The College Baseball Playoffs are finally here.
After a long and grueling season, today is the start of the College Baseball Playoffs. 64 teams will duke it out over the next few weeks, with all eyes on the College World Series crown. Only one team will walk away victorious, but the tournament will see the rise and fall of player’s draft stock.
While most of the top 2021 draft prospects are high schoolers, this is the time for players such as Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker to prove why they should go number one overall. For the Washington Nationals, who have the 11th overall pick and a barren farm system, they will be eyeing the best available talent. Here are a few names to keep an eye on during the playoffs.
Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker
There is zero percent chance that either Leiter or Rocker will be available at 11 and understandably so. Entering the college season, Rocker was the presumed number one overall pick. During the 2019 playoffs, he no-hit Duke in the Super Regional round, striking out 19 in a 3-0 win. The junior picked up where he left off, going 11-3, with a 2.86 ERA, and 135 strikeouts, in 15 starts.
Leiter, the son of World Series champion Al Leiter, has skyrocketed up draft boards this season, taking his game to the next level. In 14 starts this year, he went 8-3, with a 2.28 ERA, and 138 strikeouts.
When he’s on Leiter has been almost untouchable. The Vanderbilt co-ace no-hit South Carolina earlier in the year and followed it up by throwing seven no-hit innings against Missouri before being pulled. This led to him passing Rocker to become the projected number one overall pick halfway through the season.
But, he’s been prone to the long ball, hence why he is no longer projected to go number one overall. At one point he allowed 12 runs in 15.1 innings, before being scratched due to rest. Since then he has rebounded and returned to his dominant form.
While neither of the Vanderbilt duo will be available at 11, depending on where they go in the draft, there will be a chance some higher-end talent is knocked down a few picks. The domino effect that would follow would be in Washington’s best interest.