Familiar Names in the 2009 College World Series
It should be an entertaining College World Series this year when things get underway this weekend (June 13-23/24). Both Virginia and Southern Mississippi are making their first-time ever appearances in the series. The University of Texas, on the other hand, has played in the series 32 (going on 33) times and has five titles. Only two teams from the 2008 series - Louisiana State and North Carolina - return in 2009.
In the first round you have: Cal State Fullerton vs Arkansas; Virginia vs Louisiana State; Arizona State vs North Carolina; and Southern Mississippi vs Texas.
There are not quite as many big-time prospects in this year's College World Series. Last year, the series featured seven first-round draft picks, while this year there are just four, including CF/1B Dustin Ackley, who went second overall to the Seattle Mariners. In total, 43 players were drafted from the eight teams in the series, down from 58 in 2008.
It's also interesting to note that a number of MLB teams drafted multiple players from the eight teams playing in the series, whether by design or coincidence: Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, and the Seattle Mariners.
Mike Leake, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Coach: Pat Murphy
Last Title: 1981
First Round (8th overall)
Leake had an impressive statistical season, but his pitchability far outweighs his stuff (which is still pretty good). As such, many people were surprised to see Cincinnati tab Leake with the 8th overall selection. He is the undisputed ace of the staff after winning 15 games and posting a 1.23 ERA... The Reds organization will just hope he does not get too overworked in the series.
Other Names to Know: Jason Kipnis, OF, Cleveland (2nd round); Josh Spence, LHP, Los Angeles AL (3rd); Carlos Ramirez, C, Los Angeles AL (8th); Jared McDonald, SS, Chicago AL (21st); Raoul Torrez, 2B, Los Angeles AL (32nd).
Austin Wood, LHP, Detroit Tigers
Coach: Augie Garrido
Last Title: 2005
Fifth Round (150th overall)
Wood made headlines, but not for the right reasons. The senior closer was forced to work 13 innings in relief during a playoff game against Boston College that went into extra innings. On the plus side, he was dominating through the first 10 innings as he did not allow a hit during that span. He's probably not a closer in the Majors, though as he relies mainly on a low-90s fastball and good changeup.
Other Names to Know: Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco (5th round)
Coach: Brian O'Connor
Last Title: Never
Names to Know: Andrew Carraway, RHP, Seattle (12th round); Jeff Lorick, LHP, Atlanta (20th); Robert Poutier, RHP, San Diego (29th); Matt Packer, LHP, Cleveland (32nd); Tyler Cannon, SS, Pittsburgh (41st).
Cal State Fullerton
Coach: Dave Serrano
Last Title: 2004
Names to Know: Josh Fellhauer, OF, Cincinnati (7th round); Khristopher Davis, OF, Milwaukee (7th); Jared Clark, 1B, Colorado (12th); Dustin Garneau, C, Colorado (19th); Michael Morrison, RHP, Detroit (29th); Kyle Witten, RHP, Seattle (41st); Joseph Scott, 2B, Colorado (42nd).
Dustin Ackley, OF/1B, Seattle
Coach: Mike Fox
Last Title: Never
First Round (2nd overall)
Obviously this Ackley kid is pretty good. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.com even made an interesting argument for the gifted hitter to go first overall in this week's 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. He's certainly the key cog in North Carolina's offense. He led the team in average, home runs, RBI, walks, and was tied for first in stolen bases. Ackley also has the flexibility to play both first base and center field.
Alex White, RHP, Cleveland
First Round (15th overall)
White has had an up-and-down junior season, but he's made big pitches when needed in the playoffs. The right-hander held opposing batters to a .230 average and he struck out 97 hitters in 90 innings of work.
Other Names to Know: Kyle Seager, 2B, Seattle (3rd round); Mark Fleury, C, Cincinnati (4th); Adam Warren, RHP, New York AL (4th); Brian Moran, LHP, Seattle (7th); Colin Bates, RHP, Oakland (37th).
Jared Mitchell, OF, Chicago AL
Louisiana State University
Coach: Paul Mainieri
Last Title: 2000
First Round (23rd overall)
Mitchell has the ability to completely dominate a game if he can get on base. The athletic outfielder stole 33 bases in 65 college games this season. He also has some pop and he slugged nine home runs, good for third on the team. Although he strikes out a lot (58 times), he also took his fair share of walks (50), which means he doesn't have to be swinging well to make an impact.
Other Names to Know: D.J. LeMahieu, 2B, Chicago NL (2nd round); Louis Coleman, RHP, Kansas City (5th); Ryan Schimpf, 2B, Toronto (5th); Blake Dean, OF, Minnesota (10th); Sean Ochinko, C, Toronto (11th).
Coach: Dave Van Horn
Last Title: Never
Names to Know: Dallas Keuchel, LHP, Houston (7th round); Stephen Richards, LHP, Florida (8th); Scott Lyons, SS, Kansas City (15th); Ben Tschepikow, 2B, Kansas City (17th); Michael Bolsinger, RHP, Oakland (33rd); Ryan Cisterna, RHP, Los Angeles AL (34th).
Coach: Corky Palmer
Last Title: Never
Names to Know: Brian Dozier, SS, Minnesota (8th); Jimmy Ballinger, RHP, Chicago AL (11th); James Ewing, 2B, New York NL (12th); Ben Davis, OF, San Diego (24th).