DALLAS (NCBWA) – With a solid group of super seniors and youngsters who decided to stay with their 2022 squads in hopes of gaining the coveted NCAA Championship in Omaha, Neb., the 21st Annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Preseason All-America teams bring ample all-star talent into the 164th season of intercollegiate baseball.
Defending NCAA champion Mississippi State returns a pair of NCAA World Series all-tournament selections among the All-America selections. Relief ace Landon Sims (5-0 record, 1.44 earned run average, 13 saves, 100 strikeouts in 56-plus innings) is a first team member and may be used in a starting role this season. Junior catcher Logan Tanner (.287, 15 home runs, 53 RBI) joins his mate as a second team choice.
Numerous other 2021 World Series participants also return as All-America honorees. 2021 runner-up Vanderbilt has three representatives in first baseman Dominic Keegan (.345-15-57) and outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. (.336-1-38, 47 stolen bases) on the first unit and second teamer relief star Nick Maldonado (1-2, 2.31, 59 whiffs in 50-plus innings). CWS entry Texas 1B Ivan Melendez (.319-13-51) joins Longhorns pitchers Pete Hansen (9-1, 1.88, 80 strikeouts), Tristan Stevens (11-3, 3.31, 77 strikeouts), and Aaron Nixon (4-3, 2.12 9 saves) on one of the three pre-2022 squads.
Other familiar names from the 2021 national final eight contenders are NC State pitcher Sam Highfill (9-2, 3.66, 84 strikeouts), Tennessee pitcher Blade Tidwell (10-3, 3.74, 90Ks) and OF Jordan Beck (.264-15-64), Arizona catcher Daniel Susac (.335-12-65), and Stanford OF Brock Jones (.311-18-62) as they seek to bring their respective squads back to Omaha.
From this sterling group, there are 23 different conferences represented, along with 13 conference championships teams and 21 NCAA Regional teams from ’21, 23 total conferences and 60 different schools. The SEC, with 16 All-America choices, Big 12 with 12, and Atlantic Coast Conference with nine standouts topped all circuit selections.
Besides the CWS returnees, such stars as Texas Tech sophomore 2B Jace Jung (2021 Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year, .331-21-67, leading home run hitter on the first team), Central Michigan pitcher Andrew Taylor (11-4, 1.87, 125 strikeouts in 94-plus innings, most wins of pre-2022 first team starters), Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez (.355-12-55), and two LSU standouts – OF Dylan Crews (.362-18-42) and DH Jacob Berry (.352-17-70, RBI leader on the first team) - also grace the NCBWA dream teams.
Previous NCBWA All-America teams from 1996-2021 also have featured the likes of 3B Kris Bryant of San Diego, P Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State, 1B Mark Teixeira of Georgia Tech, RHP Mark Prior of USC, SS-2B Rickie Weeks of Southern U., 3B Alex Gordon of Nebraska, P David Price of Vanderbilt, C Buster Posey of Florida State, catcher Mike Zunino of Florida, OF Andrew Benintendi of Arkansas, and 1B-P Brendan McKay (2017 Dick Howser Trophy) of Louisville, among others.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. For more information about the NCBWA, visit the association's official Web site, www.ncbwa.com. The preseason All-America squads are considered the first step toward the eventual selection of the 2021 Dick Howser Trophy presented by the Game Headwear and voted upon for 24 seasons by members of the NCBWA.
For more information on the NCAA Division I All-America team, contact NCBWA Assistant Executive Director Mike Montoro of West Virginia University at 304-293-2821.