Tag: College Baseball

College World Series Stars Who Will Be MLB All-Stars One Day

The 2013 College World Series is drawing to a close, with UCLA holding a 1-0 series lead over Mississippi State entering Tuesday’s Game 2, but the future for some of the best and brightest players in Omaha is incredibly exciting. 

We started with a field of 64 teams that dwindled down to eight. Those final eight made the journey to TD Ameritrade Park in Nebraska. The event has increased in popularity in recent years thanks to national television coverage, which also gives fans a look at some of the top incoming–either this year or in the not-too-distant future–prospects. 

To give you an idea of who the best of the best in Omaha were this year, here is a look at the players who will go from being stars of the College World Series to shining on the All-Star stage in Major League Baseball.

Note: These are only players whose teams made it to Omaha (LSU, Mississippi State, Indiana, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oregon State, Louisville and UCLA). 

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Scouting San Francisco Giants’ Draftees Playing in the College World Series

The San Francisco Giants didn‘t select any high-ranking prospects in the 2013 MLB draft. Nonetheless, two of their picks will be showcased this weekend in the College World Series.


Nick Vander Tuig, SP, UCLA

With their sixth-round pick (193rd overall), the Giants selected Oakdale native Nick Vander Tuig. As a starting pitcher with UCLA in 2013, the right-hander went 12-4 with an impressive 2.37 ERA.

Despite the shiny peripheral numbers, Vander Tuig—who underwent Tommy John surgery in high school—didn’t dominate college competition, striking out only 81 batters in 114 innings pitched. But he was still hard to hit, as he held opponents to a .237 batting average and managed a 1.02 WHIP.

A 6’3” righty, Vander Tuig sits at 91 MPH with his fastball, which has good tailing movement. He also throws a slurvy slider and a changeup—both of which project as major league average pitches. He’s confident in his ability and isn’t afraid to challenge hitters.

If all goes well for Vander Tuig, he could eventually reach his ceiling as a No. 3 starter. If not, he profiles as a decent reliever.

Vander Tuig is very reminiscent of Atlanta Braves starter Kris Medlen; he’s not a hard thrower, but he has good movement on all of his pitches. He locates his fastball well and knows how to use his changeup. Like Medlen, Vander Tuig could find himself being juggled between the bullpen and the starting rotation.

If that’s the case, the Giants would be quite happy. Any sixth-round pick that forces his way into a club’s plans is well worth the selection.

Catch UCLA as they battle LSU in the College World Series. The matchup begins on June 16 at 8 p.m. ET.


Ty Ross, C, LSU

The Giants drafted LSU catcher Ty Ross with their 12th-round pick (372nd overall). Known mostly as a defensive presence, Ross has had limited success with the bat as a member of the Tigers.

In 2013, the 6’2” right-hander hit only .215 with three home runs in 200 at-bats. Ross does possess some power, and the Giants are hoping to see more of it as he progresses through the minor leagues.

In all reality, Ross will exceed expectations if he ever reaches the big leagues as a backup catcher.

Watch Ty Ross as his LSU Tigers take on Nick Vander Tuig’s UCLA Bruins in the College World Series.

The series kicks off on Father’s Day, June 16, at 8 p.m. ET.

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2012 MLB Draft Prospect: Scouting Stanford Ace Mark Appel

Stanford ace right-hander Mark Appel is likely to be the first overall pick of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft for the Houston Astros next week.  I scouted Appel at Sunken Diamond back in March when Stanford hosted USC.

I sat behind home plate and charted each of his 113 pitches using the stadium radar gun.  Appel threw a complete game, allowing six hits, two walks, and two runs, while striking out seven.  He induced eleven grounders, eight flyballs and six line drives. 

Appel’s fastball topped out at 96 Miles Per Hour (MPH), while sitting between 89-96 MPH and averaging close to 94 MPH.  By my count, he threw 65 fastballs, 30 curveballs and 18 changeups.  His curveball and changeup both sat in the 80-86 MPH range. 

For a college pitcher with a fastball that was averaging over 93 MPH and hitting 95-96 through the 9th inning, I expected more swing-throughs.  However, USC only swung and missed nine times by my count: four times against the fastball, twice against the curve and three times against the change.  Three of the seven strike-outs were looking. 

