Draft Prospect Watch: Bryant Homers, Two Catchers To Follow
The 12th weekend of college baseball kicked off yesterday, but some of the best pitchers in this draft class were on the mound today. These players, and many others, have just over 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 11th 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, went 0-for-2, with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, stolen base and a strikeout on Friday night. Bryant scored a run in his team’s 10-7 win against St Mary’s. On Saturday, he went 1-for-3, with a home run and reached by twice by HBP. Bryant scored twice and drove in two runs in San Diego’s 6-3 win. His 23 home runs this season are the highest total in Division I ball.
Colin Moran and North Carolina have off this weekend. They have a mid-week series next week against James Madison, starting Tuesday.
Austin Wilson went 2-for-4 on Friday night, with a double, a walk and two RBI’s. He had a two-run single in the third inning that would give Stanford a lead it would never surrender. On Saturday, Wilson went 1-for-6, but that one hit was a big one. He hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning, his fourth homer of the year. Wilson now has 19 RBI’s in 18 games. Stanford ended up winning 9-8 over Arizona State in 11 innings.
Sean Manaea returned from the hip injury that kept him out last week. He threw 82 pitches over four innings today against Evansville. Manaea allowed one run on two hits, while striking out five, but he also had some control issues, walking four batters. A potential top three pick early in the season, he may now have a chance to drop to the Pirates.
Ryne Stanek of Arkansas has been pitching well of late, but his start on Saturday against Kentucky was not one of his best. He went 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out four batters. He threw 89 pitches on the night and was able to pick up his sixth win.
Ryan Eades went six innings today against Florida in a blowout. LSU won 18-6 today and Eades pitched well, giving up two runs on three hits and three walks, striking out six batters. He was taken out after six because LSU had a 13 run lead at the time. Here is a video of Eades talking about his start.
DJ Peterson and New Mexico beat up on Air Force today, taking home a 17-1 win. Peterson went 3-for-6, scoring three times and driving home four runs. He hit his 22nd double of the season.
Bobby Wahl had a strong start for Ole Miss Friday night against Auburn, continuing his run of impressive outings. He went eight innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks, while picking up five strikeouts. Wahl moved to 9-0, 1.21 in 12 starts, with a .178 BAA. He may be an option for the Pirates with their second first round pick.
Kevin Ziomek had a strong outing against a tough South Carolina team on Friday. He helped Vanderbilt to a 3-2 victory by allowing one run over eight innings. He gave up eight hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. He picked up his ninth win by throwing 64 of his 92 pitches for strikes.
Chris Anderson from Jacksonville hasn’t been sharp in many of his recent starts and when he does do well, part of it can be attributed to a very soft schedule. He started the season off very strong and still gets mid-first round mention still, so for some, the lack of results and quality of opponents, haven’t swayed their opinion of him. Against Florida Gulf Coast today he went six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and five walks, with two strikeouts. It will be interesting to see where he actually goes in the draft with a half season of mediocrity against low-ranked opponents.
Two HS catchers have been linked to the Pirates in this upcoming draft, Reese McGuire and Jon Denney. The site Crawfish Boxes had a top ten for catchers in this draft class and they ranked McGuire slightly ahead of Denney, but both are closely rated. Both are athletic players who can play defense well enough to stick at the spot. Denney had the more polished bat, while McGuire has tons of upside, raw power and the better defense. He is also a lefty hitter, which could be the key deciding factor if the Pirates have a chance to choose between the two catchers.
Through April 30th, McGuire was hitting .435, with three homers and a 1.384 OPS. He also has 18 walks, just two strikeouts and nine stolen bases. Denney is hitting .490, with a 1.691 OPS and 29 extra base hits. He has done all that at the plate despite 37 walks. Denney has thrown out 71% of attempted base stealers.
Maxpreps has a long article on Oscar Mercado, who has struggled at the plate this year, but has plenty of tools and could stick at shortstop, which makes him a player to watch. According to the article, he is a gifted defensive shortstop with plus speed and quick hands at the plate. Mercado is hitting just .286 this season and hasn’t shown any power, which will likely keep him low in the first round. If he drops enough, he could be a player the Pirates look at with their second round pick(#51 overall). Most mock drafts have him in the late first round range, some going in the supplemental round.