Some news and notes from Monday, plus a couple new mock drafts. You can expect the mock drafts almost daily from here on out, as we are just 17 days away from the start of the 2014 amateur draft.
Jonathan Mayo over at MLB.com has a nice article on prep pitcher Touki Toussaint, who should go somewhere in the 10-20 range in the draft. He would be a nice player to get if he somehow dropped to the Pirates. Probably not going to happen, but the article is still worth checking out.
Speaking of Toussaint, ESPN Insider(subscription required) has an article on the top tools in this draft class and Toussaint is mentioned as the best breaking ball for prep pitchers and he was considered for the best fastball.
Mayo also has an article on prep shortstop Jacob Gatewood. All year long, it has been mentioned that there are questions as to whether Gatewood will make enough contact in the pros for him to reach his huge potential. He has the upside of a power-hitting third baseman, but he could also have huge strikeout totals that keep him from being a star player in the majors. Depending on what certain teams think, he could be a huge upside player that falls to the Pirates. Right now, the thinking is that he will go a few picks earlier.
Two mock drafts of note came out today. Matt Garrioch over at Minor League Ball, posted his second mock draft and he has catcher Max Pentecost going to the Pirates. Most people have the Kennesaw State backstop going about 5-10 spots higher, so this is a new player mentioned for the Pirates. Garrioch does a good job in the article of explaining why he thinks certain picks will go to certain teams.
Chris Crawford does something interesting with his mock draft over at MLB Draft Insider. He gives the percentage chance a team picks a certain player and gives multiple options for each team based on that. Definitely worth checking out. He picks Braxton Davidson for the Pirates and says there is a 25% chance they get him. Davidson is mentioned often in the Pirates range, so that percentage sounds about right. You can find a scouting report on Davidson here and a video of him here.
Wrapping Up The Weekend
Most teams played Thursday through Saturday this week, but there were a few Sunday games of note.
We haven’t been mentioning Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto as much because he really shot up draft rankings, but he didn’t do himself any favors this weekend against Washington. He went 1-for-11 with a walk in the three game series. Oregon State is one of the few teams that still has some regular season games left.
Bradley Zimmer went 2-for-3 with two walks on Sunday. The San Francisco outfielder has some problems on the basepaths, getting picked off twice. His team wraps up their regular season schedule tonight.
Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino went 4-for-10 over the weekend against Washington State, with his 12th double and tenth homer. He seems to fall in that category of players that aren’t good enough for the Pirates first round pick, but won’t be around when they make their second round selection with the 65th overall pick.
The UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton match-up this weekend has a lot of second round potential, all players that we covered here early in the season. Irvine has third baseman Taylor Sparks, while Fullerton boasts third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman/utility guy J.D. Davis. Here are their weekend stats from Friday through Sunday:
Davis: 2-for-5, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI/ 2-for-5, 2B/ 1-for-4
Chapman: 2-for-5, 2 2B, RBI/2-for-4/ 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
Sparks: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI/1-for-5, 2B/ 1-for-4, RBI
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.