2021 Top 25 College Sophomores
We at Softball America are gearing up for the much-anticipated 2021 college softball season by rolling out a series of rankings that feature the best NCAA players in the game today.
Below, we tackled a ranking of the top 25 players who were listed as college sophomores by their respective programs at the time this ranking was put together. Some of these players held onto their sophomore distinction based on their school's ability to grant them an extra year of NCAA eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several of the players on this list are true sophomores.
Megan FaraimoUCLA PNotes:
2020 stats: 13-1, 0.85 ERA, 90.1 IP, 149 SO
Scouting Report: Faraimo was the best player in softball in 2020. She returns this season with Rachel Garcia back in the fold as well which should be the best pitching rotation in the nation.
Kinzie HansenOklahoma INF/CNotes:
2020 stats: .413 BA, 31 H, 20 R, 6 2B, 4 HR, 26 RBI 1.125 OPS
Scouting Report: It didn't take long for Kinzie Hansen to be a major contributor for the Sooners. Early on, she took hold of the first base position while hitting in the 3-hole of the lineup. She led Oklahoma in RBI in 2020.
Kelley LynchWashington P/UTLNotes:
2020 stats: .288 BA, 19 H, 14 R, 5 2B, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 1.104 OPS / 4-0, 3.03 ERA, 37 IP, 41 SO
Scouting Report: No moment felt too big for Lynch in her freshman year. She provided valuable innings in the circle and a lot of power at the plate. Year two seems like a huge stepping stone for Lynch to launch toward stardom.
Nia CarterIowa INFNotes:
2020 stats: .520 BA, 26 H, 7 R, 2 2B, 3B, 8 RBI, 1.147 OPS
Scouting Report: Carter led the Big Ten in batting average last season. She played a paramount part in the Hawkeye lineup, and appears to be a huge part of it for the future as well.
Kelli GodinUCLA OFNotes:
2020 stats: .409 BA, 18 H, 16 R, 2B, RBI, .922 OPS
Scouting Report: For all the power UCLA has in its lineup, Godin is a player who constantly gets on base and hits for average. She's been a key part for the Bruins and helping improve the RBI numbers for the middle of the lineup.
Alynah TorresArizona State INFNotes:
2020 stats: .395 BA, 34 H, 22 R, 6 2B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 1.271 OPS
Scouting Report: Arizona State lost Jade Gortarez to the transfer portal before the season and it didn't skip a beat with Torres. Over the course of her freshman year, Torres fit right in with the powerful Sun Devil offense. She finished top three on the team in average, home runs and RBI.
Montana FoutsAlabama PNotes:
2020 stats: 3-3, 2.04 ERA, 37.2 IP, 41 SO
Scouting Report: Fouts wasn't as spectacular last year as her true freshman season. However, she was still really good after a slow start to the season in 2020. The Alabama pitching staff as a whole should once again be very good.
Kelsey BennettVirginia Tech INFNotes:
2020 stats: .368 BA, 25 H, 15 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 1.305 OPS
Scouting Report: After a stellar true freshman season, Bennett picked up where she left off last season. She led Virginia Tech in home runs and RBI. Bennett also had a better fielding percentage last season and looks to continue her growth in the middle of the Hokies' lineup in 2021.
Georgia ClarkLSU INFNotes:
2020 stats: .429 BA, 24 H, 18 R, 5 2B, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 1.280 OPS
Scouting Report: Clark was LSU's best hitter in 2020. The youthful injection to the Tigers' offense paired with their pitching staff make them a force in 2021 to look out for.
Rylee TrlicekFlorida PNotes:
2020 stats: 9-2, 1.99 ERA, 52.2 IP, 28 SO
Scouting Report: How did Florida make up for the graduation of Kelly Barnhill? They signed Rylee Trlicek. She won Softball America's Freshman Pitcher of the Year award, and now she gets a full season against an SEC slate and a chance to become one of the best pitchers in the SEC.
Shelby WickershamLSU PNotes:
2020 stats: 5-1, 0.40 ERA, 35.1 IP, 31 SO
Scouting Report: Part of the Tigers' incredible four-arm pitching staff, Wickersham led the team with a 0.40 ERA last season. In all six of her outings in 2020, she went at least five innings and never surrendered more than one run in a game. Plus, she threw a no-hitter against Sam Houston State.
Kathryn SandercockFlorida State PNotes:
2020 stats: 9-1, 2.19 ERA, 60.2 IP, 35 SO
Scouting Report: Joined by Caylan Arnold in the circle in 2020, Sandercock built on her good freshman season. Last year, she had impressive outings against UCLA and Baylor. Another season with Arnold and Sandercock should set Florida State up to have another solid pitching staff in 2021.
