College baseball doesn't receive the same type of attention as college football or basketball. So when players are given a chance to shine, which the College World Series certainly provides, they must take full advantage of the opportunity.
That's especially true for those players who feel they were selected too low in the recent MLB draft. It provides them with the platform to show they are better than their draft stock probably indicates. And, for those who don't sign, can start boosting their future stock.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at three players who were picked outside the top five rounds by major league franchises. All of them should be able to showcase their skills and illustrate why they deserved to go higher on draft day.
Mississippi State SS Adam Frazier (Round 6 – Pittsburgh Pirates)
Frazier leads the Bulldogs with a .360 batting average. A line-drive hitter with speed, the shortstop has been the spark plug behind the Mississippi State offense, which has scored five runs in each of the first two games of double-elimination play.
Batting leadoff, Frazier has the responsibility of getting on base in front of slugger Hunter Renfroe. He's done it on a consistent basis throughout the season, which is why he ranks first on the team with 105 hits and 61 runs scored.
He's also hit 20 doubles, stole eight bases and struck out just 25 times. Putting the ball in play a lot with his speed leads to the high average. The only question mark is his defense, which can be flashy but must be more consistent. Otherwise, he's got plenty of tools.
North Carolina 1B Cody Stubbs (Round 8 – Kansas City Royals)
Stubbs watched as teammate Colin Moran got selected with the sixth overall pick by the Miami Marlins. He had to wait seven more rounds before the Royals called his name. While he's probably happy for his infield partner, it should also serve as motivation.
The first baseman is hitting .363, good for tops on the Tar Heels, to go along with eight home runs and 76 batted in. He also slugged 26 doubles, which represents raw power that should eventually develop into more of a home run stroke.
Unlike most corner infielders, Stubbs has also shown some wheels. He stole five bags and had four triples, which rounds out his offensive game nicely. He's a key piece of the North Carolina offense and should continue to prove his worth in the College World Series.
UCLA SS Pat Valaika (Round 9 – Colorado Rockies)
There are two different versions of Valaika teams had to consider leading up to the draft. The player he is now and the player he could become if he reaches his potential. That differential is probably why he slid down the board a bit.
The biggest key for the shortstop is improving his approach at the plate, as illustrated by his .249 average. He's also struck out more than he walked. But the upside is also on display as he's racked up 21 extra-base hits and eight steals.
Valaika is also an asset in the field for the Bruins with just six errors in nearly 200 attempts. So it's easy to see why the Rockies decided to take a flier on him after a handful of rounds passed. But the UCLA shortstop should outplay that draft position.
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