Draft Prospect Watch: Top Tools and Two Prep Stars Square Off

While there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on yesterday, two of the top high school bats in the 2014 draft met up yesterday. We also have a couple college notes and Baseball America posted their top tools articles for both college and prep players.  If you missed it from yesterday, the Pirates moved up one spot in the draft due to the Baltimore Orioles losing their first round pick when they signed Ubaldo Jimenez. Pittsburgh now has the 24th pick overall, though that could still change.

The big high school match-up yesterday was down in Florida, where shortstop Nick Gordon took on infielder Forrest Wall. Both were covered in our draft prospect preview and Baseball America had a lengthy preview for the game with videos of each player. Gordon and his team came out on top, winning 9-3 and he led the offense with an RBI triple in third to put his team ahead and an RBI double in the sixth to put the game out of reach. Wall went 1-for-3 with a run scored. He is hitting .500 through four games, with five runs scored, one triple and one home run. Gordon’s school hasn’t posted their complete stats.

Baseball America put out their top tools article for college players and for high school players. Nick Gordon was rated as the best athlete and best infield arm, while also getting honorable mention for best hitter and best defense. Forrest Wall was named one of the best hitters.

From college action yesterday, UC Irvine’s Taylor Sparks went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a run scored. While he probably hasn’t hurt his draft stock yet, he is off to an 0-for-15 start at the plate, striking out seven times. There were questions about his ability to make contact, but he is interesting because he has good power, a big frame and plays both corner infield spots.

Joey Pankake from South Carolina went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored on Tuesday. He is interesting because he can play shortstop, although he hasn’t played a game there yet this season. He started at third base on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, Stanford’s Alex Blandino went 1-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. The third baseman is 4-for-13 through four games with a .720 OPS.

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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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