Draft Prospect Watch: Bryant Homers Twice, Wahl Starts Again
The 13th weekend of college baseball wrapped up today and we take a look at the top college bats and how they did on Sunday, plus a few more names to watch and some HS news. These players, and many others, have less than a month to impress scouts in advance of the draft. Check out the schedule for this weekend here. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the 12th 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.
San Diego’s Kris Bryant hit his 26th homer Friday night, as his team ran away with a victory over Portland. He finished the game 2-for-5, with three runs scored, two RBI’s and he reached once by HBP. On Saturday, Bryant had a triple and an RBI, but otherwise had a rough day. He went 1-for-5 in his team’s 10-2 win, striking out twice and committing an error. On Sunday, San Diego routed Portland by a 22-5 score. Bryant hit two more homers, plus a double and two singles. He scored five runs and added four RBI’s.
Colin Moran and North Carolina took a tough loss to Georgia Tech Friday, just their fifth loss of the season. Moran finished the game going 1-for-2, with a solo homer(13th) and two walks. On Saturday, he had two walks, a fly out and a strikeout in his team’s 3-1 win. On Sunday, North Carolina did something they haven’t done all season, they lost a series. In their 10-9 defeat against Georgia Tech, Moran went 2-for-4, with two walks and a double. He scored once and drove in two runs.
Austin Wilson went 1-for-3 Friday night in Stanford’s 7-3 loss. He had a strike out in the first inning, followed by a single, a foul out and he was hit by a pitch in the seventh. On Saturday, Wilson hit his fifth home run of the season. Oregon State still won 10-4 though, as Wilson finished the game 1-for-3, with a walk and two RBI’s. He finished his week with a single, double and two RBI’s in a 5-4 loss. He is hitting .333 in 23 games, with 23 RBI’s.
DJ Peterson and Aaron Judge played the final game of their team’s three game weekend series against each other. Fresno State picked up the 9-8 win on Sunday to avoid the sweep. Judge went 4-for-4, with a double and a triple. He scored once and drove in a run. Peterson went 1-for-2, hitting a home run and drawing three walks. The homer was his 16th of the year. He hit one in each game of the series.
Phillip Ervin went 2-for-3 on Saturday in Samford’s 8-7 loss to Elon. He scored three runs, stole a base and reached base four times, adding a walk and HBP. On Friday, he had two hits and three RBI’s. On Sunday, Ervin had a single,scored a run and drew two walks in his team’s 6-4 win.
On Saturday, Hunter Renfroe from Mississippi State went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk, as Ole Miss won the completion of Friday’s game by a 3-0 score. Bobby Wahl had started the game, striking out three batters in the first inning before rain ended play for the day. In game two on Saturday, Renfroe went 3-for-5, with three singles, three runs scored and two RBI’s. He had a rough game on Sunday, going 0-for-4, with two strikeouts and a walk. Wahl ended up getting the Sunday start and didn’t do well in the unusual role. He went 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and five walks, striking out six batters. He threw 97 pitches.
Eric Jagielo was mentioned here Friday for the first time. The Notre Dame third baseman has moved well up the draft charts recently, into a possible mid-first round range. He went 1-for-2 on Saturday against St John’s, with a double and two walks. He was supposed to play a doubleheader, but game two was postponed until today. On Sunday in game one, Jagielo had a single and a walk in four plate appearances. In game two, he had a double, two walks and three RBI’s. He was replaced for a pinch-runner in each game.
Some Other Names To Watch
Besides Jagielo, another name that has shot up the draft chart is Alex Gonzalez, a RHP from Oral Roberts. Keith Law recently moved him all the way up to #16 on his top 100 list. Gonzalez threw a complete game this week, allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks, with 11 strikeouts. He took the loss against McNeese State though, pushing his record to 7-5, 1.90 in 13 starts. In 99.1 innings, he has a .204 BAA, with 112 strikeouts and 22 walks allowed. Baseball America recently ranked him #43 in this draft class and says he can touch 94 MPH with his fastball and he has a plus slider. His curve and change are both serviceable pitches. He has good control and knows how to pitch. His floor is higher than most, though he will likely be a #3 starter at best.
Two other RHP college pitchers have also been only mentioned here briefly in the past, but both could reach the first round. Or they could be nice pick ups for the Pirates with their second round pick, 51st overall. Aaron Blair from Marshall and Andrew Thurman from UC-Irvine have both pitched well enough to get mentioned as a possible mid-first round pick at some point this year.
Blair this season is 5-4, 2.28 in 12 starts, with 83 strikeouts and a .184 BAA in 79 innings. He has allowed just one home run this season. On Saturday, he has some trouble with control against East Carolina, giving up three runs(one earned) on seven hits and five walks in 6.2 innings. Blair struck out five and threw 118 pitches on the night.
Thurman is 5-3, 2.98 in 12 starts this season. He has 72 strikeouts and a .244 BAA in 84.2 innings. He pitched great on Friday against Cal Poly, giving up one run on four hits and no walks in his complete game effort. He struck out seven batters and threw 107 pitches on the day.
Oscar Mercado was being watched early due to the fact he has a strong chance to stick at shortstop in the pros. He also had a decent bat last year and he has real good speed. This season however, has been a disappointment, as his bat has regressed to the point he will likely fall out of the first round. BA ranked him #38 in their latest poll, while Keith Law dropped him out of his top 100 altogether. Mercado is hitting .286 through 83 AB’s, with five extra base hits(no homers) and an .827 OPS, which is helped by 17 walks(and two HBP). If he drops too far, he will likely attend Florida State.
Hunter Harvey from Bandy HS in North Carolina has been rated highly most of this year, especially after he hit 97 MPH in one early start. He usually maxes out a little lower, but the RHP has a good fastball, decent curve and plenty of room to fill out. In his outing on Friday, he threw eight shutout innings, allowing one hit, while picking up 17 strikeouts. This season, he has a 0.38 ERA in 54.2 innings, with 116 strikeouts, 23 hits allowed and 17 walks. His dad is former major league pitcher Bryan Harvey. According to BA, he doesn’t have a college commitment and wants to jump to the pros, though he also is very raw, throwing mostly fastballs against weak overall competition.