The eighth weekend of college baseball wrapped up today. These players listed below, and many others, have exactly two months more to impress scouts in advance of the draft. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the seventh 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.
San Diego’s Kris Bryant seems to have hit a mid-season slump. Yesterday I mentioned how rare it was for him to strikeout twice in the same game, yet he did it two days in a row. Now it is turning into a streak, as on Sunday he struck out in each of his first two AB’s. He walked his third time up in the sixth and walked again in the eighth, leaving him 0-for-2 on the night as San Diego lost 3-1 to Loyola Marymount.
Colin Moran and North Carolina wrapped up their series with Maryland today. He walked in each of his first three plate appearances of the game. He came up in the sixth with the bases loaded and was hit by a pitch. In the eighth inning, Moran came up with a runner on and hit his seventh homer of the year. Top-ranked North Carolina ended up winning 8-4 to sweep the series.
Austin Wilson from Stanford played Friday for the first time since the team’s opener in February. He batted twice, walked once and struck out. He sat out yesterday, but was back in the lineup today as the DH. He played a full game today and went 2-for-4 in a loss to USC, driving in two runs and scoring once. Wilson had an RBI single in the fourth, doubled in the sixth and had an RBI groundout in the eighth.
Aaron Judge from Fresno State, hit his fifth home run of the season on Saturday night against UNLV. He went 2-for-5, with two runs and two RBI’s. On Sunday, he went 1-for-4, with a first inning single during his team’s 5-3 win.
DJ Peterson went 3-for-5 on Saturday, with two doubles and two RBI’s. He team scored 19 runs in the win. Peterson now has 14 doubles on the year. On Sunday, he had a quiet game in an 11-4 loss against Air Force, going 0-for-3, with two walks.
Phillip Erwin from Sanford went 1-for-2 on Saturday, before leaving the game for a pinch-runner in the sixth inning. He was also hit by a pitch, though he left the game after hitting a single. Erwin was back in the lineup today and went 1-for-3, with a double and a HBP. Erwin left the game after his double for a pinch runner.
Sean Manaea, the high-ranked lefty from Indiana State, was able to make his start this week after getting pushed back due to a slight hip injury. The injury had no effect on him against Wichita State today, as he threw six shutout innings. Manaea allowed five hits, walked none and struck out nine. He threw 92 pitches, 65 for strikes. Manaea lowered his season ERA to 0.99 in 45.1 innings, with 55 strikeouts.
Former Pirates Draft Picks
Jason Hursh, who the Pirates took in the 2010 draft, has been pitching great this year, but he ran into trouble on Friday night against Kansas. In three innings, he allowed seven runs on ten hits and four walks. He threw 95 pitches, 60 for strikes. Hursh missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery, so he is still a sophomore, though he is draft-eligible due to his age.
Austin Kubitza from Rice was also taken in the 2010 draft. He threw 7.1 scoreless innings against East Carolina on Friday night, but got a no-decision. He struck out ten, allowed four hits and three walks. The win was picked up by Zech Lemond, who threw 1.2 scoreless innings. Lemond was taken by the Pirates in the last round of the 2011 draft. Kubitza is 4-1, 1.22 in eight starts, with 72 strikeouts in 51.2 innings. Lemond has a 1.57 in 34 innings out of the bullpen.
If you missed it from last week, Brandon Thomas, the Pirates fourth round pick from last year, is out for awhile with mono. Unlike the others listed above, he is a senior this year so the illness could really cost him in the draft.
Through The Fences did a mock draft last week, rating the top 108 players with info on each. While they predicted that the Pirates would take two college pitchers with their picks, which is highly doubtful, there is a lot of work put into this article. Brandon Shipley was their #9 pick, while the #14 spot went to Chris Anderson, who has hit a rough spot recently. The rankings at least give you and idea of what might be left when the Pirates pick. The full article can be read here.
Prep Catching Deep
We have mentioned Jonathan Denney and Reese McGuire numerous times, as the top two Prep catchers in this year’s draft class. Matt Garrioch from Minor League Ball has a profile(with video) for a catcher out of South Carolina named Nick Ciuffo, who has been mentioned here briefly once. Garrioch predicts that Ciuffo could be off the draft board within the first twenty picks and may be the best catcher among this group. The profile can be read here.
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.
Just can’t see them passing over Colin Moran, Dominic Smith, or any of the 3 prep catchers… this organization needs more impact position players, as AA and AAA are devoid of them
But if drafted, none would go to AA or AAA. Moran would, in all likelihood, go to West Virginia or Bradentom while the HS guys would be off to Jamestown. Best player available must be taken
agree, but I don’t see the need to spend the #9 or #14 pick in the draft on a college arm that projects as a #3 starter, this system needs more impact position players.
I’m also biased towards Moran because of his ability to be disciplined at the plate, something this organization just can’t seem to develop/teach
I don’t think all of them profile as #3 ’s, some of them who might be there (like Shipley) look more like #2 ’s.
While I like Moran’s discipline, I’m still worried about the power and defense. Those seem like fairly significant worries.
Agreed on not drafting for need. Can’t be doing that.
I am slowly warming up to Moran. The reports before the season were a bit dubious, questioning his defense and power potential while giving props to his plate discipline and pitch recognition. In the past month, he seems to be proving all the critics wrong which I love to see.
As for the drafting pitcher portion, if the person is the best player available, you HAVE to take him. If you believe that we need more impact position player talent at the upper levels, I agree, 100% but drafting based on need this year isn’t going to progress players into AA and AAA faster.
Looking at what we have in the system outside of pitching, it actually is quite promising. Now, this is all saying everything goes as planed, no injuries, or anything. At Altoona, we could have Alen Hanson, Barrett Barnes and Greg Polanco. Those three players could all be everyday starters if they continue to progress they way they have been.