2009 Draft Prospects Rundown 4/23

Dustin Ackley and Rich Poythress are clearly the two best hitters in the Draft Prospects Tracker (and granted I’m only tracking three hitters, but these are two of the few college players considered good enough for a top pick). My feeling is that Ackley is a much better pick, not only due to his hitting and athleticism, but due to the fact that he can play at first base, or in the outfield. I also had concerns that Rich Poythress is a product of the metal college bats.

It’s not that I don’t think his power is legit, but I speculate on whether Poythress could show the same hitting and power without the metal bats. I decided to do a comparison between Ackley and Poythress, taking home runs out of the equation. When removing the home runs for each player, Poythress is hitting .348/.476/.406 and Ackley is hitting .344/.489/.448.

The biggest difference when removing the home runs is that Ackley only sees a .257 drop in slugging percentage, while Poythress sees his slugging percentage cut by over 50%, down .455 points. This suggests that Ackley’s power not only includes home runs, but also includes gap power, while the majority of Poythress’ power comes from his homers. Since those homers could translate in to fly balls with wooden bats in the majors, I trust Ackley’s gap power more than the 20 homers we’ve seen from Poythress.

Dustin Ackley

The Rundown: Ackley is 8 for 19 in the past week, getting a hit in all but one game, and reaching base in every game. He has one home run over that time span, giving him 12 on the season, and four in the month of April. Ackley is hitting .392/.520/.705 on the season.

Quick Fact: Ackley has reached base in 32 games in a row, dating back to an 0 for 4 performance on March 7th.

Grant Green

The Rundown: Green continues to hit well, going 7 for 17 in the last week, including a home run against Loyola Marymount. Green has eight multi-hit games in his 13 games in the month of April. The offense hasn’t really been a problem, as Green is now hitting .372 on the season, slightly below the .390 he hit last season. Green still has 13 errors on the season, with none in the last four games. There is the possibility that the Pirates could have Perry Hill work with Green on his defense, but I doubt Hill would turn him in to an offensive version of Jack Wilson.

Quick Fact: Green has 16 multi-hit games in his last 24 games played (not counting the 3/23 game against UCLA where he left the game early).

Rich Poythress

The Rundown: Poythress went 7 for 20 in the last week, with four homers. Three of those homers came against Kennesaw State, with the other homer coming against Arkansas. Poythress now has 20 homers on the year, two more than his freshman and sophomore seasons combined.

Quick Fact: Poythress went 0 for 4 and didn’t reach base on 4/19, the first game this season he has failed to reach base safely.

Alex White

The Rundown: White had a great start last Friday, pitching a complete game, one hit shutout against Miami. White struck out ten batters, and walked one. White has a 1.42 ERA in the month of April, with a 27:10 K/BB ratio in 25.1 innings pitched. One cause for concern is his high pitch count. White has gone over 120 pitches in his last three starts, including 132 pitches against Florida State. White also has been focusing heavily on his splitter, which can cause a strain on his arm, especially with that many pitches per game.

Quick Fact: White has a quality start in his last four games.

Kyle Gibson

The Rundown: Gibson continues to put up solid numbers, going with another complete game last week, allowing three runs and 11 hits in the process. The problem is that Gibson probably shouldn’t be going that long. Gibson threw 132 pitches in his most recent start, and has thrown over 110 pitches in six of his last seven starts (the other start was a 2 inning, 45 pitch performance). He also made three appearances in the span of six days, with the third appearance being a 9 inning, 118 pitch outing, two days after a one inning, 35 pitch outing. Aside from those issues, his controll is amazing, with an 90:11 K/BB ratio.

Quick Fact: Gibson has allowed just 3 walks in his last 39 innings pitched, with 52 strikeouts in that time span.

Kendal Volz

The Rundown: Volz had a solid outing against Oklahoma State on Friday, going 8.1 innings and allowing two earned runs (he allowed three unearned runs as well). Volz struck out seven batters, walked two, and allowed two homers. Volz has rebounded in his last two starts, with 15 strikeouts and four walks in 15.1 innings, but has also allowed three homers. Like the other pitchers, his pitch count is up there, with over 120 pitches in his last two starts.

Quick Fact: Volz has six quality starts this season, but only three wins.

Andy Oliver

The Rundown: Poor weather and poor performances have Oliver pitching a strange schedule. Oliver has gone less than five innings in his last three appearances. He had a poor start against Kansas on 4/10, came back to pitch two innings on 4/14, and his start last week was delayed by weather. Rather than having him pitch a full game mid-week, he went two innings on 4/21, and is expected to make a regular start this weekend.

Quick Fact: Oliver’s stats in the month of April look more like his 2007 totals (when he had a 5.52 ERA) than his 2008 totals (when he had a 2.20 ERA) suggesting 2008 could have been a fluke.

Mike Leake

The Rundown: Leake had another great performance against Stanford, going eight innings and allowing two earned runs, while striking out nine and walking one. Leake now has an 83:15 K/BB ratio in 72.2 innings pitched. He’s not considered a top tale

nt, and it’s unlikely he slips to the Pirates in the second round.

Quick Fact: Leake has a quality start in nine of his ten starts this season.

James Paxton

The Rundown: Paxton went seven innings in his last start on Friday, allowing two runs, striking out nine, and walking two batters. This could be a sign that Paxton is getting back on track. In his previous three starts, Paxton had a 12.46 ERA and a 2.15 WHIP, with 6 homers allowed in 13 innings pitched. Taking out those three starts, Paxton has a 3.16 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, with three homers in 37 innings pitched.

Quick Fact: Paxton has a 13.3 K/9 ratio this season, thanks to 74 strikeouts in 50 innings.

Other Notes

-The Fort Worth Cats (Aaron Crow’s indy team) starts Spring Training on May 4th, with their Opening Day coming on May 14th. That gives Crow about a month to show what he’s got for the draft. Right now I’d say he’s got a strong chance of claiming the top pitching spot behind Strasburg.

-Five pitchers are expected to take the mound Friday night.

-If the draft were today, and Aaron Crow was putting up strong numbers in the Indy leagues, my order of preference would be:

1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Dustin Ackley
3. Aaron Crow
4. Alex White

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Tribe Sweep Toledo in Short Series

Next Story »

Pearce’s Big Night Leads the Indians

Latest Analysis

  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    13 hours ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    1 day ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    3 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    5 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    6 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    6 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    2 weeks ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles