The finals of the 2014 College World Series are set to begin Monday with the first game of a best-of-three series between Virginia and Vanderbilt. Each team will be seeking its first CWS title in program history.
Virginia is making its first-ever trip to the finals, and their performance during the regionals and super regionals has them pegged as the favorite to win this year’s title. Specifically, the team’s pitching staff has been unimaginably good, as it has been the driving force behind the Cavaliers' surge toward the finals, with a combined 1.34 ERA and 72/23 K/BB in 87 innings over nine games.
Vanderbilt, meanwhile, will be making its second CWS finals appearance in the last four years, and they are looking to avenge a 2011 loss to Florida. Though loaded with a host of impressive arms, the Commodores offense is the reason the team is now two wins away from its first title. As a whole, Vandy is batting .297 through 10 games with a tournament-leading 24 stolen bases and 6.3 runs per game.
The two teams also had a combined total of four players selected in the first round (including the compensation rounds) of the MLB first-year player draft earlier this month, and each of those players has the potential to impact the upcoming series and help their team make history.
Here are the four MLB draft picks who will be X-factors in the finals of the 2014 College World Series.