Draft Prospect Watch: Week Nine Recap, The Rise Of Moran

The ninth weekend of the college baseball season has come to a close and there is less than eight weeks until the draft starts. We will recap the week for 17 of the top college players that are draft eligible. Four of them have player pages on the site, with a scouting report and daily stats. The are Florida pitcher, Jonathon Crawford and three of the top college bats, San Diego’s Kris Bryant, North Carolina’s Colin Moran and Austin Wilson from Stanford.Last week, we added pitcher Kevin Ziomek from Vanderbilt onto the watch list. This week it stays at seventeen players, but the daily links below have numerous other players mentioned, as well as some information on High School players each day. This year’s draft will take place from June 6-8 and the Pirates pick #9 and #14 in the first round.2013 draft

Starting at the top of the college draft class and working our way down, we will highlight seventeen players to watch as the season progresses.

 Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford – He was not his usual self against Washington on Friday night, but still went eight innings in his team’s 7-5 win. Appel gave up four runs(three earned) on seven hits, two walks, a hit batter and he struck out seven. He committed the error that led to the unearned run. Appel had early command issues two weeks ago, but was able to keep Washington State off the board the entire game. He threw a complete game shutout, allowing four hits, one walk and he hit three batters. Last week against USC he had a poor fifth inning, giving up two runs, then tired down the stretch, unable to finish out the game. It was still a strong outing, as he went 8.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk, while recording seven strikeouts. He was sitting 95-97 MPH early and he threw 114 pitches. On the year, he is 6-2, 1.41 and has pitched 63.2 innings, with 78 strikeouts and a .178 BAA. Most recent mock drafts have him going somewhere in the top five this year, along with Sean Manaea, Jonathan Gray and two HS bats, Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier.

Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State–  Manaea went 6.2 innings against Creighton, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks, while striking out eight batters. He needed 95 pitches to get through his night, 60 of them went for strikes. He has dealt with some adversity this season. Manaea had a big match-up four weeks against Tom Windle, another top-ranked pitcher in this year’s draft class. Manaea won the battle 2-1, throwing a complete game. There was some concern afterwards, when he rolled his ankle covering home plate on the last play of the game. The ankle was obviously okay, as the next Friday, he threw seven shutout innings against Southern Illinois. He allowed three hits, two walks and he struck out eight batters. Two starts ago, he wasn’t sharp and took the loss against Missouri State, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out five in 7.1 innings. That led to last week, where he was pushed back a couple days due to a minor hip injury. With the poor outing the previous week and another injury just weeks earlier, his outing was going to be watched closely. Manaea ended up throw six shutout innings, allowing five hits, no walks and he struck out nine batters. On the year he is 5-2, 1.21 in eight starts, with 63 strikeouts in 52 innings. Manaea has a .184 BAA and has issued 17 walks.

 Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas–  Stanek took on Ryan Eades(see below) in the biggest pitcher match-up this week. He threw 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up four hits, three walks and he struck out five batters. Early on this year, Stanek would flash top-notch stuff, but he was never able to go deep into games. That changed three weeks ago when he threw a complete game against sixth ranked South Carolina. Stanek allowed three hits, one walk and he struck out seven batters. He was sitting 94-96 MPH early. The following week however, he was back to his normal pattern from this year. He lasted just four innings before being removed due to his pitch count. Stanek only allowed one earned run, but needed 92 pitches to get through those four innings. He then went eight shutout innings in last week’s start, giving up four hits, no walks and he struck out five batters. So he is up to 14.2 scoreless innings in a row. On the year, Stanek is 4-2, 1.64 in nine starts,  throwing 49.1 innings, with 43 strikeouts, 19 walks and a .199 BAA.

 Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina– Moran had a huge weekend and mid-week, going 12-for-24, with two homers and 16 RBI’s. He went 2-for-6 last weekend, with six walks and a HBP. One of his hits was a two-run home run against Maryland. He also had a Wednesday game last week in which he went 3-for-5, with a double. On the year, Moran is hitting .401 in 36 games, with eight doubles, nine homers, 56 RBI’s, a 1.167 OPS and 51 runs scored. He has just eight strikeouts in 183 plate appearances. There are some questions as to whether he can stick at third base in the pros. It seems to be an even split between scouts who think he will be steady/average at the spot, and ones that think he may have to move. So far this year, Moran has made four errors in 71 chances and just two have came in his last 26 games. North Carolina has games at home tomorrow and Wednesday.

 Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida– Crawford took on #8 ranked South Carolina on Thursday night and went 6.2 innings, picking up the win by allowing two runs on seven hits, two walks, a hit batter and he struck out five. He was in danger of falling out of the first round until a terrific start two weeks ago halted his slide. He threw a complete game shutout against Ole Miss, giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out eight. He had struggled almost all season up to that point and Florida had moved him to the Saturday starting spot instead of Friday. Last week he was moved back to Friday and went five innings against Mississippi State, allowing five runs(two earned) on six hits and five walks, with four strikeouts. He needed 108 pitches to get through five, 62 went for strikes. His record now stands at 2-5, 4.17 in nine starts, with 43 strikeouts in 54 innings.

 Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego– Bryant had his worst week of the season last week, striking out two times in each of the three weekend games. He went a combined 2-for-11, with two walks and a two-run triple. His week this week wasn’t much better. San Diego started batting him lead-off the last few days and in four games, he went 2-for-11 for the second week in a row, though he did hit and homer and draw seven walks. In 35 games, he is hitting .336, with 15 homers, 36 RBI’s, nine doubles, 43 runs scored and 43 walks. Bryant has a 1.326 OPS and gets on base 52% of the time. A versatile defensive player, besides taking his primary spot at third base, he has also started in right field, center field and first base. Recent reports ranked his third base defense as slightly below average, while he should be able to handle himself in right field. San Diego has a game tomorrow.

 Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss–  Two weeks ago he ran into a little trouble, giving up three runs over 7.1 innings to Florida. Last week his trouble was control, though he limited the damage. Going up against Vanderbilt, he went 6.2 innings, giving up one unearned run on five hits and six walks, while recording eight strikeouts. Wahl’s results were good this week but the control was a problem again. He allowed just one hit and no runs through six innings to Alabama, but he issued five walks, leading to an early departure with a 4-0 lead. He struck out three batters. Wahl is 7-0, 1.40 in nine starts, with a .198 BAA and 48 strikeouts in 57.2 innings. His control has been off in a few games, leading to 30 walks so far. He has a nice low-to-mid 90’s fastball and throws an above average slurve.

 Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford– Ervin had some trouble with hit-by-pitches the last couple weeks, three times he left a game after being hit and he also missed three games. This week against Western Carolina, he was safe from HBP’s, but his team got swept. He went 4-for-10, with a triple, home run and three RBI’s in the three game series. He is hitting .371 this year(first on his team) over 35 games, with ten homers, 25 RBI’s, 31 runs scored and a team-leading 1.221 OPS. He is his team’s clean-up hitter and usually he plays center field, though he has been playing some left field recently. While he will be drafted as a hitter, Ervin has pitched six times in relief this year, striking out nine batters and allowing one run in six innings. He generates a lot of power from a 5’10” frame and he is athletic enough to play center field in the pros.

  Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford–  During his first game, Wilson strained a muscle just below his elbow. It was described as a nagging injury, but minor and he was day-to-day. Wilson ended up missing 22 straight games before finally returning last Friday night. He had two AB’s, walked and struck out, then sat out on Saturday. That Sunday, he played the whole game, going 2-for-4, with two RBI’s. This week he played the field for the first time on Friday and was back there Sunday. In four games, he went 5-for-13, with two doubles, four walks and a home run.

 D.J. Peterson, 3B/1B/OF New Mexico–  Peterson and Aaron Judge(see below) met up this week in a series between two of the top hitters in this draft class. Peterson’s team swept the series, but neither player had a huge series in the hitter’s paradise that New Mexico plays in for their home games. Peterson went 4-for-9, with three walks and two RBI’s. His team scored 29 runs in the sweep, so he wasn’t a big part of the scoring. He also had a Tuesday doubleheader this week against Arkansas and went 2-for-7, with two walks. Two weeks ago, Peterson went 3-for-3, with four runs scored on Thursday, then injured his hamstring and left the game early. It was called a minor injury, but he didn’t play that Friday or Saturday.  He missed two mid-week games before returning the next Friday against Air Force. He went 3-for-4 that night, followed by a 3-for-5 on Saturday, before ending the week quietly, with two walks and an 0-for-3 on Sunday. He is hitting .414, with 12 homers, 42 runs scored, 45 RBI’s and a 1.384 OPS , through 32 games.

 Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga– Gonzales had a so-so outing against St Mary’s College Friday night. The lefty went seven innings, allowing four runs(one earned) on six hits, three walks and one hit batter. Gonzales recorded nine strikeouts on the night. He had a tough outing two weeks ago against Loyola Marymount, allowing seven runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings. Prior to that he was on a season long hot streak. He was unable to bounce back last week against Portland, partially due to the weather. In a rain shortened three inning game, he gave up three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out three. Gonzales used 60 pitches to get through those three innings.  He is 4-2, 2.71, with a .243 BAA, 60 strikeouts and 13 walks in 63 innings this season. Gonzales also plays 1B/DH and he is hitting a team-leading .350 this year through 103 AB’s, but his future is on the mound.

 Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma– He took on Baylor Friday night and threw eight solid innings, but walked away with a no-decision. Gray gave up one run on four hits, two walks and he struck out ten batters. According to reports at the game, he was hitting 99 MPH. The 6’4″ RHP hit 100 MPH during his start  against UCLA earlier this year, getting instant attention from everyone following the draft. He threw seven shutout innings, recording eight strikeouts, while working in the 94-98 MPH range all night. According to Aaron Fitt, who was at the game, he was showing a nice slider and changeup combo as well. He hit 100 MPH in each of his next two games. Last week he was a little off his game, but for anyone else the outing was strong. He went 6.2 innings against Texas, allowing one unearned run on seven hits and two walks, while striking out eight batters. He was topping out at 98 MPH during this last start. Video of the start from Jason Cole can be viewed here. On the year, he is 6-1, 1.19 in 68.1 innings(eight starts), with 81 strikeouts and a .164 BAA.

 Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU – Eades went up against Ryne Stanek this week and picked up his first loss, in what was his worst outing so far this season. He went four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, three walks and he struck out five batters. Eades was topping out at 94 MPH early in the game. He got the win over Kansas last week, with one run allowed over 8.2 innings. He gave up just four hits and one walk, while striking out six hitters. Eades gave up 13 baserunners the previous Saturday night against Missouri, but still managed to throw eight shutout innings. He had decent results in his win over Auburn three starts ago. Eades went 6.2 innings, giving up one run on seven hits and two walks, while striking out four. Four weeks ago, he went seven innings during a 7-3 win over Mississippi State. Eades gave up one run on six hits, two walks and he struck out eight batters. Baseball America ranked him as the 12th best college draft-eligible player in their pre-season rankings, and Keith Law ranked the right-hander 15th overall in the entire draft class in his mid-March rankings. In nine starts, Eades is 7-1, 1.97 in 59.1 innings, with 56 strikeouts and a .257 BAA.

 Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville – At 6’4″ 225 lbs., he has the build of a workhorse pitcher and has been rated as high as tenth in this draft class, but that has likely changed recently. He went 4.1 innings this week against Kennesaw State, giving up seven earned runs, as his team lost 14-4. Anderson allowed nine hits, three walks and he recorded three strikeouts. Last week against Stetson, he allowed four runs(one earned) over 6.2 innings, with six hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Two weeks ago he had a rough outing, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in six innings against Mercer. He did strike out ten without issuing a walk, so there was a small silver lining to the start. The previous weekend against USC Upstate, he threw 8.1 scoreless innings, allowing eight hits, one walk and he struck out ten batters. He is now 5-3, 2.95 in nine starts, with 78 strikeouts and 12 walks  in 64 innings and a .229 BAA. Anderson’s results haven’t been good recently and his quality of opposition is much lower than most of these pitchers rated higher.

Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada –  He’s a 6’3″ righty, that opened his college career as a shortstop. Shipley moved to the mound last year and put up impressive numbers(9-4, 2.20 ERA, .212 BAA). He had a difficult outing on Friday night against UNLV, but was still able to pick up the win. He pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits and five walks, while picking up eight strikeouts. Shipley needed 122 pitches to get through his outing.Last Friday night, he went eight innings against San Diego State, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks, with five strikeouts. Kendall Rogers posted an article about Shipley last Friday. This year, he has moved into top ten consideration with his 5-1, 2.60 record in nine starts, with 65 strikeouts in 65.2 innings and a .213 BAA. Shipley has been clocked at 99 MPH this season and he has an above average change-up.

Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State – Judge is 6’7″, 255 lbs with tons of power, but he hasn’t been able to put it all together yet. He is still a good hitter with a .334 career average, but he should eventually hit for more power. Judge has five homers this year and 11 in his college career, spanning 509 AB’s.  He plays defense and moves well for his size, but he is limited to a corner outfield spot, so adding power to his game is imperative. Judge went  5-for-9, with five walks this week in New Mexico, a high offense stadium. Despite that, he drove in just one run as his team got swept. He went 3-for-4 off Braden Shipley two weeks ago when they met head-to-head. Last week he went 3-for-12, with a home run. He is hitting .347 this year, tops on his team and he has a .998 OPS. He also leads his team with 32 strikeouts, which leads to questions about him having the bat quickness to be able to cover his large strike zone.

Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt – Ziomek has been making some strong impressions recently with scouts, but wasn’t at his best this week like many other top pitchers. He went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out six batters against Missouri. He threw 115 pitches in the game, 69 went for strikes. Last Friday night, he faced off against Bobby Wahl and pitched great, allowing one run in 7.1 innings. He gave up just three hits, although his 4/3 BB/K ratio left something to be desired. He throws low-90’s with a nice slider and change-up. At the beginning of the year he was thought of as a late 1st/ early 2nd round pick, but he has moved up from that. Ziomek is 7-1, 2.19 in nine starts, with 71 strikeouts in 65.2 innings.

Daily Draft Recaps


Friday  Judge VS Peterson, Prep notes

Saturday Moran’s Big Game, Denney Hitting Well

Sunday  Bryant Struggling, New Prep Name to Watch

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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