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5 Stand-Out College Baseball Performers to Watch for in Dynasty Leagues

College baseball is in full swing and some of the biggest names that will be in the 2023 MLB Draft are starting to take shape. This is a quick check-in with the top 5 college performers and potential first-round picks. College stats can be hard to value into what dynasty managers expect once they get to the minor leagues, and it can seem impossible to say without any doubt who will be the best at the major league level. The good news is that we can at least have a base skill set value to help guide managers in the right direction. For me, evaluating the next level of talent starts as soon as the MLB draft ends each year but for now, let’s check in with 5 stand-out college performers for the month of March.

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5 Standout College Player from March

Pitchers To Watch

Rhett Lowder, RHP Wake Forest

Over the last three seasons, Wake Forest has started to get a reputation as a “Pitching Factory.” Pitchers such as Jared Shuster and Ryan Cusick were drafted out of Wake Forest in the first round. Is Rhett Lowder next? Lowder is a 6’2” right-handed junior that features a plus fastball that sits 92-95 MPH and tops out at 98 MPH. The change-up is one of the best in college baseball and is helped by Lowder’s plus control. Although Rhett Lowder’s change-up and control might not be what George Kirby’s was at Elon, I can’t help but see some similarities in pitch mix and how they control the collegiate game.

Lowder has made 8 starts for the Demon Deacons with 58 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched with a 1.84 ERA while holding batters to a .217 average. If Lowder keeps this up we should be seeing his name called in the back end of the first round.

Juaron Watts-Brown, RHP Oklahoma State

The transfer from Long Beach State has made his name known amongst Oklahoma State faithful and dynasty managers salivating at the chance to draft him this off-season. Watts-Brown is 6’3” 190 LBS and features some of college baseball’s filthiest breaking pitches in a plus curveball and slider. The slider sits between 83-87 MPH and has sharp late horizontal movement causing batters to swing out of the zone. With the best curveball in college baseball, Watts-Brown has a serious vertical break causing batters to swing over the 80-82 MPH curveball featured as one of his most devastating out pitches. Currently, Watts-Brown is third in all of college baseball with 73 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched holding batters to a stellar .177 average.

As is the case for most secondary strikeout pitchers, Watts-Brown struggles with the walks as he relies on swings out of the zone. He currently has a 3.30 ERA with 17 earned runs; probably not helped by the 21 walks in 46.1 innings pitched. I’m curious as to where in the draft Watts-Brown will go. The walks will be a factor in a team’s decision but there is no denying the strikeout upside. If I had to guess I would figure Watts-Brown going in the late second to early third round come draft day.

Hitters To Watch

Nolan Schanuel, 1B Florida Atlantic

One of the most well–rounded collegiate players in this year’s MLB draft is Nolan Schanuel. Nolan is a 6’3” 195-pound left-handed bat that has been as solid as it comes in college baseball. Currently, Shanuel is second behind only Dylan Crews (consensus first-round pick) in OBP (.611), second in batting average (.474), first in slugging (.939), and first in OPS (1.550). Needless to say, he is one of the best with the bat in the collegiate ranks. On the season Schanuel is slashing .474/.611/.939 with 25 XBH, 13 HR, 41 RBI, and 9 stolen bases in 34 games played for Florida Atlantic.

With these numbers, Schanuel should be a no-doubt first-round draft pick as he has done what he is doing all three seasons at Florida Atlantic. For me, Nolan Schanuel might be one of the “safest” draft picks in dynasty baseball thanks in no small part to the high floor brought on by his elite bat-to-ball skills. Think Vinnie Pasquantino and Kyle Manzardo but slightly better. That is the kind of impact Nolan Schanuel can have.

Jake Gelof, 3B Virginia

The name might look familiar to you because of Jake’s older brother Zack Gelof taken by the A’s in the second round of the 2021 draft. Like his brother, Gelof has big raw power and an aggressive approach at the plate. Currently, Gelof is slashing .376/.466/.842 with 31 XBH, 14 HR, 56 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases in 34 games played. Jake Gelof has had a strong season as he is first in RBIs (56) as well as being in the top 10 in home runs (14) and slugging (.842). With a solid finish to the collegiate season, Gelof should be on track to be selected in the second round of this season’s MLB draft.

Jacob Wilson, SS Grand Canyon

Already in this article, we have touched on some of the best bat-to-ball hitters in the collegiate ranks and Jacob Wilson needs to be added to the list. Playing for Grand Canyon University might have some drawbacks in media coverage throughout the college baseball season but Jacob Wilson has stood out. Currently slashing .465/.504/.703 with 10 doubles, four triples, two home runs, and four stolen bases in 26 games played, the staggering thing about Jacob Wilson is he rarely strikes out. In 101 at-bats in 2023, he has only struck out 5 times and has only struck out 31 times in 581 at-bats in his time at Grand Canyon.

This profile is very similar to that of Nick Madrigal who struck out only 37 times in 612 at-bats. The only difference between the two is Wilson might hit for slightly more power and steal fewer bases then Madrigal. Wilson should go in the first round of the MLB draft.

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