College | Story | 6/9/2019

Super Regional Spotlight: Day 2

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Day 1 Spotlight2019 Super Regional Preview | College Player Database

Ethan Small, Mississippi State
After he was taken in the first round (28 overall) of this year’s draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Small celebrated with a strong performance against visiting Stanford to open the Starkville Super Regional on Saturday. He delivered six strong innings allowing just one unearned runs on five hits and two walks, striking out eight during that time. The SEC Pitcher of the Year, Small’s competitiveness stands out more than anything, and his 87-90 mph fastball that peaks around 92 and fading changeup gives him two dangerous pitches that the Stanford hitters didn’t have much luck doing anything with in an eventual 6-2 win for Mississippi State.

Small participated in nine PG tournament events while in high school, all with the Dulin Dodgers where he earned All-Tournament honors five times. His velocity took a significant step forward his senior year, peaking at 93 mph at the 2014 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter. He was ranked 110th in the high school class of 2015 and entered the draft this year ranked 52nd among all players eligible.

We went into greater depth on Small a week ago when he fanned 10 CMU batters in six innings of work as part of the Day 2 Regional Recap.

Isaiah Campbell, Arkansas
Campbell has been a remarkable model of consistency all year long, one of the most important traits any staff ace can possess. He went another 8 1/3 strong innings this week in a 11-2 win over Ole Miss, allowing a pair of earned runs on five base hits and a walk. He struck out seven with his usual low-90s fastball and low-80s breaking ball, pounding the strike zone and needing just 102 pitches to navigate through his outing. He and teammate Dominic Fletcher were draft back-to-back on the first day of this year’s draft, with Campbell going 76th overall to the Mariners after the Dbacks plucked up Fletcher.

Like Ethan Small, Campbell was covered in greater detail in last week’s Day 2 Regional Recap.

Tyler Baum, North Carolina
For as good as the UNC bullpen was through the ACC Tournament and last weekend’s Regionals, it couldn’t preserve the 4-2 lead starter Tyler Baum gave them upon leaving the game in the top of the seventh as Auburn ended up rallying in both the eighth and ninth innings to take the game 11-7.

Baum’s command was sharp, early, even if his command, and his stuff faded, as he neared the end of his appearance with his pitch county reaching 104. He went 6 1/3, giving up a pair of earned runs on four hits (and no walks), stirking out seven along the way. He was enjoying success in the way he usually does, sitting in the 90-92 mph range, touching a few ticks higher at times, while mixing in his hard-spinning curveball and a changeup.

Baum’s talents have long been known, particularly his curveball, as he was a member of the 2015 PG All-American Classic in San Diego. He was the 88th-ranked prospect overall heading into this year’s draft where the Oakland A’s took him in the second round. Here’s his pre-draft report:

In the absence of Gianluca Dalatri, Baum and fellow junior Austin Bergner have taken the role of aces on the Tar Heels’ staff. Baum is an undersized righthander but he has a strong two-pitch mix that includes a fastball that can get into the mid-90s and a hammer curveball. Baum has a strong performance history and has been remarkably consistent this spring, all of which should culminate with a fairly high draft selection in June.

View our first-hand observation on Baum from mid-April here.

While most of our coverage in both the Regional and Super Regional round has focused on players that were draft eligible this year, it would be impossible not to mention the efforts of three underclassmen that came up huge on Saturday.

Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt
If you’ve been following the draft, and/or amateur baseball in general, you’re well familiar with Kumar Rocker. He spent much of his high school career ranked the No. 1 prospect in the high school class of 2018. He made it clear he intended to attend Vanderbilt and ended up falling to the 38th round (Rockies) of the 2018 MLB Draft. As a result, he arrived in Nashville and earned a weekend rotation spot right away to begin his college career.

On the brink of elimination after Duke’s lopsided 18-5 win on Friday, Rocker took the mound on Saturday and immediately went to work. He worked quickly between his mid-90s heat and his hard mid-80s breaker on his way to striking out 19 batters in the first no-hitter in the history of the Super Regional round (which began in 1999).

The starter for the East squad in the 2017 PG All-American Classic, Rocker has a history of strong performances in big games, but none have been bigger than this one. An easy favorite for the No. 1 overall prospect for the 2021 MLB Draft, two full years away, we had the chance to see Rocker’s very first start of his collegiate career back in February. View that report here.

Bobby Miller, Louisville
Louisville was the first team to advance to Omaha with another convincing win (12-0) over East Carolina. While the offense once against exploded it was the pitching exploits of sophomore righthander Bobby Miller that stole the show.

Miller carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning. He opened the frame with a walk and then allowed a base hit to the very next hitter, which ended his day on the mound after just 90 pitches. He ended up allowing just that one hit (and two walks) with five punchouts in his eight innings. Miller’s fastball sat in the low-90s, touching 94-95 at times, while mixing in his sharp mid- to upper-80s slider that proved to be an effective, neutralizing pitch as he moved to 7-1 on the season.

A talented two-way player coming out of high school with a powerful lefthanded swing, Miller enjoyed a Freshman All-American season a year ago as a righthanded pitcher. Two years ago Miller was ranked the 205th prospect in the high school class of 2017 when he was selected by the Orioles in the 38th round of that year’s draft. He’ll go much, much higher than that a year from now when he’s eligible as a junior.

View his College Player Database report from his freshman season here.

Reese Albert, Florida State
Albert has enjoyed a huge postseason so far, batting second and playing right field for the Seminoles. After going 6-for-14 (.429) with a pair of homers, three runs scored and five RBI in the Regional round, he kick off Super Regionals with a 2-for-5 performance with a pair of home runs. The first home run was a three-run blast that tied the game 4-4 in the seventh inning. The second was a solo shot in the ninth that gave the Seminoles their sixth and final run in a 6-4 win over LSU to put them in the driver’s seat at the Baton Rouge Regional.

A sophomore, Albert isn’t draft again until next year, although he entered this season as the 93rd-best college sophomore. Coming out of high school he was ranked 88th in the class of 2017 and was ranked 153rd overall among those eligible for that year’s draft.

The most impressive aspect about Albert’s feat was that it gave Florida State their 40th win of the year (40-21), which means head coach Mike Martin will finish his illustrious career with at least 40 wins in all 40 of his season as skipper.

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