Draft Prospect Watch: College Bats and Middle Infielders To Watch Early On

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. 2013 draft

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.

Draft Notes

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.

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John: Biggest knocks on Anderson have been his arm strength and lack of PT during HS. Most comparisons are to 2B such as Brandon Phillips or Orlando Hudson – nice company, but not Shortstops. It is hard for me to see using a high pick for a Shortstop when I see the progress of Pirate farmhands Alen Hanson, 20, at Hi A and Max Moroff, 19, at Lo A. I would hope to get a kid like Garrett Hampson, hopefully in the 3rd Round.
I still hope the Pirates score a HS LHSP with either #9 , #14 , or both – Ball ahead of every other if he is still on the board at #9 . If we can get Ball, HS C/IF Reese McGuire would be nice but expensive, and HS LHSP Ian Clarkin could be the most reasonable option at #14 .

Lee Young

you never draft by current needs, emjay….take BAA.

I’d be happy with Moran, McGuire, Ball or Crawford, in that order.



Why not? The Pirates are in need of strong lefties. Look at their Top 10 pitching prospects and you may not have one LHSP among the bunch. Zack Dodson is the only one I can think of now that Locke and Wilson have been promoted, and this is the strongest class of HS LHSP’s in years – you have to take advantage of that. Trey Ball to add to Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, and Luis Heredia??


because by this rational, you may very well pass over someone who has higher upside, better tools, more projectability, so on. Now, if you have a group of players who are lumped together at a pick with just about equal talent at their respective positions, that is a case where you can choose to draft based on need. Reaching for someone because your short on on their position has led to some pretty miserable overdrafts by clubs, not just the Pirates. You just never know what your organization will look 3 or 2 or even a year down the road. Never, ever draft for need. Ever


Do you think the Steelers draft the best player available or by need? You and I both know the answer, so why would baseball be different?


Two responses to this: sometimes NFL teams do actually take BPA if they would be overdrafting to fill a need.
More importantly, football and baseball drafts are apples and oranges. Football players immediately move to the NFL, so that need (theoretically) can be filled quicker. Baseball players don’t; they go to the minors, for usually 3-4 years from college, 5-6 from high school. Thats not a linear path at all, and a lot can happen where they either don’t develop, get hurt, or both.

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