The fourth weekend of college baseball started today. For some former Pirates draft picks, it was a good night for pitching. On the other hand, for two of the top starters in this draft class, their stock is quickly dropping. The schedule for the top college players this weekend can be found here. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the third 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.
Mark Appel made his fourth start and again pitched well, though his defense let him down. He struck out 15 batters in his seven innings, allowing three runs(one earned) on four hits and a walk. Appel took the loss to UNLV 3-2, breaking his team’s eight game winning streak. Outfielder Austin Wilson remains out with a muscle strain just below his elbow.
Ryne Stanek from Arkansas had a tough outing due to some control issues. Against San Diego, the righty lasted just 4.1 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, five walks and he struck out five. Despite being ranked near the top of the this year’s draft class, Stanek has not been good except for a strong strikeout rate. He has lasted just 17 total innings over his four starts and has now walked ten batter and allowed 16 hits, to go along with his 16 strikeouts.
Colin Moran, the high-ranked third baseman for North Carolina went 0-for-4 today, drawing a walk in his team’s win over Wake Forest. Pirates 19th round draft pick from 2010, pitcher Kent Emanuel, threw a complete game shutout for NC, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out seven. He threw 131 pitches.
Kris Bryant from San Diego came into tonight with five homers in his last five games. The big third baseman faced off against Saint Louis tonight and kept the power streak going, connecting on an eighth inning solo homer. Bryant came up in the bottom of the ninth with a chance to win it, trailing 6-3 with the bases loaded, but he struck out. He walked in the first and fifth innings and reached on an error in his other AB.
Ole Miss right-hander Bobby Wahl rebounded from a poor start last week to throw six shutout innings against Lipscomb. He gave up three hits, no walks and he struck out six batters. Early reports from the game had Wahl hitting 93-94 MPH. There were also reports that he had an issue with a finger on his pitching hand during his last outing, but he seems to have recovered.
Jonathon Crawford from Florida went 6.1 innings tonight against Indiana. The right-hander took the loss, allowing four runs on nine hits, with one walk and six strikeouts. The results haven’t been there recently for Crawford, but there was a good report from his last start. It had been mentioned that his velocity was down in his second outing, but he seems to be throwing in the mid-90’s again. Despite the return in velocity, his stock has dropped due to these last two starts and questionable mechanics in his delivery.
Sean Manaea, the big left-hander from Indiana State, had his entire weekend series against Eastern Kentucky canceled by snow and cold weather last week. His team’s mid-week game was also canceled due to weather. He is usually the Friday night starter, but he didn’t start tonight. Manaea is scheduled to pitch Saturday. His last outing was Feb 22nd.
Austin Kubitza from Rice continues to move up the draft charts this year. The 2010 draft pick of the Pirates went 6.1 innings tonight against Florida International, allowing two runs on seven hits, with 11 strikeouts. In 26 innings this year, he has given up just three runs, while striking out 45 batters. Coming into the season, he was ranked #71 overall by Baseball America among draft-eligible players.
High School Notes
Minor League Ball has an article on Jonathan Denney, a catcher for Oklahoma, who should be picked near the top of this year’s draft class. A nice read with video and an in-person scouting report from multiple days.
Max Prep had a report on Dominic Smith‘s week, which includes his 10 strikeout game we mentioned on Sunday. Smith missed a game days earlier due to a one game suspension, which was a result of being ejected in the previous game.
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.
Not sure if you’ve mentioned him yet, but Jonathan Gray is now on my radar. He blew away UCLA in Gerrit Cole type fashion.
As soon as the San Diego game wraps up on the West Coast, I’ll post tonight’s article with plenty of info on Gray