Black College Nines’ 2021 HBCU Baseball Large School Conference Predictions

Black College Nines (BCN) predicts the large school order of finish for the 2021 Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) baseball season. We examine methodically and in detail teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) reviewing what teams need to reach the top of their respective conferences.

The large school 2021 season opens the weekend of February 19-21, with the Andre Dawson MLB Classic in New Orleans.

Black College Nines presents its predictions for the HBCU large school conferences and ball players who can help their teams reach the top:



2021 Predicted Order of Finish

(overall/conference won-loss records from the 2020 shortened season are indicated)

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)

Northern Division

1. Delaware State 3-12

2. Coppin State 3-10

3. Norfolk State 3-13

*University Maryland Eastern Shore – canceled its remaining 2020-21 athletic season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Southern Division

1. North Carolina A&T 7-10

2. Florida A&M 5-10

3. North Carolina Central 6-11

*Bethune-Cookman – canceled its remaining 2020-21 athletic season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Northern Division Preview:

Delaware State

The Hornets landed a very good recruiting class with exceptional newcomers. This looks like a very good year for DSU. They have three front line arms along with a strong back end in the bullpen. Offensively, the Hornets expect to be much improved and they are very excited about it. Key players to watch include UT Trey Paige, RHP Cole Bates, 2B John Weglarz, and 1B/RHP Krew Bouldin.

Coppin State

The offense will add speed to go station to station and power at the plate to put pressure on defenses. Pitching has depth, bullpen looks better than in recent years to go along with outfield speed. Coppin State is a young team with some hard throwing young arms. Key players include OF Marcos Castillo, RHP Aaron Rea, INF Eddie Javier, INF Toran Smith and RHP Tim Ruffino. 

Norfolk State 

The Spartans return a nucleus of veteran position players along with some talented young hitters. The offense, along with the versatility on the mound, make Norfolk State one of the teams to look out for in the MEAC. Key players include INF Alsander Womack and C Ty Hanchey. 

Southern Division Preview:

North Carolina A&T

The Aggies will finish atop of the MEAC South standings. They return a large group of experienced players on the field and on the mound. Loaded at every position and competitive. NCA&T’s strength is hitting, fielding, power at the plate. The Aggies had the top recruiting class in HBCU baseball’s large school division. Head coach Ben Hall says, “This is the most experienced team we’ve had in my tenure, and really excited about some of the offensive pieces that were added, through the 2020 recruiting class.” Players to watch include RHP Michael Johnson, LHP Ethan Chavis, RHP Cole Parks, RHP Evan Gates, SS Dustin Baber, SS, C Ryne Stanley, and INF Connor Knapp. 

Florida A&M 

The Rattlers return six position starters and five superb pitchers.This looks like a very good year for FAMU. Three front line arms on the weekend along with a strong back end in the bullpen. Offensively, they will be much improved. Key players to watch include 3B Tristen Cooper, RHP Kyle Coleman, RHP Jeremiah McCollum, OF Seyjuan Lawrence and 1B Jared Weber.

North Carolina Central 

The Eagles’ pitching rotation will be its strength in conference play. The returning quality arms in the pen will be a big boost. At the plate, with the additions of some transfers, North Carolina Central should be able to produce runs. Key returning players include RHP Austin Vernon, RHP Ryan Miller, RHP Luis DeLeon and SS Cam Norgren.

Black College Nines’ Pre-Season Elites selected from the MEAC:

First Team

UTL Vinny Bailey (North Carolina Central University)

OF Jared Weber (Florida A&M University)

C Ty Hanchey (Norfolk State University)

DH Luis DeLeon (North Carolina Central University)

P Josh Hancock (Florida A&M University)

RP Evan Gates (North Carolina A&T University)

Second Team

2B Tristen Cooper (Florida A&M University

SS Dustin Barber (North Carolina A&T University)

OF Marcos Castillo (Coppin State University)

C Colin Smith (North Carolina Central University)

P Ethan Chavis (North Carolina A&T University)



2021 Predicted Order of Finish

(overall/conference won-loss records from the 2020 shortened season are indicated)

Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)

East Division 

Alabama State 14-4

Jackson State 9-7

Alcorn State 5-7

Alabama A&M 3-14

Mississippi Valley State 0-15

West Division         

Texas Southern 7-12

Grambling State 6-10

Arkansas Pine Bluff 6-10

Southern 6-10

Prairie View A&M 4-15

East Division Preview:

Alabama State

The Hornets posted a 14-4 record last season and return nine position starters and five superb pitchers. Plus Alabama State landed one of the top recruiting class in the nation. This could be an Omaha team with the returning position players and quality of front-line arms, It could be a special year. The freshmen class is great and will compete to help achieve their goals. Key players to watch include RHP Jacknell Guzman and OF Jabronski Williams.

