Top College Baseball Starting Pitchers To Watch In 2011

February 10, 2011

We are finally down to the pitchers in our look at some of the top college baseball players to watch heading into the 2011 season. Our list of top pitchers will conclude soon with the top relievers.

1. Matt Purke – TCU – So. – LHP

Purke was everything he was supposed to be in 2010. The 14th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft went right down the wire in his decision to turn pro or attend TCU before picking college. The Spring, TX native went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA to help Jim Schlossnagle’s Horned Frogs reach the College World Series for the first time in program history. He struckout 142 batters in 116 1/3 innings with just 34 BB and he thrived in all the big moments. Purke fanned 11 in TCU’s Super Regional win over Texas. He then went 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in Omaha with wins over Florida State and UCLA to earn CWS All-Tournament honors. Oh by the way, he was also named the National Freshman of the Year.

2. Trevor Bauer – Jr. – RHP – UCLA

Bauer is 21-6 with a 3.00 ERA in his first two years at UCLA. He has earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors both years, including last year when he was 12-3 with a 3.02 ERA and a nation-leading 165 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings. He was 9-3 with a team-best 2.99 ERA as a freshman in 2009. He made 10 relief appearances and 10 starts with four complete games (of UCLA’s five) that season, which would have been his senior year of high school had he not enrolled early at UCLA. Bauer was 2-0 in two starts at the 2010 College World Series. He had 13 strikeouts in an elimination game start against TCU to get the Bruins into the CWS Finals. He finished with 24 strikeouts and four walks in 15.0 IP in Omaha. The Valencia, CA native had 24 strikeouts in 17 1/3 IP for the USA Collegiate National Team in 2009.

3. Gerrit Cole – Jr. – RHP – UCLA

Cole was selected in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of high school by the New York Yankees, but opted to attend UCLA instead. That made him the first high school first round draft pick to ever attend UCLA. Cole was a Freshman All-American in 2009, going 4-8 with a 3.49 ERA, 104 strikeouts, 38 walks, and a .191 opponent batting average in 85 innings. In his seven losses as a starter that year the UCLA offense averaged just 2.0 runs-a-game. Cole was 11-4 with a 3.34 ERA to earn All-Pac-10 and All-American honors for the College World Series runners-up last year. He was third in the nation with 153 strikeouts in 123.0 IP. The Santa Ana, CA native has gone 6-0 over the last two summers for the USA Collegiate National Team. He had a 0.76 ERA in 2010 and a 1.06 ERA in ’09.

4. Danny Hultzen – Virginia – Jr. – LHP

Hultzen was one of the top two-way players in the country as a freshman in 2009, when he became the first Virginia player to be named ACC Freshman of the Year. He hit .327 with 37 RBIs in 54 starts, while going 9-1 with a 2.17 ERA and¬† 107 Ks in 95 1/3 innings and 16 starts on the mound. Hultzen had a 2.05 ERA in his NCAA Tournament starts to help Brian O’Connor’s Cavs to their first College World Series. Hultzen was used primarily as a pitcher in 2010 and was just as dominant. The Bethesda, MD native was 11-1 with 123 strikeouts in 106 2/3 IP and a 2.78 ERA in 16 starts to become the first Cav to be named ACC Pitcher of the Year. His 20 career wins are tied for sixth in Virginia school history.

5. Taylor Jungmann – Jr. – RHP – Texas

Jungmann earned second team All-Big 12 honors last year after going 8-3 with a 2.03 ERA. He fired a team-high 120.0 innings with 129 strikeouts, 41 walks and one complete game. His .209 opponent batting average was also the best among the Longhorn’s starters. Jungmann was 11-3 with 101 strikeouts in 94 2/3 IP as a freshman in 2009, while finishing third in the nation with a .193 opponent batting average. The Temple, TX native made four appearances for the 2009 national runner-up Longhorns at the College World Series. He was 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA, 15 strikeouts, five and five walks in 15 1/3 total innings. Jungmann also fired a complete-game in his only Omaha start, which was game two of the CWS Championship Series.

6. Noe Ramirez – Cal State Fullerton – Jr. – RHP

Ramirez was named a Freshman All-American and Co-Big West Freshman of the Year (along with teammate Tyler Pill) in 2009 after going 9-2 with a 3.33 ERA. He struckout a Fullerton freshman record 100 batters in 110 2/3 IP to help the Titans to the College World series. He earned All-American status in 2010 after going 12-1 with a 2.54 ERA as the Friday starter for the Titan’s Super Regional team. The East Los Angeles native pitched at least 7.0 innings in 10 of his 14 starts, with two complete games. He struckout 119 in a team-best 109 1/3 IP. With Fullerton head coach Dave Serrano working as his pitching coach, Ramirez had five saves in nine relief appearances for the USA Collegiate National Team over the summer. He combined with Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray and TCU’s Kyle Winkler to no-hit Korea on July 15.

7. Sonny Gray – Vanderbilt – Jr. – RHP

Gray was a Freshman All-American in 2009 after going 5-1 with a 4.30 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings for the Commodore’s NCAA Regional team. He was 10-5 with a 3.48 ERA and team-highs of 113 strikeouts and 108 2/3 IP last year. Gray earned his tenth win of the season in Vandy’s only win against Florida State at the Tallahassee Super Regional. The Smyrna, TN native has pitched for the USA Collegiate National Team in 2009 and 2010. He was drafted in the 27th round by the Chicago Cubs out of high school. At 5’11, 180 pounds, he has a build similar to former South Carolina ace Blake Cooper.

