We are less than a week away from the start of college baseball and D1Baseball started releasing lists of the top players at each position. In this article, I will talk about which relief pitchers made D1Baseball’s top 50 list.
#1 RHP Tyson Neighbors (Kansas State)
Forget about being the best reliever in the Big 12, Tyson Neighbors was ranked as the best reliever in all of college baseball. Last season Neighbors capped a historic sophomore season where he shattered season-class records with a 1.85 ERA (10 ER, 48.2 IP) and a league-high 11 saves. He enters the 2024 season as a unanimous All-American. They call him the nation’s premier closer in college baseball for a reason. It’s because he’s that darn good.
#5 LHP Ben Abeldt (TCU)
As a true freshman last season at TCU, Ben led the team with 32 appearances out of the bullpen. He posted a 3.60 ERA and tallied 71 strikeouts in 55 innings of work. Opposing teams struggled against him as they had a .237 batting average. In 2023, Ben was an All-Big 12 freshman selection and was also named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team as well. Don’t be surprised if he ends up making a couple of starts on the mound this season if needed.
#17 RHP Justin Murray (Houston)
It’s not often you see two-way players this high on the list, but Justin Murray is the exception. Last season on the mound, Murray pitched over 40 innings and posted a 3.07 ERA. He also led Houston in saves (10) and didn’t allow a single home run during conference play a year ago in the AAC. What makes him such a threat is Justin can also do some damage at the plate as well as he led Houston in batting average (.379) and RBIs (58). On top of that, he also led the American Athletic Conference during conference play in batting average (.432)
#19 RHP Najer Victor (UCF)
Coming from the beautiful Virgin Islands is Najer Victor. Last season with the Knights, he made a total of 21 appearances and posted an ERA of 2.88. Najer managed to strike out 50 batters in just a little over 34 innings of work. At one point last year he tossed 14 no-hit innings over seven appearances which included his lone start at Bethune-Cookman. Even though he may be new to the Big 12, he looks to be one of the best relievers in the conference going into the 2024 season.
#34 RHP Ethan Lanthier (Kansas)
Transferring from St. Cloud State (I had to look that one up) to Kansas is right-hander Ethan Lanthier. It was reported in the Cape Cod League last summer that his fastball was reaching 98 mph and has a plethora of pitches. And speaking of the Cape Cod League, Ethan was an All-Star selection there as well. While he may start out as a closer for the Jayhawks, don’t be surprised if he ends up in the starting rotation as the season goes along.