Here is a recap of how each of the top 2011 draft prospects did this past week. Click on their names to go to their tracker pages.
Rendon had a horrible week at the plate, combining for a .190/.320/.333 line in 21 at-bats. It was a rare poor performance for him, as he had more strikeouts (5) than hits (4). He now has ten strikeouts on the year, which is almost half of his 2010 total, despite a quarter of the at-bats.
Rendon hasn’t been as dominant at the plate this year, and still remains as the designated hitter due to a shoulder injury. According to MK Bower of Fox Sports Houston, he is continuing his progressive throwing program, but a definitive timetable for his return to third is unknown. Rendon has come in to play first a few times, including this weekend, although that has been as a late inning replacement, as part of a double switch.
Rendon’s struggles have left the door open for this next guy to step up and contend for the number one pick.
Coming in to the season it was Anthony Rendon and two college pitchers, Gerrit Cole and Matt Purke, contending for the number one pick. Contending might not be the best way to put it, since those college pitchers needed a combination of Rendon struggling and a strong performance, in order to be considered above Rendon. That is exactly what has happened so far with Gerrit Cole.
Rendon’s issues this year are documented above, which has opened the door for other players to step in to the number one pick discussion. Cole had another strong outing this weekend, pitching seven innings against Georgia, while allowing three runs on three hits, with a walk and 12 strikeouts. He was perfect through six innings, and only ran in to trouble in the seventh. On the season, Cole has a 1.78 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP in 30.1 innings, with an 11.0 K/9 and a 7.4 K/BB ratio. He’s also dominating hitters with a .136 BAA.
Keith Law called Cole the top prospect in the draft after this weekend’s game, and mentioned that several scouts watching him on Friday agreed. The comparison to Stephen Strasburg was mentioned, due to Cole’s size, velocity, and his excellent change-up. After Cole’s shutout against Nebraska, I asked if people would take Cole or Rendon, and the support was heavily in favor of Rendon. You have to think that Cole is closing that gap more and more.
Purke is pretty much out of the race for the top overall pick at this point. He has been limited this year, with low pitch counts to cater to his lack of off-season work (meant to give him some rest). He has also missed some time with a blister, which caused him to miss a start. This past weekend he had a bad outing, lasting 3.2 innings, with three hits, one earned run, three walks, and four strikeouts.
On the season, Purke has a 0.66 ERA, although it’s only in 13.2 innings. His strikeout rate is down from last year (8.6 from 11.0) and his K/BB ratio is also down (2.6 from 4.2). With the way Cole is pitching, and Rendon pretty much a lock for the top two picks, I don’t see Purke getting any consideration for the top overall pick.
-Catching up on a few 2008 Pirates’ draft picks who went un-signed and are draft eligible this year:
Zach Wilson, 3B, Arizona State: Drafted in the 26th round in 2008, and is the 37th best prospect in the draft this year. Wilson is hitting for a .327/.394/.545 line in 55 at-bats this season.
Drew Gagnon, LHP, Long Beach State: Drafted in the 10th round in 2008, and is the 49th best prospect in the draft this year. Gagnon pitched eight innings against Rice University on Friday, allowing a run on six hits, with a walk and six strikeouts. Gagnon was pitching a shutout until the eighth inning, where he allowed Rice’s only run in Long Beach State’s 2-1 victory.
-Catching up on an un-signed prep pitchers from the 2010 draft:
Austin Kubitza, 7th Round, Rice: Kubitza pitched against Gagnon in Friday’s Rice/Long Beach State game. He threw six innings, allowing two runs on six hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts. The two runs allowed came in the sixth inning. On the season, Kubitza now has a 2.03 ERA in 26.2 innings, with a 26:3 K/BB ratio.