Andrew Knapp was selected in the 41st round (1235th overall) by the Oakland A’s but decided to head to his dad’s alma mater. He will be one of the key transfers after the season is over if Cal goes through with plans to cut the baseball program.
Eric Jaffe (UCLA)– is a 6’4 230 pound right handed pitcher out of Bishop O’Dowd High School and from Oakland California. As a senior in high school, he went 8-1 on the mound with a 0.83 ERA while compiling 98 strikeouts and 36 walks in 57.2 innings. At the plate, he was equally dominant hitting .442 with seven home runs, six doubles, 20 RBI and 28 runs. The Boston Red Sox selected him in the 19th round of the 2010 MLB Draft but decided to attend the University of California. With the news that Cal was cutting baseball at the end of the 2011 season, Jaffe decided to transfer at semester break to UCLA where he will likely work out of the bullpen as a freshman.
Scott Frazier (Pepperdine)– is a 6’7 220 pound righthanded pitcher out of Upland California where he attended Upland High School winning three letters as a pitcher/outfielder. As a senior on the mound, he went 6-2 with four complete games, 1.16 earned-run average, and striking out 87 batters through 54.0 innings. His best performance of the year was a 19 strikeout no-hit effort against Silverado on March 9th. He was also an accomplished hitter batting .403 with six home runs and drew 25 walks as he was named the Inland Valley Player of the Year. The Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the fifth round but were unable to come to an agreement with him. In 2010 fall action, he was impressive striking out seven batters in 10.2 innings while accumulating a 2.53 ERA.
Jacob Felts (Texas)– is a 6’1 195 pound catcher out of Orangefield, Texas where he attended Orangefield High School. He participated in the 2009 Under Armour All-American Game and was named First-Team All Texas 4A by the Texas Sports Writers Association as a junior. He is expected to start the season behind the dish for the Longhorns in the upcoming year.
Shane Rowland (Miami)– is a 5’10 180 pound catcher from Tampa, Florida where he graduated from Tampa Catholic. As a senior, he batted .391 with two homers and 30 RBI. He was named to the second team All-State and All-Hillsborough County First Teams. He is expected to start behind the plate this season for the Hurricanes taking over from All-American Yasmani Grandal.
DeAndre Smelter (Georgia Tech)– is a 6’3 225 pound righthanded pitcher/outfielder from Macon Georgia as he attended Tattnall Square Academy. He was named a Louisville Slugger All-American in 2010 and was a 2009 AFLAC All-American. He was rated as the fifth best prospect in the nation by Perfect Game Crosschecker and was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 14th round but held firm on his commitment to the Yellow Jackets.
Austin Wilson (Stanford)– is a 6’4 230 pound outfielder from Los Angeles, California where he attended Harvard Westlake High School. Wilson was considered one of the top high school outfielders in country but ended up sliding to the 12th round where he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals. If he didn’t have such a strong commitment to the Cardinal, he would have been selected in the first or second rounds.
Others to Watch
Corey Hahn (Arizona State)
Ryne Stanek (Arkansas)
Trae Davis (Baylor)
Sean Dwyer (FGCU)
Tyler Linehan (Fresno State)
Michael Lorenzen (Fullerton)
Kevin Gausman (LSU)
Logan Ehlers (Nebraska)
Cayle Shambaugh (Oklahoma)
Jason Hursh (Oklahoma State)
Tyler Kuresa (Oregon)
Stefan Sabol (Oregon)
Kris Bryant (San Diego)
AJ Vanegas (Stanford)
Brian Ragira (Stanford)
Krey Bratson (Texas A&M)
Jimmy Hodgskin (Troy)
Adam Plutko (UCLA)
Josh Alexander (Utah)