The nationwide highlight doesn’t shine on school baseball the identical method it does on school soccer or school hoops. So for a lot of baseball followers, the primary likelihood they’ll get — nicely, the primary alternative they’ll take — to watch the long run stars of their favourite group is the College World Series, held yearly in Omaha, Neb.
And that dynamic has shifted a bit for the 2021 season. For the primary time, the MLB Draft is a part of the All-Star festivities in July, moved again from its regular spot in early June. So as a substitute of watching the gamers your favourite group simply drafted, as a substitute followers will probably be watching the gamers their groups would possibly draft a couple of weeks later. The CWS begins June 19; the MLB Draft kicks off on July 11 in Denver, with Round 1 and the Competitive Balance A spherical, too.
Rounds 2 by means of 10 (and the Competitive Balance B spherical) are on July 12, and Rounds 11 by means of 20 are on July 13, the day of the All-Star Game.
Let’s check out the first draft prospects among the many eight groups taking part in in Omaha, as taken from Baseball America’s rating of the top 500 draft prospects. Here are the ten gamers in the top 100 on that record.
Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt
Baseball America draft prospect rating: 3
Need to know: Once upon a time, Jack Leiter was largely often called the son of former huge league pitcher — and present MLB Network analyst — Al Leiter. Then, he earned a status as one of many top prep pitching prospects forward of the 2019 MLB Draft. His dedication to Vandy and bonus calls for scared groups away, and he wasn’t picked till the Yankees took a flier on him in the twentieth spherical. He didn’t signal, clearly. Then with Vandy he rapidly earned the status as one of many highest pitchers in school baseball; he had a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 innings as a freshman earlier than the game shut down due to the pandemic. In 2021, Leiter has a 2.16 ERA with 156 strikeouts in 96 innings. Oh, and he’s a favourite of the Pitching Ninja, the oh-so-fun Twitter account that highlights the most effective pitching in the game, at most each stage.
Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt
BA draft prospect rating: 5
Need to know: Rocker is a Pitching Ninja regular, too, and since that is 2021 and it is a piece on why it’s best to take pleasure in watching potential draft picks carry out on the College World Series, that appears essential. As with Leiter, an appreciation of Rocker’s expertise is elevated with the Ninja’s help. Rocker got here into this season in the dialog for the 1-1 draft spot, and he’s been actually good once more in 2021. In 17 begins, the massive right-hander has 155 strikeouts vs. solely 59 hits allowed, in 106 innings.
Ty Madden, Texas
BA draft prospect rating: 12
Need to know: There’s nothing fairly like a dominant pitching efficiency in Omaha, and Madden is able to throwing zeroes up on the board virtually as usually as Rocker and Leiter. He has 119 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings. In the Super Regional towards South Florida, Madden tossed 6 2/3 scoreless frames, with 9 strikeouts and solely three hits allowed.
Will Bednar, Mississippi State
BA draft prospect rating: 38
Need to know: Bednar’s Super Regional begin wasn’t nice, however the Bulldogs beat Notre Dame in a slugfest. For the yr, his ERA sits at 3.53, with 113 strikeouts and solely 20 walks in 74 innings. Fun truth: He’s the youthful brother of David Bednar, the righty having a strong season in the Pirates’ bullpen in 2021 (3.38 ERA, 12.0 Ok/9 in 24 innings).
Andrew Abbott, Virginia
BA draft prospect rating: 67
Need to know: Abbot’s Virginia group is right here as a result of the opposite Cavaliers picked up Abbot after his so-so begin towards Dallas Baptist resulted in a loss and a 1-0 collection deficit in the best-of-three Super Regional. But rally the Cavaliers did, and you’ll guess that Abbott is prepared to make amends. He’s had a stellar season, posting 152 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings. Oh, and Abbott would possibly solely be right here as a result of the 2020 MLB Draft was solely 5 rounds; any normal-length draft and he virtually actually would have been picked excessive sufficient to persuade him to begin his professional profession. These tales have a tendency to play nicely in Omaha.
Luca Tresh, N.C. State
BA draft prospect rating: 75
Need to know: This isn’t Jim Valvano’s Wolfpack, however completely zero individuals anticipated N.C. State to oust Arkansas, the No. 1-ranked group in the nation. Especially after the Razorbacks received the opener of the best-of-three collection. But the Wolfpack shocked the faculty baseball world, thanks in half to Tresh, who went 2-for-4 with a house run in Game 2 to assist spark his membership to the upset. The energy is obvious — he’s hit 15 homers this season — however his common dropped because the season went alongside, to its present .240.
Zack Gelof, Virginia
BA draft prospect rating: 79
Need to know: Lots of energy, and isn’t that enjoyable to watch on the College World Series? It’s not fairly just like the ever-present ping of the souped-up bats at Rosenblatt Stadium years in the past, however there’s nonetheless one thing particular concerning the sound of a house run crusing over the outfield fence on that stage. Gelof has 9 this yr, with 11 stolen bases, too.
Brendan Beck, Stanford
BA draft prospect rating: 81
Need to know: Beck has been a dependable a part of the Stanford rotation since his freshman season, rolling up year-by-year ERAs of two.43, 3.63, 2.82 and a pair of.96. His strikeout numbers jumped method up in his senior season yr; he completed with 128 in 100 1/3 innings. In the Super Regional towards Texas Tech, he Ok’d 13 in 7 1/3 innings, a recreation the Cardinal received 15-3.
Jose Torres, N.C. State
BA draft prospect rating: 92
Need to know: Want to discuss dramatics? Torres popped a solo residence run in the ninth inning of a tie recreation in a winner-take-all contest towards No. 1 Arkansas in the Super Regional, with a spot in the College World Series on the road. It was his third residence run of the collection. Wow. Wolfpack followers are hoping for extra of the identical in Omaha.
Isaiah Thomas, Vanderbilt
BA draft prospect rating: 195
Need to know: The numbers are spectacular: .330 common, 13 residence runs, 12 stolen bases (in 12 probabilities). In the clinching recreation of the Regional towards Georgia Tech, a recreation that lasted 11 innings, Thomas went 3-for-5, with a house run, a double and 5 RBIs. That homer? A grand slam in the eleventh. Mildly essential, eh?