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Published September 12, 2015
Some of the top college baseball players to watch this season:
— Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford, senior. The best pitcher in college baseball was taken eighth overall by the Pirates but came back to school as the only unsigned first-round pick. The 10-game winner struck out 130 in 123 innings with his 98-mph fastball.
— Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State, sophomore. His 135 strikeouts broke the school freshman record by 50. At 9-0, he was one of two undefeated pitchers in the country with nine or more wins, and he led ACC with 1.57 ERA.
— Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State, junior. He was a solid 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 17 starts for the Sycamores last season, and then dominated the Cape Cod League over the summer. He was 5-1 in eight starts with a 1.22 ERA and a league-leading 85 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings. He was named Summer National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA.
— Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State, sophomore. He led the Beavers with a .349 average and led the Pac-12 with 76 RBIs and tied for the conference lead with 13 homers. Conforto played in 16 games for USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and homered in consecutive games during a five-game set at Cuba, including a grand slam.
— Raph Rhymes, OF, LSU, senior. He flirted with .500 for much of the season and finished with a nation-leading .431 average to become the first LSU player to lead the NCAA in batting. He batted .566 with runners in scoring position and led SEC in hits (100) and on-base percentage (.489).
— Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State, sophomore. He stole 29 consecutive bases without being caught to open the season and finished with a nation-leading 57 on 61 attempts. Turner started all 63 games at third base, hitting .336 to finish 10th in the ACC, adding 13 doubles, five homers, and 43 RBIs.
— DJ Peterson, 3B, New Mexico, junior. The Mountain West co-player of the year hit .419 with 57 runs, 78 RBIs, 21 doubles and 17 home runs. He had a 22-game hitting streak from April 1 to May 5.
— JaCoby Jones, 2B, LSU, junior. He's set to become the Tigers' starting second baseman for the third straight year and is one of the best pure athletes in the game. He committed only four errors last season. He batted .253 with 13 doubles and four homers.
— Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State, junior. Two-time All-WAC pick hit four home runs, two of them against Stanford ace Mark Appel, and batted .332 with 27 RBIs. He was 13 of 15 on stolen bases. He also won the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby, hitting 16 homers in three rounds.
— Johnny Field, OF, Arizona, junior. One of the key pieces of the Wildcats' first national-championship team since 1986. He won the Pac-12 batting title with a .370 average, but was torrid over the final 37 games when he hit .419 with 29 RBIs. He also hit safely in 27 of the final 29 games.