We’re just over a week away from the start of the season and D1Baseball has released their 2022 college baseball rankings. The SEC leads all conferences with eight teams in the top 25, including four in the top five. The ACC also has a strong showing in the rankings with six teams, followed by the Big 12 (4), Pac-12 (3), and Big West (2). Even the American Athletic Conference and Missouri Valley Conference have one team each in the top 25. The road to Omaha could never be more interesting than this year as we near the start of the 2022 college baseball season.
College Baseball Rankings: 2022 D1Baseball Top Five
5. Ole Miss (2021 Rank: 6)
Ole Miss finds themselves near the top of the college baseball rankings yet again and even jumps a spot from 2021’s preseason rankings. The Rebels finished last season with a 45-22 record but fell short in the Super Regional. Eight position starters return from last season, meaning the offense with be just as powerful as in 2021. Offensive leaders in Jacob Gonzalez (3.55 BA; 12 HR) and Kevin Graham return (.342 BA; 14 HR) along with their home run leader Tim Elko from last season after injuring his ACL last April.
One concern heading into the college baseball season in their rotation. Ole Miss loses their top-two starters and an All-American closer. They only return two starting pitchers from last season, which is a concern. The Rebels bring back some relief help from the bullpen but a lot of their roles are up in the air. Even with these question marks, Ole Miss has a real chance to finally get over the hump and win the College World Series.
4. Mississippi State (2021 Rank: 7)
2021 marked the third consecutive year that Mississippi State has punched their ticket to the College World Series. This time around, they claimed the National Championship and it never felt better. Now they come into 2022 looking to defend their title and make it back-to-back championships. The Bulldogs rank 4th in the college baseball rankings and you can contribute that to some of the great talent they’ve brought back. They return six position players and have added some new talent that should put this team’s offense above last year. This team has so much talent on the field that it may be hard to find spots for notable players.
Not only does the offense return key power bats, but the bullpen returns a few key arms to add even more depth to this team. Mississippi State only returns one starter from the rotation but there’s plenty of potential to be seen, including 2021 reliever Landon Sims, who could be a first-round pick in the MLB Draft as the season moves on. He’s of many with high upsides that could join the starting rotation in 2022. With the power on offense in this lineup and the tools this pitching staff could use to their advantage, Mississippi State could have another chance to win two consecutive College World Series titles.
3. Vanderbilt (2021 Rank: 4)
Year in and year out, Vanderbilt always is one of the favorites to win the National Championship and their college baseball rankings for 2022 indicates that. They are coming off being National Runners-up to Mississippi State last season and can certainly make another run. Even with losing two elite pitchers like Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, the Commodores return three pitchers who’ve started more than a handful of games last season. They also have some viable candidates to fill a couple of spots. Not a whole lot of experience is strapped to the starting rotation, but there’s talent waiting to be unleashed this season.
This team lost three key starting position players, but return the likes of Dominic Keegan and Enrique Bradfield, both of which started in 60 or more games and batted over .330 with close to 40 RBI’s. Vanderbilt also likes their chances with some of the reserves from 2021 getting a chance to show what they’re made of in the field and at the plate. Hitting for average is this team’s strong suit, something that can make them even more dangerous. Grouping with this team is a couple of big arms in the bullpen, which Vanderbilt hopes helps this team make another strong run at a National Championship.
2. Arkansas (2021 Rank: 8)
The Razorbacks had a very strong 2021, finishing 50-13 but ultimately falling short in the Super Regional. They come into this season losing a lot of talent on the offensive side and in the starting rotation. Arkansas will lose six position players from last season, four full-time and two part-time starters. Six pitchers were also lost coming into the season, three of which were starters. The Razorbacks also lost a reliable SEC starter coming into this season due to Tommy John Surgery. This team also has to find a new closer.
All of that being said, many still have Arkansas as one of the best teams in the country despite a lot of question marks. They added a few transfers to fill in for the position players lost this past offseason and freshman Peyton Stovall is highly regarded to break out in his first season. The Razorbacks also like the different types of talent fighting for spots in the rotation and the different roles in the bullpen. Parts of this team might be inexperienced and that might give people pause but there’s a reason why Arkansas is successful under head coach Dave Van Horn.
1. Texas (2021 Rank: 9)
Mississippi State got in multiple teams’ way en route to their National Championship and that includes Texas. After falling just short last season, they enter 2022 as the number one team in the country and have a score to settle. The Longhorns have lost a couple of huge pieces entering this season but they return almost all of their talent, which is bad news for other teams. Even though they lost their ace, Tristan Stevens leading this pitching staff has them in good hands.
Ivan Melendez will lead this offense again this season after batting over .300 last season with 13 home runs and 51 RBI’s. He’ll be followed by guys like Trey Faltine and Mitchell Daly among others to solidify the star-power of this offense. There aren’t too many concerns for this team heading into the season and that’s why they’re the number one team in the D1 college baseball rankings.
D1 Top 25 Rankings (6-25)
7. Oklahoma State
10. NC State
11. Florida State
12. East Carolina
13. Notre Dame
14. Texas State
18. Oregon State
20. UC Irvine
21. Georgia Tech
22. Dallas Baptist
24. Long Beach State