Hitting Superstars of Tomorrow 2017

A Hand-full of Collegiate Sluggers to Keep Your Eye On

By TSC Analyst/Contributor DANIEL URBAN

LOMBARD  It's that time again!  Time to crown our NCAA hitting superstars of tomorrow for 2017.  We have a very talented list this year featuring players from big and small schools from all over the country.  So without further adieu let's get on with it!

Jessica Warren - Florida State - INF - Sophomore: 20 home runs, .380 batting average, 71 runs, 71 hits, 75 RBI, .765 slugging %

The top player on our list this year is Jessica Warren, a super slugging sophomore from Florida State.  Warren was in the top 10 in the nation in 2016 with 20 home runs.  She is one of the major reasons the Seminoles made it to the final four in the 2016 WCWS.  Unfortunately for Warren, the Seminoles season ended with the WCWS Semifinals, but with continued offense from Warren the Seminoles have a great shot to make it back to the WCWS in 2017 and maybe can take it to the next level.  Florida State finished the season 55-10 last year, but there is no reason to think the Seminoles will skip a beat in 2017—especially with Warren powering the team's offense.

Aleah Craighton - University of Louisiana at Lafayette - OF - Sophomore: 18 home runs, .378 batting average, 56 runs, 56 hits, 56 RBI, .851 slugging %

The first half of the UL Lafayette "Bash Sisters," Craighton turned in a top-notch performance in 2016 by smashing 18 home runs and ranking in the top 17 in the nation in home runs as a sophomore.  Aleah's power numbers were a huge reason the Ragin' Cajuns finished 49-6 in 2016, one of the best records in the country.  Unfortunately, despite ranking in the top five in the nation going into the post-season, the team did not make it out of the Super Regionals.  However, its talented duo of young power hitters has what it takes to lead the team back to glory in 2017.

DJ Sanders - University of Louisiana at Lafayette - SS - Sophomore: 18 home runs, .316 batting average, 43 runs, 50 hits, 58 RBI, .772% slugging %

The second half of the UL Lafayette "Bash Sisters" is DJ Sanders.  Sanders ranked in the top 17 in the nation in home runs in 2016, and turned in a solid batting average and slugging percentage to boot.  Sanders's bat helped power the Ragin' Cajuns to a conference title and a post-season run spoiled only by a devastating loss to eventual champion Oklahoma.  But given what DJ Sanders accomplished as a sophomore, there is nothing but optimism for UL Lafayette in 2017.

Kristin Cuyos - Texas A&M - SS - Sophomore: 16 home runs, .309 batting average, 38 runs, 51 hits, 1 RBI, .661 slugging %

Our only representative from the SEC, this year's #4 NCAA hitting superstar of the future is shortstop Kristin Cuyos.  Cuyos turned in a superb season with 16 home runs and a top 28 finish in the nation in home runs.  Texas A&M actually finished 39-20 and 10th out of 13 teams in the SEC, but a strong finish at the SEC tournament led the Aggies to a Regional tournament berth.  Unfortunately Texas A&M eventually lost out to UL Lafayette in the Regional.  If Cuyos can continue to improve her numbers in her last two years at Texas A&M, the Aggies might have a chance to improve their standings in the SEC and maybe make a bigger splash in the post-season.

Libby Suggs - BYU - C - Freshman: 18 runs, .319 average, 30 runs, 52 hits, 58 RBI, .724 slugging %

Libby Suggs is the lone freshman on our list this year.  But oh my does she deserve it!  Suggs ranked in the top 18 in the nation this year in home runs, and she also turned in solid RBI and slugging percentage numbers too.  I counted Suggs's numbers down a bit and dropped her to #5 on the list because she doesn't play in a power conference or come from a top softball school that plays ranked opponents, so she does not see the caliber of pitching any of the others on the list faced.  But her bat did help power BYU to an NCAA Regional spot before the Cougars were bounced by Missouri.  BYU is not a traditional softball powerhouse school, but with young players like Suggs to rally around, its recruiting could improve and the team could be poised to be a top contender in the near future.

There you have it!  Your 2016 NCAA hitting superstars of the future!  Read more.