The countdown to the draft has officially begun, just 12 more days until the Pittsburgh Pirates make their first three selections. College teams are gearing up for the College World Series now, some teams trying to make it in, while other teams have already seen their season end. Today, we take a look at some of the best bats available, that are still play. Also in the draft notes, we cover two of the better middle infielders in this draft class.
Kris Bryant and San Diego went for the win in the WCC tournament tonight against San Francisco. They ended up taking the game 2-0, with Bryant going 2-for-4 on the night. He struck out in his first two AB’s, then had an infield single in the fifth inning and a seventh inning double.
Colin Moran and North Carolina, took on rival NC State on Saturday in an epic match-up. One day after playing 14 innings, North Carolina took home a 2-1 in in 18 innings. Moran was going up against starter Carlos Rodon , a good bet to be the #1 pick in next year’s draft. Rodon ended up pitching one hit ball over ten innings, allowing two walks, an unearned run and he struck out 14 batters. Moran went 1-for-7 on Friday and had a tougher game Saturday, going 0-for-7, with a HBP. His team plays early tomorrow(Sunday) afternoon against Virginia Tech for the ACC title.
DJ Peterson had a home run, double and intentional walk in his team’s 8-7 loss. The home run was hit 18th of the season, while the double was his 24th two-bagger. His team plays again tomorrow. If they had won tonight, the Mountain West tournament would have been over.
Austin Wilson and Stanford continued their series against UCLA, one of just a handful of teams still playing their regular season games. Wilson went 1-for-3 yesterday in the 2-1 win. On Saturday, he went 0-for-5 in his team’s 7-3 win, striking out twice. Zack Weiss, a 2010 draft pick of the Pirates, pitched for UCLA tonight. He retired the only batter he faced in the seventh inning.
Eric Jagielo from Notre Dame, went 2-for-4 against Pittsburgh today in the Big East Tourney. He had two RBI’s, a walk and hit his 19th double of the season in the 3-2 win. The Irish will now go on to play Connecticut in the title game tomorrow. Jagielo has received passing mention as a possibility with the Pirates second pick in the first round, figuring they are looking for a polished college bat at a corner infield position.
Kevin Ziomek from Vanderbilt took on South Carolina earlier this week and went 5.2 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk, with two hit batters. He struck out four and threw 119 pitches. Ziomek was getting mid-first round mention at one point, but it is possible he drops into the second round, where they Pirates should have many solid college starters to look at with the 51st overall pick.
Vanderbilt took on Hunter Renfroe and Mississippi State today in the SEC tournament. Renfroe went 3-for-5, with a double and two RBI’s in his team’s 16-8 loss. There has been a lot of mentioning of Renfroe’s name in the 10-14 range recently and he could be an option for the Pirates with their second pick.
We have mentioned JP Crawford often here, the HS shortstop out of California is an intriguing player to think about with the #14 for the Pirates. He got a lot of press today on the MLB site, as Jonathan Mayo has a roundup of the top middle infielders in this draft and AJ Cassavell has an article with video for Crawford alone.
Speaking of middle infielders, Baseball America has an article on JUCO shortstop Tim Anderson, who could go in the first round. He’s a name you would love to see fall to the Pirates in the second round, though the chances of that happening seem very unlikely now.
My MLB Draft, a site that updates draft information year round, recently updated their picks for this year’s draft. They have Pirates taking Colin Moran at #9 and Reese McGuire at #14. Those would be solid choices if they could get both.
Bleacher Report has an article on their top ten starting pitchers in this year’s draft class. While I slightly disagree with some of their picks, there is still plenty of good info in the article.
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.