5 Collegiate Hitters to Know for the 2016 MLB Draft

Corey Ray combined elite speed and power during his time at Louisville, and he could be a new star for whichever team lands him in Thursday's MLB Draft.

The last few years have been kind to teams that have invested heavy draft capital into collegiate hitters.

Both Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber -- first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 respectively -- played key roles for the Chicago Cubs in their run to the postseason last year. Michael Conforto -- the 10th overall pick in 2014 -- is already batting third for the New York Mets with one of the best hard-hit rates in the league. And with how the Houston Astros' Alex Bregman and Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi have been stroking so far in the minors, don't be shocked if the 2015 draftees make some noise soon, too.

We've seen before that collegiate prospects tend to be better and safer investments than their prep counterparts, and the past few years have made that sentiment even a bit rosier. With 2016's version of the draft beginning Thursday night, who are some of the guys who could make an impact in the same way that Bryant, Schwarber, and Conforto did before them?

Let's run through a few names to keep in mind once the draft kicks off. These are guys who not only are generating buzz leading up to the draft, but who also posted absurd numbers while playing college ball. They may not fast track to the majors in the same way that others have, but they've got the statistical profiles to inspire confidence that we'll be seeing them again soon.

For each prospect, you'll see a ranking of where various outlets place them entering the draft. You can find the full rankings for's top 200 prospects and Keith Law's top-100 big board for ESPN at each respective link to read more about who will be joining them in the early-round festivities.

Without further ado, let's get it cracking. Which collegiate players do we need to know entering the 2016 MLB Draft?