Draft Prospect Watch: Michael Conforto Drives In Three Runs

Some mid-week draft news and notes to hold you over until the weekend action picks up. Just a reminder, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked 24th overall in the first round of the 2014 amateur draft, which starts on June 5th. For information on some of the best players in this draft class, check out our four-part draft preview.  2014-Draft

Max Pentecost and Kennesaw State, took on Georgia State on Tuesday. Some scouts have been down on Pentecost early due to the quality of competition he faces and the fact he isn’t dominating at the plate. On Tuesday night, he went 2-for-4 as the DH, hitting two singles and stealing a base. Pentecost is 20-for-59 on the season, with five doubles and a home run.

Stanford’s Alex Blandino went 3-for-3 with four RBIs against California on Tuesday night. Blandino only played four innings before leaving the one-sided contest. He had an RBI double in the first, then drove in two runs on a third inning single and added an RBI single in the fourth inning to cap off his night.

Oregon State took on Portland on Tuesday and won 5-0. Left fielder Michael Conforto went 1-for-2 with two walks and three RBIs. Right fielder Dylan Davis had a tough game, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Davis is hitting just .220 in his first 13 games, though he has driven in 15 runs. Conforto now has 20 RBIs on the season.

Virginia is a loaded team with three players that could go within the first two rounds. Outfielder Derek Fisher looks like a mid-first round pick, while first baseman Mike Papi has moved up the charts for some people, due to his early season hitting. He is hitting .405 through 11 games, with a 1.182 OPS, 12 walks and 12 RBIs. Reliever/DH Nick Howard has also been mentioned as a 2nd/3rd round player. He hasn’t seen much time at the plate, going 7-for-21 with a double and triple. On the mound, he has thrown six shutout innings, giving up just one hit, no walks and he has seven strikeouts. Outfielder Brandon Downes and shortstop Branden Cogswell also have been rated fairly high, giving them five players that could be drafted in the first three rounds. Virginia had their Tuesday game against George Washington postponed due to weather. They will play a three game weekend series against Duke starting Friday.

Jack Flaherty, a RHP from Harvard-Westlake HS made his season debut on Tuesday. He pitched six scoreless innings and had 13 strikeouts without allowing a walk. Flaherty gave up just two hits, both infield singles. He was sitting 88-92 MPH according to Nathan Rode. Flaherty has been ranked as a 2nd-3rd round pick, but could move up with more strong performances. He is also a third baseman when he isn’t on the mound.

While he isn’t a top draft prospect, Miami’s Javi Salas did something impressive on Tuesday night. He pitched a perfect game against Villanova and did it with his team putting 17 runs on the board. Salas is a senior, who was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round last year. His draft stock will definitely rise after Tuesday’s performance.

Links and Notes

Jim Callis has some draft notes, including information on Fresno State starter Jordan Brink, who is moving up the draft charts early. Callis also mentions Michael Gettys and questions about his bat. We profiled Gettys here on Sunday. On Monday night, Gettys went 3-for-3, with a double, home run, three stolen bases and a HBP.

Baseball America posted notes from the weekend in college baseball, along with stats for the top 100 college players.

Chris Crawford has a draft update for ESPN Insiders. He mentions that two college lefties have seen their stock drop a little. Sean Newcomb has a workhorse build at 6’5″, 240 pounds, while Brandon Finnegan was on the small side for a pitching, standing in at 5’11”, 185 pounds. Both haven’t looked good early, though each of them still project as first round picks. It’s possible that one of them could drop to the Pirates.

David Peterson, a 6’6″ LHP out of Jesuit HS in Colorado, broke his leg and will be out for up to ten weeks. He was ranked 56th among prep players in this draft class by Baseball America and Prospect Insider had him ranked 46th.

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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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