The final round of eight of the College World Series kicks off this weekend, and while all but one of the teams will end up going home without the hardware, a few of the members of their teams will likely one day be going with a million-dollar bonus. Here’s who has some helium for the 2012 MLB draft, broken down by team. Here’s part six…
Texas A&M Aggies
It might seem like A&M is the biggest surprise team, aside from maybe Cal, to make it into the final field of eight, but when you take into account the fact that they have arguably the top 2012 draft prospect in RHP Michael Wacha, it doesn’t seem that odd after all.
What’s even harder to comprehend is how Major League teams could have missed on Wacha when he was coming out of high-school. He went undrafted, despite having an ideal frame (6-6, 180 lbs) and great athleticism (three year letter-winner in basketball). It’s not likely that teams will miss on him in 2012, when he’s projected to be a first-round pick, and potentially a top-ten selection.
After a breakout freshman campaign that saw him go 9-2 with a 2.90 ERA and a 97:22 K:BB ratio, Wacha got even better this season. He posted one fewer victory, but lowered his ERA to a ridiculous 2.10. He tossed two complete-games among his 17 starts and posted a K:BB ratio of 110:23 in 115.2 innings.
Wacha sits comfortably in the low 90s, touching 94-95 mph occasionally, and complementing his fastball with a mid 80s slider and a low 80s changeup. He also throws a curveball, but he mostly scrapped the pitch this season to focus on his slider.
Without a doubt, the Aggies top offensive player this season was OF Tyler Naquin, who could be a very interesting prospect on draft day next year. Naquin was a 33rd-round pick of Baltimore’s back in ’09, but honored his commitment to A&M, where he blossomed into one of the best hitters in the Big-12 this season.
In 65 games, he hit .390 with a team-leading 23 doubles, seven triples and 65 runs. He also hit two home runs, drove in 44 runs, posted a 29:33 BB:K ratio and swiped six bases.
But Naquin didn’t just contribute at the plate. He utilized his cannon arm in the outfield to rack up seven OF assists.
RHP Kyle Martin was one of the Aggies’ most effective relievers this season, helping to fill the huge hole left by John Stilson who moved into the rotation. Martin finished with a 3.60 ERA in 30 appearances and notched 37 strikeouts in 40 innings. He also picked up one save and served up only one home run the entire season. Martin was a 39th-round pick of the Washington Nationals back in 2009.
OF Brandon Wood had a tough year with the new bats, hitting only .259 with one home run. Given another year, the talented athlete who played football for three years in high-school, should adjust and become a late-round talent.
LHP Dylan Mendoza lacks the size (5-10, 175 lbs), but he should be given a chance to win a spot in the rotation next year, which should increase his exposure, giving him a chance to earn a spot somewhere in the draft.