Draft Prospect Watch: Bryant Breaks School Home Run Record

The tenth weekend of college wrapped up today, leaving us just 46 days away from the start of the 2013 amateur draft. Most of these players have just three weekends of play left before they start their tournament play. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the ninth week’s action here. Just a reminder, the Pirates pick #9 and #14 in this year’s June amateur draft, so for the duration of the college season, leading up to draft day, we are following the players closely that are ranked in that range. This year’s draft will be held June 6-8. 2013 draft

San Diego’s Kris Bryant, went 1-for-4 on Sunday, hitting a seventh inning home run and he also drew a walk. The home run for Bryant was his 20th of the season, extending his school record for single season homers, which he set last night. He is one short of the school’s career mark of 46 homers.

Colin Moran started his weekend yesterday with a doubleheader against Duke. In game one, Moran went 0-for-4, but he still picked up a run scored and an RBI. He reached base via HBP. In game two he was 0-for-2, reaching base twice, with a walk and another hit by pitch. On Sunday, Moran helped North Carolina to their 39th win of the season, against just two losses. He went 2-for-4 in the 10-1 victory, walking once and scoring two runs.

Austin Wilson went 2-for-4 yesterday in a 10-9 loss to Arizona. He drove in two runs and hit his 5th double. He played center field on Sunday, moving over from his normal right field spot. At the plate, Wilson went 0-for-4, with a walk and a stolen base.

Aaron Judge from Fresno State, went 0-for-2 on Sunday, walking twice and striking out twice, as Fresno State won 5-3. He had doubleheaders Friday and Saturday against Air Force. In game two Friday night, he went 2-for-5, with a triple, homer and three RBI’s. The only downside was two strikeouts, a problem he has had this year that may keep his draft stock low. In the Friday opener, he went 1-for-4, with two runs scored. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 in the first game, with a double, stolen base and two runs scored. In the nightcap, he had his best game. In order, he walked, doubled, singled and hit a tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning. Judge flew out to center field in the eighth to end his night.

DJ Peterson of New Mexico, came through big late in Sunday’s game against Nevada. He started off 0-for-2, before walking in the sixth inning. Then in both the seventh and ninth innings, he hit two run doubles. The second double helped New Mexico come back from a 10-7 deficit to win by a 15-11 score. Peterson took on Braden Shipley of Nevada, in a big time match-up of two top college players Friday night. Peterson ended up going 1-for-4 off Shipley, hitting a double. He also got an RBI single off a reliever after Shipley left. In Saturday’s game, Peterson went 1-for-4, with a walk. His lone hit was his 17th double of the season. Peterson also recorded 16 putouts at first base.

Phillip Ervin from Samford, went 3-for-5 on Sunday, scoring three runs and driving in a pair in his team’s 17-9 win. He had a single, double, infield single, RBI groundout and a walk. He went 1-for-3 on Friday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He had a single, walk and scored a run in his team’s 7-1 win. On Saturday, Ervin went 0-for-4, scoring a run and stealing a base. He was back in center field for all three games, after playing left field for the last couple weeks. There have been conflicting reports on whether he can player center field in the majors. For teams that feel he can’t, his draft stock may drop.

Hunter Renfroe is a name that has popped up often recently. The right fielder from Mississippi State was named the SEC Player of the Week last and has moved up draft charts to the mid-late first round area. Against Auburn this weekend, he wasn’t able to back up those new higher rankings, going 1-for-9, with four walks and a single.

Jason Hursh, the 2010 draft pick of the Pirates who has played for Oklahoma State, has been getting some late first round mention. He missed last season with Tommy John Surgery, returning this year with some impressive numbers, not all good. Hursh has been used pretty hard by his coach in a few games, especially for someone coming off a missed season. On Friday, he threw 122 pitches in seven innings against Kansas State. That was despite the fact he had an 8-1 lead going into the seventh. Hursh allowed two runs on 11 hits and two walks, picking up seven strikeouts. On the year, he is 4-3, 2.62 in ten starts, with 50 strikeouts and a .214 BAA in 55 innings.

For Rice this Saturday, two Pirates draft picks combined for a 4-0 shutout over Houston. Austin Kubitza(2010) threw the first seven innings, giving up two hits and three walks, while striking out ten batters. Zech Lemond(2011) threw the  last two innings, with one hit, one walk and one strikeout to his credit. Kubitza could go fairly high in this upcoming draft, thanks to his 6-2, 1.22 record in 11 starts, with 90 strikeouts and a .178 BAA in 66.2 innings. Lemond has also pitched well in his 17 relief appearances, posting a 1.56 ERA, with 40 strikeouts in 40.1 innings.

When Keith Law released his updated Top 50 draft prospects list, the highest ranked college player he had, that I have never mentioned here, was Andrew Thurman from UC Irvine. Thurman was previously ranked 24th overall by Law, but has moved up three spots in the latest rankings. He is more of a finesse righty, who Law says relies on command, but is also polished, so he could move quickly. He is quite similar in that regard to Marco Gonzales of Gonzaga, who we have covered here often. Thurman is 4-3, 2.53 in nine starts, with a .221 BAA, 13 walks and 58 strikeouts in 64 innings. On Friday night(after the new list was released), he allowed four runs on six hits and two walks against Pacific.

High School Notes

Trey Ball, a pitcher from New Castle, Indiana, threw six shutout innings on Friday, hitting 93 MPH on the radar gun. There are some teams who like the 6’6″ lefty more as a hitter and he didn’t do anything to make that decision any easier this weekend. Besides the shutout, he also hit a homer in Friday’s game, then another on Saturday.

Dominic Smith from Serra HS in California, has a big game this weekend. He drove in two runs, with a homer and a triple. The home run was hit to straight away center, where the field measures 400 feet at the wall. Smith is hitting .478 in 46 AB’s, with 11 walks, four homers and a 1.540 OPS.

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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