The college baseball sweet 16 has arrived. The series that kicks off Friday in Corvallis will have a national championship-type feel. Oregon State and Vanderbilt had similar abrupt ends to their previous seasons. The Beavers’ concluded with a tournament snub. The Commodores entered last year’s tournament as a No. 1 seed, but a tragic death of a teammate days before the tournament took an emotional toll on the team. They were eliminated in the first round on their home field. This sets the stage for either team to make a return to Omaha where they’ve both been crowned champions.
Many know about the lineage of Oregon State’s MLB draftees and NCAA tournament’s. Well, Vanderbilt easily rivals them. It starts with the stability of Tim Corbin. He’s no 22-year vet like Pat Casey: however, he’s been there for 13 years. Oregon State was home to the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury and Michael Conforto. Vandy likewise hosted David Price and Dansby Swanson. Finally, national champions, which Oregon State has two and Vanderbilt has one with a runner up which they would’ve been back to back champions like OSU.
This three-game series will have star power that we may see in the MLB. We should be in for a pitchers duel in Game 1. Oregon State almost certainly will throw Luke Heimlich, and Vandy will likely counter with Kyle Wright. Heimlich is projected late first-early second round and Wright is projected as a top-five pick. From there the Beavers will roll out two more top-100 prospects. This should favor them as their staff features a bit more seniority and talent. Both teams seem evenly matched after you consider Vandy’s offensive prowess. I’d expect nothing less than a decisive Game 3.
Take a look at Bleacher Report’s top 2017 MLB prospects, which includes players from both teams to watch for in this weekend’s series.