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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Draft Prospect Watch: High School Notes, Former Picks And Second Round Possibilities

The 14th weekend of college wrapped up with a light schedule on Sunday, so today we take a look at some of the college pitchers rated just below the top group. We also check out how some former Pirates draft picks are doing, as well as a few notes on some of the better HS players in this draft. For most teams, this is the last weekend of their regular season and they start conference tournament play next week. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the 13th 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

The top two bats in college were off today. San Diego’s Kris Bryant has off this entire weekend, while  North Carolina’s Colin Moran went 5-for-15 over the weekend, though four of those hits came during yesterday’s game.

Austin Wilson and Stanford had one of the few games that were played on Sunday. He went 1-for-2 Friday night, with three walks and three runs scored in Stanford’s 9-8 win. His only hit was a single. His team won 9-4 on Saturday, but Wilson reached base just once in five plate appearances, drawing a walk. The power-hitting outfielder finished his week with a 1-for-5 day, hitting a single and driving home a run on an infielder groundout.

Marco Gonzales was ranked near the top earlier in the year, but he has fallen to a late first round pick, possibly a second rounder if he slips more. His team didn’t play this weekend, so Gonzales pitched three innings during a mid-week game instead. He threw no-hit ball, striking out three and walking one.

Chris Anderson also briefly was mentioned near the top ten earlier in the season, but he has performed poorly against a weak schedule, dropping his stock. This week, the big righty for Jacksonville had an impressive outing against East Tennessee State. He pitched ten innings in a no-decision, throwing a total of 128 pitches. He allowed just two run(both unearned) on eight hits and a walk, with nine strikeouts.

Kevin Ziomek from Vanderbilt only lasted five innings this week against Alabama, but he still pitched well. He threw 101 pitches, mostly due to the ten strikeouts and four walks he had. He allowed just three hits and two runs, one was earned. He would be an excellent pick if he dropped to the Pirates with their 51st overall pick.

Aaron Blair from Marshall could be a possibility for the Pirates in the second round. The 6’5″ RHP had a tough outing on Friday, lasting just three innings against Rice. He gave up six runs on seven hits and five walks, throwing a total of 77 pitches. Marshall’s season is over, so he is done until the draft. Blair finished up 5-5, 2.85 in 13 starts, with 84 strikeouts in 82 innings. He has a .198 BAA and he has issued 36 walks.

Andrew Thurman from UC-Irvine is another name to remember as the second round comes along. He had some control problems this week, walking five batters in 6.2 innings. He threw 121 pitches, giving up four runs on three hits, while striking out eight batters against Cal St Fullerton. Thurman has a 3.15 ERA in 91.1 innings this year, with 19 walks, 80 strikeouts and a .234 BAA.

Former Pirates Picks

Austin Kubitza pitched against Marshall this week on Thursday, going eight innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out seven batters and got 14 outs on groundballs. Earlier in the year, he was a possible late first round pick, but inconsistency, combined with and a low velocity, has moved him further down the charts. Baseball America just rated him as a likely fourth round pick.

Kubitza was followed in that game by Zech Lemond, a 2011 draft pick of the Pirates. He threw a scoreless ninth inning for his 13th save of the season.

Jason Hursh from Oklahoma State has been called a possible late first round pick, though Baseball America recently rated him 22nd among all right-handed pitchers. The 2010 draft pick of the Pirates went six innings on Thursday against West Virginia, giving up three runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out five batters.

Dace Kime from Louisville, gave up three runs on six hits and three walks on Saturday against Pittsburgh. He too was drafted in 2010 like Kubitza and Hursh and didn’t sign. Kime is rated right in between the other two pitchers by BA, a likely 3rd round pick. He is 5-1, 3.28 in seven starts and 16 relief appearances this year. In 57.2 innings, he has picked up 71 strikeouts.

Brandon Thomas from Georgia Tech decided to go back to college after being drafted by the Pirates in the fourth round last year. He missed a month of this season with mono and won’t likely be able to improve his draft status. Being a college senior, that will likely cost him big bucks because he has no signing leverage. Baseball America called him a likely fourth round pick, the tenth best center fielder in this draft. Thomas is hitting .348 this year, though he has just one homer in 45 games. He is already 22-years-old.

Aaron Brown from Pepperdine was originally drafted by the Pirates as an outfielder, though he will likely go in the top five rounds this year as a pitcher. On Sunday, he went 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and three walks against Portland. Brown also batted lead-off and collected two hits.

The day before, 2012 draft pick Jackson McClelland threw a scoreless inning in relief. Brown played center field and hit his second homer of the season, in a 6-1 win. Brown is hitting .313 in 48 AB’s and has a 6-3, 4.95 record in 12 starts. McClelland has a 1.46 ERA in 49.1 innings as a freshman.

High School Notes

Trey Ball threw a 5-0 shutout in his team’s game on Friday, striking out 13 batters. The 6’6″ left-hander has been mentioned numerous times connected to the Pirates. The Star Press has an article about the game, along with a couple videos on Ball.

Here is a local story on catcher Reese McGuire, who has been eyed by the Pirates as a possible early pick, though he won’t likely make it far enough for them to take him with the 14th pick. According to Dan Kirby, McGuire has gone 70 plate appearances without a strikeout.

Robert Kaminsky, a left-handed pitcher from New Jersey has been rated fourth among all left-handed pitchers in this draft class. He allowed an earned run in his last start, the first one he gave up all year. Kaminsky has an 0.15 ERA in 46 innings, with 95 strikeouts. He’s given up 20 hits and four walks. Perfect Game has a draft article up about players from New Jersey, with the bio for Kaminsky among the free content.

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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.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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If McGuire does indeed not make it to 14 I would love to see the Pirates go for Kaminsky. He seems to be a crafty lefty with an upside of a #2 -#3 starter which to go along with Cole, Taillon, Heredia. Kingham, and Glasnow would be perfect.


Mr. A: ‘Sky is listed at 5’11” so figure an inch or two less. He has heart and talent, but not as a Top half of the first round SP, IMO. I like Ball who is a 6’6″ LHSP at #9 and then Ian Clarkin another HS LHSP who pitched the clinching game for the 18U Championship Team in Korea last year. He’s 6’2″ 190 and is a 90-92 who bumps 93/94. He just turned 18 in Feb – many HS kids are already 19 or close. McGuire won’t turn 18 until June.


Ian Clarkin appears to be a solid choice as well. Those two are a lot better than the college bats not named Moran and Bryant out there.

Kevin Anstrom

Thanks John!
You’re on top of things

Ian Rothermund

I would argue, however, in favor of Trey Ball, that he attends a prep school in LA, I believe, which is big into athletics. So, combine that with his performance at different showcases and the raw natural ability, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re working with. It’s not as though he’s coming out of western PA playing AA against kids that can barely swing a bat. As a pitcher, you can directly see where his fastball is, the sharpness of his secondary offerings, and most importantly, his command of the zone. I’m far more wary of what high school hitters are going to be capable of once they’re seeing 90 MPH fastballs every night of the week instead of once a year.

Kevin Anstrom

Thanks for the information John.

I’ve really enjoyed your draft updates.

Would it be possible to add Phil Bickford to your updates? I think there is a good chance he’ll be the top prospect in the entire class in the next 2-3 years. As it stands he’ll probably get picked in the second half of the first round.

The Pirates have done a great job developing young pitchers lately. I’d love to see them pick Kaminsky / Ball / Bickford in the first round.

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