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The Associated Press | February 10, 2017

10 players to watch on the diamond in 2017

  Andrew Beckwith had a nation-best 15 wins last season for national champion Coastal Carolina.

College baseball season returns on Feb. 17. With that in mind, here are 10 players to watch in 2017:

ANDREW BECKWITH, Coastal Carolina, Sr., RHP: Led nation in wins with 15-1 record and was Most Outstanding Player in College World Series. Moved from bullpen to starter's role second half of season and finished with 1.85 ERA. At CWS had two complete games in three starts and 0.76 ERA.

LUKEN BAKER, TCU, So., IF: Hit seven of team-leading 11 homers in postseason. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder led Big 12 with .379 batting average, 94 hits, 59 runs and 62 RBIs. Was 3-1 with 1.70 ERA before injuring arm in April. Expected to be first baseman and designated hitter and won't pitch this season.

SETH BEER, Clemson, So., IF: Became first freshman to win the Dick Howser Trophy as national player of the year. First baseman also was Golden Spikes Award finalist. ACC player of the year batted .369 with 13 doubles, 18 homers, 70 RBIs and had a .700 slugging percentage.

RELATED: 2017 college baseball season preview

J.B. BUKAUSKAS, North Carolina, Jr., RHP: Went 7-2 with 3.10 ERA, including 6-2 with 2.45 ERA in 10 ACC starts. Ranked third in nation with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Allowed one unearned run in 21 2/3 innings on U.S. college national team last summer.

CARLOS CORTES, South Carolina, Fr., OF/DH: One of the top high school players in Florida (Oviedo) last season. The 5-7, 195-pounder is ambidextrous, throwing with right hand when playing infield and with left hand when playing outfield.

COLTON EASTMAN, Cal State Fullerton, So., RHP: Big West freshman of the year heads a strong group of starters for Titans. Went 8-3 with 2.24 ERA and struck out a freshman school record-tying 100 in 100 2/3 innings.

ALEX FAEDO, Florida, Jr. RHP: Went 13-3 with 3.18 ERA in 17 starts, including 7-1 in SEC play. His 133 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings were most by a Florida pitcher in 18 years. Had five 10-plus strikeout games.

JEREN KENDALL, Vanderbilt, Jr., OF: No. 1 college player, and No. 2 overall on's list of top 50 draft prospects. Led team with .332 batting average, 63 runs and 59 RBIs. Tied school record with eight triples and hit career-high nine homers.

  Vanderbilt will rely on Jeren Kendall in its pursuit toward returning to the College World Series.
NICK MADRIGAL, Oregon State, So., IF: Pac-12 freshman of the year. The 5-7, 161-pounder batted .333 with 11 doubles, five triples, one homer and 29 RBIs. Played second base in 2016 but goes into week of opener competing for SS job.

RELATED: Five big-time power threats returning in 2017

BRENDAN McKAY, Louisville, Jr. IF /LHP: The first baseman-pitcher is two-time winner of John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year. Lefty was 12-4 with 2.30 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 17 starts. Batted .333 with six home runs, 19 doubles and 41 RBIs.

This article was written by The Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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