Draft Prospect Watch: Gray And Appel Struggling Recently
The 14th weekend of college kicked of last night for some teams, while others began their weekend on Friday. For most teams, this is the last weekend of their regular season and they start conference tournament play next week. Check out the schedule for this weekend here. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the 13th 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 has off this weekend. The power hitting third baseman hit his 30th homer during a mid-week game this week. He is the top ranked bat in this draft and will almost certainly go somewhere in the top five picks.
Colin Moran and North Carolina lost 10-4 on Thursday night. Moran went 1-for-5 in the loss, driving in one run. Pirates 2010 draft pick Kent Emanuel, started the game and got hit hard in five innings, allowing six runs on ten hits and two walks, with six strikeouts. He was recently rated as the 60th best player in this draft class by Baseball America.
In Friday’s game, Moran had possibly his worst night of the season. He did drive in a run, but he went 0-for-5, with two strikeouts. That gives him five strikeouts in his last three games, after striking out 13 times in his first 51 games.
Austin Wilson went 1-for-2 tonight, with three walks and three runs scored in Stanford’s 9-8 win. His only hit was a single.
Mark Appel got the start and for the second week in a row, he was off his game. In seven innings, he gave up five earned runs on nine hits, a walk and a hit batter. Appel tied the Stanford career record in strikeouts with the 11 he picked up today, giving him 363 career.
DJ Peterson has recently been linked to the Pirates twice, here and here. On Thursday night, he took on San Diego State, behind the pitching of Michael Cederoth, who is one of the top players in next year’s draft. Peterson went 1-for-5 in the game, striking out twice, but the one hit was a big one. In the third inning, Peterson hit a three-run double, his 23rd double of the season. He popped up and flew out in his other two AB’s against Cederoth. Both strikeouts came against relievers. On Friday night, Peterson went 1-for-3, with a walk and a single.
Jonathan Gray is having a poor finish to his season after being named the top prospect in the draft, although the last two weeks, Mark Appel hasn’t been any better. Gray got hit hard tonight and the strikeouts nearly disappeared. Against Kansas St, he went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits, a walk and two hit batters. He recorded just three strikeouts, his season low. Last week he gave up three runs on six hits and three walks in five innings to Oklahoma State.
Jonathon Crawford had a strong outing on Thursday night against Georgia. He went 6.2 innings, needing 93 pitches(62 strikes). He allowed two runs(one earned) on five hits and no walks, striking out five batters. Crawford has been in the 20-25 range in most recent mock drafts.
Braden Shipley from Nevada, took out Fresno State, and outfielder Aaron Judge, in a battle of two first round draft picks on Thursday night. Shipley was the big winner on the night, going seven shutout innings, allowing one hit, one walk and he struck out ten. Judge had a bad night in front of a house full of scouts, striking out three times. He was able to draw the lone walk from Shipley, but there have been questions about Judge and how often he strikes out and Thursday night was not a good sign for him against a premier pitcher.
Ryne Stanek threw 7.2 scoreless innings on Friday night against Auburn. He really battled all night, allowing ten baserunners(six hits, four walks) and throwing 123 pitches, 76 for strikes. Stanek now has a 1.54 ERA on the season, with 72 strikeouts and a .217 BAA in 82 innings.
Sean Manaea pitched five innings Thursday, allowing just one unearned run on five hits and two walks, while striking out five batters. He threw 81 pitches against Bradley, 53 for strikes. He was sitting in the 89-93 MPH range with his fastball, so his slight velocity dip that he first experienced two starts ago, continued for at least another week, although he said he felt good after the start and hopes to build on it next week.
High School Notes
Two of the better High School players had games yesterday in California, shortstop JP Crawford and first baseman Dominic Smith. Crawford had a big day at the plate in his team’s 5-0 win, going 3-for-3, with a double, triple, two runs and two RBI’s. He also went 3-for-3 in his previous game and now has his average up to .467 in 109 plate appearances.
Smith went 2-for-3 in his team’s 12-11 win. He had two singles, two RBI’s, three runs scored and a walk. He is now hitting .482 in 80 plate appearances, with a 1.625 OPS.
If you missed it from earlier, Baseball America released their top 250 list for the draft, complete with scouting reports for subscribers. Rated 9th and 14th, were lefty pitcher Trey Ball and Dominic Smith. Ball has been mentioned here numerous times recently, because he has been linked to the Pirates more times than anyone else in the draft. He’s a 6’6″ Prep LHP, who throws low-to-mid 90’s and possesses an excellent change-up, plus he is a very athletic players, with a strong bat.