The first two games of the 2010 College World Series will be played this Saturday.
That game, which will be aired on ESPN at 7pm Eastern Time, will feature the Cubs' 29th round draft pick Casey Harman. The left-handed ace of the Clemson pitching staff this year, he put together a 7-2 record with an ERA of 3.95, a .239 opponent batting average, 7.71 K/9, and 2.78 BB/9.
According to CollegeSplits.com , his numbers are even a little bit better when you account for ballpark and schedule adjustments: 8-2 record, 3.68 ERA, .221 opponent batting average, 8.34 K/9, and 2.60 BB/9.
Unfortunately, it appears as though his traditional statistics might be somewhat optimistic. His FIP was 5.17, although it's 3.68 adjusted, and his BABIP was .275 (.259 adjusted).
Baseball America had this to say about Harman in their Draft Database:
Harman, miscast as a staff ace, is a solid three-pitch lefthander with steady stuff, including an 85-89 mph fastball with good sink. His straight changeup and slider are fringe-average but play up when he commands the two-seamer.
But he has been very hot lately, pitching 17 innings with a 1.56 ERA, 17 strikeouts, and one walk in the postseason so far. Cubs fans can come to their own conclusions about him Sunday night as the southpaw faces what might be the toughest lineup in Omaha.
Although there aren't many success stories, there have been major leaguers that were drafted in the 29th round or later. Among them are these pitchers:
• Kyle Lohse (29th round, 1996, Cubs)
• Darryl Kile (30th round, 1987, Astros)
• Mike Gonzalez (30th round, 1997, Pirates)
• Robb Nen (32nd round, 1987, Rangers)
• Jason Frasor (33rd round, 1999, Tigers)
• Dan Wheeler (34th round, 1996, Rays)
• Chad Gaudin (34th round, 2001, Rays)
• Mark Buehrle (38th round, 1998, White Sox)
• Scot Shields (38th round, 1997, Angels)
• Kenny Rogers (39th round, 1982, Rangers)
• Kyle Farnsworth (47th round, 1994, Cubs)
If the Cubs sign him, maybe Harman will make this list, too. Of course, he's only a junior and may decide to go back to school in an attempt to improve his draft stock (and increase his bank account) next year.
What might make this game even more interesting are two pitchers on the opposing pitching staff that Harman might face many more times in his professional career. Seth Blair , the Cardinals' first round supplemental pick, will be starting the game and Jordan Swagerty , the Cardinals' second round selection, could be closing it out for the Sun Devils.
Another NL Central draftee, Andrew Maggi (15th round, Pirates), will also be taking the field as Arizona State's starting shortstop.
Since Clemson is the lowest-ranked team in their half of the bracket according to Baseball America, make sure you don't miss this game. Harman might not make a second start in Omaha.