Ali KilponenLSU PNotes:
2020 stats: 6-1, 2 SV, 0.58 ERA, 36 IP, 49 SO
Scouting Report: Kilponen joins Wickersham on this list with similar stats. She only allowed three runs across 36 innings in 2020. She was also used at the end of key games against Oklahoma State and Louisiana.
Sydney KumaGeorgia INFNotes:
2020 stats: .438 BA, 32 H, 28 R, 8 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 1.234 OPS
Scouting Report: Kuma jumped into Georgia's starting shortstop role and took off with it for the Bulldogs. In 2020, she led the team in average as a true freshman. If her production with the glove catches up to her bat, Georgia looks to have found itself a star.
Jenna GreenePresbyterian College PNotes:
2020 stats: 13-2, 1.24 ERA, 107 IP, 128 SO
Scouting Report: Greene may not be known across the softball world, but she should be for her work in the Big South last season. Across 107 innings, she gave up just 19 runs. Greene also tossed six shutouts.
Jazmine HillArizona State OFNotes:
2020 stats: .358 BA, 29 H, 31 R, 9 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 1.184 OPS
Scouting Report: In the ferocious Sun Devil lineup, there was Kindra Hackbarth then Hill and Torres. Providing a lot of run opportunities in the two-spot, Hill's 31 runs ranked her fifth overall in the category. Trisha Ford will look for more of the same from her two sophomores on this list.
Bailey MiskenColgate PNotes:
2020 stats: 7-3, 1.02 ERA, 68.1 IP, 71 SO
Scouting Report: The rest of the Patriot League probably isn't too happy that Misken will be around for another three years at least. The Colgate pitcher was excellent in her first year. Misken only allowed 10 earned runs and a home run in 68.1 innings pitched.
Avery ClarkOhio State INFNotes:
2020 stats: .444 BA, 24 H, 7 R, 3 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 1.270 OPS
Scouting Report: Only behind Nia Carter, Avery Clark was second in batting average in the Big Ten. The Buckeye first baseman led Ohio State in home runs in 2020. She also had a perfect fielding percentage.
Rylea SmithKentucky OFNotes:
2020 stats: .420 BA, 37 H, 29 R, 6 2B, 3B, 30 RBI, .935 OPS
Scouting Report: There was Bailey Vick, Alex Martens and then there was Rylea Smith in Kentucky's lineup last year. Despite not having a home run in 2020, Smith drove in 30 runs as a freshman and scored another 29. Smith will need to bring similar results in 2021 with the departure of Vick and Martens.
Johneisha RoweFlorida Gulf Coast OFNotes:
2020 stats: .481 BA, 39 H, 25 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, HR, 14 RBI, 1.122 OPS
Scouting Report: Rowe was the only ASUN player to finish inside the nation's top 20 batting averages last season. She also led the team in stolen bases and runs score, as well as playing a game in each outfield spot for the Eagles.
Makena SmithCal CNotes:
2020 stats: .481 BA, 37 H, 21 R, 7 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 1.239 OPS
Scouting Report: After a freshman year performance that earned her All-Pac-12 and All-Freshman Team honors, Smith got even better in 2020. She led Cal in batting average, OPS, doubles, home runs and hits, all while she guided a young pitching staff behind the plate.
Rachel CidOregon INFNotes:
2020 stats: .387 BA, 29 H, 22 R, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 1.178 OPS
Scouting Report: Cid provided a power bat for the high-flying 2020 Oregon Ducks. She was the team leader in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage. Her seven home runs nearly matched her nine from her Pac-12 All-Freshman season the year prior.
Alicyn GreteArmy P/UTLNotes:
2020 stats: .472 BA, 25 H, 15 R, 2 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1.170 OPS / 3-5, 5.32 ERA, 48.2 IP, 36 SO
Scouting Report: Army's leading hitter, Grete's batting average was top 30 in the country. Grete's numbers in the circle weren't great, but she was able to provide her batting numbers while leading the team in innings pitched. If her pitching numbers can reach the level she bats at, Army will have a scary player.
Shannon DohertyUCF INFNotes:
2020 stats: .443 BA, 27 H, 8 R, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 1.048 OPS
Scouting Report: UCF had a great 2020 season, much in part to Shannon Doherty's bat. She led the Knights in batting average and finished toward the top in slugging percentage, total bases and hits.
Ramsay LopezNew Mexico State INFNotes:
2020 stats: .434 BA, 23 H, 19 R, 3 2B, 9 HR, 19 RBI, 1.592 OPS
Scouting Report: Lopez's nine home runs matched the likes of Kentucky's Alex Martens, Duke's Caroline Jacobsen and Iowa State's Sami Williams. Her 1.000 slugging percentage ranked third in the nation in 2020.