After a Friday night filled with big time starters doing well, today we take a look at the best college hitters and how they have fared during the first two days of the weekend schedule. The 2014 draft begins on June 5th, just under ten weeks away. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 24th pick in the first round this year. They also picked 65th overall in the second round and 74th, which is their competitive balance pick. For more information on the top players in this draft class, check out our four-part draft preview.
Before we get into the best hitters, two of the better pitchers made their weekend start on Saturday. Sean Newcomb from Hartford, took on Stony Brook on Saturday and dominated. He threw seven no-hit innings, giving up four walks, while striking out eight batters. In six starts, he still hasn’t allowed an earned run. Over 39.2 innings, Newcomb has given up 14 hits, just one for extra-bases. He has 46 strikeouts.
The other big starter on Saturday was Andrew Suarez from Miami, who allowed one run over eight innings of work against a strong NC State club. He gave up five singles, no walks and struck out three batters. Suarez has moved up draft charts recently and could sneak into the end of the first round. Two former Pirates draft picks were in this game. NC State shortstop Trea Turner went 1-for-4 with a stolen base and Miami outfielder Dale Carey was 2-for-4 with a solo homer and he scored both of his team’s runs.
Catcher Kyle Schwarber and first baseman Sam Travis from Indiana, both had three hits on Friday. Their Saturday game was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sunday. Travis is hitting .355 this year, yet surprisingly hasn’t hit a homer in 23 games. Schwarber has a .972 OPS and 18 walks, against just nine strikeouts.
Catcher Max Pentecost went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI against Jacksonville on Friday. On Saturday, he went 2-for-5 with a run scored. He now has a .349/.417/.500 line in 30 games. He leads his team with 11 doubles.
San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer went 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored on Friday against San Diego. The two teams play a doubleheader on Sunday. Zimmer has recently been rated as the top college bat by some sources. He is hitting .430/.482/.720 in 24 games with seven doubles and six homers.
Outfielders Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis from Oregon State both had big games against Arizona on Friday. Conforto went 3-for-5 with a run scored, walk and RBI, while Davis went 4-for-6 with two doubles and five RBIs. Oregon State took a beating on Saturday, losing 11-2. Davis went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Conforto had a double in five trips to the plate.
Cal State Fullerton’s J.D. Davis went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a stolen base on Friday. On Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a double. Third baseman Matt Chapman, who looks to be a mid-first round pick, missed both games with an ankle injury.
Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino played a doubleheader on Friday against Oregon. He went 2-for-5 with a solo homer and two runs scored. The home run was his second of the season. In game two, he went 0-for-4 with a walk. The opposing starting pitcher in game two was Matt Krook, who was drafted 35th overall last year by the Marlins, but did not sign. Blandino is hitting .333/.424/.486 in 20 games.
I usually wait for Sunday and the week days for high school news, but this was too good to pass up. Tyler Kolek, who will be gone long before the Pirates pick(unfortunately), threw five shutout innings with 13 strikeouts on Saturday. Kendall Rogers posted the following tweet that speaks for itself.
Tyler Kolek finishes w/ 98 FB. Showed a nasty 81 mph slider in fifth. Five innings complete game, 13 Ks. #mlbdraft pic.twitter.com/O5nO0jSGws
— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) March 30, 2014
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.
It’s difficult to pick players to focus on. It’s a deep class and the Pirates pick late on the round.
Definitely is tough. Davidson has been getting the most mentions in the Pirates range, but I doubt he impressed whatever scouts the Pirates had at the NHSI tournament this weekend(check Sunday’s recap). Days like Friday are great to see because so many top pitchers did well and a lot of HS pitchers are impressing too, which means there will be top talent when the Pirates pick