HOT HITTERS: Scariest lineups in college baseball, so far
There are a lot of factors that make up a scary hitter, but we’re focusing on the one that makes people rise out of their seats and innocent bats flip: the long ball. While home runs aren’t the only component that the following 11 players excel at, they are a big one.
11 of college baseball’s top sluggers in 2021
Matheu Nelson, Florida State — The Florida State catcher (above) has certainly made one of the biggest jumps in college baseball this season. After hitting just seven home runs in his first 74 career games, Nelson is a premier slugger in 2021, leading college baseball with a .833 slugging percentage and 20 home runs. He has a sound approach, walking roughly 24 percent of the time and his pop plays to all fields. It’s a bonus that he’s also the receiver for one of the best staffs in the nation, as the ‘Noles have a top-10 ERA.
Jared Dupere, Northeastern — When play came to a halt last season, the Huskies’ right fielder had two home runs. Both came in the final game he played. Dupere is another big riser this season, currently second to Nelson in home runs per game and slugging percentage. He has a total of 15 home runs on the season, but also continues to improve his bat-to-ball skills, hitting .376 so far. He’s a bit of a free swinger, but the strikeouts are forgivable with all those bombs.
Wes Clarke, South Carolina — The Gamecocks first baseman and catcher has exploded onto the scene in 2021. Clarke is just naturally strong, standing at 6’2 and 236 pounds, and showed off his power on opening weekend going 7-for-10 with two doubles and three home runs. His very next game, he slugged three home runs and has yet to relent, second in college baseball with 19 bombs.
Jud Fabian, Florida — Fabian has been on scouts’ radars since his freshman year. Though you won’t see high average — and there is some swing-and-miss striking out 60 times in 179 at bats so far as he struggles with off-speed stuff — there are still those home runs. The right-handed hitting outfielder has 18 home runs and 30 over the past 2-1/2 seasons. We know the power is real: Fabian excelled in a summer on the Cape hitting .290 with six homers in the wood bat league’s last full season.
Bobby Seymour, Wake Forest — The 2019 ACC player of the year is back at it in ’21. Seymour has consistently barreled up the ball to all fields during his career and is raking once again. He currently has 10 doubles, 18 home runs and a pretty .714 slugging percentage. Seymour has been one of the elite run producers in college baseball, leading the division with 92 in 2019 and driving in 51 through 40 games so far.
Jace Jung, Texas Tech — Texas Tech struck gold with the brothers Jung, and though the elder Jung, Josh, is now the Texas Rangers top prospect, Jace is filling the role as Red Raiders slugger just fine. In Josh’s final season (2019) he hit .343 with 15 home runs leading Texas Tech to the College World Series. Jace is topping those numbers, hitting .365 with a 1.211 OPS and 16 home runs. You also must love his approach as he’s not fooled too often: Jung has walked 35 times and struck out just 31 times.
Niko Kavadas, Notre Dame — Home runs and Kavadas have gone hand-in-hand for several years running. The Fighting Irish’s top slugger led the Cape Cod Baseball League with 10 home runs in 2019 and has been crushing ever since. He’s fourth in college baseball with 0.44 home runs per game, for a total of 15 thus far. Perhaps most impressive is the improvements to his approach. He uses his strength to muscle the ball, but is also walking more than he’s striking out and getting on base at a .491 pace.
Matthew Christian, Campbell — Christian has come out of nowhere in 2021. After hitting .226 with a mere eight total home runs in 2019-20, the Camels redshirt-senior has erupted, currently hitting .377 with 15 home runs. His 0.42 home runs per game are fifth in college baseball and he’s fourth with a .790 slugging percentage and eighth with 54 RBIs. The transformation seemed to begin in the summer of 2019 when Christian led the West Coast League with 12 home runs. He also adds 10 doubles to his stat line, able to hit the gaps as much as launching it over the wall.
Tyler Bosetti, Nevada — Entering the NCAA record books in record-setting fashion for home runs is certainly going to get you on this list. Bosetti only has 11 home runs this season, but 10 of those have come in the last nine games. IN A ROW. Starting with a home run against Air Force on April 24, Bosetti has homered in every game since (as of this writing), with the Wolfpack winning those first eight games in a row. On the season, Bosetti is hitting .342 with 16 doubles and those 11 home runs.
🚨RECORD BROKEN🚨@bosetti_tyler set a new NCAA record in his first at-bat in today’s game, when he hit a HR in his 9th consecutive game. The original record of 8 has been held since 1994! #NCAABaseball x 🎥 @NevadaBaseball pic.twitter.com/Fa2RMk8LQI
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) May 11, 2021
Ethan Long, Arizona State — Bosetti’s record-setting home run came in a loss on May 11 to Arizona State. Long, the Sun Devils DH, launched his 13th home run of the season and drove in five in the 14-11 victory. Now, 13 home runs aren’t all that impressive, but that fact that 11 of those have come over his last 11 games is quite impressive. He has three multi-homer games over that span and has seen his average rise from .299 on April 21 to .373 heading into the weekend with eight multi-hit games over that span.
Will Frizzell Texas A&M — The 6’3, 235-pound senior is another slugger blowing up on the scene in ’21. Frizzell has 11 doubles and 18 home runs — tied for second in the SEC with Fabian — for a .699 slugging percentage. Thanks to an ability to walk he also gets on base at a .438 lick. This past weekend, Frizzell went 7-for-12 with five home runs and 11 RBIs against Ole Miss, earning him National Player of the Week honors.
- Ruben Ibarra, San Jose State: Ibarra is on a 6-18 team so he can get lost in the shuffle, but he’s hitting .375 with 0.41 home runs per game — sixth-best in DI — to go along with an .806 slugging percentage.
- Kyle Battle, Old Dominion: Battle is hitting .322 with a 1.203 OPS to go along with 10 doubles and 16 home runs for one of our scariest lineups in college baseball.
- Hunter Goodman, Memphis: Goodman has been filling the Memphis and AAC record books since his freshman year and currently has 16 home runs to go along with a .669 slugging percentage.