The 12th weekend of college baseball kicked off today and it’s Friday night, which means some of the best pitchers in this draft class were on the mound tonight. These players, and many others, have just over a month to impress scouts in advance of the draft. Check out the schedule for this weekend here. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the 11th 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. This year’s draft will be held June 6-8.
San Diego’s Kris Bryant, went 0-for-2, with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, stolen base and a strikeout. Bryant scored a run in his team’s 10-7 win against St Mary’s. His 22 home runs this season are five more than the next highest total in Division I ball.
Colin Moran and North Carolina have off this weekend. They have a mid-week series next week against James Madison, starting Tuesday.
Austin Wilson went 2-for-4 tonight, with a double, a walk and two RBI’s. He had a two-run single in the third inning that would give Stanford a lead it would never surrender.
Mark Appel was dominating at times in Friday night’s game against Arizona State. He had a bit of a slip up during the fourth innings, allowing two runs, but was strong the rest of the way. He finished with 7.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits, one walk, one hit batter and he struck out 13 hitters. He threw 117 pitches and was sitting 95 MPH early on. Appel went against Trevor Williams, who could sneak his way into the back end of the first round. Williams went six innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, three walks and he struck out seven batters.
DJ Peterson of New Mexico, went 1-for-3 against Air Force in his team’s 11-10 win on Friday. He hit his 21st double and added a walk and an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Peterson scored two runs.
Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma did not have his best outing this weekend against West Virginia. He still battled through eight innings, keeping his team in the team. Gray allowed three runs(two earned) on nine hits and one walk. He recorded six strikeouts and left the game with the scored tied at three runs apiece.
Florida’s Jonathon Crawford took the mound yesterday against LSU and had some troubles during his 5.1 innings. He threw 98 pitches, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks, while picking up four strikeouts. LSU ended up winning 3-2 and on Saturday, they will send top pitching prospect Ryan Eades to the mound in the finale of the Florida series.
Phillip Ervin from Samford, hit his 11th home run of the year in his team’s 15-9 win over North Carolina at Greensboro. He finished the game 1-for-4, with two RBI’s and two runs.
Braden Shipley took the mound for Nevada tonight and threw 6.2 scoreless innings against San Diego State. He wasn’t sharp, but pitched well enough to keep them off the board. Shipley allowed eight hits and three walks, leaving the game with two men on base in scoring position. He had two strikeouts. The game was supposed to be the marquee match-up of the week, but Michael Cederoth was scratched from his start with an oblique strain. The San Diego State pitcher has a chance to go first overall in next year’s draft.
Aaron Judge from Fresno State, went 1-for-3 against UNLV tonight. He had a double, an intentional walk and in a big spot in the ninth, Judge struck out. Fresno State ended up losing 4-1, with Judge scoring the team’s only run.
Marco Gonzales from Gonzaga seems to have dropped out of the Pirates range recently, due to some poor and average outings over the last five weeks. His start tonight against Santa Clara was no different, though you can give him credit for battling. Gonzales went eight innings, giving up four runs on nine hits and three walks. The only upside was the fact he struck out 12 batters. He looked to be done after six, but he pitched another two clean innings, picking up four of those strikeouts and leaving with the score tied at four each.
There was word that one of the two top Prep bats in this draft class, could drop to the Pirates with the #9 pick. Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier have been linked for awhile as the top two bats in HS and both are from the same area of Georgia. The two actually played against each other earlier in the year in a match-up the drew the scouts in from all over. Both are projected to be strong major leaguers, but they have slightly different upsides. Frazier projects to be a power-hitting corner outfield with a strong arm. Meadows won’t be a big time power hitter, but he should make up for it with his average and better overall defense, which could keep him in center field, though his arm is below average. Both are good athletes who should have at least average speed as they fill out. So what has happened recently that may have dropped one of them to the Pirates, which seemed unlikely just weeks ago?
Here is the scouting report, along with videos on Frazier from Baseball Prospectus. For Meadows, we go to Baseball Prospect Nation for an in depth scouting report and a video here from Bullpen Banter. Here is a link comparing the two players(also note the links inside for other stories).
We have heard that the Cubs and Astros, with the first two picks, have scouted each player heavily and the Red Sox with the seventh pick have a scout with a strong link to each player. Baseball America predicted that one or the other(or both) could also be a fit with the Rockies, Twins and Marlins, who all pick before the Pirates. It seems highly unlikely that either may fall to the Pirates, but if one did, it would seem that the pick would be a no-brainer. Looking at even the most recent mock draft from Crawfish Boxes, who do an amazing job with the draft, they have them going #5 and #6, which is equal to the lowest either of them have been ranked anytime recently. For now, I wouldn’t get too excited about the talk of either dropping.
Big League Futures has stats for many of the best Prep players in one spot. Frazier is batting .521 in 71 AB’s, with 13 homers and a 1.211 slugging percentage. Dan Kirby from Through The Fences recently posted stats for Meadows, which included a .554 average, four homers, 18 stolen bases and a 1.609 OPS.
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.