Top Prospects to Watch in College World Series
The College World Series gives MLB fans a chance to view of some of the league's future stars on the biggest stage of college baseball. As play begins in Omaha, Nebraska, here are the college players who went off the board early in this year's MLB draft:
Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State (Chicago White Sox, Round 1, Pick 4):
Madrigal missed nearly two months with a broken wrist but has been a very consistent hitter when healthy. His power is limited, having tallied only eight homeruns in three years at Oregon State, but he has posted a career .328 batting average and has more walks than strikeouts in each of the last three seasons. He was bumped to second base by Cadyn Grenier and probably won't be a shortstop in the long run. As long as he stays healthy, his floor is high, but his ceiling, as a likely second baseman without power, is somewhat limited given today’s game increasingly demanding power to score runs.
Jonathan India, 3B, Florida (Cincinnati Reds, Round 1, Pick 5):
India’s monster junior season for the Gators lofted him into a top-five draft selection after being labeled as a likely second or third round prospect last season. India posted a stat line of .373/.522/.765 in SEC play, which is consistently the best in college baseball. He also drew more walks than strikeouts this past season and has the versatility to play all three infield spots. He's a third baseman now, but he could certainly play second, and probably shortstop as well.
Brady Singer, RHP, Florida (Kansas City Royals, Round 1, Pick 18):
Singer was tremendous all season for the Gators, recording a 2.33 ERA and over a five to one strikeout to walk ratio. Singer is a low-slot guy who sits in the lower 90s with his fastball but can hit around 95 mph at times. His fastball has great movement to it, which allows him to set up his slider and changeup that he also utilizes effectively. He lacks a great pitch to use against left-handed batters, but he throws strikes and is a great competitior.
Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State (Minnesota Twins, Round 1, Pick 20):
Larnach has posted a stat line of .336/.466/.645 and has hit nearly a third of Oregon State’s total homeruns this season. He has refined his swing mechanics and added more loft without hampering his pure hitting skills or becoming too pull-oriented. He strikes out almost 20 percent of the time, but he’s a selective hitter who also walks frequently. He most likely projects as a left fielder due to his lack of elite arm strength and average speed.
Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida (Kansas City Royals, Round 1C, Pick 33):
His teammate Brady Singer might have been selected higher than him, but Kowar may project better as a long-term starter. He can top out at around 97 mph with his fastball and complement it with a 70-mph changeup. He has improved his breaking ball since last season as well. Further refinement of the breaking stuff and general sharpening of his command will be the first items on his agenda as a pro.
Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State (Baltimore Orioles, Comp. Balance A, Pick 37):
Grenier was one of the top college shortstops in the class, a fringe first-round talent out of high school who has had a breakout year for Oregon State, hitting .322/.408/.467 and playing shortstop well enough to project to plus on defense.
Grant Little, LF, Texas Tech (San Diego Padres, Comp. Balance B, Pick 74):
Little has been a stud for Texas Tech in an overall down year for the Big 12 hitting .372/.469/.654. He has drawn more walks than strikeouts this season and has a very smooth right-handed swing. He has decent power but tends to land a little open after his stride, which could be a problem at the next level. Little has a well-rounded skill set and a fairly high floor.
Kody Clemens, 2B, Texas (Detroit Tigers, Round 3, Pick 79):
Clemens has a monster season for Texas, hitting .352 with 24 homeruns after hitting just 10 in his first two seasons combined. He does not have great speed and won’t be a threat on the bases, but the power is real. His arm strength is down since Tommy John surgery, and he isn’t rangy enough to play good corner outfield defense. However, he has shown great intangibles and grit and should be able to make it if he can show his breakout power numbers are no fluke.
Will Desautelle is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Junior / Broadcast Journalism and Political Science