Follow Kendall Rogers on Twitter at @ysportsncaabb.
Coaches often say that players make the most improvement between their freshman and sophomore campaigns.
That's scary to consider for the ten players listed below.
Rice had high hopes for third baseman Anthony Rendon out of high school. He would've been a legitimately high draft pick, but made it known that he wanted to attend college. The Owls couldn't have enjoyed his services more last season, as he put together a fantastic campaign on the way to Rivals.com Freshman of the Year honors.
The Owls once again expect Rendon to have a productive campaign as a sensational sophomore this season.
Just down the road in Austin, Texas hopes right-handed pitcher Taylor Jungmann continues where he left off against LSU at the College World Series.
Florida's Preston Tucker will be a key ingredient to his team's ability to get to Omaha this season. Two-way star Danny Hultzen, meanwhile, could be the guy that carries Virginia to its first national title.
The nation's best sophomores are unveiled.
Anthony Rendon, Rice
It simply doesn't get any better than Rendon when it comes to the sophomore class. The reigning Rivals.com National Freshman of the Year had a fantastic first campaign with the Owls. He batted .388 with 14 doubles, a triple, 20 homers and 72 RBIs. He also ended the season with a .702 slugging percentage and a .461 on-base percentage. Rendon did finish last season with a .945 fielding percentage, but still has the ability to make plays that other third basemen simply can't make. The Owls expected a lot from Rendon in his career. But did they expect this much production? Probably not.
Preston Tucker, Florida
The Gators are full speed ahead after reaching an NCAA super regional last season. They have Tucker and plenty of others to thank for the state of the program. Tucker made a huge statement in his first campaign with the Gators. He finished last season with a .364 batting average, 13 doubles, three triples, 15 homers and 85 RBIs. He also slugged .628 and compiled a respectable .419 on-base percentage. Additionally, Tucker proved to be a solid defender by finishing the campaign with a .992 fielding percentage. Tucker definitely is one of the SEC's premier players.
Taylor Jungmann, Texas
There's not a better returning sophomore pitcher. Jungmann headed to Texas with high hopes, but few thought he'd tally the numbers he did last season. The outstanding right-hander made 10 starts and appeared in 25 games last season. He also threw a complete game. He compiled an 11-3 record and tallied a 2.00 ERA in 94 2/3 innings. Jungmann also struck out 101 and walked 35 and limited opposing teams to a .193 batting average. Jungmann is a reason the Longhorns have the nation's top returning pitching staff. Look for another fantastic campaign from the sophomore.
Danny Hultzen, Virginia
Hultzen established himself as one of the best two-way players as just a freshman last season. Hultzen was the ace pitcher for the Cavaliers. He also was a key hitter. As a pitcher, Hultzen made 16 starts and compiled a 2.17 ERA in 95 1/3 innings. He also struck out 107 and walked 28 and limited opposing teams to a .250 batting average. At the plate, Hultzen finished the season hitting .327 with eight doubles, a triple, three homers and 37 RBIs. He also slugged .422 and had a .410 on-base percentage. Jarrett Parker and other Cavaliers say Hultzen is the best player they've ever seen.
Noe Ramirez, Cal State Fullerton
Ramirez didn't pitch well in the College World Series, but that performance was far from indicative of his freshman campaign for the Titans. Ramirez had a fantastic first season with the Titans. He made 15 starts and 20 appearances and had a 9-2 record and a 3.33 ERA in 110 2/3 innings. He also struck out 100 and walked 24 and limited opposing teams to an incredibly low .227 batting average. Ramirez once again will team up with Daniel Renken to formulate one of the best weekend duos.
Matt Jensen, Cal Poly
Jensen had a tough injury that kept him from playing his entire freshman campaign last season, but he once again enters another season with high hopes. Jensen had a fantastic first season with the Mustangs. He finished third on the team in hitting with a .375 batting average. He also recorded 15 doubles, a triple, nine homers and 53 RBIs. Also, Jensen ended '09 with a .650 slugging percentage and a .493 on-base percentage. Jensen ended the season with a .950 fielding percentage. It'll be interesting to see if Jensen can stay healthy and emulate last season's success.
Sean Gilmartin, Florida State
The Seminoles thought starting pitching was a major concern entering last season, but Gilmartin silenced doubters with an incredibly strong freshman campaign. The talented left-hander made 15 starts and appeared in 18 games. He also compiled a 12-3 record and had a 3.49 ERA in 98 innings. Additionally, he struck out 83 and walked 37 and limited opposing teams to a .221 clip. Gilmartin also recorded two complete games and a save last season. Florida State once again is in fantastic shape if Gilmartin puts together another solid campaign. He certainly impressed last season.
Troy Channing, St. Mary's
The Gaels didn't have an impressive '09 campaign, but hope to take a step forward this season with the return of outstanding hitter Troy Channing. Channing blossomed on the scene as just a freshman last season. He led the team with a .379 batting average and also recorded 11 doubles, 20 homers and 75 RBIs. Channing also accumulated 149 total bases and ended the season with a .723 slugging percentage and a .463 on-base percentage. Channing could lower his strikeout total, but still is an excellent hitter. The Gaels need him to emulate last season's success.
Trevor Bauer, UCLA
Everyone knew about first-round pick Gerrit Cole entering his freshman campaign last season, but Bauer was another UCLA freshman that stole the show on the national stage. The fabulous right-hander dominated opposing hitters last season. He made 10 starts and 20 appearances and had a 2.99 ERA in 105 1/3 innings. Bauer also struck out 92 and walked 27 and threw four complete games. Additionally, opposing teams hit Bauer at just a .225 clip. Bauer once again teams up with Cole this season to formulate one of the nation's best one-two punches on the mound.
Matty Ott, Louisiana State
Ott was an important piece to LSU winning its sixth national title last season. For that and much more, he is one of the best returning sophomores. Ott was a pitcher beyond his years last season. He made 37 appearances for the national champions, recorded 16 saves and had a 4-2 record and a 2.68 ERA in 50 1/3 innings. Ott also struck out 69 batters and walked just six. He also limited opposing teams to a .237 batting average. The Tigers still aren't sure if Ott will stay closer or move to the weekend rotation. Either way, the righty has the attitude to once again flourish this season.
- Preston Tucker