Home Run Derby: What is your all-time NCAA derby lineup?
The MLB Home Run Derby will take place on Monday night, and it should be a good one. Former Rutgers Scarlet Knight slugger Todd Frazier will look to defend his title against several stud competitors in what should be an entertaining spectacle for all.
Historically, there have been some great home run hitters at the college level, too. But if you had a chance to choose eight power hitters from any college era, how would you fill out your all-time home run derby card?
It’s no easy task, but we gave it a try. Here is our all-time NCAA baseball home run derby dream lineup.
Pete Incaviglia, Oklahoma State
The only college player to ever belt 100 homers in his career, Incaviglia was a lock to make our field.
Incaviglia’s 1985 season was historic on many levels. He batted .464 that year, and his 1.140 slugging percentage still stands as a Division I record. His act would be a tough one to follow in this fictional home run derby.
Lance Berkman, Rice
Berkman went on to have a fabulous MLB career, but before he was competing for World Series titles with the Houston Astros, he was clubbing homers in Houston with the Rice Owls.
In 1997, Berkman hit 41 home runs while leading the Owls to their first College World Series appearance. His top attribute was his ability to hit the long ball. He’d be a staple in this home run derby, and at the 2004 MLB All-Star Game, he placed second in the home run derby behind Miguel Tejada.
Jeff Ledbetter, Florida State
Ledbetter was a four-year player for the Seminoles, and he delivered in the batter’s box on a consistent basis.
He ranks second all time in career home runs (97) and single-season home runs (42) to Incaviglia, and he was as feared as any college hitter we’ve seen in the past 35 years. He saved his best for last, too, as his 42-homer season came in the midst of a magical 1982 campaign.
Kris Bryant, San Diego
A little current flavor for you: Bryant is a superstar for the Chicago Cubs these days, and he’s doing many of the same things he used to at San Diego.
Bryant won the Golden Spikes Award in 2013, and he was the consensus best player and power hitter in the nation. His 31 homers in 2013 are the most since the NCAA switched to the BBCOR composite bat in 2011.
The former Torero has 25 big flies at the All-Star break for the Cubs, and he honed much of his jaw-dropping power at the collegiate level.
Troy Glaus, UCLA
Glaus was a high-power, high-strikeout guy once he reached the majors, and he was hitting monstrous homers in Southern California long before he joined the Angels.
A collegiate star at UCLA, Glaus was a mainstay in the middle of the Bruins’ lineup. In 1997, he went tit-for-tat with fellow college sluggers Berkman and Brandon Larson; ultimately, he finished behind those two with 34 home runs. And as far as aesthetics are concerned, you know Glaus would deliver some moon shots in a home run derby setting.
Brandon Larson, LSU
Speaking of Larson, there’s no way we could leave a crucial member of the 1997 NCAA home run race out of this derby. Larson clubbed 40 dingers in 69 games for the Tigers that season, and he was an absolute stud during his time in Baton Rouge.
Larson won the MVP in the 1997 College World Series. It was his only season playing college baseball, and it was surely one to be lauded.
J.D. Drew, Florida State
Drew had an up-and-down pro career, but he was outstanding in his time as a Florida State Seminole.
Drew smacked 31 homers in 1997 for Florida State, and despite ample competition, he cleaned up in the national awards circuit. Drew won the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Trophy that season, and became the first college player to ever hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same year.
The smooth-swinging outfielder won’t earn any points in a home run derby for his speed, but it just goes to show you how multi-talented Drew was as a college player.
Matt LaPorta, Florida
Between 2004 and 2007, there was not a better home run hitter in the SEC than LaPorta.
The bulky righty tallied 74 home runs in his time in Gainesville, which ranks ninth in NCAA history. In 2005, he led the country in big flies, and the Gators advanced to the College World Series final.
LaPorta was a fullback in high school, and you saw a lot of his raw power and aggression come to fruition in the batter’s box. He would be a heck of a lot of fun to watch in a home run derby setting.