Sneak peek at the 2014 MLB draft: College edition
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It’s never too early to start looking ahead to next year’s MLB draft. Not with the way several sophomores are playing out of their minds lately, which makes the 2014 MLB draft look very good at the top. And let’s face it, if you’re a fan of the Astros, Marlins and Cubs, there isn’t much else to look forward to for awhile. Here are 10 college sophomores who may very well hear their names called early in the 2014 MLB draft.
Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
The 6’-3”, 235-pound southpaw, who is about a clear-cut number-one overall pick as there is, didn’t start the season on a high note. In the season opener against Appalachian State, he gave up five runs over six innings in a 6-3 loss. He did, however, strikeout eight to just one walk, so it wasn’t all that bad. His last two starts have been something out of a video game. Over 14 innings, he has allowed one run on just two hits, including seven no-hit innings against LaSalle in which Karl Keglovits finished off the no-no with two hitless frames. Over those 14 innings, Rodon has struck out an incredible 30 batters to just three walks, pushing his season totals to 38 K/ 5 BB over 20 innings (17.1 K/9). He has a five- pitch arsenal that includes a mid-90s heater, a power slider, a lethal cutter, an above-average curveball and a change-up with nice fade. He commands all of them and is comfortable throwing any of them in any situation.
Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
The only other player who has a chance to challenge Rodon for the top pick in next year’s MLB draft is Beede, who would be one hell of a consolation prize. The 6’-4” right-hander has three plus pitches of his own in a mid-90s fastball with great movement, a power curveball and a deceptive change-up. He doesn’t have quite the command that Rodon does, but he is just as unhittable. On the year, he is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 20 K/9 BB over 18.2 innings, allowing just 12 hits for third-ranked Vandy.
Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
Maybe the most exciting player in college, Turner is a burner who is also showing power this year. The 6’-1”, 185-pound right-hander led the nation in stolen bases last year with 57 and was caught just four times. He also hit .336 with a .436 OBP and struck out just 38 times in 63 games. This year, he has recorded a hit and scored a run in all 11 Wolfpack games. He is hitting .477 (21-for-44) with 21 runs, five doubles, three home runs, five stolen bases and has struck out just twice. He may not end up at shortstop at the next level, but offensive talent and plus speed will make him an everyday regular.
Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
After hitting .349 with 14 doubles, 13 home runs, 76 RBI and a slash line of .438/.601/1.039 as a freshman last year, the 6’-1”, 200-pound left-hander was showered with awards and had high expectations coming into this year. After nine games, he was hitting .273 with two doubles, no home runs and four RBI. On Saturday, he went 3-for-7 in a double-header with his first two home runs of the season and five RBI. On Sunday, he went 3-for-5 with two more home runs and seven RBI. The bat has woken up, and I expect a full on assault coming for one of the best overall hitters in the 2014 MLB draft.
Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
Like Conforto, the 6’-3”, 210-pound left-hander had a sensational freshman season, hitting .288 with 11 doubles, eight triples, seven home runs and 50 RBI. He has started hot out of the gate for the Cavaliers, going 13-for-38 (.342) over the first 11 games. He has added a double, triple, two home runs and has knocked in 16 runs for undefeated Virginia. A great athlete, he also has an advanced approach at the plate, drawing seven walks to six strikeouts this year and has a .457 OBP.
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