Draft Prospect Watch: Could Stewart Be Out Of Pirates Price Range?

The 12th weekend of college baseball wrapped up today. Today we highlight some of the best college hitters, former Pirates draft picks and some notes of top HS players. 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. 2013 draft

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. On Sunday, he went 0-for-4 with a walk. His 23 home runs this season are the highest total in Division I ball.

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.  Stanford ended up winning 9-8 over Arizona State in 11 innings. He had a quiet ending to his week, going 0-for-4, with a walk in Stanford’s 11-8 loss on Sunday. Wilson now has 19 RBI’s in 19 games.

Phillip Ervin from Samford went 1-for-4 in the series opener on Friday against UNC At Greensboro. He had a walk, two runs and two RBI’s. Ervin had a rough middle game on Saturday, going 0-for-5 in his team’s 8-3 loss. In the finale, he went 2-for-5, with a single and double.

DJ Peterson went 3-for-5 on Sunday, with three singles and a walk against Air Force. He also had three hits yesterday. It was a relatively quiet day despite reaching base four times. New Mexico put 14 runs on the board and Peterson scored once and didn’t drive in a run. Six of his teammates scored two runs.

Aaron Judge had a hit and walk in the opener of his series against UNLV. He had a three hit game on Saturday, collecting two singles and a triple. On Sunday, he hit a home run and drew three walks, scoring twice and driving home two runs. The home run was his sixth of the season.

Hunter Renfroe from Mississippi State has been a late addition to the Prospect Watch. His team played a doubleheader on Saturday after a Friday rainout. He was unable to get on the board in game one, going 0-for-4 in the 10-6 victory. In game two, he went 2-for-3, with his 15th home run and ninth stolen base. On Sunday, Renfroe went 1-for-4 in his team’s 11-inning 7-6 win. He drew two walks and scored three runs, including the game-winning tally.

Former Pirates Draft Picks

Two early round Pirates draft picks from 2010 that didn’t sign, look like they will be drafted early in this year’s draft. Austin Kubitza from Rice and Jason Hursh from Oklahoma State have both been mentioned in the late first round to early second round range. Hursh had Tommy John Surgery last year and has pitched well this year, though he has had some high pitch totals, so any team drafting him would likely shut him down for the year. He red-shirted last year, making him a draft eligible sophomore. Kubitza has been dominating at times this year, throwing three shutouts and his strikeout totals have been impressive.

On Friday, Hursh had a tough outing against Texas Tech. He went six innings, giving up seven hits and four walks. Hursh threw 101 pitches and allowed five runs, though only two were earned. He is 4-4, 2.63 in 12 starts, picking up 65 strikeouts in 82 innings.

Kubitza also had a rough time on Friday, giving up eight runs(five earned) over 5.2 innings against Univ of Alabama-Birmingham. He allowed five hits, four walks and hit a batter. Kubitza is 6-3, 1.74 in 12 starts, with 96 strikeouts and a .182 BAA in 72.1 innings. Zech Lemond, a 2011 Pirates draft pick, finished up the game for Rice with a scoreless inning. He has a 1.61 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 44.2 innings this year.

High School Notes

Kohl Stewart is considered by most as the top HS arm in this draft. He needs to be drafted high to sign because it will take a lot to get him away from a commitment to Texas A&M, where he would play baseball and quarterback for the football team. If he drops to the Pirates, the question is whether they would consider drafting him and going a little safer with the second pick to free up money. Or would they pass up on the best prep arm and go with a slightly lesser/safer pick at #9 and then best available with the 14th pick. A local paper had a small article with video for Stewart a couple days ago. A report on him can be viewed here.

Dominic Smith of Serra HS in California could be one of the first HS bats off the board this year and plenty of scouts were on hand to watch him Thursday. They didn’t get to see him do much, though it wasn’t his fault. Smith was walked three times, but the one time he was pitched to, he hit a three-run home run to help his team to a 7-1 win. Smith has been on a streak recently, reaching base 13 times in his last four games, three of those being homers. His profile can be read here.

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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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  • Kevin Rhodes

    If Stewart drops to the Bucs, I would hope that they draft him. A couple of weeks ago, in one of his chats, Keith Law said that he wasn’t going to be as hard to sign as some people seem to think. Not only would he be carrying the clipboard behind “Johnny Football” but apparently Texas A & M has also signed some other HS quarterback even more highly rated than Stewart. Of course, if that’s true, he will probably never reach the Pirates.

    • John Dreker

      The problem is that it isn’t “just” the two-sport college part of the deal, it’s the fact people have been putting a $$ amount on him already ($5-6mil) and the other part is they have labeled him as the best HS arm in this draft class for quite awhile. Those are three things that are sure to keep his price high. If everyone is saying he is top five material and he falls due to the scholarship, he will still likely want top five money. I don’t think you can honestly be told you’re going to get one amount so close to the draft, then end up taking 50-60% of that, despite the fact you played up to your standards. I don’t think he drops to the Pirates, but it will be interesting to see, first if they do pick him, and second if they go safer on the second pick

      • Kevin Rhodes

        Oh, I agree completely with you, John. But I seem to remember a few years ago, Tyler Matzek was the top rated HS pitcher and he was demanding something along the lines of $7mm. IIRC, didn’t he sign for something like $3.9mm with Colorado? Of course, I’m not saying that anything like this is going to happen but his price might be at least somewhat negotiable.

  • Happydude1

    I think I saw on twitter (Keith law) that Kubitza was sitting 84-88 his past couple starts. Looks like that coaching staff continues to butcher arms.

    • John Dreker

      I think what you said is one of the reasons I like Sean Manaea if he can drop to #9. His coach seems to play it safe with him a lot, so his arm should be good. Most of these other top college pitchers have a high pitch count or two in times when they shouldn’t be out there anymore. Hursh scares me, Chris Anderson from Jacksonville is real bad and yet despite poor results against average teams, I still see his name rated high. Ryne Stanek is another that might be a fresh arm. His pitch counts have been low, though he does have some high single inning pitch counts this year. Still, it has been better than others

      • NastyNate82

        One thing about Stanek, (and I’ll preface this by saying I know nothing about deliveries) is that…his looks pretty stiff and awkward. I wonder how much a coaching staff could clean up to make it more effective and efficient. I’d want no part of Anderson.

        • John Dreker

          I was not impressed with Stanek in the game I saw, but he did get good results. He was basically effectively wild, left a lot of pitches up, but got a lot of swing and misses. He has question marks and I could see them passing on him. I could also see him going a few picks before the Pirates choose.
          I don’t understand the love for Anderson. Even the latest mock draft I’ve seen from a knowledgeable source, had him going to the Pirates with the 9th pick. That would shock me, as would picking him 14th overall

  • leadoff

    IMO, the Pirates will have to go the same way everyone else but them went last year and make a deal with the player before the actual draft. I don’t think they can afford to keep loosing top picks.

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