It’s the ninth weekend of the college baseball season and like every Friday night, we will focus on the best Friday night starters that are draft eligible this year. The 2014 draft begins on June 5th, just under eight weeks away. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 24th pick in the first round this year. They also picked 65th overall in the second round and 74th, which is their competitive balance pick. For more information on the top players in this draft class, check out our four-part draft preview.
Carlos Rodon from North Carolina State lost to Duke on Tuesday, but he didn’t pitch bad. In 7.2 innings, he allowed two runs(one earned) on six hits and three walks, with 12 strikeouts. One other downside from his outing, besides taking the loss, is the fact he threw 134 pitches. That is one of the higher totals that we have seen this year. Rodon’s teammate Trea Turner went 1-for-4 with a double. The former draft pick of the Pirates has moved down the draft charts for most people, dropping from a top five pick to mid-first round for many.
Jeff Hoffman from East Carolina took on Old Dominion on Friday. He went 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, no walks, one hit batter and he struck out four batters. He hasn’t dominated as some expected, but he still looks like a top ten pick this year.
Vanderbilt’s Tyler Beede took on Texas A&M on Friday night and didn’t fare well. He went five innings, allowing seven runs(four earned) on nine hits and four walks, with four strikeouts. Beede came into the game with a 2.81 ERA and a .175 BAA.
Aaron Nola and LSU went up against Arkansas on Friday. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, with 13 strikeouts. Nola threw 115 pitches, 77 for strikes. Third baseman Christian Ibarra went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. He was drafted by the Pirates last year, but decided to return for his senior season.
Evansville and Kyle Freeland took on first baseman Casey Gillaspie and Wichita State. Freeland is a possible top ten pick this year, while Gillaspie has worked his way into a possible late first round pick. Freeland pitched eight innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits and no walks. He had 15 strikeouts for the second week in a row. Gillaspie went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Erick Fedde from UNLV, took on San Jose State late Friday night. He went seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks. Fedde struck out eight batters. He threw 94 pitches on the night, 66 for strikes. He came into the game with a 1.74 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 57 innings.
TCU’s Brandon Finnegan went five innings against Kansas on Friday. He had a high pitch count, which limited his day. Finnegan allowed two runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter. He struck out four and threw 92 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Luke Weaver and Florida State, matched up against Georgia Tech on Friday. He went seven innings, taking the loss in a 5-3 game. Weaver allowed five runs(four earned) on six hits, two walks, one hit batter and he had five strikeouts. He has dropped down draft charts recently and may fall completely out of the first round.
Two other top pitchers will be covered tomorrow night. Hartford’s Sean Newcomb will pitch Saturday against Rutgers and Matt Imhof from San Jose State had a late start on the road against Hawaii on Friday.
If you missed it from Thursday, Baseball America updated their draft rankings, putting out a new top 50 list. They had prep second baseman Forrest Wall ranked #24, right where the Pirates pick in the first round. The link includes a profile and two videos for Wall. Also of note with that BA article, the pitchers listed above are the top college starters on BA’s list.