For many diehard sports fans, the annual Major League Baseball draft ranks below the respective drafts in the NFL, NBA and NHL. The main reason: delayed gratification.
Regardless of how skilled the top players are on a yearly basis, it often takes years to hone the craft of becoming a big league baseball player. Even phenoms like Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Trout took time in the minors before bursting on the scene as superstars.
Yet, each draft class supplies teams with the opportunity to draft players that are closer to the big leagues than some of their counterparts. Primarily, this group includes college-age pitchers. Unlike high school arms, pitchers excelling at the NCAA level often have refined command and have built up arm strength.
While they aren't ready to become star-level pitchers from the moment of arrival, their road to a big league bullpen or rotation can be shorter than most.
The following details six arms to watch—all entering the draft after spending time in college—as the June extravaganza approaches. Although some excellent and polished hitters can emerge from this group of young players, at-bats and defensive tutoring are often a detriment to projecting quick success from a position player.
If your favorite team selects one of these arms in the early rounds of the 2014 draft, look out for an arrival from a new star this summer or early in 2015.