Forty-six players selected in the amateur draft earlier this
month reached the College World Series, which started last Friday
and will produce a champion by Monday. Here are four players on
the fast track to the majors.
*Matt Campbell, LHP, South Carolina. The Royals drafted college
pitchers with six of their first 10 picks, and Campbell (29th
overall) is the most advanced. In 118 innings through Sunday, he
struck out 138 and walked only 36, going 10-5 with a 2.90 ERA
while limiting opponents to a .210 batting average. With a
high-80s fastball and a plus curve, he could begin 2005 in Double
A and be in the Kansas City rotation by '06.
*J.P. Howell, LHP, Texas. The second college pitcher selected by
K.C. (31st overall), he has struck out 161 in 13 1/3 innings
while going 15-2 with a 2.21 ERA. Howell's a first-team
All-America who throws a fastball, curve, splitter and changeup.
In Texas's 13-2 opening CWS win over Arkansas, he struck out
eight in 6 2/3 innings. He should follow the same route as
Campbell's to the majors.
*Huston Street, RHP, Texas. With a sinking fastball (high 80s to
low 90s) and a nasty slider, he is the college game's best
closer. This season he has 12 saves, a 1.40 ERA, 51 strikeouts
and 12 walks in 51 1/3 innings. The A's selected him 40th
overall and hope he can match the quick progress made by the
Expos' Chad Cordero and the Reds' Ryan Wagner--college closers
who were 2003 first-round choices and reached the majors last
June 27, 2004
*Erick San Pedro, C, Miami. Solid behind the plate (nailing more
than 40% of base stealers this year) and able to handle a staff
effectively, he bloomed as a hitter this season in batting .330
with a .445 on-base percentage and a .622 slugging mark. The
Expos, who selected San Pedro 54th, need all the help they can
get and, like most clubs, will make room on the roster for a
catcher. --Daniel G. Habib