The road to the College World Series began on Friday and as we pointed out on Wednesday, there are a lot of players of interest for Pittsburgh Pirates fans. Here is a brief rundown of what went down on day one of the tournament. The draft is just five days away, so these are the last looks that scouts are getting at some of these players before day one of the draft starts.
Indiana won big over Youngstown State on Friday, with catcher Kyle Schwarber leading the way. He has been mentioned often as a possible first round pick of the Pirates, going to them in multiple mock drafts. Schwarber went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored, missing a cycle by the double. First baseman Sam Travis went 1-for-4, driving in two runs and hitting his 12th homer of the season.
Tyler Beede has been questioned by some about his overall make-up, but he showed just how talented he is against Xavier. Beede threw eight shutout innings, striking out 14 batters. He allowed four hits, walked two and threw 114 pitches. One mock draft had him falling to the Pirates, though it now seems doubtful he will fall that far.
Brandon Finnegan pitched great for TCU over Siena, allowing one run over 7.1 innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and picked up 12 strikeouts. He was part of our draft preview on Thursday.
Cal Poly’s Matt Imhof defeated Sacramento State on Friday despite some control problems. He went 7.2 innings, allowing two runs(one earned) on three hits and five walks, adding four strikeouts. He was featured(along with Kyle Schwarber) in our draft preview last week.
Catcher Max Pentecost went 0-for-4 in Kennesaw State’s 1-0 win over Alabama. Unless he has a brutal tournament, he will be gone before the Pirates make their first pick.
Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto went 0-for-4 yesterday, as his team defeated North Dakota State. Conforto should be drafted in the top half of the first round. His teammate Dylan Davis will likely go on the first day, which is the first 73 picks of the draft. He was 2-for-4 with his eighth homer and drove in his 65th run of the season.
Cal State Fullerton’s J.D. Davis went 2-for-4 with his seventh homer and he drove in four runs in his team’s 5-1 win over Nebraska. He also retired all three batters he faced in the ninth. Third baseman Matt Chapman went 0-for-4. Both players could possibly be second round options for the Pirates.
Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino went 2-for-5 with two singles and two runs scored in a win over Indiana State. He has been mentioned as a possible pick for the Pirates numerous times throughout the year.
Virginia beat up on Bucknell and got help from two possible first round picks. Outfielder Derek Fisher drove in two runs and first baseman Mike Papi had three hits and an RBI in the 10-1 win. Fisher has been in the Pirates range all year, while Papi is usually mentioned as an early second round pick, but he has made it into the first round in a handful of mock drafts. Reliever Nick Howard did not play. He is also a possible first round pick.
Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed was a late addition to first round talks after he continued to hit homers all season, while also pitching well on the mound. He went 0-for-2 yesterday, with two walks and a run scored.
Taylor Sparks went 3-for-5 yesterday, with a triple and two runs scored. The UC Irvine third baseman will likely go in the second round of the draft, though he might not be around when the Pirates pick 64th overall.
Miami’s Andrew Suarez pitched brilliantly against Bethune-Cookman, throwing a complete game shutout. He allowed seven hits and did not walk a batter. Suarez had ten strikeouts and needed just 94 pitches in the game. He is a likely second round pick.
South Carolina has a couple possible 2nd/3rd round picks that were mentioned here often early in the year. They beat Campbell 5-2 on Friday, though the big bats were relatively quiet. Catcher Grayson Greiner went 0-for-4, while third baseman Joey Pankake was 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Arkansas’ Chris Oliver had control issues in a win over Liberty. He lasted just five innings and threw 109 pitches, just 57 for strikes. Oliver gave up two runs and walked six. He allowed four hits and had four strikeouts. He’s a possible second round pick.
Former Pirates Picks
Jake Stinnett helped pitch Maryland to victory over Old Dominion. He went eight innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. Stinnett threw 118 pitches, 78 for strikes. The 29th round pick of the Pirates last year, could go as high as the second round this year.
LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra was also taken last year by the Pirates, but decided to return to school. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his team’s 8-4 victory.
Aaron Brown went 0-for-4 with an RBI, as Pepperdine defeated Arizona State by a 3-2 score. He provides teams with an interesting choice, given he is an athletic center fielder that can hit, but he also has some real potential on the mound and has looked great there at times this year. He was a 2011 draft pick of the Pirates.
Dale Carey went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in Miami’s win(see Suarez above). He was a 2010 draft pick of the Pirates who went undrafted last year, but should be selected this year.
Rice’s Zech Lemond threw 1.2 scoreless innings against George Mason, striking out two batters. He could possibly go in the second round, though he has been mentioned lower recently. Lemond was a 2011 pick of the Pirates.
Florida first baseman Zack Power went 0-for-1 with a walk yesterday. He was a 2010 Pirates pick, taken in the 28th round.
Baseball America Expands to 500
Yesterday, Baseball America expanded their top prospect list from 200 to 500 spots. They didn’t re-order the list, so Spencer Adams is still in the 24th spot, which differs from their latest mock draft. The top 500 is a valuable resource on the second day of the draft, where the names start becoming more obscure to those that don’t follow the draft extremely close.
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.