It's rare enough to see a team repeat as champions in any sport at any level. However, it's even rarer to see a re-match in the championship game/series between the champion and runner-up from the previous year, which college baseball has this weekend between North Carolina and Oregon State. Considering the Beavers weren't sure they'd even make the tournament, this particular re-match is even more improbable.
Though the same two programs will take the field in Omaha Saturday night, they aren't the same teams that battled last year. Gone from the Tar Heels are Daniel Bard and Andrew Miller, both of whom were first-round picks last year (Miller, in fact, is in the Tigers rotation now). The Beavers lost several key players too, but that's not to say that either team is lacking talent. 14 players between these two teams were drafted this year, so at least a couple future major-leaguers should be taking the field this weekend. Each drafted player with a brief scouting report is listed below:
Josh Horton, SS, Athletics (90th overall) - Horton was the 11th player on my "25 the M's Should Be Looking At" list, thanks to his good defense and excellent plate discipline. He fits the A's offensive philosophy beautifully, and given Bobby Crosby's struggles since taking over for Miguel Tejada, Horton has a chance to be the A's starting shortstop in a couple years.
Luke Putkonen, RHP, Tigers (121st overall) - Putkonen has all the measurables at 6'6" with a low to mid-90s fastball. However, though his stats were solid this year, they don't match the talent. He's got the ability to be a major-league starter, but he's going to have to develop a ton to reach that potential. Given the great young staff the Tigers already have, Putkonen's best chance to make the big leagues in Detroit is likely in the bullpen.
Andrew Carignan, RHP, Athletics (180th overall) - Vandy's Casey Weathers (picked eighth overall by the Rockies) was the best closer in college baseball this year, but Carignan wasn't far behind him. Other relievers were picked ahead of Andrew, but they aren't better ones (outside of Weathers). He has already tied Huston Street's record for most saves in the College World Series, and with a little luck this weekend he could break it. Pretty soon, Carignan could be challenging Street for his major-league closing job too.
Reid Fronk, LF, Blue Jays (215th overall) - On this heavy-hitting team Fronk didn't really stand out, but Toronto should be glad that they didn't overlook him. There's nothing that really stands out about him, but no glaring weaknesses either. He's just a good outfielder, plain and simple. He could be in the majors within the next three years in a reserve role.
Benji Johnson, C, Braves (528th overall) - Johnson showed impressive power as a sophomore, but didn't flash as much this year as a junior. It didn't help that he didn't play every day this year either. Even if he proves to have good power, he's not that great of a hitter and I don't think he'll ever be a contributor at the major-league level.
Robert Woodard, RHP, Padres (627th overall) - Woodard has been shelled in the College World Series, but for the season and his career he's a much better pitcher than he's shown. He's never going to be a strikeout artist, but he's smart on the mound and he's got good command. I don't know how he'll ever crack the Padres budding young staff, but he's a solid bet to develop into a number four or five starter.
Eddie Kunz, RHP, Mets (42nd overall) - Kunz is the closer for OSU, and he's done a really good job in the role. Though he's good, I'm not sure why the Mets picked him this high. He is a pretty solid reliever, but he's not as good as UNC's closer, Andrew Carignan, who went later in the draft. Kunz gets his share of strikeouts, but what makes him effective are all the grounders he gets. Hitters just don't get home runs off Kunz.
Mitch Canham, C, Padres (57th overall) - He was 13th on my "25 Players the M's Should Be Looking At" list, and he's the heart and soul of the Beavers. There's not much blocking his path to the majors in San Diego, and I would expect him to be challenging for playing time with the Padres in two to three years.
Darwin Barney, SS, Cubs (127th overall) - Barney is a solid hitter with a little power, and good speed and fielding. His hitting will likely keep him from ascending through the minors real quickly, but in three or four years he could be on the Cubs in a reserve role.
Daniel Turpen, RHP, Giants (254th overall) - Turpen has experience starting and relieving, which is nice, but his flexibility is his best trait, which isn't nice. Turpen's ERA was pretty good, and the 10-1 record he posted is excellent, but he really posted rather mediocre numbers otherwise. The odds are against him ever being a contributor in the big leagues.
Mike Stutes, RHP, Cardinals (292nd overall) - Though Turpen went before Stutes in the draft, Stutes is a better pitcher. His strikeout rate is good, though he did give up his share of walks and home runs. Stutes could stay a starter as a pro or be turned into a reliever. Either way he won't be a star, but he's got a decent chance to make the majors.
Joe Paterson, LHP, Giants (314th overall) - Paterson, a starter for the Beavers, is kind of like a poorer version of UNC's Robert Woodard. Since he went higher than Woodard in the draft, the Giants obviously see him as a better version, potentially because he is left-handed. Best case, he's a "AAAA" starter, or a good left-hander out of the bullpen.
Anton Maxwell, LHP, Rangers (950th overall) - Maxwell has been a decent pitcher his whole career with the Beavers, but nothing about his numbers indicate that he's got major-league potential. His best chance is as a specialty lefty.
Chris Hopkins, CF, Royals (1,297th overall) - A senior, Hopkins has good speed, but isn't much of a hitter. He'll play in the minors until he decides to retire.