(Editor's note: The following was first published on d1baseball.com. The original includes capsule previews of every Big 12 team, top prospects and team by team breakdowns. Use code Save23 for a discounted subscription.)
D1Baseball.com previews the 2023 Big 12 baseball season. They project the Big 12’s final standings, regional teams, Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year.
Projected order of finish/projected regional teams
*Teams are listed in order of projected finish. 2022 regional teams in bold.
Player of the Year: Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU
Taylor has blossomed into one of college baseball’s premier players over the past couple of seasons. He jumped on the scene in a big way as a freshman two seasons ago with a campaign that included power production and a strong average. And he built on that last season by establishing himself as a solid defender at the hot corner. Taylor is a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, who finished last season with a 1.030 OPS, and who had only a 14.8% K percentage (55 walks/40 strikeouts). He’s the straw that stirs the drink for the Horned Frogs. -- Excerpt written by D1Baseball.com's Kendall Rogers
Pitcher of the Year: Juaron Watts-Brown, RHP, Oklahoma State
The biggest coup for OSU was landing Long Beach State transfer Juaron Watts-Brown, who went 4-4, 3.68 with a sparkling 111-29 K-BB mark in 73.1 innings as a redshirt freshman last spring, then continued to shine in the Cape Cod League, fanning 45 agains 15 walks in 34 innings for Falmouth. We saw the athletic 6-foot-2 righthander attack at 92-93 with a good low-80s slider and an inconsistent but promising changeup in the Cape, but his stuff was even more electric against the Texas Rangers instructional league squad during the fall. Brown pounded the zone at 93-95 mph with slightly above-average spin (2300-2400s) from an over-the-top slot, but his best pitch was an 84-87 mph slider with sharp, late tilt and tight spin close to 2800 rpm. He struck out all three batters he faced, all using that devastating slider. He didn’t even break out his changeup and his low-80s power curveball — he didn’t need them.
Watts-Brown figures to take over for departed All-American Justin Campbell as the staff ace, and he has obvious All-America potential in his own right, giving OSU a chance to match up with anybody on Friday nights. -- Excerpt written by D1Baseball.com's Aaron Fitt
Freshman of the Year: Jalin Flores, 3B, Texas
The Longhorns have several newcomers to watch. USC transfer pitcher Charlie Hurley will have a huge role, potentially even the weekend rotation, and TCU transfer outfielder Porter Brown had an impressive fall and made some tweaks with his swing and approach. The ‘Horns expect big things out of him this spring as well. But more than anyone, I’ve got my eye on freshman third baseman Jalin Flores. Flores, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, is advanced for his age and showed an impressive offensive approach in my look during fall ball. He has power in that frame of his and has massive upside. Don’t be surprised when he’s a Freshman All-American.