After splitting the first two games, the 2014 College World Series will end on Wednesday night, with either Vanderbilt or Virginia becoming national champions. The game itself will feature plenty of excitement, but it's also the last opportunity for some of the top MLB prospects to showcase their talent on the national stage.
The first two games between the Cavaliers and Commodores have featured plenty of runs, with Vanderbilt winning 9-8 in the first game and with Virginia staying alive with a 7-2 victory on Tuesday. Now, the last two teams remaining in the nation will be playing a sudden death game to win the NCAA championship.
Below is the viewing information for Wednesday night's big game, followed by a look at some of the top MLB prospects who will be playing.
Date: Wednesday, June 25
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Top MLB Prospects
Nick Howard, RHP, Virginia
Selected No. 19 overall by Cincinnati Reds
With this being the last game of the season, the Cavaliers are likely not going to be afraid to work their bullpen if needed, and that likely means that we'll be seeing Nick Howard at some point during the game.
Howard has been a reliable relief pitcher this season, and it was a big reason why he was a first-round pick. In 35.2 innings pitched, he's had an ERA of just 1.77 with a 0.98 WHIP, 58 strikeouts and 20 saves. According to ESPNU, those 20 saves are an ACC single-season record.
@UVaBaseball Nick Howard's 20th save breaks tie w/ UNC's Michael Morin for ACC single-season record; UVa pen has 14 scoreless inns. in CWS— ESPNU (@ESPNU) June 21, 2014
At 6'4'' and 215 pounds, Howard has nice size for a pitcher with room to grow. He has a great fastball with plenty of late life that hitters struggle to catch up to. The rest of his pitches are pretty average, but his curveball could be a plus-pitch if he can work on being more consistent.
While he's not going to be a starter in the majors, Howard projects very well as a late-inning reliever. Paired with Aroldis Chapman, the Cincinnati Reds could have some promising relievers to shut things down once Howard finally makes his way to the majors.
Adam Ravenelle, RHP, Vanderbilt
Selected No. 130 overall by Detroit Tigers
While Howard is one of the top relief pitchers for Virginia, Vanderbilt has a solid pitcher in the bullpen as well with Adam Ravenelle.
Ravenelle has made 23 appearances this season for the Commodores, posting a 1.42 ERA with 35 strikeouts while batters hit just .151 against him. While hitters have struggled to get to him, he wasn't always a prominent member of the bullpen, but Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin has been impressed with how far he's come.
"Rav has come a long way since he stepped on campus," Corbin said, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. "He has always had very good athleticism and a clean, strong arm. He is now putting all of it together and becoming very skilled. There is a tremendous amount of consistency in his life ... his disposition, his investment level, his academics and now his performance."
Because of an ulnar nerve injury in 2012, scouts hadn't really gotten a good look at Ravenelle until this season. However, he's shown good stuff, throwing a solid mid-90s fastball and a plus-slider that give him a good two-pitch combo heading into the Detroit Tigers' farm system. As Chris Crawford from ESPN.com points out, Ravenelle fits the profile of a Tigers pitching prospect.
I'd mention that Adam Ravenelle was drafted by the Tigers but he's a hard throwing right-handed reliever, so you already knew that.— Chris Crawford (@CrawfordChrisV) June 24, 2014
He'll have some work to do before he's ready to be moved into Detroit's bullpen, but the potential is there for him to succeed as a relief pitcher down the road.