Draft Prospect Watch: Max Pentecost and J.D. Davis Homer

Wrapping up the college weekend after busy nights for top line starters on Friday and the best bats on Saturday. Sunday saw an intriguing match-up that included four of the best draft eligible bats this year. We will also take a look at the progress of some of the former Pirates draft picks that didn’t sign. The Pittsburgh Pirates pick 24th overall in the first round this year and the first day of the draft is June 5th. For a preview of the players they may be looking at with their first round pick, check out our four-part draft preview.  2014-Draft

On Sunday, Indiana and Oregon State met up, bringing together four of the better bats in this year’s draft class. Catcher Kyle Schwarber and first baseman Sam Travis took on Oregon State’s left fielder Michael Conforto and right fielder Dylan Davis.  Oregon State won easily by an 8-1 score. Davis went 1-for-4 with a stolen base, walk and run scored, while Conforto was 2-for-4 with a walk, stolen base, run scored and RBI. Schwarber was 1-for-4 and played left field. Travis was 1-for-3 with a double, run scored and hit-by-pitch.

Cal State Fullerton against San Francisco was almost as good as the Indiana/Oregon State game. Cal State Fullerton’s first baseman J.D. Davis went 1-for-2 with a home run, two walks, two RBIs and a run scored. He has a .310/.459/.690 slash line through seven games, with two homers and eight RBIs. Third baseman Matt Chapman went 1-for-3 with a double and run scored. On the other side of the field, Bradley Zimmer went 1-for-4 in his team’s 5-1 loss.

Virginia’s Derek Fisher went 2-for-4 with a run scored and RBI on Sunday against East Carolina. First baseman Mike Papi went 1-for-5 with a run scored. Virginia has a third batter on their team named Nick Howard, who rates high in this draft class. He hasn’t been playing as much though, at least on offense. Howard is 5-for-12 with a double and triple at the plate and he has pitched four times in relief, giving up one hit, no runs, no walks and six strikeouts in four innings.

Catcher Max Pentecost from Kennesaw State went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI’s. He is hitting .405 through nine games with a 1.074 OPS.

One high school player of note to mention. Early in the season, not much is going on in the high school ranks, but one top pitcher had an impressive outing Friday. Touki Toussaint from Coral Springs Christian Academy, threw five shutout innings and he was topping out at 98 MPH while also showing an impressive curve ball. Matt Garrioch from Minor League Ball has an in depth write-up on Toussaint, along with a video. Most rankings have Toussaint ranked around 5-10 among high school players, though Kiley McDaniel had him much lower in his rankings after last fall.

Catching Up With Former Draft Picks

Pepperdine has two former Pirates draft picks on their weekend pitching staff. Aaron Brown(2011, 17th round) started on Sunday. Brown also plays outfielder when he isn’t starting. He is one of the better two-way players around, but Sunday against Utah Valley was a different story. Brown allowed six runs(five earned) through five innings on seven hits, one walk and he had seven strikeouts.

On Saturday, Jackson McClelland pitched for Pepperdine and went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits, no walks and he had three strikeouts. McClelland was taken in the 35th round in 2012.

Dale Carey from Miami was named as one of the best college seniors this year. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 21st round in 2010 and has struggled in college to the point he went undrafted in last year’s draft. This season, he is hitting .308 in seven games, with two homers and a 1.015 OPS.

Walker Buehler, a sophomore from Vanderbilt was a 14th round pick in 2012. He has made one start and one relief appearance this year, allowing one earned run on eight hits, three walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings.

Rice University has two right-handed pitchers that were drafted by the Pirates. Zech Lemond(50th round, 2011) and Chase McDowell(30th round, 2012) both have pitched well early. McDowell made a start, giving up two unearned runs on three hits, two walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Lemond has pitched three times in relief, giving up two runs over seven innings. He has ten strikeouts.

In the 2013 draft, the highest unsigned pick by the Pirates was Ryan Lindemuth, a second baseman from William & Mary. He returned for his senior year and he’s hitting .345 through seven games, with two homers and nine RBIs.

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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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