The 2013 MLB draft is right around the corner, with the first day of the draft starting two weeks from today. Tonight was a big day in college baseball for many teams, the start of their conference tournaments. With the Pittsburgh Pirates choosing #9 and #14 in the first round, this may be their last chance to see some of these players they are considering with those top pick and each of the 39 picks that follow. For now, we concentrate on the top names in this class and how they did on this big Thursday night.
Colin Moran and North Carolina, won their tournament opener 10-0 against Miami today. Moran went 2-for-4 in the rout, walking once and scoring three runs. Kent Emanuel, a 2010 pick of the Pirates, started the game and threw a gem, albeit with an odd stat line. He threw eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks, with no strikeouts. Moran had been in a slump of sorts lately, striking out ten times in his last 38 AB’s, after having just nine strikeouts in his first 176 AB’s.
Kris Bryant from San Diego, took on BYU on Thursday night. The top-ranked third baseman, walked three times and was hit by a pitch in his first four plate appearances. He struck out in his first official AB in the seventh inning. In the tenth, he singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored the game-winning run on a double. Bryant scored three runs in the game. He is considered by almost all experts, to be a top three pick in this draft.
Jonathan Gray had perhaps his best outing of the season at the right time. Against Baylor tonight, he threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits, one walk and he struck out 12 batters. He threw 121 pitches on the day. The game was delayed 3 1/2 hours by rain before it started, so Gray didn’t make this start under ideal circumstances. It is likely, he sealed the #1 spot with this game, if he didn’t already have it beforehand.
Ryne Stanek from Arkansas went tonight against a strong LSU team and he had an impressive outing. Stanek went eight innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits and three walks, while striking out four batters. There is a strong possibility that he could be available when the Pirates make their first pick, something no one would have said early in the season.
Not every team started early this week. Mark Appel and Austin Wilson from Stanford will both be first round picks. Their team won’t start conference tournament play this week, they still have one week left in their regular schedule. Appel will take on UCLA tomorrow at home.
DJ Peterson took on Nevada today and went 1-for-3, with a homer run, a walk and two runs scored. The home run was his 17th of the year. He has really moved up the draft charts, recently being named often in the Pirates range. Baseball America has an article on DJ Peterson, as well as his brother Dustin, who will also go early in this year’s draft.
Nevada’s ace is Braden Shipley, a hard-throwing righty, who will go somewhere in the top ten this season. He took the mound yesterday against Aaron Judge and Fresno State. Shipley went eight innings, allowing three runs(two earned) on seven hits and two walks. He struck out eight and threw 122 pitches. Judge went 0-for-3, striking out twice and walking two times. He scored a run and stole his 12th base. Both strikeouts were against Shipley, while one walk came off a reliever.
Phillip Ervin and Samford took a 2-1 loss today to Appalachian State, ending their season. Ervin went 0-for-4, with a run scored and stolen base. He finished the season batting .337 in 55 games, with 14 doubles, 11 homers and 21 stolen bases in 23 attempts. He had 39 walks and 25 strikeouts. Ervin finished third on his team in average, second in homers and first in stolen bases.
Hunter Renfroe from Mississippi State, has played the last three days, including a 17 inning game on Tuesday against Missouri. He went 2-for-7 in that game, with two singles, a walk, two strikeouts and an RBI. On Wednesday against South Carolina, he had a single and run scored in five trips to the plate. Against Texas A&M, Renfroe continued his slow streak, going 0-for-5 in his team’s 6-4 win.
Baseball America did a quick summary of the best tools in this year’s draft class, splitting them up between college and high school. They listed three players in each category mentioned. Among players recently linked to Pirates:
Colin Moran- Best strike zone judgement, best pure hitter, closest to majors
DJ Peterson- Best pure hitter, best power hitter, best strike zone judgement
Phillip Ervin- Best pure hitter
Clint Frazier(HS)- Best power hitter, best arm, closest to majors
Reese McGuire(HS)- Best defense
Austin Meadows(HS)- Best athlete, best pure hitter, best strike zone judgement, closest to majors
Trey Ball(HS)- Best athlete+ posts
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.