With all of the talk about upsets, legendary programs, attendance records and the pros and cons of double-elimination at the 2014 College World Series, it's easy to overlook the fact that many of these players will continue to delight baseball fans at the next level of the game.
As one might expect in the College World Series, there is a bevy of professional-level talent set to take the field at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Seven players from the eight initial teams in the College World Series were taken within the first 60 picks of the 2014 MLB draft. Only four of these teams are in action on Day 4, but the prospects who will be suiting up on Tuesday will be set to tease MLB fans with their developing talent.
After we clear away some of the necessary schedule information to ensure you don't miss a single at-bat of the College World Series, let's take a look at three of the top prospects set to play on Day 4 in Omaha.
Here is the updated schedule for the 2014 College World Series.
|UC Irvine vs. Texas||June 14||3 p.m.||UCI 3-1 Texas|
|Louisville vs. Vanderbilt||June 14||8 p.m.||Vanderbilt 5-2 Louisville|
|Texas Tech vs. TCU||June 15||3 p.m.||TCU 3-2 Texas Tech|
|Virginia vs. Ole Miss||June 15||8 p.m.||Virginia 2-1 Ole Miss|
|Texas vs. Louisville||June 16||3 p.m.||Texas 4-1 Louisville|
|Vanderbilt vs. UC Irvine||June 16||8 p.m.||Vanderbilt 6-4 UC Irvine|
|Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss||June 17||3 p.m.||TBD|
|TCU vs. Virginia||June 17||8 p.m.||TBD|
|UC Irvine vs. Texas||June 18||8 p.m.||TBD|
|Game 10||June 19||8 p.m.||TBD|
|Vanderbilt vs UCI/Texas||June 20||3 p.m.||TBD|
|Game 12||June 20||8 p.m.||TBD|
|Game 13*||June 21||3 p.m.||TBD|
|Game 14*||June 21||8 p.m.||TBD|
|CWS Finals: Game 1||June 23||8 p.m.||TBD|
|CWS Finals: Game 2||June 24||8 p.m.||TBD|
|CWS Finals: Game 3*||June 25||8 p.m.||TBD|
NCAA.com, *if necessary
An updated, interactive bracket can be found at NCAA.com.
Players to Watch on Day 4
Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
Tuesday will feature some premium talent in the Virginia Cavaliers outfield. The Houston Astros selected all-around talent Derek Fisher with the No. 37 overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft.
Which team playing on Tuesday has the best chance at winning the College World Series?
The left-handed hitter has a smooth swing and a very strong frame. Curiously, he hasn't been much of a power threat for Virginia, with just 17 home runs to his name over the course of three seasons as a Cavalier. He flashes speed in left field but has just four stolen bases on the season. Fisher is the classic example of a prospect who flashes all the tools but has yet to tap into his full potential.
His strong pedigree hasn't prevented him from suffering from a downturn in play as a junior.
Fisher is batting just .277 on the year, down from a .293 average in his sophomore season. He hasn't been at 100 percent on the year, as he lost a huge chunk of the 2014 season recovering from wrist surgery. However, Fisher is still an impressive enough outfield specimen to warrant an early selection in the draft.
Fisher has been in somewhat of a slump as of late and will look to make a breakthrough on Tuesday against TCU.
Mike Papi, OF, Virginia
Meet the new Big Papi.
Which Virginia outfielder will have the better pro career?
Mike Papi is another star outfielder for the Virginia Cavaliers and the No. 38 pick of the 2014 MLB draft. The Cleveland Indians chose Papi immediately after Fisher was drafted by the Astros. There's a good chance that these sluggers will be inextricably linked to one another throughout their careers.
Papi is no stranger to heroics in the College World Series. His game-winning double in the ninth inning against Ole Miss propelled the Cavaliers into the winners bracket. The former All-American was well aware of TD Ameritrade Park's favorable dimensions in this instance. Via the Washington Post's Virginia Cavaliers Twitter account:
#UVa's Mike Papi on his walkoff double: "I was just hoping and praying that it was gonna fall somewhere out there in this cavernous park.”— Cavs Journal (@CavsJournal) June 16, 2014
Unlike Fisher, Papi's power numbers corroborate his potential as a big league slugger. He leads his team with 11 home runs and 55 RBI and is second on the team with a .509 slugging percentage.
Papi will have to continue to come up with clutch plays and timely hitting if Virginia is to make good on its status as the top national seed remaining in the tournament.
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
Brandon Finnegan is a hard-throwing starting pitcher for the Horned Frogs; he gets the nod on Tuesday as TCU attempts to continue its winning ways in the College World Series.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson confirmed Finnegan will take the mound Tuesday against fellow lefty Brandon Waddell:
Finnegan is 9-3 on the season with a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 97.2 innings pitched. He also has decent control for a lefty, issuing just 27 walks on the year despite featuring one of the quickest fastballs in college baseball.
Finnegan was taken No. 17 overall by the Kansas City Royals in this year's draft.
Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg gave the lowdown on what he and his staff saw in Finnegan, via Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star.
He’s developed a change-up which went from making him a borderline reliever/starter to definitely a full-fledged starter. We think he has a plus slider and a plus change-up to go along with a plus fastball. He’s got the make-up, the command and the bulldog in him that we were looking for.
Well, it's hard to argue with that assessment.
Finnegan will be looking to shut down Fisher and Papi on Tuesday. The highly anticipated matchup between Virginia and TCU will be at its best when the star outfielders step into the batter's box against the flame-throwing southpaw.