Just 32 days until Major League Baseball holds it’s amateur draft and the Pittsburgh Pirates make their first selection with the 24th overall pick. On Saturday, we took a look at the early weekend results from the top draft-eligible hitters in college baseball. If you missed it from Friday, we covered the best starters in college baseball, along with posting some important links to check out as the draft gets closer. Today we wrap up the weekend with some news and notes, including a look at the top college relievers.
Prep OF/1B Braxton Davidson is mentioned often in the Pirates range. He had two hits in his team’s final regular season game on Thursday. Davidson was featured in a draft preview on Thursday and a video highlight earlier in the week.
Another prep player mentioned often in Pirates range is RHP Scott Blewett from Baldwinsville, NY. In his start this week, he threw five shutout innings, allowing two hits, two walks and he struck out eight batters. The coaches from both teams had some fine things to say about Blewett’s performance.
Shortstop Michael Chavis will be one of our future featured players in our weekly draft previews leading up to draft day. The prep player from Marietta, GA is going to move to either second base or third base in the pros, but his bat should play at whatever position he ends up at. On Saturday, he homered twice and walked twice in his team’s 8-7 loss. He also homered twice in his previous game.
Brandon Finnegan from TCU was pulled from his start last Friday after 2.1 innings with mild shoulder soreness. He threw a bullpen this week and the reports were good, so he was tentatively schedule to go on Sunday. Finnegan was a late scratch from today’s start, so now he will have to try to repair his draft stock next week. He was ranked in the 10-15 range before this happened, so it will be interesting to see if he drops at all.
Arkansas starter Chris Oliver was featured in the Friday link above after he was rated 40th overall by MLB.com early in the week. He made his start on Sunday against Ole Miss. Oliver went seven innings giving up one run on five hits, three walks and a hit batter. He struck out five batters. It was a big start for Oliver as Ole Miss is a highly ranked team and he shut them down. That could help give him a late push in the draft.
Three college relievers were rated by MLB.com fairly high, with Louisville’s Nick Burdi coming in 29th and San Diego State’s Michael Cederoth ranked 52nd overall. Both of them have been featured here in the past. One that hasn’t been mentioned is Jacob Lindgren from Mississippi State, who was ranked 41st. Lindgren has put up impressive numbers in his 19 appearances this year. He has thrown 37 innings, posting a 1.22 ERA, a minuscule .126 BAA and he has 72 strikeouts. About the only downside is his 19 walks in limited time. He is a lefty that can touch 95 MPH and he has a plus slider and good change-up, so he could be tried as a starter in the pros. He doesn’t have much size for a pitcher at 6’0″, 190 pounds, so most feel he is more suited for relief work.
Nick Burdi is the hardest thrower of the group. He has no problem hitting triple-digits on the radar gun and dominating the college competition. In 21 outings this year, he has an 0.73 ERA, a .143 BAA and 40 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. He ended up pitching both games of yesterday’s doubleheader, picking up two saves, but he also allowed his second earned run of the season in the first game.
Michael Cederoth is going to be drafted on his potential. He has a big arm, but also has control issues that pushed him to the bullpen this year. He has done well as the closer, picking up 17 saves. Cederoth had control issues and a tough time in his only start at the beginning of the year, then immediately moved to the pen. His overall starts are a 2.35 ERA, a .200 BAA and 46 strikeouts in 38.1 innings. He has also issued 24 walks, so the problems are still there, but the upside is big.
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.