Friday night was the opener for many of the best pitchers in college baseball. You can read the college pitcher preview here, to familiarize yourself with these players listed below. The draft begins on June 8th and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the 19th and 32nd overall picks.
Starting off with Kyle Funkhouser, who threw seven innings for Louisville and looked like he was in mid-season form. He allowed just a single and a walk, while picking up 12 strikeouts. Funkhouser threw 96 pitches, 65 for strikes. Aaron Fitt had radar readings on his fastball topping out at 97 MPH and he was holding his velocity late in the game.
Funkhouser warming up with a 1-2-3 second – has 5K thru 2 IP. slider looking sharper now, with more power (83-85). FB 93-94, T97. #mlbdraft
— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) February 13, 2015
Lefty Nathan Kirby also threw seven shutout frames in his debut. The Virginia ace allowed three hits, two walks and struck out five batters against East Carolina. He threw 90 pitches, 60 for strikes.
Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer took on Santa Clara on Friday. He went five shutout innings, allowing two hits, three walks and he had seven strikeouts. Fulmer threw 88 pitches, 53 for strikes. Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson was listed as the best college hitter in many of the early draft rankings. He batted lead-off and went 1-for-5 with a run scored in his debut.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Cody Ponce went 4.1 shutout innings, allowing two hits, no walks and he had six strikeouts. He threw 66 total pitches, 48 going for strikes. Ponce was hitting 95 MPH according to multiple sources. His opposition is a name to watch after just one outing. Azusa Pacific’s Josh Staumont was hitting 100 MPH, though he was having control issues, issuing five walks. The 6’2″ righty wasn’t ranked in any early top 50 draft rankings, but he wasn’t far off, getting ranked as a late 2nd to early 3rd round pick according to a couple sources.
UCLA’s James Kaprielian faced Hofstra in his opener. He went six innings, throwing 105 pitches(65 strikes) on the night. Kaprielian allowed two runs(one earned) on four hits and two walks, with five strikeouts.
Jon Harris from Missouri State isn’t ranked as high as the other pitchers mentioned above, but he could make a move into the Pirates range with a strong season. In his debut against UT Arlington, he went five innings, giving up two runs(one earned) on five hits and four walks. He had five strikeouts.
Links and Notes
Here’s an article from Perfect Game on Michael Matuella, who has a chance to go first overall. He threw six shutout innings with eight strikeouts in his debut Friday against California.
Baseball America has a list of draft-eligible players with injury concerns. Among the names, Walker Buehler, who was drafted by the Pirates in 2012 and Carson Cross, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in 2013.
For ESPN Insiders, Chris Crawford has a list of five storylines for the 2015 draft.