The curveball was more advanced and more consistent than the changeup.  His changeup was ineffective for most of the game until the 7th inning when he found his feel with the pitch and missed a few bats with it.  Before that, the pitch wasn’t doing much, often bouncing in the dirt without enticing the hitter at all.

He threw strikes, but he didn’t have great command with his fastball, throwing too many hittable strikes up in the zone, particularly in 0-2 counts when he should have been free to attack the corners. 

A great example was in the 9th inning with Stanford leading 1-0.  USC had runners on second and third with two outs when Appel threw an 0-2 fastball right down the middle, which led to a basehit up the middle for a go-ahead-two-run single.

Appel needs to improve his changeup to make it a more consistent weapon, particularly against lefties.  He also needs to improve his fastball command within the strike zone.

The size (listed at 6-5, 215), velocity, curveball, and control are the positives that will likely make Appel the first pick of the draft next week, despite the weaknesses that were exposed in the start that I scouted.  Appel has the tools to make good on his pedigree, but he is far from a finished product.   

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2010 College World Series: Casey Harman is the Chicago Cubs’ Lone Representative

The first two games of the 2010 College World Series will be played this Saturday.

For Cubs fans, however, the first game of importance might come Sunday night when the Clemson Tigers face off against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

That game, which will be aired on ESPN at 7pm Eastern Time, will feature the Cubs’ 29th round draft pick Casey Harman. The left-handed ace of the Clemson pitching staff this year, he put together a 7-2 record with an ERA of 3.95, a .239 opponent batting average, 7.71 K/9, and 2.78 BB/9.

According to CollegeSplits.com , his numbers are even a little bit better when you account for ballpark and schedule adjustments: 8-2 record, 3.68 ERA, .221 opponent batting average, 8.34 K/9, and 2.60 BB/9.

Unfortunately, it appears as though his traditional statistics might be somewhat optimistic. His FIP was 5.17, although it’s 3.68 adjusted, and his BABIP was .275 (.259 adjusted).

Baseball America had this to say about Harman in their Draft Database:

Harman, miscast as a staff ace, is a solid three-pitch lefthander with steady stuff, including an 85-89 mph fastball with good sink. His straight changeup and slider are fringe-average but play up when he commands the two-seamer.

But he has been very hot lately, pitching 17 innings with a 1.56 ERA, 17 strikeouts, and one walk in the postseason so far. Cubs fans can come to their own conclusions about him Sunday night as the southpaw faces what might be the toughest lineup in Omaha.

Although there aren’t many success stories, there have been major leaguers that were drafted in the 29th round or later. Among them are these pitchers:

• Kyle Lohse (29th round, 1996, Cubs)
• Darryl Kile (30th round, 1987, Astros)
• Mike Gonzalez (30th round, 1997, Pirates)
• Robb Nen (32nd round, 1987, Rangers)
• Jason Frasor (33rd round, 1999, Tigers)
• Dan Wheeler (34th round, 1996, Rays)
• Chad Gaudin (34th round, 2001, Rays)
• Mark Buehrle (38th round, 1998, White Sox)
• Scot Shields (38th round, 1997, Angels)
• Kenny Rogers (39th round, 1982, Rangers)
• Kyle Farnsworth (47th round, 1994, Cubs)

If the Cubs sign him, maybe Harman will make this list, too. Of course, he’s only a junior and may decide to go back to school in an attempt to improve his draft stock (and increase his bank account) next year.

What might make this game even more interesting are two pitchers on the opposing pitching staff that Harman might face many more times in his professional career. Seth Blair , the Cardinals’ first round supplemental pick, will be starting the game and Jordan Swagerty , the Cardinals’ second round selection, could be closing it out for the Sun Devils.

Another NL Central draftee, Andrew Maggi (15th round, Pirates), will also be taking the field as Arizona State’s starting shortstop.

Since Clemson is the lowest-ranked team in their half of the bracket according to Baseball America, make sure you don’t miss this game. Harman might not make a second start in Omaha.

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