With the MLB Draft complete, many high school and collegiate players are off to play professional baseball for the first time. However, there is one major amateur event still going on: the College World Series. Some of the top talent from this year’s draft will take part in the grand finale of the NCAA Tournament. Here are some names to look out for during this weekend’s event.
Kody Clemens – 2B, Texas (Detroit Tigers, 3rd Round)
Clemens has been on fire all postseason for the Longhorns. Heading into the CWS, the second baseman is 11-for-22 (.500) with five home runs during the tournament. Those five home runs equal his season total from last season, bringing him within four homers of the school single-season record. His dynamic run at the plate is reason enough to watch him this weekend, but it will be intriguing to see whether or not he can keep up this kind of power output once he joins the Tigers organization later in the month.
Cadyn Grenier – SS, Oregon State (Baltimore Orioles, Competitive Balance A)
Grenier gets overshadowed by fellow Beavers Nick Madrigal and Trevor Larnach, but the shortstop certainly warrants attention as well. He’s an all-around talent, capturing Pac-12 defensive player of the year honors while also hitting .328 on the season. Grenier may not be as much of an impact bat down the line, but his excellent shortstop defense and consistency at the plate could help him be a reliable middle infield option down the road.
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Grant Little – OF, Texas Tech (San Diego Padres, Competitive Balance B)
Little is younger than many of the other college bats drafted this year because he’s a draft-eligible sophomore. However, that doesn’t mean he’s worse than the other collegiates. The Red Raider left fielder produced a 1.145 OPS while driving in 73 runs and walking more than he struck out this past season. Additionally, many scouts believe he can move to center field thanks to his solid quickness. Others even see potential at second base down the line after a bit of time on the infield in fall ball. Regardless of where he plays, Little’s advanced feel for hitting makes him an intriguing under-the-radar bat in the Padres’ system.
Konnor Pilkington – LHP, Mississippi State (Chicago White Sox, 3rd Round)
Pilkington has been a top starter for the Bulldogs each year in the program. His numbers this past season weren’t great (4.56 ERA, .270 batting average against, 10 wild pitches), but scouts love his arsenal. He has three pitches that are already very solid offerings: a fastball that typically sits in the low 90s, an advanced changeup and a slurvy slider. Pilkington has the upside of a no. 3 or 4 starter as long as he can improve his command.
Blaine Knight – RHP, Arkansas (Baltimore Orioles, 3rd Round)
The Orioles struck again with a College World Series participant, this time taking one of the top pitchers in the Southeastern Conference. Knight dominated in his junior season, going 12-0 with a 2.84 ERA for the Razorbacks. He also produced a WHIP just north of 1.00 and struck out nearly a batter per inning. The righty has a vast arsenal headlined by a fastball that reaches 97 mph and a slider that projects as a plus offering. Some scouts are skeptical about his durability given his skinny frame, but he certainly could fill out more in the coming years.