The 2023 college baseball season is just about here, and we have a ton of talent returning to the mound this season. Last season, Oregon State's Cooper Hjerpe was named the National Pitcher of the Year after finished the 2022 season with an 11-2 record, a 2.53 ERA and 161 strikeouts. The race is on for this season's Pitcher of the Year, and we already have multiple frontrunners.
Take a look at this list of some of the top arms to watch this season across the NCAA:
Paul Skenes — LSU
Paul Skenes highlights this list after transferring from Air Force to LSU for the 2023 season. The two-way player is a big reason why LSU enters the season as D1Baseball's No. 1 preseason team. As a sophomore last season, he recorded a 2.96 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 85.2 innings (15 starts) while limiting opponents to a .224 batting average. On top of that, he also batted .314 with 10 doubles, 13 homers and 38 RBI. Extremely productive on the mound, at the plate and one of the top names in college baseball for this season.
Chase Dollander — Tennessee
Now this guy right here highlights perhaps the best pitching staff in the nation. And according to the D1baseball guys (Kendall Rogers and Aaron Fitt), he is the best starting pitcher heading into the season. The numbers don't lie. The 2022 SEC Pitcher of the Year went 10-0 last season on the mound with a 2.47 ERA, 108 strikeouts to just 13 walks and a .174 opponent batting average. He is joined by two other top arms ⬇️
Chase Burns — Tennessee
So speaking of this dangerous Tennessee rotation, look no further than Chase Burns. He was the 2022 D1baseball Freshman of the Year after finishing with a 2.86 ERA and 103 Ks last season. He should be another key part of the weekend rotation.
Drew Beam — Tennessee
To round out the weekend rotation, Drew Beam is back after a stellar freshman season. He finished 2022 with a 2.72 ERA and an 8-1 record, (8-0 in the regular season). He has just 62 strikeouts but gets outs in other ways.
Rhett Lowder — Wake Forest
Next, take a look at Wake Forest's Rhett Lowder. The Demon Deacons enter the season as D1Baseball's No. 6 team after finishing 2022 unranked. This arm on the mound is a big part of it. D1baseball’s Fitt recently told me he thinks Lowder is the only pitcher that rivals Dollander for best in the country. He is the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year after finishing with a 3.08 ERA and 105 strikeouts.
Tanner Hall — Southern Miss
Tanner Hall put up some crazy numbers at Southern Miss last season with a 9-3 record, 2.81 ERA and 146 strikeouts to just 14 walks. Quite the ratio.
Hurston Waldrep — Florida
Waldrep will be a player to watch in the SEC this season. The hard throwing righty played two seasons at Southern Miss before transferring to the Gators ahead of 2023. He fanned 140 a season ago and held batters to a .213 average with a 3.20 ERA.
Ryan Bruno — Stanford
Head over to the West Coast and take a look at Ryan Bruno. Pitching in relief, he allowed just two runs over 10.2 innings during the Cardinal’s postseason run to the 2022 Men’s College World Series. He finished the 2022 season with a 6-1 record, 2.72 ERA in 39.2 IP and 71 strikeouts.
Andrew Walters — Miami (Fla.)
Walters had some of the best relief numbers last season with a 1.65 ERA, 62 strikeouts to just SIX walks, not to mention a .116 opponent batting average. He returns to Miami this season as a D1Baseball preseason First-Team All American.
Hunter Elliott — Ole Miss
Elliot over at Ole Miss is back — a College World Series hero last year as just a freshman. He started in the national championship clinching game, holding Oklahoma’s lineup at bay through 6.2. The southpaw finished second on the team with a 2.70 era and 102 Ks.
Juaron Watts-Brown — Oklahoma State
One last arm to watch — Watts-Brown who enters the season as D1baseball’s Preseason Big 12 pitcher of the Year. He posted a 3.68 ERA with 110 strikeouts a year ago.