Top 5 NCAA Junior Hitters

Compiling this list was not an easy one as this is one of the most talent filled classes we have ever seen. The order of this list can be debated all day long as any one of these players could have a case made for them to be named “number one” in this highly coveted class of Juniors. Much like I update my Top 25 Prospects list, this list will also begin to be updated during the college season as we head towards the 2008 draft. Our first installment of these lists are the top hitters in the junior class which will be followed by the top pitchers of the junior class sometime down the road. As always, please feel free to comment your feelings on anything regarding this list.

[1] Brett Wallace | 1B | Arizona State
The Wallace vs. Alvarez argument of who should be the number one junior is one that is going on everywhere across the country. I’m giving the edge to Wallace because his stats are a little bit better in two very important categories (OBP and strikeouts). As the biggest offensive weapon in all of the juniors class, Wallace destroyed opposing pitchers through all of last season. Named the 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year, the first baseman ripped a .404/.484/.687 line with 17 doubles, 16 homers, 78 RBI and 12 stolen bases all the while compiling a massive 182 total bases for Arizona State. Wallace’s numbers were so superior that he picked up the Triple Crown as well as lead the Pac-10 in seven offensive categories. His raw, gap-to-gap power is truly a sight to be seen and can even handle a glove as he finished with only four errors on the season. Wallace may not be tops on everyone’s list, but here certainly is on mine.

[2] Pedro Alvarez | 3B | Vanderbilt
It took a pretty incredible player to knock Pedro Alvarez out of the top spot but that doesn’t mean he isn’t out of reach from claiming it. Like Wallace, Alvarez is a masher and put together yet another solid year for Vanderbilt. The third baseman posted some great numbers with a .386/.463/.684 line with 21 doubles, 18 homers and 68 RBI as well as compiling 186 total bases. Many feel that Alvarez will most likely be the number one pick in the upcoming 2008 draft with his incredible bat skills and monster power. Defensively the jury is still out on him as he isn’t a bad third baseman but isn’t a great one either. Regardless, my guess is based on his past performance as well as what he has yet to accomplish, he will most likely land the top spot in the 2008 draft.

[3] Justin Smoak | 1B | South Carolina
Yet another first baseman lands in the top five with the switch-hitter Justin Smoak. Smoak made a huge impact in his freshman season with the Gamecocks which got everyone’s attention. For his encore performance in his sophomore season, the first baseman posted a .315/.434/.631 line with 16 doubles, 22 home runs and 72 RBI with a grand total of 164 total bases. What makes this kid so special is his incredible eye at the plate, especially for a power hitter, as he has amassed more walks than strikeouts in each of his first two seasons. Smoak also posses a very sweet swing with the ability to hit productively from both sides of the plate as well as having power to all fields. Smoak is a shoe in to be in the top 10 of the 2008 MLB draft.

[4] Kyle Russell | OF | Texas
Our fourth offensive player in the top five brings us the slugging outfielder from the Longhorns, Kyle Russell. This youngster seems to hit everything hard and his numbers showed it putting up a .336/.456/.807 line with 11 doubles, a Longhorn record 28 homers and 71 RBI which all added up to 180 total bases. Other than a strong arm in the outfield, his defense is pretty average. What will make or break this kid when he moves to the next level is his consistency in making good solid contact. Russell has the tendency to strikeout a lot (set Cape Cod League record for strikeouts) so he will need to improve in this area before becoming an elite prospect. For now his power is more than enough to bring attention his way.

[5] Yonder Alonso | 1B | Miami
Yet another hard-hitting first baseman makes the list with Yonder Alonso from Miami. Named the top first baseman in the Cape Cod League in 2007, he definitely made a name for himself this past season. As for his year with the Hurricanes, Alonso hit .376/.519/.705 with 13 doubles, 18 homers and 74 RBI while amassing 148 total bases. His defense is nothing to get excited about as he has a lot of room for improvement. Look for him to continue to develop his power, especially during the upcoming season, as we draw closer and closer to the 2008 draft.

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2 Responses to Top 5 NCAA Junior Hitters

  1. erik says:

    I like Russell, but not that much. I don’t think he’d even be in my top 5. His utter failure to hit in summer leagues is pretty disconcerting. Wallace is a tremendous hitter, but he’s a future DH, limiting some of his value.

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