Draft Prospect Watch: Judge Starting To Impress

The fourth weekend of college baseball wraps up today. The top two third baseman have shown power and for one, it was a continuation of his home run barrage from last week. 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.

Kris Bryant from San Diego went 1-for-4 today during a 5-2 loss against Michigan. He started off 0-for-3 on the day but in his last two AB’s, he drew an intentional walk and then kept the game alive with a ninth inning single. He usually plays third base, but Bryant was in right field tonight. He has also played some games at first base during his college career. Bryant has picked up at least one walk in 14 of his team’s 17 games. He has reached base in every game, either with a hit or walk.

Colin Moran, coming off a two home run game yesterday, had an RBI double and two walks today. North Carolina won 6-2 over Wake Forest. Moran finished the day 1-for-3, with one run scored. His team plays twice at home mid-week, Gardner-Webb on Tuesday and High Point on Wednesday. North Carolina(14-0) is the top ranked team in college.

Aaron Judge, the 6’7″ outfielder from Fresno State, went 1-for-4, with a homer and a walk today. He has three homers this season, all of them coming on Sundays. He is hitting .328(20-for-61) with 12 RBI’s. Baseball America had him ranked #21 overall in this year’s draft class. If you missed it earlier in the week, Baseball America had a nice write-up on Judge and his power potential.

Brandon Thomas, the fourth round pick of the Pirates last year, went 7-for-12, with three walks and three doubles this weekend. Through 16 games, he leads Georgia Tech with a .458 average. Thomas has a 1.124 OPS, but has yet to hit a triple or homer in 59 AB’s. He is a senior this year, so he will be back in the draft and should go higher than last season.

The Pepperdine game today saw two Pirates draft picks on the mound for the Waves. Aaron Brown, who was drafted as an outfielder in the 17th round of the 2011 draft, but he has been doing more pitching than playing in the field this year. The results weren’t too good against Seton Hall today, as he went 3.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks, with no strikeouts. He was followed by freshman Jackson McClelland, the 35th round pick of the Pirates last year. He went 2.2 innings, allowing three runs, which were all unearned. McClelland gave up two hits, one walk and he struck out three. He had just three strikeouts over 17.1 innings prior to this game.

Dace Kime of Louisville had a rough outing today, getting just one out in relief, while allowing two runs. He has been used twice as a starter and four times in relief this year. In 15.2 innings, he is 2-0, 3.45 with 15 strikeouts. The fifth ranked Cardinals are loaded with pitching. They have a 1.70 team ERA and 12 pitchers with a lower ERA, though some of them have very limited innings. Kime was taken in the eighth round in 2010, but the Pirates lost him to college due to MLB’s delay in approving contracts. This year, he will likely go in the 5/6 round range.

Crawfish Boxes has an in depth report on Arizona State right-hander Trevor Williams. He profiles as a mid-to-late first round pick. He threw a complete game shutout against Long Beach State yesterday. He is 3-0, 0.90 in 30 innings this year, with 26 strikeouts.

Big League Futures posted this scouting report on Austin Meadows, who will likely be one of the first two HS player picked this year. It is unlikely that he will drop to the Pirates with the ninth pick, unless the questions about his swing are a legit concern to teams.

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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