Division I baseball kicked off the regular season this weekend, which means we saw the debut of several top draft prospects. Bryce Harper has already been playing at the JuCo level this season, and he also played a few games over the weekend, wrapping up the first portion of the schedule at the College of Southern Nevada. Here is a recap of how each player did this weekend. You can click on their name to go to their draft tracker.
Southern Nevada’s schedule is broken up in to two segments. The first segment is tournament play, which just concluded this weekend. Tournament play, like most college baseball games, is played with a metal bat. CSN’s season resumes on March 5th for the conference games, which unlike most college baseball games, will use a wooden bat.
Harper had another good weekend, with a .333/.529/.667 line and one homer in 12 at-bats. Harper finishes the tournament portion of his schedule with a .356/.451/.678 line, and four homers in 59 at-bats. Speaking of those homers, here are some videos I found of the first three homers of the season.
It will be interesting to see how Harper does with a wooden bat. If he continues to hit with a 1.129 OPS like he has been so far, then that would go a long way toward deciding whether he should be the first overall pick.
Ranaudo opened his season against Centenary on Friday night, not exactly the biggest challenge for the top college pitcher in the 2010 draft. That probably explains why Ranaudo mowed them down, allowing just one hit over five innings of work, with one unearned run, two walks, and six strikeouts. Despite leaving with the lead after five innings, Ranaudo was credited with a no-decision, as Centenary tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth inning. Ranaudo is expected to make his next start on Friday against William & Mary.
Colon had a decent start to his college season, going 4 for 13 in his first weekend as a junior. Colon’s four hits included three singles and one home run, which came on Sunday against Long Beach State. Colon also committed his first error of the season on Sunday. The offensive benchmark I’m using for Colon is Grant Green’s .390/.434/.644 line from 2008, in which Green hit a homer every 22.78 at-bats. Colon hit for a .357/.442/.529 line last year, with a homer every 31.88 at-bats, but he’ll have to improve on those numbers to be considered the number two overall player, especially if Ranaudo continues pitching well.
Pomeranz didn’t have an effective start to his 2010 season. The Mississippi ace only went four innings, allowing one run on four hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts. Pomeranz needed 32 pitches to get through the first inning, but settled down after that, needing just 56 over the next three innings. Pomeranz is expected to make his next start on Friday against Oakland.
Deck McGuire - McGuire, who is rated as the second best college pitcher behind Ranaudo, according to Baseball America, got off to a great start this weekend. The Georgia Tech ace pitched seven strong innings, allowing no runs on five hits, with no walks and ten strikeouts to pick up the win. Like Ranaudo, the victory should be weighed, as it came against Missouri State. McGuire was pitching up to 93 MPH in his debut, according to Baseball America. I’m probably going to add a tracker for McGuire this week.
LeVon Washington - Like Harper, the Tampa Bay Rays’ 2009 first round pick is spending the 2010 season at the JuCo level, in order to be eligible for the 2010 draft. Washington hasn’t fared well, missing a few games after getting his right hand stepped on while sliding in to third base. Before the injury, Washington was 5-for-14 with two doubles. Washington returned this weekend, and went 2-for-8 with three walks.
James Taillon - Taillon, a 6′ 6″, 250 pound high school pitcher, is rated as the number three prospect in the 2010 draft, and the top high school arm available. Taillon’s high school, The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, TX, begins their tournament play this coming Thursday. I’d expect Taillon to start the first game. I might add a tracker for him, depending on the availability of his game by game stats. Otherwise, I’ll keep his progress updated in this section of the weekly Draft Prospects Rundown.