Draft Prospect Watch: Strong Pitching All Around

The 11th weekend of college baseball kicked off yesterday, with some injury news and a top pitcher getting his start pushed back to Saturday due to weather. Tonight was all about pitching, including a couple players who looked like they were sliding out of the first round possibly, turned it around and put up strong performances. Check out the schedule for this weekend here. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the tenth week’s action here. Just a reminder, the Pirates pick #9 and #14 in this year’s June amateur draft, so for the duration of the college season, leading up to draft day, we are following the players closely that are ranked in that range. This year’s draft will be held June 6-8. 2013 draft

San Diego’s Kris Bryant, went 0-for-3, with a walk and a strikeout on Friday night in a 9-5 loss to San Francisco. On Saturday, he went 3-for-5, with a single, double and a home run, his 22nd homer of the season. Despite the good day, Bryant didn’t come through in the clutch for his team. In the ninth inning, with a man on and his team down one, Bryant struck out. His team eventually tied it, but lost 9-8 in ten innings.

Colin Moran had just one hit in five AB’s Friday night, but that one hit was huge, a three run homer in the first inning. On Saturday, he went 1-for-4, with a walk and an infield single. North Carolina lost to rival NC State today, just their fourth loss all season.

Austin Wilson went 1-for-4 yesterday, with a first inning infield single in Stanford’s 2-1 loss to Oregon. On Saturday, he went 1-for-5, with a single, as Stanford lost again to Oregon.

Ryne Stanek took on Georgia today and got the no-decision in his team’s 2-1 win. Stanek went 6.1 innings, giving just one run, but he did allow 11 base runners in the game(seven hits, three walks, one HBP) and only struck out three, needing 112 pitches to get through his outing.

Ryan Eades from LSU, took on #15 ranked South Carolina today and left after seven innings with the score tied at two runs apiece. Eades gave up six hits, three walks and he struck out three hitters. Both runs he allowed were unearned. He was coming off two straight poor outings, so his draft stocking was slipping as of late.

Phillip Erwin went 1-for-5 on Friday night in Samford’s 10-5 loss to Appalachian State. Erwin had a single and an RBI. In Saturday’s ball game, Samford won 19-2 and Erwin was a big part of it. He went 3-for-5, with four runs and four RBI’s, a walk and a stolen base. He hit three doubles, including a bases loaded one in the seventh that put the game out of reach.

Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma was supposed to take on Texas Tech Friday night, but his start was pushed back to Saturday due to a wet field and rainy weather. The late change didn’t affect him on the mound. Gray went 7.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits, two walks and he struck out seven batters. He had a no-hitter through five innings and was hitting 98 MPH on the radar gun.

Florida’s Jonathon Crawford rolled his ankle in practice on Thursday, so he missed his Friday start. He was able to make his start on Saturday night against Tennessee and while he pitched good, he lasted only 4.2 innings. Crawford didn’t allow a run, giving up two hits, three walks and he hit a batter, while recording five strikeouts. He has been pitching poorly of late, so this was a nice start for him despite the early departure.

Kevin Ziomek from Vanderbilt went Friday night against Mississippi State and pitched seven solid innings, giving up one run on four hits and three walks, while picking up nine strikeouts. Ziomek was going up against Hunter Renfroe, who has moved into first round consideration. Renfroe had a single off Ziomek, but also struck out twice.

High School News

The Indy Star has a feature on Trey Ball, who has been mentioned in the Pirates range numerous times. Ball talks about his preference of pitching over hitting, the fact he never threw a curveball until last year and a few other topics in the article which can be read here.

For the second day in a row, we have some news on Rob Kaminsky, a Prep LHP from NJ. Nathan Rode from Baseball America was at his start yesterday and has a recap, plus video.

Kohl Stewart has been mentioned as a top ten pick and it will likely take a high price tag to get him away from his baseball/football commitment at Texas A&M. We found some recent info on him here as well as a video on him here from Bullpen Banter.

Dominic Smith from Serra HS in California, is hitting .480 this season, with a 1.591 OPS. Earlier this week he drew two walks, then hit a two-run homer that ended the game due to the 10-run rule.

Two Prep shortstops that people are talking about are JP Crawford and Oscar Mercado. Both got off to slow starts with the bat this year, but they both have the talent to stay at shortstop in the pros, so that helps their rankings. Crawford has been doing well of late, getting his average up to .413 with a 1.081 OPS. He has ten extra base hits and has stolen 13 bases in 15 attempts. Mercado still hasn’t begun to hit. He is batting .286 after going 1-for-4 earlier this week. He has drawn 17 walks, but his slugging percentage is just .381

Baseball Prospect Nation has an in depth scouting report on Clint Frazier, who they call the best player in the draft. Very little chance that he slips to the Pirates.

Jonathan Mayo notes that the Astros are looking at six players for the first overall pick, Mark Appel, Gray, Bryant, Sean Manaea, Frazier and Austin Meadows.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • TNBucs

    I think I’m sold on Ball now:

    1. Two-way player leaves open options should he hurt his arm;

    2. Handled with care unlike so many pitchers (a local prospect here is allowed to regularly throw 120+ pitches);

    3. Asked to use a wood bat–obviously a guy that gets it;

    4. Has been allowed to work with his catcher to call his own game–clearly a pitcher and not a thrower;

    5. Already has a feel for a change-up which I think is much harder to teach than the curve ball;

    6. 93 mph from the left side with a chance for an increase.

    It would be great to get him at 14 but he might be the best choice at 8.

    • John Dreker

      Good post TN. I think the Pirates might be able to get Manaea with that first pick if his hip problem is a concern to other teams. I think the hip problem may have something to do with the fact he pitched with a sprained ankle earlier in the year. He has not had a typical “ace” workload this year, so assuming there is no serious problem, if he slips to the Pirates at #9, they have to take him.
      I guess it depends how they choose to attack this draft. If they want, they can get a solid college starter and bat with the two picks, which would get them guys closer to the majors than someone like Ball, who would likely start next year in the NY-Penn Lg.
      I still think we will see one HS, one college player, one a pitcher, one a hitter. Just a hunch. My plan would be two college players, then stock up on HS kids in the next few rounds, unless Meadows or Frazier somehow drop to them, which I don’t see happening.

  • NastyNate82

    I would love for them to get Ball or Manea if they fell. Also, Law wrote that he thinks Frazier might fall a bit because it seems that he’s maxed out physically at this stage. Even so, I wouldn’t care as it seems his bat is legit.
    To me, the two guys to watch this coming month are Ball and Wilson. Ball, as he hasn’t pitched much yet, is a big lefty with a big fastball. I think a guy like that could fly up into the top 5 if he dominates in May. Wilson, if he rakes, may emerge as a good alternative college bat if the Bucs want to go that way and Moran and Bryant are off the board. I’m starting to get confident that one of those two will either be at the Bucs spot, or force their way higher, letting a previous top talent fall to the Bucs.

  • Y2JGQ2

    Thanks for the update on Crawford and Mercado- I’m guessing Mercado is going to slip way down the board with that kind of hitting struggle in high school, maybe be there as a 2nd round pick? Any chance of Crawford being there in the second round? I’d guess not

    • John Dreker

      No chance Crawford slips unless something drastic happens between now and then. Mercado really didn’t hit great last year either and when Keith Law saw him earlier this year, he and the scout who had been following him, were not impressed. If he slips to the second round, I would hope the Pirates take him, but it is doubtful they are considering him with either of the first round picks. Crawford could go at #14 and it wouldn’t be a reach