Every year without fail, there are at least a few freshmen college baseball players that burst onto the scene. We saw it just last season — Jacob Berry at Arizona (at the time,) Enrique Bradfield Jr. at Vanderbilt, Dylan Crews at LSU, Jace Jung at Texas Tech and more.
With the 2022 season underway, we are ready to take a look at the freshmen off to the hottest starts this season. Now, I know it is super early, and this stuff, especially stats and numbers, are going to change pretty quick. But either way, there are a lot of freshmen making a big impact early on for their respective teams.
(All stats are as of Tuesday, March 8)
Here are 13 of the top college baseball freshmen off to hot starts this season:
Tommy White — NC State
I mean, duh, right? Let's start with the most obvious one of them all, Tommy White at NC State. He is not only off to a hot start but an absolutely absurd start. White has rightfully been nicknamed Tommy Tanks after blasting nine home runs so far with five in his opening weekend and three in his first-ever collegiate game. White is hitting .431 with 29 RBI and a .960 slugging percentage. Not to mention, almost every single home run was hit to dead center, out of the deepest part of the ballpark, and were absolute bullets. His name is buzzing across the country, and he is one of the most dominant players, let alone freshmen in college baseball right now.
Jared Dickey — Tennessee
This is a @Jared_Dickey3 appreciation post.— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) March 6, 2022
The man can straight up rake.#GBO // #Vols 🍊 pic.twitter.com/InZEGQRtK4
Up next, I have not one but THREE freshmen from Tennessee that deserve to be on this list. After the Vols made it to the MCWS last season, they have now shown that they have some serious up-and-coming talent, and this team could be a powerhouse for years to come. Let's start with Jared Dickey. He’s a redshirt freshman, but boy he can hit. He is currently third in the nation right now with a .565 average and has two homers as well. He won SEC freshman of the week after he was retired just once in 13 plate appearances over four games and led the team with an .875 batting average, nine runs scored, a .923 on-base percentage and two stolen bases.
Chase Burns and Drew Beam — Tennessee
Then for the other two Tennessee guys on this list, we have two pitchers that have been making names for themselves early on. You might remember there were some question marks with Tennessee and their pitching staff at the start of this season, especially with Blade Tidwell out with injury. But then we saw the emergence of true freshman right-handers Chase Burns and Drew Beam. These two are so mature as freshmen, showing some electric stuff so far. Burns has got a .60 ERA, 2-0 record through 15 innings pitched and 19 strikeouts and Beam has a 0.0 ERA, 2-0 record through 11 IP with 11 strikeouts. Tony Vitello told D1baseball, they are just different freshmen.
TOP PITCHERS: Here are the top pitchers to watch on the mound this season
Casey Saucke — Virginia
Next, over in the ACC, Casey Saucke is off to a great start at the plate. He currently leads the team with a .516 average with two home runs already and a .839 slugging percentage. He has been a huge spark plug for this Virginia team that is off to a 12-0 start ahead of conference play.
Saucke— Virginia Baseball (@UVABaseball) March 8, 2022
Davis Diaz — Vanderbilt
Back in the SEC, Davis Diaz at Vandy makes the list. Diaz is currently hitting .500 so far this season for a top-five team in Vanderbilt. He won SEC Freshmen of the Week after batting .579 for the week with a team-high tying 11 hits to help the Dores to a 5-0 record. He reached base in all five games. I also want to quickly mention Carter Holton for Vandy — a freshman left-handed pitcher who has thrown for the most innings out of the rotation so far with a 3.7 ERA and 22 strikeouts.
What a performance from @carterholton19. ⛽️#VandyBoys pic.twitter.com/uimcuGfQRc— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) March 6, 2022
Thatcher Hurd — UCLA
We have got three Pac-12 players on the list next, starting with Thatcher Hurd at UCLA. Hurd is a true freshman right hander with 28 strikeouts so far this season. That's in the top 15 nationally. He also sports a .66 ERA through 13 innings pitched and a .089 opposing batting average. Hurd has the second most innings pitched on the roster for the Bruins and already so much success this season.
Travis Bazzana — Oregon State
Next is Travis Bazzana at Oregon State. He is making an immediate impact on this extremely offensive team. Bazzana is just a pure hitter that can do a little of everything. He was projected to perform well this season by multiple outlets and he is already living up to the hype. Bazzana is hitting .389 so far for the Beavers, and this is a guy I can see being a big name for years to come.
Braden Montgomery — Stanford
Braden Montgomery out of Stanford is another freshman in the Pac-12 making a splash. Montgomery is another top rated-guy heading into this season with a great start so far for the Cardinal. He is hitting .320 but with a 1.153 OPS, three bombs already and a team-leading .720 slugging percentage.
Vance Honeycutt — North Carolina
Vance Honeycutt is next for UNC. This guy has been a huge part of the Tar Heels’ early success this season. In his opening game the centerfielder went 3-4 with two home runs and four runs scored. Now he has FIVE home runs on the season, 10 RBI, and he is 12 for 12 on stolen bases. He went from hitting in the nine spot to leadoff, and should be a big name and power hitter for years to come.
Josh Hartle — Wake Forest
.@JoshHartle25's third start of the season:— Wake Forest Baseball (@WakeBaseball) March 5, 2022
1️⃣ run pic.twitter.com/CAlAQH5oqW
Josh Hartle at Wake Forest is up. Hartle is a big lefty off to a great start this season. He has a 1.02 ERA with a 3-0 record through 17 innings pitched this season, 17 strikeouts and a .169 opponent batting average. Wake Forest has had a successful start to the season and Hartle has been a big part of the team's success.
Hunter Hines — Mississippi State
The reigning champs have got a strong freshman in Hunter Hines, often hitting in the three-hole for Mississippi State as a DH with four home runs already on the season and a .367 average. Hines also has 14 RBI on the year and leads the Bulldogs in slugging as a freshman.
Michael Braswell — South Carolina
And lastly, Michael Braswell at South Carolina. Braswell is another guy on this list that was SEC freshman of the week after a successful weekend on the mound and at the plate. In his first collegiate game, he went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and his first home run, and then he closed the weekend out with a win on the mound on Sunday. He is hitting .477 this season with a home run and 1.248 OPS.
A few more names to note:
- Mike Sirota — Northeastern
- Grant Siegal —Tulane
- Deric Fabian — Florida
- Luke Harrison — Texas