Jeremy Bleich takes on Georgia

If that exhilarating Dan Giese-Daryl Thompson matchup in the Bronx doesn’t do it for you, flip on over to ESPN at 2pm EST to check out sandwich rounder Jeremy Bleich try to save Stanford’s season in the College World Series. If the Cardinal wins today, they’ll take on Georgia again tomorrow, winner goes to the CWS Finals. If Georgia wins today, Stanford goes home and Georgia will take on either UNC or Fresno State in the Finals. Talk about the game here if you want, here’s the Game Tracker if you can’t get in front of a TV.

CWS kicks off today

The College World Series (aka the most exciting two weeks in baseball) starts today, and Yankees’ fans get a primo matchup right from the get-go. Sandwich rounder Jeremy Bleich takes to the mound and faces Florida State, where 13th round pick Jack Rye bats cleanup behind 5th overall pick Buster Posey. The game begins at 2pm EST, and can be seen on ESPN. If you can’t watch, you can follow along via CSTV’s ridiculous Game Tracker.

Make sure you check out The College Baseball Blog’s CWS preview to get your head around all the upcoming action, then check out all the box scores and game recaps at NCAA-Baseball’s calender. Baseball America also has a ton of CWS content up on their site, including a 12-page preview, player highlights, and a breakdown of all eight participants. You can find the bracket for the double elimination tournament here.

I can’t recommend the CWS enough, the game is so much more exciting when the goal is to win as a team, not to land a big contract or a postseason award. DotF turned into a game thread the last time a Bleich start was televised, so feel free to comment on the action here.

The Road to Omaha

Not Yankee related, but exciting nonetheless. The NCAA baseball postseason starts tomorrow night as the double elimination Regionals kick off in 16 college towns across the country. The NCAA postseason is some of the most exciting baseball you can find (the College World Series has been far better than the actual World Series for about 5 years running now), and I can’t possibly recommend spending a two week summer vacation in Omaha for the CWS any more highly. It’s unbelievable (and scorching hot).

The crew over at The College Baseball Blog have done us all a favor and posted previews of each regional, as well as their picks for Omaha. Two-time defending CWS champs Oregon State are left sitting at home this year, thanks to a paultry 11-13 conference record, and 27-24 overall. The team they beat for those two titles, North Carolina, was ranked in the top 5 all year and locked up a top 8 national seed. A bunch of games are going to be on ESPNU, CSN and various FSN channels, and the primo pitching matchups to look out for on Day One are Aaron Crowe (Missouri) vs. Lance Lynn (Ole Miss), and Brian Matusz (San Diego) vs Tyson Ross (Cal.)

Baseball America is having another Bracket Challenge this year, where the winner takes home a rather expensive DeMarini bat and a BA book (there’s a bunch of other prizes as well). If you’re interested you can check out my brackets here. Arizona State has just been too good all year, and I went with the underdog Mizzou as the runner-up because of their Aaron Crowe-Kyle Gibson-Ian Berger rotation. No team in the country can match that.

I know I’ve linked to this clip a billion times before, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to it again for all of you that haven’t seen it: here’s current Yankee farmhand JB Cox closing out Texas 2005 CWS Title. Enjoy.

Vandy’s Alvarez out at least 6 weeks

3B Pedro Alvarez, one of if not the best prospect for the 2008 draft, broke a bone in his hand during his first at-bat of the year. He’ll be out at least 6 weeks, which is basically half the college season. The injury unquestionably hurts Alvarez’s draft stock, but will it be enough to get him to the Yanks at #28 overall? I think so. If he comes back and plays like a mere mortal, there will be tons of questions about how bad the injury was, if he’s fully healthy, will it be a long-term thing, etc. Elite players have fallen for far less. The real question is whether or not Alvarez will decide to return to school for his senior year to try and build his stock back up. Even with the potential questions, he’d be a no-brainer at #28.

Cape Cod League & draft signings update

The Cape Cod Baseball League is “it” for amateurs. Each summer the best of the best college players head up to the Cape to strut their stuff for scouts in anticipation of the following year’s draft, and in some cases they are trying to make themselves a few extra thousand bucks if they were already drafted. Many players have headed to the Cape with little hype, but left as top notch prospects; just ask Timmy Lincecum what his 0.69 ERA & .104 BAA did for him last year.Â

One player on the Cape looking to drive up his signing bonus is RHP Chris Carpenter, the Yanks’ 18th round pick out of Kent State in this year’s draft. A second rounder based on talent, Carpenter fell because of signability (as a draft-eligible sophomore, he’s got some extra negotiating leverage) and health concerns (Tommy John surgery and a separate elbow surgery to clean out scar tissue in recent years). In two starts for the Chatham A’s, Carpenter has gone 9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 K, which isn’t as great as it may look when you consider that the CCBL is quite possibly the pitcher friendliest baseball league on the planet.

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