Jackson State

The Tiger posted a 9-7 record last season and return seven position playing starters and five key pitchers. Jackson State also landed another top-notch recruiting class and has a lot of depth at every position along with some young stars. They have the ability to start a veteran lineup as well as a young lineup. Will be solid defensively and pitch well too. Key players to watch include RHP Nikelle Galatas, OF Equon Smith and INF Wesley Reyes. 

Alcorn State 

This is my dark horse team to shock the SWAC in 2021. What stopped this team last season was the pandemic. They return key players from last year and have a number of returning veterans who have a lot of experience. The lineup can be one of the most productive in the SWAC and the young pitching talent has the potential to make a big impact from the start. Key players to watch include Black College Nines 2020 HBCU Baseball Large School Player of the Year OF Travaris Cole, OF Brandon Rembert, INF Tristin Garcia and Jose Fernandez. 

Alabama A&M

Six position playing starters are back along with six key pitchers. Along with a new head coach Elliott Jones, they have a talented roster and a strong recruiting class that features immediate impact players. Jones will bring team moral to the lineup. Players to watch include RHP Jose Figueroa, OF Brandon Moore and INF Trevor Berkemeyer.

Mississippi Valley State 

This team has the ability to change the landscape on the field and get some victories in the win column. MVSU has a core of returnees along with a talented group of newcomers that make up the team. The ball club has the ability to hit for average and power and also run offensively. They need pitching and power arms on the mound. Freshmen will see a ton of playing time this spring. But will it be enough? 

West Division Preview:

Texas Southern

The Tigers, with a 7-12 record last season returns nearly every starter. This team can hit for power, is aggressive on the base paths and has a lot of depth and experience among its pitching staff. One player to watch is OF Roderick Coffee, one of the most versatile players in the nation who can play any outfield position. He is a natural hitter with consistency at the plate, power and also has speed on the bases. Players to watch Utility Oscar Ponce, INF Justin Cooper and RHP Jacob Morin.

Grambling State

The Tigers posted a 6-10 record last season and return seven position starters and four key pitchers. Grambling also landed a top recruiting class. They have a lot of depth at every position along with some up and coming freshman. They have the ability to start a veteran lineup as well as a young lineup. Will be solid defensively and pitch well too. Key players to watch include INF Rafael Ramirez, OF Jahmoi Percival and Cameron Phelts.

Arkansas Pine Bluff

The Golden Lions return five position starters and a good pitching staff for 2021. Between a superb recruiting class, veteran talent which returns due to the shortened 2020 season and three talented transfers who are eligible immediately, UAPB has the potential for a big year.” Key players to watch include INF Jarficer Parker, DH/1B Nick Kreutzer and RHP Joel Barker.

Southern

New head coach Chris Crenshaw comes into the program to lead Southern University back to prominence. Southern has a very deep team, and several transfers will provide more options for the lineup. The pitching staff will be very good. They only lost one arm from last season and added some very talented newcomers. Key players to watch include OF Hampton Hudson, INF Bubba Thompson, LHP Jacob Snyder and RHP Joe Battaglia. 

Prairie View A&M

Prairie will have a host of pitchers who will make strong contributions to this year’s team. The PVAM baseball team will be more athletic, returning six position players who are projected to start this season. They were the top recruiting program in the SWAC in 2018 and it should pay dividends in 2021. This team will be faster and more aggressive on the base paths. Like head coach Auntwan Riggins, I expect this team to compete for a conference championship this year. Players to watch are RHP Kyle Smith and RHP Matthew Sandoval.

Black College Nines’ Pre-Season Elites selected from the SWAC:

First Team

1B Oscar Ponce (Texas Southern University)

2B Trista Garcia (Alcorn State University)

3B Miguel Medina (Grambling State University)

SS Wesley Reyes (Jackson State University)

OF Roderick Coffee (Texas Southern University)

OF Travaris Cole (Alcorn State University)

P Jacknell Guzman (Alabama State University)

P Jacob Snyder (Southern University) 

Second Team

1B Rafael Ramirez (Grambling State University)

3B Trenton Jamison (Alabama State University)

UTL Jabronski Williams (Alabama State University)

OF Cameron Phelts (Grambling State University)

OF Equon Smith (Jackson State University)

DH Victor Bueno (Texas Southern University)

P Kyle Smith (Prairie View A&M University)

P Austin King (Alabama State University)

RP Breon Pooler (Alabama State University) 

 

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