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Draft Prospect Watch: Top-Heavy Draft For College Pitchers

Picking up the draft coverage mid-week, we have some news about the Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick, as well as a list of the strengths and weaknesses of the 2014 amateur draft class. When the signing of Ubaldo Jimenez with the Baltimore Orioles becomes official, the Pirates will move up in the draft and pick 24th. That could still change again before the draft comes around, but for now, they jump one spot higher. For that reason, we have highlighted Cobi Johnson, who was rated #24 on Baseball America’s recent list of the top 30 prospects in this draft. We also take a look at some results from a light schedule of college ball on Tuesday. 2014-Draft

San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer went 1-for-5 with a double, RBI and run scored. He had a chance to win the game in the ninth, but flew out with the winning run on first base. San Francisco won two batters later, beating Kent State by a 7-6 score. Zimmer was 3-for-7 with two walks over the weekend.

Max Pentecost, the catcher from Kennesaw State, went 1-for-5 in his team’s 10-7 win over Georgia. He went 8-for-13 with two walks over the weekend.

Cal State Fullerton took on USC on Tuesday night. Boasting two of the better college hitters this draft in third baseman Matt Chapman and outfielder J.D. Davis, they got blown out by USC, going down by a 6-1 score. Davis went 1-for-2, drawing two walks to go along with a single. Chapman went 0-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch. Davis had a big day over the weekend, collecting two triples and a home run on Saturday.

Michael Conforto from Oregon State will likely be gone within the top ten picks. He did nothing to hurt those chances the first weekend, hitting .500 with 11 RBIs in four games.

College Pitching is Strength of Draft

Over at Baseball America, John Manuel posted his early draft preview, listing his current top 30, while also mentioning how top-heavy this draft class is for college pitching. He has ten college pitchers in his top 30, nine of them were mentioned in our college pitcher preview. If you’re looking for offense with the Pirates first round pick, then the next part isn’t a good sign. After college pitchers, the next best group in this draft is high school pitchers. That’s followed by high school hitters and finally, college hitters. Overall, the draft class rated as solid.

Manuel has the 24th best player listed as Florida high school right-hander Cobi Johnson. He was briefly mentioned in our high school pitcher preview, where I wrote:

Johnson is a typical top of the line high school pitcher. A 6’4″ righty, he throws a low 90′s fastball, a nice curve and he throws strikes. Like most high school kids, he has stamina issues, especially holding his velocity. He also needs to fill out more and his change-up needs work. Right now, he falls into the Pirates range for most people, but he has potential to jump up the charts with some added strength. If he doesn’t show that in high school, he might be someone that makes huge strides after you get him in your farm system.

Over at Big League Futures, they have an outstanding page on Cobi Johnson, with a video(I’ve also posted a second one below from Baseball Factory) and scouting reports from throughout last season. This season, his team started their schedule already and Johnson went four innings in his first game, giving up one unearned run on four hits, no walks and he had seven strikeouts.

 

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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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