8. Jed Bradley – Jr. – LHP – Georgia Tech

Bradley was one of three Georgia Tech pitchers to win nine games (along with Deck McGuire and Brandon Cumpton) during his sophomore 2010 season. In fact, he became the ACC’s first nine-game winner when the Yellow Jackets beat fifth-ranked Miami on May 16. He was 9-5 with a 4.83 ERA in 16 starts in ’10. He struckout 99 with just 25 walks in 91 1/3 innings to earn second team All-ACC honors. The Huntsville, AL native saw his stock rise even further last summer when he became a Cape Cod League All-Star as a member of the Wareham Gateman. Baseball America tabbed Bradley the number four prospect in the Cape League heading into 2011.

9. Tyler Anderson – Jr. – LHP – Oregon

Anderson turned-in a 7-5 record with a 2.98 ERA as Oregon’s Friday starter in a Pac-10 that sent a record eight teams to the NCAA Tournament in 2010. He led the Ducks with 102 2/3 innings, with just 33 walks and 105 strikeouts, which ranked 36th in the nation. The 2010 All-Pac-10 performer was also a member of the USA Collegiate National Team over the summer. He was 1-0, while giving-up no earned runs in three starts. The Las Vegas, NV native was drafted in the 50th round by the Minnesota Twins in 2008. He is Baseball America’s #16 college prospect heading into the 2011 season.

10. Cole Green – Texas – Sr. – RHP

Green was the top pitcher on a team that is built on pitching in 2010. He earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors after going 11-2 with a 2.74 ERA. He logged 111 2/3 innings and tied Brandon Workman with a team-high four complete games. His big year came after a combined record of 8-10 in his first two years in Austin. Green had three no-decisions in three starts at the 2009 College World Series, but he struckout 15 in 15.0 IP. The Coppell, TX native was drafted in the fourth round of last year’s MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, but he turned down the chance to go pro in favor of returning for his senior season.

11. Alex Panteliodis – Jr. – LHP – Florida

Panteliodis started the season in the bullpen, but soon became a stalwart in the weekend rotation as a sophomore in 2010. He earned two wins in relief in Florida’s season-opening series against South Florida and then gave-up just two hits in 5 2/3 IP in his first start of the year against Miami. Panteliodis ended his season with an 11-3 record, which included a five-game winning streak heading into the College World Series. The highlight of the Tampa, FL native’s season was his first career complete game, 12 strikeout performance in the Gators’ Super Regional opening win against the Hurricanes. He retired the last 14 batters of the game for the win.

12. Anthony Meo – Jr. – RHP – Coastal Carolina

Meo is 22-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 173 1/3 innings in his first two years at Coastal Carolina. He enters his junior season with the eighth-best ERA and tied for 11th in wins in school history. Meo was a Freshman All-American in 2009 after going 9-2 with a 2.93 ERA. He earned All-American honors in 2010 with his 13-2 record, 2.61 ERA and 94 strikeouts. His wins and ERA were team-highs, while he finished second to former teammate Cody Wheeler’s (12-0, 3.64 ERA) 113 Ks. The duo helped Coastal Carolina to the program’s first Super Regional, which they dropped to eventual national champion South Carolina. Meo pitched for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League last summer.

13. Steven Maxwell – Sr. – RHP – TCU

Maxwell is back for his redshirt senior season at TCU after a breakthrough 2010 season that saw him drafted in 12th round by the Minneosta Twins. Maxwell was 5-2 from 2007-2009 for the Horned Frogs, but he was 11-2 with a team-best 2.70 ERA for TCU’s College World Series team in 2010. He finished with 93 strikeouts and earned All-American accolades and Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year honors. Maxwell’s 2008 season was cut short after three appearances due to an elbow injury that would require Tommy John surgery. He was the starting pitcher in four of TCU’s six shutouts in 2010.

14. Justin Jones – So. – RHP – Cal

Along with TCU’s Matt Purke, Jones was one of the top freshman pitchers in the nation in 2010. He earned first team All-Pac-10 and Freshman All-American honors after going 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA. He not only led the Golden Bears in wins, but also had more than a third of the NCAA Regional team’s 29 victories on the season. Jones also tossed Cal’s only two complete games. One of his top wins of the season came on March 12 against Rice to help Cal split their four-game series with the Owls in Houston. His ten wins ranked third in the Pac-10, behind UCLA’s Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. The Oakdale, CA native was a seventh round pick of the Chicago White Sox in the 2009 MLB Draft.

15. Kyle Winkler – Jr. – RHP – TCU

The fact that TCU is favored to get back to Omaha in 2011 is evidenced by the fact that the Horned Frogs have three starters on this list. Winkler was 12-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 2010. His 19 starts, two complete games and 116 2/3 innings led the TCU pitching staff. His 12th win of the season was the biggest of his career. Winkler fired 7 2/3 shutout innings of five-hit ball at Texas on June 13 to clinch the Super Regional and send Jim Schlossnagle’s Horned Frogs to the College World Series for the first time in program history. Winkler has a two-year record of 19-4 with a 3.69 ERA. The Sugar Land, TX native was a member of the 2010 USA Collegiate National Team.

Others To Watch…

Matt Andriese – UC Riverside

Jack Armstrong – Vanderbilt

Chad Arnold – Washington State

Matt Barnes – UConn

Brian Dupra – Notre Dame

Dylan Floro – Cal State Fullerton

Kyle Hansen – St. John’s

Kurt Heyer – Arizona

Brian Johnson – Florida

Seth Manness – East Carolina

Ben Nelson – Navy

Tyler Pill – Cal State Fullerton

Mark Pope – Georgia Tech

Hudson Randall – Florida

Carson Smith – Texas State

Nick Tropeano – Stony Brook

Logan Verrett – Baylor

Tony Zych – Louisville


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