In sports, the prospect is a word used for any player whose rights are owned by a professional sports team. However, prospects are yet to surpass a threshold where they achieve rookie status or is not established with the team yet. These individuals can sometimes be assigned to farm teams or loaned to lower-ranked teams and they may even decide to go back to college to play. Usually, major-league professional sports teams also trade prospects on their own using draft picks or with current major-leaguers, to acquire another prospect or an established major league player. Furthermore, teams that trade away several of their star players for other teams’ prospects are sometimes said to be having a fire sale. Just like any country, America has its own prospects for a variety of sports that are chosen based on their performance.
Baseball prospects are players that are eligible to earn baseball scholarships and to play on college teams. These prospects are either selected during high school to join and play for certain college/university teams or selected during college years to go pro and make a career as a baseball player. The main goals for most prospects are to be amongst the group of baseball recruits.
Following is a list of a few of the best American college baseball prospects:
Matthew Michael McLain, also known as Matt McLain, was born on August 6, 1999, and currently plays as a shortstop for the UCLA Bruins in American college baseball. McLain attended Arnold O. Beckman High School in California and committed to play college baseball for UCLA. During his senior year in high school, he batted .369 with three home runs. Matt McLain was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft, but he did not sign and instead chose to enrol at UCLA. In 2018, he played for the Bellingham Bells in the West Coast League and was awarded the Top Prospect Award. In 2019, he appeared in 61 games as a freshman at UCLA, in which he slashed .203/.276/.355 with four home runs and thirty RBIs. Also, that same summer, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League and was West division MVP of the league’s all-star game. In 2020, McLain played in thirteen games and batted .397 with four home runs.
Kenneth Jaden Hill, also known as Kenneth Jaden Hill, was born December 22, 1999, and currently plays as a pitcher for the LSU Tigers in American college baseball. Hill attended Ashdown High School in Arkansas, where he played football and baseball. In 2017, he accepted an invitation to play in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field. In 2018, he went 7–0 with a 0.51 ERA alongside batting .540 with 11 home runs. Also, this resulted in him earning the title of Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year. Later, he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 38th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft but did not sign. Consecutively, he enrolled at Louisiana State University to play college baseball for the LSU Tigers. During his freshman season at LSU, Hill made two starts and pitched two innings before undergoing surgery on his collarbone that inevitably forced him to miss the remainder of the season. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Week and an All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Ty Madden currently plays as a pitcher for the Texas Longhorns in American college baseball. Initially, Madden grew up in Cypress, Texas and attended Cypress Ranch High School, where he was rated a top-100 collegiate recruit and high school prospect for the MLB Draft. First, he was dedicated to playing college baseball at Rice before switching to Texas going into his senior year. Madden got selected in the 34th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals but chose not to sign with the team. He pitched in 15 games with eight starts as a freshman, posting a 4-1 record with 3.40 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched. He served as the Longhorns’ Saturday starter as a sophomore and went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts. T Madden entered his redshirt sophomore season on the watchlist for the Golden Spikes Award and a preseason All-American by multiple outlets, as well as a top pitching prospect in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.
Jack Thomas Leiter, also known as Jack Leiter, was born on April 21, 2000, and currently plays as a pitcher for the Vanderbilt Commodores. Initially, he attended Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey, where he played baseball and was teammates with Anthony Volpe. In 2018, he played in 2018 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game and on the USA Baseball 18U National Team in Panama City during the 2018 COPABE Pan-American Championships. Leiter helped his Team USA win a gold medal, and later as a senior at Delbarton in 2019, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Jersey. He was 6-0 with a 0.54 ERA along with batting .364 at the time of his selection, and he was considered to be a top prospect for the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. However, due to his strong commitment to Vanderbilt University, he was not selected until the 20th round by the New York Yankees. He did not sign with them and instead enrolled at Vanderbilt to play college baseball.
Kumar Rocker, born on November 22, 1999, currently plays as a pitcher for the Vanderbilt Commodores. He is from Watkinsville, Georgia, and he attended North Oconee High School in Bogart, Georgia. In 2017, as a junior, Rocker had a 1.63 earned run average (ERA) with 68 strikeouts in 55+2⁄3 innings. During summer, he played in the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game and Perfect Game All-American Classic and for the USA Baseball 18U National Team. Rocker is committed to his university to play college baseball and was considered one of the top prospects for the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. However, he was not selected till the 38th round by the Colorado Rockies because of certain concerns. Consequently, he enrolled at Vanderbilt in the Fall of 2018. In 2019, Rocker became the first pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in the Super Regional round during the 2019 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. His recorded 19 strikeouts as Vanderbilt beat Duke 3–0 are popular among college baseball.
