Prospects facing make-or-break months

Tyler Beede has a 3.75 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 21 walks in 60 innings. John Korduner/Icon SMI

We're just six weeks until the start of the 2014 draft, which means that players have only 42 days to leave their lasting impressions on prospective clubs.

While consistency for the entire season is something that teams admire, there's no question that clubs value how a player finishes his season significantly more than how he began it.

"It really is a case of, 'It's not how you start, it's how you finish,'" an NL East scout said. "We definitely take the second half of the season more into consideration than the first, particularly in the college ranks. You have to keep in mind that a lot of these guys are playing baseball in February with very little practice, so it's going to take time for players to get warmed up and show their best stuff.

"You definitely don't discount a hot February and March, but I want to see the guy do it in April and May."

And with that in mind, here's a look at four players in the college ranks who have the most to gain -- and also the most to lose -- based on how they finish their 2014 seasons.


Most to gain: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina

Most to lose: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt

If you'd have told teams that Hoffman would be the player with the most to gain over this past month, they would have likely called you crazy, but after a up-and-down first two months followed by arguably the best start any collegiate pitcher has had this year last weekend against Middle Tennessee State, that's exactly where we are.

"It's going to be a huge final four or five starts [for Hoffman]," an AL front-office member said.