The College World Series is in full swing, and we've already witnessed some fantastic....heck, historic performances.
Anyone who witnessed Gerrit Cole's eight-inning, 13-strikeout gem, consider yourself lucky. You got a sneak peak at what a top five pick in next year's draft will look like. I can't remember ever witnessing a more dominating performance from a guy who gave up three runs in one inning.
But Cole hasn't been the only guy who's shone on college baseball's biggest stage. And not all of the "stars of Omaha" have been players eligible for next year's draft. Several, such as Florida State's Mike McGee, have shown the teams that drafted them this year that they might deserve a raise from what they might have been offered pre-Omaha.
So here are the players, in order of draft year, who have earned themselves the right to up the ante on their services.
Eibner rode shotgun to Zack Cox all year long, but when Cox couldn't play early in the CWS because of back issues, it was the two-way star who picked up the slack and played hero.
It's not as if Eibner, the 54th overall pick in the draft, had a terrible year. He finished the season with a .333 average, 22 home runs, and 71 RBI. He also added 17 doubles and was a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases.
I mentioned he was a two-way player. On the mound Eibner went 3-5 with one save and had 56 strikeouts in 58 innings. His presence on both the mound and at the plate was instrumental in getting the Razorbacks to the super regionals, where they eventually fell to No. 1 overall seed Arizona State.
Eibner started his CWS with a bang—a four-hit outburst, three of which were home runs, seven RBI, and five runs scored. That set the tone, and he finished his six-game run with a .348 average, nine runs, 10 RBI, and four homers.
On the mound he tossed 3.2 innings, taking the loss in Arkansas' first game against ASU, a 7-6 loss in 12 innings. Eibner walked a batter and hit another, and all the Sun Devils needed was a base hit to put Arkansas in elimination mode.
That somewhat erratic performance aside, Eibner certainly helped his cause at the CWS, and that will be sure to impact his status as a Royals draft pick.
Eibner was drafted as a center fielder, and the Royals intend to use him there. He profiles as more of a corner outfielder, but his future is most definitely as a hitter.
Workman lived up to his name, tossing a complete game shutout in Texas' CWS opener.
Granted, the performance was against Rider, not necessarily a NCAA power, but Workman was impressive nonetheless. Impressive enough to turn a 12-2 record into a spot as the 57th overall pick by the Boston Red Sox.
Workman scattered six hits in his shutout, struck out seven, and allowed just three walks. He was less impressive in his second start, a loss against TCU that sent the Longhorns home from Omaha, but he was still good: five innings of one-run ball, four strikeouts, and zero walks.
Workman was already on draft-boards, but he rocketed up during the week leading up to the draft. He solidified his status as a top-two-rounds talent.
The Red Sox may have gotten a steal in the 6'4" right-hander.
Much like Eibner, Rasmussen was the forgotten man in UCLA's rotation behind Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer.
But like Eibner, he's also shown what he's capable of under the bright lights.
His first start was decent (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7K, 0 BB), but he really upped his game against hated rival Cal State-Fullerton in the deciding game of that series: a complete game two-hitter with nine strikeouts.
Through two starts, Rasmussen has allowed only three runs in 16 innings (1.69 ERA) and struck out 16 while walking only one.
The knock on Rasmussen has always been his size (5'10" and 175 pounds), and while there isn't really much he can do about that, the other negative has been that he hasn't been that efficient with his four quality pitches.
He sure made those doubters look foolish when he needed only 77 pitches to get through six innings in his first start and only 112 in his complete game against Fullerton.
Rasmussen was tabbed by the Marlins with the 73rd overall pick, and he could move really quickly through the minors as a reliever, but the Fish would probably be wise to see how his repertoire plays as a starter first.
Considering all the hype surrounding Parker heading into the 2010 season, he came out in the wash as a disappointment.
Scouts were looking for power, and he didn't deliver as promised. He only finished the season with 10 home runs, and his early season struggles scared off many teams who had once thought Parker worthy of a first round pick.
