The first wave of preseason prognostications is here. One of a handful of reputable publications, along the likes of Baseball America and D1 Baseball, Perfect Game kicked of the preseason blitz with its 2024 Preseason All-America teams. Placing standouts on either a first or second team, two Big Ten players find their names selected among the nations best.
Receiving First-Team All-Big Ten accolades a year ago, Iowa junior right-handed pitcher Brody Brecht enters the 2024 as the Big Ten’s marquee name. Going 5-2 on the mound as a sophomore, Brecht struck out 109 batters over 77 innings, the second most in a single season in Iowa history. Allowing just 38 hits, a .174 batting average against stood net to a 3.74 ERA, the Big Ten’s third-best mark. A nation-leading 4.32 hits allowed per nine innings propelled Brecht to third-team All-American honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Perfect Game.
Able to dial up a fastball that reaches 100 MPH, Brecht will draw as much attention from scouts as opposing coaches, entering the year as MLB Pipeline’s No. 17 2024 MLB Draft prospect. This season will be Brecht’s first with a full, baseball-specific offseason. Prior to 2023, the 6’4, 225-pound Brecht was a dual-sport athlete at Iowa, a wide receiver on the football team. On the gridiron, Brecht appeared in 11 games for Iowa in 2022, hauling in nine catches for 87 yards.
Showing no signs of being overwhelmed by the collegiate game, Indiana outfielder Devin Taylor emerged as one of the Big Ten’s most dangerous hitters during his freshman season. Anchoring the Hoosier lineup as the three-hole hitter, Taylor batted .315 on the 2023 campaign, driving in 59 runs on the strength of 16 home runs, the second most by a freshman in IU history.
Becoming Indiana’s third ever freshman to receive First-Team All-Big Ten honors, Taylor produced a 1.080 OPS, appearing in 55 games for the 43-20 Hoosiers. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year help Indiana finish one game behind Maryland for the Big Ten crown, going 16-8 in conference play. Like Iowa, Indiana ended its season as a runner-up in regional play, the Hoosiers fell to Kentucky in a winner-take-all contest.