It's officially February, which means the college softball season is almost here. With that in mind, here's a look at our Preseason All-American selections for Division 1:
P – Kelly Barnhill, JR. – Florida
By almost every measure, the Florida standout posted one of the greatest individual seasons in the history of the sport during her sophomore year. Her 0.51 ERA led the Division, and her 13K/7 was the best by a wide margin. Barnhill also won an entire trophy case worth of awards, including the ESPY for Best Female College Athlete. So how do you top that?
It would be hard to surpass the numbers she put up last year, but we do think Barnhill could match them, over a potentially larger inning count. With Delanie Gourley now gone from the team, there could be even more pressure on Barnhill to carry the pitching staff.
There’s also that small matter of a national championship. Florida hasn’t won since the year before Barnhill arrived on campus in Gainesville.
P – Alexis Osario, SR. – Alabama
How stacked is the SEC? Osario was named as a first-team All-American last year by the NFCA, but only received second-team All-SEC honors. Osario’s ceiling is as high as anyone, as she pitched Alabama’s fourth-ever perfect game last season. Her 1.21 ERA and 23 wins were both career-best marks last season; expect even better numbers from her senior campaign.
P – Kaylee Carlson, SR. – Auburn
Truthfully, there are about 10 other candidates that could fill this spot just as well, but we like Carlson to turn in a special season for the Tigers. Last season, Carlson led the SEC with 27 wins and posted a 1.36 ERA. With the arrival of coaching import Mickey Dean, Carlson could torch her SEC rivals.
Special Consideration: P Megan Good, SR – James Madison
Good is the best player in the NCAA who isn’t a household name. Last year’s NFCA Player of the Year, she posted a 0.63 ERA in 244 innings in the circle while also hitting .383 (69-for-180, 12 home runs). And before you start wondering if she's just a small-conference darling who wouldn't cut it with the big boys, keep in mind that Good threw a one-hit shutout last season at Auburn.
Good is going to miss the 2018 season because of a knee injury, but she’ll be back for a redshirt senior season in 2019. We’d be criminally negligent to make this list without mentioning her name.
C – Kendyl Lindaman, SO. – Minnesota
As a freshman, the Big 10 Player of the Year hit 20 bombs and had an OPS of 1.497, which doesn’t even seem real. Lindaman was a finalist for National Freshman of the Year as well as a first-team All-American from the NFCA.
If the Gophers’ season turns into a revenge tour after last season’s regional snub, look for Lindaman’s numbers to stay sky high.
1B – Shay Knighten, JR. – Oklahoma
The hero of last last year’s WCWS, Knighten has posted 60 or more RBIs in back-to-back years. She’s also been named to the All-Tournament team at the WCWS in back-to-back years, including when she was named Most Outstanding Player in 2017.
Oh, and she’s a two-time national champion. Not bad.
2B – Faith Canfield, JR. – Michigan
Canfield turned in a solid season for the Wolverines in 2017, hitting .398 with 27 extra base hits and 40 RBIs. For her efforts, the NFCA named her a third-team All-American. We think she’ll move up the ranks in her junior season.
3B – Riley Sartain, JR. – Texas A&M
The SEC’s best returning third baseman is a good power hitter, too. Sartain hit 13 bombs in 2017 and had and OBP of .446. Her numbers took a big jump from her freshman year to her sophomore season, and we think she’s in for another big jump this year, too.
SS – DJ Sanders, SR. – Oregon
The best power hitter in the entire NCAA, Sanders terrorized the Sun Belt last year, playing the infield for Louisiana and leading the division in both RBIs (82) and home runs (29!).
After former coach Michael Lotief was dismissed in Lafayette, Sanders transferred to Oregon. Watching her tear up Pac-12 pitching batteries will be one of the highlights of the 2018 season.
OF – Aleah Craighton, SR. – Arizona
Craighton is another former Ragin' Cajun who sought out the Pac-12 during this past offseason. She and teammate Alyssa Denham both opted to transfer to the Wildcats’ roster for 2018, but it’s Craighton that we’re focused on here. She’s a top-50 caliber player who should play center field in Arizona for her final season. We expect her to lead the Wildcats at the plate, too.
OF – Morgan Klaevemann, SR. – Florida State
The Seminoles continue to dominate the ACC, and Klaevemann is one of the big reasons why these days. She’s got 109 career stolen bases and posted 21 multi-hit games in 2017. She earned a second-team All-America nod from the NFCA last year; her senior season should see her move up to the top line.
OF – Lea Forester, SR. – Michigan State
A second-team All-American as a junior, Forester led the nation in hitting doubles last year with 26.
DP – Jenavee Peres, SR. – San Diego State
One of the most accomplished hitters in college softball, Peres will enter her senior season as the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year. She was a second-team All-American last year who hit .454 and slugged .840, alongside 16 homers and 60 RBIs.