2011 Draft Prospects Rundown: 2/28

Here is a recap of how each of the top 2011 draft prospects did this past week.  Click on their names to go to their tracker pages.

ANTHONY RENDON

Rendon is starting to heat up, hitting his first two home runs this weekend.

Rendon started off the season on a slow note last week, hitting for a .250/.250/.250 line in his first 12 at-bats.  He did a complete 180 this week, catching fire at the plate, despite playing with a sore shoulder, which limited him to DH duties this week.  He went 6-for-9 with a walk heading in to the weekend, then went 2-for-5 combined on Friday and Saturday, with both hits going for home runs.  Rendon went a combined 2-for-7 against USC this weekend, but walked six times.

On the season, Rendon is now hitting for a .393/.514/.643 line, with a home run every 14 at-bats.  This past week he hit for a .500/.652/.938 line, with a homer every 8 at-bats.

One thing that has been notable about Rendon throughout his college career has been his HR/SO ratio.  Rendon struck out 22 times last year, and hit 26 homers.  He stuck out 23 times in 2009, and hit 20 homers.  This year he has two strikeouts and two homers.  It’s early, but his strikeout rate of 7% is down from his 10% career ratio heading in to the season.

Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle had a brief video interview with Rendon about his first homer of the season, and his sore shoulder.  As for the designated hitter role, Rice coach Wayne Graham said that Rendon will remain in the DH role due to his shoulder.  One concern with Rendon has been his injury history.  This is something to watch, although Graham also mentioned that they didn’t want to mortgage the season to win now, which suggests they’re playing things safe at this point.  Considering they swept USC this weekend, and are on a four game winning streak, I don’t think there’s a huge rush to get Rendon back on the field, as long as his bat is productive in the lineup.

GERRIT COLE

Cole made the start against San Jose State on Friday, however the game was suspended due to rain after the first inning.  The game was rescheduled for Sunday afternoon, and UCLA opted to bring Cole back to pitch, since he only threw nine pitches in his perfect inning on Friday.

He ended up allowing five runs, three earned, on five hits in 5.1 innings, with a walk and six strikeouts.  Cole threw 86 pitches, and was pulled in the sixth inning, which was the inning he gave up all of the damage.  Perhaps the effects of pitching on Friday, then pitching again on Sunday caught up to him.

MATT PURKE

Purke originally had his start moved from Friday to Sunday, due to a blister on his index finger.  He was scratched for the Sunday start, to give him extra time to heal.  He will make his next start on Friday against Texas Tech.

OTHER PROSPECTS

-George Springer, the UCONN outfielder who is rated the second best hitter in the draft, remains in an early season slump, with a .136/.259/.273 line in 22 at-bats so far this year.  He does have one home run, and is 2-for-4 at stolen base attempts.

-Catching up on a few 2008 Pirates’ draft picks who went un-signed and are draft eligible this year:

Zach Wilson, 3B, Arizona State: Drafted in the 26th round in 2008, and is the 37th best prospect in the draft this year.  Wilson is hitting for a .407/.485/.556 line in 27 at-bats so far this season.

Scott McGough, RHP, Oregon: Drafted in the 46th round in 2008, and is the 47th best prospect in the draft this year.  McGough had a much better week this week, with two relief appearances, combining for 2.2 shutout innings, while allowing two hits, two walks, and striking out four.

Drew Gagnon, LHP, Long Beach State: Drafted in the 10th round in 2008, and is the 49th best prospect in the draft this year.  Gagnon pitched 7.2 shutout innings in his second start of the season, allowing four hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts.  Aaron Fitt of Baseball America was in attendance for his start, and had several Twitter updates.  Gagnon was sitting at 92 in the first, with a 79-82 MPH slider, and an 86 MPH changeup.  In the third he stranded  runner at third base with one out, using high heaters of 91 and 93 MPH.  He was also throwing a slider (82-84 MPH) and a curveball (79-81 MPH).  He was still hitting 90-92 MPH in the 7th inning.

-Catching up on the un-signed prep pitchers from the top 10 rounds in the 2010 draft:

Jason Hursh, 6th Round, Oklahoma State: I made an error last week, mentioning that Hursh did not play.  He did make a start, and made his second this weekend.  So far he has combined for a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings, with a 3:4 K/BB ratio.

Austin Kubitza, 7th Round, Rice: Kubitza pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits, with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts.  On the season he has a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings, with a 12:3 K/BB ratio.

Dace Kime, 8th Round, Louisville: Hasn’t pitched yet.

Zach Weiss, 10th Round, UCLA: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Tim Williams

Author: 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 AccuScore.com, 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.

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