Draft Prospect Watch: Casey Gillaspie or Sean Newcomb?

Three new rankings have come out in the last couple days and they have the two players in the title in the 24th spot, right where the Pittsburgh Pirates make their first round selection in the upcoming amateur draft. The first one was mentioned here yesterday and it’s rankings, while the other two are new mock drafts. These aren’t the only two players the Pirates are looking at, but both Gillaspie and Newcomb are getting a lot of mentions now in the Pirates range.

On MLB.com yesterday, they updated their list of the top 100 draft prospects. They ranked Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie as the 24th best player. Then late last night, Chris Crawford from MLB Draft Insider did his own mock draft and he too had Gillaspie in the Pirates spot.

On Sunday, Dan Kirby from Through The Fences, posted his newest mock draft and he had the Pittsburgh Pirates taking lefty Sean Newcomb from Hartford. Newcomb has either been rated 24th or gone to the Pirates in previous mock drafts, numerous times.

You can see videos of both players here, as well as Spencer Adams and Braxton Davidson, two other players that fall into the Pirates range.

For subscribers of ESPN Insider, Chris Crawford has notes and updates on some of the best players in the draft. He also has an article from last weekend in which he said that East Carolina’s Jeff Hoffman was the pitcher with the most to gain with a strong finish. That was right before Hoffman went down with an arm injury that caused him to miss his last start on Friday and his next start this upcoming weekend. He could be a big arm that falls down draft boards.

Baseball America has the weekend stats from the top 100 college prospects.

If you missed it from Sunday, we posted updates on the top 28 prep players in this draft class.

College Recap From Tuesday

Some quick college baseball notes on the top college bats from early in the week. Starting with Casey Gillaspie, who took on Kansas on Tuesday. He had a game he’d like to forget, going 0-for-4 in his team’s 10-3 loss. He has a .395/.498/.659 line in 44 games, with 12 doubles and ten homers.

San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer is the top rated college bat by many and he had a decent day on Tuesday despite his team losing 1-0 to California. He went 2-for-4 with a walk.

Third baseman Alex Blandino from Stanford had games on Monday and Tuesday this week. He faced California on Monday and went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. On Tuesday against Pacific, he was 1-for-4 with a double, walk and RBI.

Third baseman Taylor Sparks from UC Irvine was rated fairly high at the beginning of the year, then dropped out of sight, so we stopped the daily updates on him. Well apparently he is back in first round talks, so he comes back here too.  Against USC on Tuesday, he went 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base. Sparks has a .315/.402/.525 slash line and has answered questions about his plate patience, drawing 20 walks. He drew 17 walks combined over his first two seasons.

Virginia’s Derek Fisher and Mike Papi each took one on the chin against Old Dominion in an 8-1 loss. Both players went 0-for-4 as four different pitchers shut them down. Their teammate Nick Howard is usually seen in the DH spot, but it looks like it will be his pitching that gets him drafted this year as the bat hasn’t come around. As the team closer, he has 15 saves, a 1.16 ERA and 43 strikeouts, with just six walks, in 23.1 innings. He is also holding batters to a .146 average. Scouts are now saying he has three plus pitches out of the bullpen, with a fastball that sits 93-96 MPH.

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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