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Three Week 4 College Series To Watch From An MLB Draft Perspective

Ty Madden Courtesytexas
(Photo courtesy of Texas Baseball)

Here are three college series we are paying attention to during week four—from a draft perspective.

Related: 10 Early-Season Draft Risers

Note that both 2022 & 2023 rankings describe players in a college-only list, compared to a 2021 ranking that features both college and high school prospects.

No. 20 Texas vs. No. 10 South Carolina

A top 25 matchup that features a first-round arm and one of the bigger rising college bats in the country is a good place to start.

Texas righthander Ty Madden (1.35 ERA)  is coming off a brilliant complete game against Houston last week, while South Carolina first baseman/catcher Wes Clarke enters this series going hitless in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Still, Clarke is hitting .410/.574/.1.077 with eight homers and will get to test his bat against one of the elite pitchers in the class.

South Carolina starters Thomas Farr (1.56 ERA) and Brannon Jordan (3.46 ERA) have both been solid over their first three games, while freshman righty Will Sanders has yet to allow a run through 8.2 innings—with nine strikeouts and zero walks. Sanders was a projection righthander out of high school who scouts thought could reach campus and wind up moving significantly up draft boards with added physicality. Keep an eye on him for the 2023 class.

In the 2022 class, Texas shortstop Trey Faltine is one to watch and enters this series hitting .239/.411/.452 with a team-best 12 walks.

Ranked 2021 Players

Ranked 2022 Players

Ranked 2023 Players 

Ty Madden (Mike Janes Four Seam Images)

Arm Slot Tweak Has Ty Madden Rolling

In his pro debut, Madden was dominating at the top of the strike zone, showing the ability to generate swings and misses on his fastball in a manner that didn’t regularly happen in college.

No. 19 Oregon State vs. Oregon

The Ducks and Beavers will meet this weekend in Corvallis, Ore., in a non conference series between the two rivals. Oregon State enters this series having just jumped into the Top 25 thanks to the impressive pitching of staff ace Kevin Abel and three hitters currently hitting .400 or better.

Outielder Jacob Melton (.435/.483/.522), infielder Andy Armstrong (.429/.467/.619) and infielder Kyle Froemke (.400/.571/.600) have swung hot bats in the early going, but Abel is the player to bear down on for the draft.

Through 15.2 innings and three starts, Abel has struck out 26 batters and walked seven, while allowing just five hits and one earned run. He isn’t the hardest thrower you’ll see, with a fastball that ranges 89-93 mph but has shown a real weapon in a changeup that has more than 10 mph separation from his fastball.

For the Ducks, Aaron Zavala (.448/.579/.655) enters the series swinging a hot bat, while Kenyon Yovan—a prominent pitching prospect in the 2019 class who dealt with a hand issue that ended his season—is coming off a massive weekend series as a hitter against UC Santa Barbara, where he hit four home runs and walked six times.

Ranked 2021 Players

Ranked 2023 Players

No. 19 Oklahoma State vs. No. 3 Vanderbilt

Without giving offense to Wright State, Georgia State and Illinois-Chicago, Vanderbilt faces its first big challenge of the season this weekend against Oklahoma State. Which also means highly-touted righthanders Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter will be able to test their stuff against a Top 25 team in the country a week before SEC play begins.

The two pitchers have been electric through three starts, combining for 30 innings, 51 strikeouts, 14 walks, 11 hits and just one earned run allowed. While the matchup is exciting on paper, Oklahoma State has worked to a 9-0-1 record through strength of arms more than bats, with the team hitting just .242/.356/.453.

Oklahoma State lefthander Justin Wrobleski has been solid all season and is coming off a 13-strikeout performance against Grand Canyon, while righthander Bryce Osmond—the top-ranked player in this series in the 2022 class—has been solid through three outings, posting a 3.21 ERA over 14 innings.

There are a number of interesting hitters to keep an eye on with Vanderbilt. Dominic Keegan (.548/.659/.1.290) has put up gaudy numbers to start the season and is tied for the team lead with four home runs—along with 2022 draft-eligible shortstop Carter Young. Young entered college with a defensive reputation and some bat questions, but he is hitting .372/.442/.791 this season with four homers and four doubles. Center fielder Enrique Bradfield has unsurprisingly hit for a high average (.394) and been disruptive on the base paths (11-for-11 in stolen base attempts).

Ranked 2021 Players

Ranked 2022 Players

Ranked 2023 Players

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