Image credit: Florida righthander Tommy Mace (Photo courtesy of Florida)
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy recap last week’s MLB draft, discuss the undrafted free agent signing period and talk about the things they miss about being in Omaha for the College World Series.
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College pitching was held in high regard during the draft, as expected. Of the 29 picks in the first round proper (remember that the Astros did not have a first-round selection), there were nine college pitchers taken, including pitchers who really helped their stock during the spring, like Duke righthander Bryce Jarvis, Wake Forest lefthander Jared Shuster and Louisville righthander Bobby Miller.
The big winner from a college standpoint was undoubtedly Florida. The Gators had players from their recruiting class hear their names called, as expected, in high school outfielder Zac Veen and high school third baseman Coby Mayo, but they didn’t lose anyone off their current roster, including right-handed rotation mates Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich. At this point, it’s hard to see how UF doesn’t go into the 2021 season as the No. 1 team in the country and the favorite to win the national title.
Another SEC team, South Carolina, also had a similarly successful week. As expected, they lost righthander Carmen Mlodzinski and incoming junior college recruit Luke Little, but they held the rest of the recruiting class together and suffered very little roster attrition.
It’s tough to get a read on the week Miami had. On one hand, all three of its weekend starters are heading off to pro baseball, after righthanders Slade Cecconi and Chris McMahon were drafted and Brian Van Belle signed as a free agent. It also lost shortstop Freddy Zamora. On the other hand, slugging first baseman Alex Toral wasn’t drafted and most of the Hurricanes’ recruiting class made it through without being selected.
To wrap, Teddy and Joe talk about the things they miss with no College World Series going on this week. Some things, like missing the competition on the field and getting to see the champion dogpile at the end of the event, are obvious. But what makes the CWS truly great are some of the smaller things, like how picturesque the TD Ameritrade Park backdrop is, particularly at night, and how the city wraps its arms around the CWS like no other event in Omaha. Those are the types of things that make the College World Series such a must-see for so many.