Draft Prospect Watch: Bryant Goes Deep Again

The third weekend of college baseball wrapped up today and for one top prospect, his stock stayed the same because his team’s entire weekend was snowed out. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the second week’s action here. Just a reminder, the Pirates pick #9 and #14 in this year’s June amateur draft, so for the duration of the college season, leading up to draft day, we are following the players closely that are ranked in that range.

Sean Manaea, the big left-hander from Indiana State, had his entire weekend series against Eastern Kentucky canceled by snow and cold weather. His team next plays on Wednesday, though he will likely pitch on Friday afternoon against South Dakota State.

Kris Bryant went 2-for-4 today in his team’s 15-4 win over Stony Brook.. The third baseman from San Diego hit his third home run of the season, one of five hit by his team during their rout.  He drove in two runs, drew a walk and scored four times. Bryant now has a 1.201 OPS through 11 games.

North Carolina’s Colin Moran went 1-for-3 with two walks today, as his team won 14-2 over Texas A&M. He scored three runs in a game for the fourth time this year.  North Carolina is now 10-0 on the season.

Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge went 5-for-13 this weekend against USC, with most of his damage coming during a big Sunday. On Friday, he singled in four trips to the plate. Judge had a tough game on Saturday, going 0-for-4, with two strikeouts. The 6’7″ Judge showed why he is one of the highest ranked college hitters in this year’s draft class, on Sunday. He went 4-for-5, with two doubles, a triple and four RBI’s. He is now hitting .386 through 44 AB’s, with two homers and 11 RBI’s. Judge was ranked 21st overall by Baseball America in this year’s draft class during their pre-season ranking.

From Friday night, Dillon Overton from Oklahoma had a rough night. The left-hander went six innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits and four walks, but he was still able to record ten strikeouts. It was the first poor outing for Overton, who had allowed just one earned run in his previous 16 innings. Despite the six runs allowed, he picked up his fourth win of the season. Overton was ranked 26th overall in Baseball America’s pre-season draft class rankings  and looked to be moving up the charts until Friday night. He reaches 94 MPH with his fastball and has good secondary stuff.

Ryan Eades, a 6’3″ right-hander from LSU is another player who came into the season looking like a late first round pick. On Saturday night against Brown University, he threw six innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits, no walks and he struck out 11 batters. Eades throws mid-90’s with a good curveball, but he lacks polish. If he could put everything together, he could move up to a mid first round pick.

Jackson McClelland, the 35th round draft pick of the Pirates in 2012, made his third start for Pepperdine today. He had some defensive problems behind him that led to four unearned runs and a loss against Oklahoma. His final line was four innings pitched, five hits, one earned run, two walks and no strikeouts. McClelland has a 1.65 ERA through three starts, one relief appearance and 16.1 total innings. He was topping out at 92 MPH today. Pepperdine also has Aaron Brown, the 17th round pick of the Pirates in 2011. He has played just three games this year, one as a starting pitcher and two as a defensive replacement. He was drafted as an outfielder, but has also pitched 17 times during his two seasons in college.

Brandon Thomas, the Pirates fourth round pick from last year, went 4-for-11 this weekend against Rutgers. The Georgia Tech outfielder had a two hit game on Friday, then went 1-for-3, with a walk and RBI on Saturday. He finished up his weekend going 1-for-4 on Sunday. Georgia Tech had a huge weekend without much help from Thomas, who drove in just one of their 36 runs, while GT pitchers held Rutgers to three runs in the three game series. Thomas is hitting .390 through 12 games, with three doubles and seven RBI’s. Georgia Tech has scored in double figures in six straight games.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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