The third weekend of the college season is about to get under way. The Pirates have the #9 and #14 picks in the upcoming June amateur draft. Throughout the college/HS season, leading up to the draft, we will cover the interesting players that are being discussed in the Pirates draft range. There will also be daily notes on past picks by the Pirates who went unsigned. For a recap of the second week, check out our article posted here. Our preview of the draft can be read here.
Stanford VS Texas
Mark Appel, the Pirates first round pick from last year, will go Friday night for the 6-2 Cardinal, winners of four straight. He struggled in his opening start against another unsigned pick of the Pirates, Austin Kubitza(7th RD, 2010). Appel bounced back with a strong performance his second time out, allowing one run in a complete game victory, with 11 strikeouts. While Appel isn’t expected to fall to the Pirates again, the Cardinal do have another interesting prospect. Outfielder Austin Wilson has the potential to be a big bat in right field. He has also had some injury problems as of late. He missed time last year with an oblique strain and this season he left his first game with a muscle strain just below his elbow and hasn’t played since. He was listed as day-to-day at first, then we heard late last week he could miss 6-8 weeks. Aaron Fitt from Baseball America has an update on his injury and this one sounds much better than the last. He expects Wilson to be back sometime in March, possibly within two weeks. Texas has a pitcher ranked on BA’s top 100 draft-eligible college players list. Closer Corey Knebel, who was ranked #64, has three saves in five appearances this year, striking out 12 batters in eight innings.
North Carolina VS Rice, California and Texas A&M
Third baseman Colin Moran leads the 1st ranked Tar Heels into action this weekend as the play in the Astros Foundation College Classic. He will play one game each day, starting Friday, against Texas A&M, Rice and California. The Rice game figures to match him up against Austin Kubitza. Moran was ranked fourth overall by Baseball America among all draft-eligible college players. He’s a strong left-handed bat, that could be available when the Pirates pick in the #9 spot. Moran had a big game yesterday against St John’s, going 2-for-2, with four walks and two RBI’s. North Carolina also has Kent Emanuel, the 19th round pick of the Pirates in the 2010 draft. Emanuel threw a complete game shutout on the first Friday night of the season, then followed it up with one earned run over seven innings, with eight strikeouts. Emanuel should match up in that game against Kubitza. North Carolina also has a Wednesday game against Davidson.
San Diego plays in UNCW Wilmington Tournament
Another third baseman to watch is Kris Bryant from San Diego. At 6’5″, 215 he is a little bigger than Moran, and Bryant is a right-handed hitter. Besides the hot corner, he has also played some outfield and first base. San Diego also has starting pitcher Dylan Covey, a first round pick of the Brewers in 2010. His stock has dropped a little, though he is still in the 2nd round range right now. San Diego plays tonight against Coastal Carolina, then they will take part in the UNCW Wilmington Tournament. Friday they will play Gardner-Webb, followed by UNC-Wilmington and finally against Stony Brook on Sunday. San Diego also has a Tuesday game at home against Cal State Fullerton and a Wednesday game versus Seton Hall.
Florida VS Miami
Pitcher Jonathon Crawford will lead the Gators as they play three games this weekend against Miami. Crawford pitched 3.2 innings in his opener against Duke, allowing two runs. In week two, Crawford bounced back with 5.1 no-hit innings, but took the loss. He gave up two runs on two walks and two hit batters. Scouts at the game noted that Crawford lost about 3-4 MPH on his fastball(now 89-92) from last year, which is concerning because his delivery isn’t a smooth one. Miami has outfielder Dale Carey, the 21st round pick of the Pirates in the 2010 draft. Carey has just a .207 average through nine games, though he does have a .738 OPS.
Other Players To Watch
Sean Manaea, a LHP from Indiana State, and Ryne Stanek, a RHP from Arkansas, are rated just below Mark Appel among college players and neither is expected to be around when the Pirates pick. Things could change before the draft though, so early on they remain to be players to watch. Indiana State plays Eastern Kentucky tomorrow afternoon. Manaea has allowed one run over ten innings this season, recording 16 strikeouts. Arkansas plays Arizona State tonight, with a very interesting match-up for Stanek. On the mound for Arizona State is right-hander Trevor Williams, the #29 ranked college player by BA.
On the other side of the coin, are players that are rated just below the Pirates range, but could move up into consideration. They include Bobby Wahl, a RHP from Ole Miss, who will take on Florida International tomorrow night. Wahl impressed scouts during his first game, throwing 6.1 scoreless innings and reaching 95 MPH on the radar gun. His second start wasn’t as good due to poor control. He walked six and hit a batter, though he limited the damage by allowing one run in five innings.
Phillip Ervin, an outfielder from Samford, will play three games this weekend against Purdue and then one game on Tuesday against Troy University. He went 0-for-2 this Tuesday night, with two walks. Ervin collected seven base hits during his first weekend, with three of them being homers. D.J. Peterson from New Mexico plays three games this weekend against Nebraska, then a two game series against La Salle on Tues/Wed. The 3B/1B had five hits, including a double, triple and homer in the first weekend. He is hitting .417, with two homers and eight RBI’s through six games.
Baseball America has posted their draft tracker, with three draft-eligible college pitchers working their way up the charts. The three are all hard-throwing, right-handed starters. Bradey Shipley from Nevada, Chris Anderson from Jacksonville and Alex Gonzalez from Oral Roberts, have all impressed scouts recently. Shipley was ranked #31 on BA’s pre-season top 100 draft-eligible college players list.
High School Players
Keith Law has an article for subscribers with information on one of the top High School players available in this draft, along with notes on some others. He saw Oscar Mercado in person and was not impressed with the effort put forth by the shortstop from Gaither HS in Tampa. Scouts at the game, who have been following Mercado, passed on a similar disappointment.
Law was impressed with the defense and hitting of catcher John Denney, who was ranked #7 overall in this year’s draft class by BA, third highest among all HS players.
He also mentions two players that we are following this season, from a showcase event he attended in California in early February. Law said that J.P. Crawford played well, while Dominic Smith chose not to attend.