College World Series Stock Up, Stock Down for 2014 MLB Draft Picks

Jason CataniaMLB Lead WriterJune 18, 2014

College World Series Stock Up, Stock Down for 2014 MLB Draft Picks

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    Drafted 14th overall by the San Francisco Giants, right-hander Tyler Beede is still pitching for Vanderbilt in the College World Series.
    Drafted 14th overall by the San Francisco Giants, right-hander Tyler Beede is still pitching for Vanderbilt in the College World Series.USA TODAY Sports

    The first round of the Major League Baseball draft took place on Thursday, June 5—nearly two weeks ago. The College World Series, meanwhile, is still underway. Some of the players selected in the former are still involved in the latter because the draft takes place at the tail end of the college season.

    That makes for a good opportunity to take a look at how a batch of big-name draftees have fared as they wrap up their collegiate campaigns—and, in all likelihood, their collegiate careers—on the road to Omaha.

    Performance during college baseball's biggest event doesn't have much, if any, impact on a player's standing or reputation, but it's fun and helpful to keep tabs on how the top picks are faring all the same.

    Here's an update on eight first-round selections who have been playing in college baseball's postseason tournament.

     

    Statistics are accurate through June 17 and come from MLB.comBaseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com, except where otherwise noted.

Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana

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    Drafted: No. 4 overall by Chicago Cubs

    Kyle Schwarber and the Hoosiers actually were eliminated by Stanford back on June 2 before the MLB draft, but the surprise fourth selection has enjoyed his time since then.

    The 21-year-old officially inked with the Cubs, per Jim Callis of MLB.com, signing for an underslot deal. That should help Chicago allocate extra funds toward one or more of its later-round picks like high school arms Carson Sands (Round 4), Justin Steele (Round 5) and/or Dylan Cease (Round 6).

    Schwarber, a lefty slugger, already has begun his pro career by playing for the short-season Boise Hawks, where he's off to a phenomenal start with 12 hits, including four home runs, in his first 20 at-bats. Well then.

    Verdict: Stock Up

Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU

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    Drafted: No. 7 overall by Philadelphia Phillies

    LSU won its opening two contests, with the second coming behind Aaron Nola, who retired 17 of the last 18 he faced on his way to hurling 7.1 frames of four-hit, one-run ball with seven strikeouts against Houston.

    Alas, LSU dropped its next two to the same Cougars club in the regionals' double-elimination format. Thus ended Nola's amateur career just prior to being popped by the Phillies at No. 7.

    The 21-year-old righty then signed mere days later, as Callis reports. The most polished pitcher in this year's draft, Nola could reach Philadelphia by early next season.

    Verdict: Stock Up

Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State

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    Drafted: No. 10 overall by New York Mets

    Despite being the top seed in its quartet of clubs, Oregon State couldn't escape the regionals after losing a win-or-go-home game to UC Irvine on June 2.

    During the Beavers' five contests, though, Michael Conforto went just 2-for-16 with two runs and one driven in, although he did earn three free passes as he was pitched to carefully.

    While the 21-year-old lefty hitter has yet to sign, he's nearing a deal with the Mets, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. When he does, Conforto will become one of the most big league-ready position players in New York's pitching-rich system.

    Verdict: Stock the Same

Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State

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    Drafted: No. 11 overall by Toronto Blue Jays

    Max Pentecost and Kennesaw State made it through to the super regionals, but that's where their run ended after two straight losses to favored Louisville following the catcher's selection at the draft.

    Pentecost did his part, though, playing six games in the tourney in all and rapping nine hits (three doubles) in 22 at-bats to go with a pair of runs, three RBI, four walks and a stolen base.

    A righty swinger who should be able to stick behind the plate, Pentecost, 21, hasn't signed with the Jays yet. While there's still plenty of time—the deadline is July 18—Toronto has had issues when it comes to inking its early-round picks in recent years.

    Still, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports, the Jays are expected to lock up Pentecost and fellow first-rounder Jeff Hoffman (No. 9 overall), a right-hander out of East Carolina who was in line to go near the top of the draft before Tommy John surgery ended that possibility.

    Verdict: Stock the Same

Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt

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    Drafted: No. 14 overall by San Francisco Giants

    The No. 21 take back in 2011, Tyler Beede went seven picks higher after three seasons with powerhouse Vanderbilt. And his time there isn't up just yet. The Commodores are alive and well, having reached the College World Series in Omaha with but one loss in eight games so far.

    In Vandy's opening contest on May 30, Beede was fantastic, putting up eight scoreless innings and striking out a whopping 14 while allowing just six baserunners for the win over Xavier.

    However, the 21-year-old's second time out on June 6—one day after getting drafted by the Giants—wasn't nearly as good: Beede was all over the place in surrendering six runs on five hits and four walks in just 4.2 frames against Stanford, but his team won anyway.

    Beede didn't fare much better on Monday, lasting only 3.2 innings and giving up four runs on three hits and walks apiece. Again, though, the Commodores picked him up to beat UC Irvine.

    With Beede still in action, the Giants likely won't be signing him until Vandy's CWS is finished, and while two of the right-hander's three outings so far have been disappointing, that won't dampen the mood.

    Verdict: Stock the Same

Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU

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    Drafted: No. 17 overall by Kansas City Royals

    Brandon Finnegan didn't get a decision in Tuesday night's game against Virginia. He did, however, pitch well enough to win by allowing just one earned run and scattering nine hits over eight innings—except the matchup wound up turning into an epic 15-inning showdown that the Horned Frogs lost 3-2.

    While Tuesday's end result was disappointing for Finnegan and the Frogs, the 21-year-old has been great throughout the tourney, pitching 21.2 frames and surrendering just four earned on 16 hits with a 24-to-5 strikeout-to-walk rate overall.

    For obvious reasons, Finnegan hasn't signed—"To be honest, I’ve been kind of busy," he told Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star—and while the junior isn't expected to come cheaply for the Royals, it would still be surprising if a deal isn't struck. 

    Verdict: Stock Up

Nick Howard, RHP, Virginia

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    Drafted: No. 19 overall by Cincinnati Reds

    While Finnegan was busy starting Tuesday's classic for TCU, Nick Howard, Virginia's closer, did his part to keep the game tied in the late—er, middle—innings with four scoreless frames from the eighth through the 11th. The 21-year-old gave up just one hit and one walk and whiffed six batters.

    That extended outing brought Howard's tourney totals to 6.1 innings in which he's tolerated just four batters to reach base, none of whom have scored.

    With the Cavaliers still going, don't expect to hear any news on Howard coming to an agreement with the Reds until late June at the earliest.

    Verdict: Stock the Same

Alex Blandino, INF, Stanford

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    Drafted: No. 29 overall by Cincinnati Reds 

    Although his Stanford squad didn't get quite as far, Alex Blandino might be rooting for Virginia because he's likely to become Howard's future organization-mate after he was taken by the same big league club, the Reds, 10 picks later.

    While there are some questions about where Blandino will wind up in the field (short? third? second?) and how much pop the righty hitter will have, he had a strong showing in the tournament.

    In eight games, the 21-year-old went 10-for-30 with eight runs, seven RBI and a homer for the Cardinal, who bowed out in the super regionals against Vandy 10 days ago.

    If the Reds can sign both Blandino and Howard, they'll have themselves a pair of quality college juniors. 

    Verdict: Stock the Same

     

    To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11