College World Series 2014: Top Prospects in Action in Omaha

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College World Series 2014: Top Prospects in Action in Omaha
Wade Payne/Associated Press

Aside from being the pinnacle of amateur baseball in America, the College World Series also gives us a glimpse of some of the top prospects headed for the major leagues.

Three stars selected in the first round of the 2014 MLB draft are set to lead their teams into action in Omaha, Nebraska. Here's a closer look at players who could develop into perennial All-Stars on the next level.

Here's a hint: There's a heavy mound presence.

 

Tyler Beede, pitcher, Vanderbilt (No. 14, San Francisco Giants)

Wade Payne/Associated Press

While Beede hasn't been dominant all season for Vandy, he has shown the type of arm and potential teams crave in a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

He shows the maturity needed to develop as a top-notch starter. Per Jen McCaffrey of Masslive.com, Beede described this past season as a learning experience.

Certainly, I've had some ups and downs this year and some inconsistency, more so than I'd ever want. But ... it's a humbling game. I've certainly had some experiences that have made me a better player and I've learned from all the failures I've had this year, and that's benefited me.

Though he was only 8-7, he did post a solid 3.20 ERA, and he struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings. If the 21-year-old continues to develop as the Giants hope, he could become one of the next great hurlers for the franchise.

 

Nick Howard, pitcher, Virginia (No. 19, Cincinnati Reds)

Pat Jarrett/Associated Press

Howard projects as a late-inning pitcher in the majors, though he also played shortstop and second base in college.

Bleacher Report baseball prospect guru Mike Rosenbaum compares Howard to the Detroit Tigers hurler Corey Knebel. He writes:

Knebel was the first true reliever selected in last year’s draft (Tigers, second round) and recently became the second player (the first was Howard's teammate last season, left-hander Kyle Crockett) from the 2013 class to reach the major leagues. Howard has the same potential to climb the ladder in a hurry and could conceivably help a big league club within a year.

Such a major-league-ready prospect is especially intriguing to watch in the CWS, since it may not be long before he's on the mound in The Show.

 

Brandon Finnegan, pitcher, TCU (No. 17, Kansas City Royals)

Matt Strasen/Associated Press

Despite standing just under 6'0" tall, Finnegan has good velocity. He hasn't had any issues missing bats. This season, Finnegan was 9-3 with a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 97 innings pitched.

The lefty leads what is a stellar starting rotation for TCU. His demeanor and competitiveness help him overcome any height stigmas he may encounter.

With him leading the charge, it will be difficult for opposing hitters to gain an advantage against TCU in Omaha.

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