The team to watch in the College World Series for Minnesota Twins fans is Big 10 representative Indiana University. Three of the four Twins draft picks playing in Omaha are on IU’s roster.
Don’t forget about LSU’s Ryan Eades, however. He is the lone “non-Indiana” player, but he is also the highest Twins draft pick playing in the College World Series.
In general, college baseball is a joy to watch so definitely tune into as many games as you can, but if you’re specifically looking for players linked to the Minnesota organization, make sure to catch Indiana and LSU when the action begins on Saturday, June 15.
RHP Ryan Eades, Louisiana State University
Drafted: Second round, No. 43 overall
Eades is only a few years away from playing in a Twins uniform, assuming he progresses as the organization expects him to, so make sure you get a glimpse of him right now before he starts his minor league journey.
MLB.com raves about him, saying that Eades is everything you want from a pitcher: size, stuff and a feel for pitching. “He'll hit 94 mph with his fastball, and he has a good curve and changeup to go along with it to give him a good three-pitch mix that he knows how to use effectively.”
The only concern with him is the labrum surgery he suffered four years ago as a senior in high school, but Minnesota scouting director Deron Johnson feels he is durable enough to have a career in the major leagues.
"We aren't afraid of that," Johnson told Tyler Mason of FOX Sports. "He's had a pretty good workload this year, and he's held up. We'll definitely monitor him this weekend in regionals."
RHP Aaron Slegers, Indiana University
Drafted: Fifth round, No. 140 overall
6’10” athletes at the University of Indiana typically are on the hardwood, not the mound, but Slegers has made a name for himself at the basketball-mad school.
“[Whenever] the Hoosiers baseball team meets at a restaurant or in an airport, a player seated near 6-foot-10 Aaron Slegers, the Big Ten’s pitcher of the year, murmurs something about Cody Zeller, the 7-foot Hoosiers basketball standout,” writes Pat Borzi of the New York Times. “Eavesdroppers approach, mistaking Slegers for [Indiana basketball star Cody] Zeller.”
Slegers can make a name for himself in the College World Series, however, leading an Indiana team to their first CWS in school history.
Listed at 250 pounds, Slegers’ large frame has taken plenty of damage over the years, but MLB.com reports that he repeats his delivery well for his size and has high expectations for him in their scouting report.
“Slegers typically throws his fastball about 90 mph and has touched 95 mph,” reads the report. “He has a good approach on the mound and is able to add and subtract from his fastball as needed. Slegers also throws a solid changeup and is working to improve his slider.”
3B Dustin DeMuth, Indiana University
Drafted: Eighth round, No. 230 overall
DeMuth led Indiana with a .389 batting average this season, but there are some questions regarding his plate discipline, ability to hit for power and whether he can handle the hot corner against tougher competition.
“According to [Baseball America] scouts aren't sure if he'll stick at third base defensively and despite being 6-foot-3 his swing isn't really conducive to power development,” writes Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports, “but ‘he makes consistent contact ... with plus speed and arm strength.’” (The Baseball America report requires a paid subscription).
RHP Ryan Halstead, Indiana University
Drafted: Twenty-sixth round, No. 770 overall
Little is written online about Halstead, a pitcher drafted in the middle rounds that is unlikely to make it to the big leagues. He went 4-4 with a 2.40 ERA this season in 41.1 innings pitched, according to the Indiana University athletics site.
What I did find, however, is that in poker, playing a “Halstead” refers to playing Jack Deuce (Thanks Urban Dictionary!).