The College Baseball World Series has officially begun, the race to Omaha has been nothing but special so far with crazy games and upsets already. But what five teams are most likely to take the championship?
Baseball is a crazy wild and obscure sport, making any team could beat any team at any moment. That’s the beauty of baseball, but coming with that is a crazy unknown with who the actual top dogs are. So looking back on this list after the College WS is over, we could see this list no where near correct. But, as of right now these are the top five teams I think have the best shot of winning it all.
5. #2 Texas (42-15, 17-7 Big 12)
Texas baseball is really good, you can see it in their seeding for the tournament, number 2! But, the fact of the matter is Big 12 baseball this season as weak. Winning the Big 12, honestly doesn’t look as good as winning the Conference USA this year. But that is at first glance, going deeper into it Texas has the 22nd SOS, now obviously SOS is an interesting, confusing, and sometimes misleading stat. Because SOS if not adapted from week to week, means that expected really good teams that ended up being really bad, are still counted as really good teams to the stat. So it’s really, really confusing, but at the end of the day this Texas team is still the 2nd seeded team in the tournament, so they’ll slot in at #5.
4. #5 Arizona (41-15, 21-9 Pac 12)
Arizona baseball has toppled the Pac-12 this year, which consistently is one of the best conferences in college baseball. The Wildcats have lots of underclassmen, Kobe Kato, Tony Bullard, Tanner O’Tremba, Nik McClaughry and more lead the path of dissolving Grand Canyon 12-6 in the Tucson Regional Opener. This team also has outstanding upperclassmen including Jacob Berry who leads the team with his 1.169 OPS. This team is talented and finds ways to win which the biggest thing you need to succeed in this tournament. Their pitching is not the greatest (4.47 Team ERA), but I think Arizona’s bats really make up for that and they pose a huge threat for all their opponents
3. #3 Tennessee (46-10, 20-10 SEC)
Tennessee baseball had a tremendous regular season, considering they are in the best conference in the nation, were the runner up in the SEC tournament, and finished 3rd in the final poll. They post a stacked lineup featuring Max Ferguson, Jake Rucker, Drew Gilbert and more. Along with good pitching, led by Chad Dallas, Sean Hunley and Blade Tidwell, the Vols definitely have the talent to make a run to Omaha. But after squeaking out a win against Wright State, this Tennessee team can definitely be beaten and it just goes to show that they are not invincible. But I do think this team is incredibly talented with lots of MLB talent, so with that the sky is the limit for the Volunteers.
2. #4 Vanderbilt (40-15, 19-10 SEC)
Vanderbilt had a really amazing start to the season, but as of late have been shook a little bit by hitters adapting better to their pitching staff. That being said, they still have Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, both assumed to be the top two picks of the MLB draft. They still have an amazing lineup, with 5 guys over a 1.000 OPS* and 4 batters in 47+ games played batting .295 and above this season. The Vandy boys are just so good, and it’s hard to leave them any lower on this list.
* 3 of the players have played in 15 games or less and one of them is a pinch hitter, but it shows how much depth they have off the bench.
1. #1 Arkansas (47-10, 22-8 SEC)
The Arkansas Razorbacks won their first ever SEC Championship this season, and are not going to stop at just that. Matt Goodheart, Cayden Wallace, Cullen Smith, Christian Franklin, Robert Moore, Charlie Welch, Casey Optiz, Jalen Battles and Braydon Webb. What a lineup, just stacked from top to bottom with guys who play great baseball. Winning the SEC itself just gets you on this list, but just going through the lineup really tells you how good this team is. Arkansas was down early 3-0 to NJIT in their College WS opener, then scored 10 unanswered runs to give them a 10-3 lead in the 5th. NJIT would make it a game, scoring 5 in the last 2 innings, but at the end of the day they were no match for Arkansas. This team is just loaded with talent, and I haven’t even talked about the pitching yet. Posting a 3.84 team ERA, and an b/avg of .226. This group is loaded, and almost seems destined for a College WS run.