The Giants scooped Parker up one pick after Rasmussen, and if the early returns from the CWS are any indication, they too may have gotten a steal.
Playing for the heavy-favorite Cavaliers, Parker found his stroke early on in the tournament, notching three consecutive two-hit games and scoring seven runs in the first three contests.
Over the seven games he played in he notched a .360 average with two homers, six RBI and three stolen bases. The two dingers accounted for 20 percent of his season total, while the three swipes went for one-quarter of his season's 12.
Parker still has some room for growth, especially in the pitch recognition department, but the Giants should be pleased with what they have seen out of him so far.
The Orioles were lucky to scoop up Klein with the 85th overall pick, and while he's played the role of shutdown reliever this season, he could quickly become a rotation fixture.
Klein put together one of the finest seasons of any closer this year, saving 10 games while compiling a 6-0 record and a 1.89 ERA.
He has also yet to allow an earned run at the CWS. He's scattered five hits over 5.1 innings and has picked up a win and a save in UCLA's quest to win its first national title.
The O's have stated that they won't begin negotiations with Klein until after UCLA's season concludes, but watching him you know they can't wait until then.
Don't let Cole's 3.20 ERA in three CWS starts fool you. There probably isn't a hotter pitcher on a hotter team going into the last two weeks of the CWS.
Watching his 13-strikeout performance against TCU was watching a star in the making. Not that he wasn't already a star. I mean, the 2008 first round pick (he didn't sign) struck out 14 batters in only 11.2 innings in his first two starts and has an 11-3 record on the year to go with his 151 strikeouts in only 116 innings.
Cole will be a sure-fire top ten pick in 2011, and the Yankees should be kicking themselves for not getting this kid signed.
It's hard to garner that much more helium when you've already been offered $4 million...and turned it down.
But believe it or not, if the 2011 draft were held today, Purke would be walking away with close to double that.
Nobody has solidified his draft status more than the 6'4", 180 pounder. He's compiled a 15-0 record, a 3.03 ERA, and 140 strikeouts in a mere 110 innings.
As a freshman!!
In the CWS Purke has been at his best, gathering three victories, one of which came against defending CWS runner-up Texas. He's only given up 13 hits in 21 innings, with only four earned runs (an ERA of 1.71). And he's struck out 27 batters.
Purke is the best lefty in the 2011 draft, and he'll be a draft-eligible sophomore.
Holaday has been Mr. Clutch for the Horned Frogs in this CWS.
His big night last night was just the cherry on top. His RBI double cut FSU's lead to 7-4, setting the stage for Matt Curry's huge grand slam that put the Horned Frogs ahead for good and resulted in the Seminoles packing their bags.
But that was just one of many plays that Holaday made last night that endeared him to teams all over. His pickoff of Stephen Cardullo in the bottom half of the seventh inning invigorated the TCU squad, and busting it down the line to back up first base on the next play earned him major kudos in the hustle department.
First and foremost, you have to appreciate how Holaday has handled a pitching staff that is a combined 38-4 on the year. He has aided the development of freshman sensation Matt Purke and guided the les- heralded Kyle Winkler and Steven Maxwell to career years.
And somehow he managed to hit .352 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI while doing that.
Sure enough, Holaday has made himself some serious coin this year, especially these past few weeks.
College catchers have become something of a novelty in recent draft years. You just have to have one.
Maddox should be one of the best bets at the position (even if he doesn't stay at the position) heading into the 2012 draft.
A part of UF's three-headed machine, Maddox tore up college pitching in his first season, to the tune of .333 with 17 homers and 72 RBI. The latter two numbers led the Gators squad.
In the CWS Maddox hit .294 with six RBI and four runs scored. He was consistently in the middle of every UF rally and hit cleanup for a legitimate title contender until the Gators were knocked out by their arch-rivals, the Seminoles.
Maddox should only get better over the next two years and should continue to mature as a catcher, Hopefully he can get to the point where Bryan Holaday is and make himself a ton of cash in the process.