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2020 MLB Draft Prep: College opening day is February 14

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Here are some players and schools to follow.

Jake Eder of Vanderbilt
Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The long winter of no baseball ends tomorrow. Whether you value the games or not, college games jump tomorrow afternoon. D1 Baseball has their scoreboard function up, and that is a good thing for college fans. As usual, many games with ranked teams include a team visiting from the north. On the other hand, three incredibly juicy match-ups loom on opening day.

Top-ranked Louisville visits Ole Miss, with a scheduled 4 p.m. CT first pitch. Ever-competitive Vanderbilt opposes the champions from Ann Arbor two hours later. Though non-ranked, Cal State Fullerton is a valid opponent every year, and they visit the Sunken Diamond against Stanford. Any of those games should be informative. If another game catches your fancy, have at it.

Austin Martin (Vanderbilt) is the top-ranked draft prospect on the Fangraphs list. If you want an early report on a player the Cubs won’t likely be able to draft, opening night is as good as any. Jake Eder and Hugh Fisher are in the range of the Cubs second selection (51), and coule be pitching for the Commodores, as well. Michigan might use starting pitcher Jeff Criswell (96) in the opener. Outfielder Jordan Nwogu (175) figures to start in left for the Wolverines.

Louisville has taken to churning out quality pro talent, recently. The Cubs selected Michael McAvene in the third round last June from Louisville. The Cards figure to start southpaw Michael Kirian (97) in one of the games against Ole Miss. Right-hander Bobby Miller (112) is on the Cards staff, as well.

Stanford’s Tim Tawa (166) is a poor man’s Nico Hoerner. Jacob Palisch (157) and/or Brandon Beck might get some work on the mound for Stanford. Jordan Fowler (236) looks to get some mound innings for Ole Miss over the weekend.

Regardless which game is on in your area, whether a ranked game or not, baseball is back on Friday.

***

With the Jason Kipnis discussion here recently, I finally got around to checking his draft history. He was drafted twice out of Arizona State. Players come from the college ranks, overseas, or from high school. If you happen to be watching a game, that player who looks good to you? They’re probably catching the attention of a scout, as well. If you’re experienced enough watching baseball, the guy that makes you look twice might well find himself a home in an organizational pipeline.

The rankings on draft boards are nice, but production and standing out account for something, as well. A good looking pitch probably resonates on a computer, as does a solidly smacked line drive up the gap. Take notes.

Whichever school fascinates you in another sport might well qualify in baseball. As much as I emphasize the importance of “being south,” Notre Dame has a dude, and Michigan won the thing in June. If you have a squad, and I hope you do, pass along who their starter is on Friday. The Tune-In app is your friend. As usual, I will answer questions you have below.