The 13th weekend of college baseball kicked off today and it’s Friday night, which means some of the best pitchers in this draft class were on the mound tonight. These players, and many others, have less than a month to impress scouts in advance of the draft. Check out the schedule for this weekend here. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the 12th 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 hit his 26th homer tonight, as his team ran away with a victory over Portland. He finished the game 2-for-5, with three runs scored, two RBI’s and he reached once by HBP.
Colin Moran and North Carolina took a tough loss to Georgia Tech today, just their fifth loss of the season. Moran finished the game going 1-for-2, with a solo homer(13th) and two walks. Kent Emanuel got the start for NC and went all the way, taking the loss in the ninth on a walk-off hit. He finished with 8.1 innings pitched, allowing five earned runs on ten hits and one walk, with six strikeouts.
Austin Wilson went 1-for-3 tonight in Stanford’s 7-3 loss. He had a strike out in the first inning, followed by a single, a foul out and he was hit by a pitch in the seventh.
Mark Appel was hit hard tonight against Oregon State, giving up five runs in the fifth inning alone. He was done after five, allowing six runs on six hits, five walks and a hit batter. He threw over 100 pitches.
Sean Manaea threw seven solid innings against Alcorn State today, striking out 11 batters. He gave up just three hits and two runs, one was earned. Manaea walked one batter and threw 100 pitches on the day, 71 went for strikes.
Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma has recently surpassed Mark Appel for the top spot on more top prospect lists and for good reasons, he throws harder, has a plus slider and he has pitched better most weeks. He was supposed to start tonight against Oklahoma State, but he was a late scratch. According to Keith Law, it may possibly be due to the fact he was sick earlier in the week with strep throat. Gray is expected to pitch tomorrow.
On the other side of the field, Oklahoma State threw Jason Hursh, a 2010 draft pick of the Pirates, who could possibly sneak into the back end of the first round. He seems like a risky pick there, or anywhere. Last year he had Tommy John Surgery and missed the whole year. This year, he is back to full-time pitching and has been used a lot by his coach, 82 innings coming into tonight with some high single game pitch counts. Today’s game was no different as he threw 133 pitches in a complete game win. Hursh gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk, with nine strikeouts.
Florida’s Jonathon Crawford took the mound tonight against Auburn and got hit around in four innings, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. He has struggled for most of this season, he has a delivery that is described as not smooth and some scouts see him as a future reliever. Despite all that, he still seems to be ranked high because he throws hard and has had some big games in the past. If his other poor outings this season haven’t hurt him that much in the rankings, it is doubtful today’s game will either.
Phillip Ervin from Samford went 2-for-4 today in his team’s 10-8 against Elon. Ervin had a single, double, stolen base, two runs scored and three RBI’s.
Braden Shipley took the mound for Nevada tonight, looking to build on the great season that has put him in serious consideration to be picked before the Pirates make their first selection. His ride towards the top of the draft charts got derailed a bit tonight against UNLV. Shipley went 5.2 innings, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits, four walks and he struck out six batters. He came into the game with a 7-2, 2.49 record on the season.
Aaron Judge from Fresno State, took on DJ Peterson from New Mexico tonight, in a battle between two of the best bats in this year’s draft class. New Mexico took home the big victory, with Peterson going 1-for-4 in the 9-0 win. He hit his 14th homer of the year, a two-run shot in the seventh. Peterson was also intentionally walked. Judge went 1-for-3, with a first inning single accounting for his only hit.
Bobby Wahl from Ole Miss against Hunter Renfroe from Mississippi State was supposed to be the big batter/pitcher matchup for today. They only had one meeting though, before the rains came and postponed the game until tomorrow, cutting short Wahl’s weekend. In that one inning, Wahl picked up three strikeouts, while Renfroe was able to reach base with two outs, via infield error.
Eric Jagielo is a real late addition to the watch list and for good reason, no one was mentioning this high until today(see BA link below). The third baseman from Notre Dame has improved his hitting and defense enough that he should be a quality bat that can stick at the hot corner in the pros. He is hitting .389 through 45 games, with eight homers, 41 RBI’s and an 1.141 OPS. He leads his team with 24 walks and has been hit by 15 pitches. His team plays a doubleheader tomorrow against St John’s.
Jim Callis held a draft chat yesterday, with plenty of questions regarding the players we cover here daily. Worth a read, check it out here.
Baseball America released their top 100 draft prospects. Plenty of surprises, one of which is the inclusion of Eric Jagielo(mentioned above) at #17, a name that has never been mentioned that high. Subscribers can read the full story with scouting reports, while the top 100 list can be viewed here.
One HS player that has shot up the draft charts is Phil Bickford, a RHP out of California. He hasn’t been mentioned here yet, so here are some links to catch you up on him. He is a possible top twenty draft pick, who could be on the Pirates radar with the 14th pick if he continues to impress scouts this last month. Here is his page from Big League Futures which includes a video and some links. Also a recent story from the LA Times and another article from his game 12 days ago in which he struck out 15 batters.
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.