Adrian Del Castillo
Adrian Del Castillo plays as a college baseball catcher for the Miami Hurricanes. His career as a player started at Gulliver Preparatory Academy in Miami, Florida, where he played baseball, and as a senior, he hit .527 with 15 home runs and 35 RBIs. Later, he was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 36th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. However, he did not sign and, as an alternative, enrolled at the University of Miami. In 2019, Castillo started 61 games and hit .331/.418/.576 with 12 home runs and 72 RBIs. He has spent a majority of his time in the right field but also spent time at catcher, third base, and designated hitter. Castillo was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman Team and Second Team alongside earning Freshman-All American honours from various outlets. Furthermore, he has played in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Wareham Gatemen, and in 2020, Del Castillo was expected to shift primarily to catching. But he hit .358 with two home runs and 15 RBIs over 16 starts.
Judson Fabian, also known as Jud Fabian, was born on September 27, 2000, and plays as an outfielder for the Florida Gators. His career started when he attended Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida, where he played baseball. In 2018, he batted .453 with 11 home runs and played in the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field that summer. Later, Fabian graduated from high school early and enrolled at the University of Florida to play college baseball in January 2019. Consecutively, he played in 56 games, out of which he started 54 games and batted .232 with seven home runs, 26 RBIs, and seven stolen bases. Jud Fabian also played in the Cape Cod Baseball League with the Bourne Braves and was the youngest ever selection to Cape Cod League All-Star Team. Furthermore, in 2020, he batted .294 with five home runs and 13 RBIs over 17 games. Fabian played in the Florida Collegiate Summer League that summer, batting .304 with two home runs and 11 RBIs alongside a .971 fielding percentage over 19 games.
Henry Davis currently plays as a catcher for the American college baseball team, Louisville Cardinals. He was born on September 21, 1999, and attended Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York. During his junior year, he hit .429 and in his senior year, he batted .441 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. Davis was named the Perfect Game New York Player of the Year, the Section 1 Player of the Year, and also earned all-state honours. Later, he was undrafted in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft and enrolled at the University of Louisville. During his freshman season, he appeared in 45 games, out of which he started 35 and batted .280 with three home runs and 23 RBIs. In 2020, Davis hit .372 with three home runs and 13 RBIs over 14 games. His jersey number is 32, and he both bats and throws with his right hand.
Richard Fitts currently plays as a pitcher for the American college baseball team, the Auburn Tigers. His career started in the place where he grew up named Helena, Alabama, where he attended Helena High School. During his senior year, he went 6-5 on the mound with a 1.68 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings. Fitts started seeing more consistent playing time towards the end of his freshman season and made two appearances in the College World Series. Consecutively, he finished the year with a 5.31 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings pitched. Overall, Fitts made six appearances with a 1-0 record and 2.77 an ERA with 16 strikeouts before the season ended. He also entered his Junior season on the watchlist for the Golden Spikes Award.
Jordan Wicks was born on September 1, 1999, and currently plays as a pitcher for the American college baseball team, Kansas State Wildcats. His career started at Conway High School in Conway, Arkansas, where he played baseball and football. In 2018, Wicks went 11-1 with a 0.86 ERA during his senior year and finished his high school career with a school-record 1.39 ERA. Jordan Wicks was undrafted in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft, and he enrolled at Kansas State University to play college baseball. In 2019, he started fifteen games and posted a 6-3 record with a 3.61 ERA in his freshman year at Kansas State. Later, he was named the Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year and set freshman program records with 86 strikeouts, and 84+2⁄3 innings pitched. Jordan Wicks started four games in 2020 and gave up one earned run over 26 innings for a 0.35 ERA before the college baseball season was ended. He played in the Northwoods League, compiling a 0.52 ERA with 52 strikeouts over 34+2⁄3 innings. Before the 2021 season, he was unanimously named the Big 12 Conference Preseason Pitcher of the Year.