Underrated Players Who Could Have A Breakout 2021
A new college softball season is finally here. With the shortened 2020 campaign behind us, college softball student-athletes now have a chance to prove that last season's statistics can be sustained or even improved upon.
Read below to see the players who we believe have the ability to have a breakout year in 2021. Each player made an impact in 2019 as a freshman to help her program advance to the Women’s College World Series.
Junior, SS, Oklahoma State
Kiley Naomi jumped onto the scene at Oklahoma State, earning the starting spot at shortstop and immediately impressing with her bat and as a defensive anchor.
As a freshman, Naomi finished Oklahoma State's 2019 WCWS season with a .258 batting average, six home runs and 18 RBI. In the shortened 2020 season, though, Naomi improved her statistics in every category and ended with a .355 batting average, eight home runs and 19 RBI as a sophomore.
With a breakout season from Naomi, the Cowgirls—with Alysen Febrey, Carrie Eberle, Sydney Pennington and company—would have an opportunity to make another run to Oklahoma City in 2021.
Junior, OF, Oklahoma State
Chyenne Factor—like Kiley Naomi—made an impact quickly at Oklahoma State, helping the Cowgirls to a WCWS appearance in 2019.
As a freshman that season, Factor finished with a .338 batting average, nine home runs and 39 RBI. You also may remember the spectacular catch she made against Washington in the WCWS to rob Amirah Milloy of a home run.
In the shortened season, Factor ended with a .305 batting average and nine RBI as a sophomore. She will look to return to form at the plate this year and continue her defensive prowess in the outfield, which should help to improve the Cowgirls' chances to return to the WCWS.
Junior, OF, Washington
Sami Reynolds has made a name for herself at Washington with spectacular catches in the outfield, including in the WCWS in 2019.
As a freshman, Reynolds finished with a .330 batting average, five home runs and 43 RBI. In the shortened 2020 season, Reynolds ended with a .424 batting average, three home runs and 19 RBI as a sophomore.
With a breakout season from Reynolds, the Huskies could be in a great position to make a deep run into the postseason.
Honorable Mentions: Valerie Cagle (RHP/UTL), Clemson; Bella Loomis (2B), Arizona State; Lauren Burke (UTL), Texas; K.B. Sides (OF), Alabama.