After a busy Friday night that saw some great pitching match-ups, we took a look at the top college hitters on Saturday and how they have fared through the first two days of the weekend. Today we wrap-up the weekend and take a look at the progress of some former Pirates picks, including one that may be working himself into the first round. The 2014 draft begins on June 5th. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 24th pick in the first round this year. For more information on the top players in this draft class, check out our four-part draft preview.
Starting off this week with Eric Skoglund, who might be a familiar name to those that follow the draft close. He was drafted in the 16th round by the Pirates in 2011, but decided to attend Central Florida instead. He had a strong freshman year on the mound, going 5-3, 3.21 in 47.2 innings, with 45 strikeouts and 19 walks. Things fell apart for him during his sophomore year, though he did improve his BAA, giving up the same amount of hits as in 2012, with nine more innings of work. He otherwise had a poor season, going 1-4, 5.08 while walking 29 and striking out 26 batters.
The 2014 season has looked strong early for Skoglund and he appears to be back on track. In his first five starts, he is 2-0, 2.19 in 37 innings, with eight walks and 30 strikeouts, to go along with a .171 BAA. He has had success in his career with keeping the ball in the yard, allowing six homers over his three seasons. On Friday, the 6’7″ lefty pitched a three hit shutout and struck out a career high 11 batters. He is still a projectable pitcher, who could add a lot of weight and fill out when he reaches the pros. Reports at the game had him sitting 88-92 MPH, which is average from the left side, but he should be able to add more. He is listed at 200 pounds now, an inch taller and 20 pounds more than when he was drafted. We have included a short video of Skoglund below courtesy of Northeast Baseball Prospects.
More Former Pirates Picks
Catching up on some other former Pirates picks. Starting with Pepperdine, where two Pirates draft picks are in the weekend rotation. Jackson McClelland went Saturday against Pacific and allowed three runs over five innings. He gave up three hits, three walks, hit a batter and picked up six strikeouts. In that game, Aaron Brown played center field and went 3-for-3 with a walk and RBI. On Friday, he was 0-for-1 with a walk, run scored and two hit-by-pitches. On Sunday, Brown was the starting pitcher and he got hit around. Pacific picked up four runs in the second inning and another two in the sixth. Brown finished with six runs allowed on nine hits and four walks in 6.2 innings. He had five strikeouts. At the plate, he went 2-for-5 with a double.
Dale Carey from Miami went 3-for-9 with three runs scored in a doubleheader on Saturday against Georgia Tech. On the year, he is hitting .312/.404/.584 in 20 games, with four homers and six stolen bases. He is a senior this year and went undrafted last season.
Walker Buehler at Vanderbilt is 3-1, 2.16 in four starts and one relief appearance. In 25 innings, he has 22 strikeouts, nine walks and a .258 BAA. This week he pitched the Tuesday game against Eastern Illinois. Buehler gave up two runs over five innings, didn’t walk and batter and had seven strikeouts. He is a sophomore this year. He was a 14th round pick of the Pirates in the 2012 draft.
North Florida’s Bryan Baker made his third appearance of the season. He was the last pick by the Pirates in the 2013 draft, but look like a very interesting, projectable pitcher. Baker struggled in his first outing out of the bullpen, then made a strong five inning start at North Carolina. On Tuesday against Georgia Southern, Baker started and didn’t last long. In three innings, he allowed six runs on five hits and three walks and didn’t strikeout a batter.
On Friday we mentioned that Trea Turner wasn’t showing any power this year, with 21 singles and one double. On Saturday, he doubled in the first game of a doubleheader against Florida State, then homered in game two, though it should be noted that those were his only hits in 12 at-bats. On the year, the North Carolina State shortstop is hitting .316/.386/.382 in 19 games, with seven stolen bases and just four strikeouts. He was a 20th round pick of the Pirates in 2011 and could be the first college bats off the board.
Connor Goedert continues to crush the ball for Neosho County Community College. The brother of 2013 Indianapolis third baseman Jared Goedert, decided to return to school last year after the Pirates took him in the 34th round. In 26 games this year, he is hitting .529 with 11 homers, 11 doubles and 55 RBIs. He has a 1.682 OPS
High School Notes and Top College Relievers
Some high school news and it’s from the player some consider the best prep bat in the draft. Alex Jackson was 3-for-5 with a double, triple and homer on Thursday night. The home run was his 37th in his high school career, ten short of the team record. On Saturday he went 1-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch. Jackson is a catcher now, though some believe he will end up in the outfield.
Scoring Live has a long piece on lefty prep pitcher Kodi Medeiros that is worth checking out. Medeiros is a lefty from Hawaii, who hits mid-90’s with his fastball and he has two advanced off-speed pitches, including a plus slider.
Sunday is when we take a look at the two best relievers in college ball. Nick Burdi from Louisville hits 100 MPH consistently, while Michael Cederoth from San Diego State is a big arm, who was moved to the bullpen this year, but he could be a strong starting option in the pros. Burdi made his only appearance of the week on Saturday against Samford. He picked up the save by striking out the side in the ninth, needing 13 pitches to get the job done. Cederoth had a tough outing Friday against Purdue. He still picked up the save, but allowed three hits, a walk and two runs in his only inning of work.