Draft Prospect Watch: Jake Stinnett Throws No-Hitter

Friday was the day for most of the best pitchers in the nation to get their work. Tonight we take a look at the best college hitters and how they fared during the first couple days of the weekend. Also, as the title says, Jake Stinnett threw a no-hitter on Saturday. While he isn’t one of the top picks in this draft, he is someone of interest to Pirates fans. The 2014 draft begins on June 5th. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 24th pick in the first round this year.  For more information on the top players in this draft class, check out our four-part draft preview.  2014-Draft

Before we get into the best hitters, three pitchers at the top of this year’s draft class made their weekly start on Saturday this week. Hartford’s big lefty Sean Newcomb went 5.2 innings against George Mason. He allowed one unearned run(the only run of the game) on three hits and three walks, striking out six batters.

Top-ranked Carlos Rodon from North Carolina State, got his start against UCLA. He took the loss, but still pitched well. He went seven innings, giving up two runs(one earned) on three hits, three walks and he hit two batters while striking out eight. Rodon’s teammate, Trea Turner, was drafted by the Pirates in 2011 and is one of the top players in this draft class. The speedy shortstop went 0-for-4 on Friday against Michigan. On Saturday, Turner went 1-for-3 with a walk. He is hitting .366 with six walks and seven stolen bases.

Erick Fedde from UNLV had his start rained out Friday night, so he pitched game one of a doubleheader on Saturday. He took on Air Force and went 7.2 innings, picking up the win with one run on four hits, three walks, a hit batter and he racked up seven strikeouts.

Cal State Fullerton is taking on Oregon this weekend. Fullerton has two of the best college hitters in this draft class. Third baseman Matt Chapman had the big night on Friday, going 2-for-4 with a double and a three-run homer. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 with two singles and a run scored. J.D. Davis went 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs on Friday. He went 2-for-4 with two singles on Saturday. Davis started both games at first base, but he can play any of the corner positions and he also pitches. The opposing starter on Saturday was Matt Krook, who was covered here often last year. Krook was taken by the Florida Marlins 35th overall in last year’s draft, but he decided to attend college.

Indiana played a doubleheader on Saturday. With Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis, they have one of the top 1-2 power punches in the country. In game one, Schwarber played left field and went 2-for-5 with a double, triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Travis went 1-for-4 with a double, walk, two runs scored and two RBIs. In game two, Schwarber was behind the plate and had a big game. He went 2-for-2 with a double, two walks, three runs scored, two RBIs and a hit-by-pitch. Travis went 1-for-3 with two walks, a run scored and an RBI.

Oregon State also has two bats worth watching, outfielders Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis. Against Wright State on Friday, Davis was the one that had a big day, going 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs. Conforto was 0-for-3, but he scored one run and drove in another. On Saturday, the same two teams played a doubleheader. In game one, Davis went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Conforto went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. In game two, Conforto was 0-for-5 in his team’s 6-2 loss. Davis was barely better and possibly only because Conforto, who hits right ahead of him in the lineup, made the last out. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

UC Irvine and their big bat, took on Portland in a doubleheader on Friday and another game on Saturday. Third baseman Taylor Sparks went 2-for-3 with a run scored, stolen base and sacrifice fly RBI in game one. In game two, he went 1-for-3 with a triple, run scored and a walk, though he did strikeout twice. On Saturday, Sparks finished 2-for-5 with two singles and a run scored. He got off to a real slow start this year, so hits in all three games is a good sign. He has great power, but his plate patience and ability to make consistent contact has come into question.

Max Pentecost went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a walk and an RBI in his team’s 10-1 win on Friday. The catcher from Kennesaw State had a quiet game on Saturday as the DH, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Through 12 games, he has a .353/.404/.510 slash line, with five doubles and a homer. For many, he is the top ranked catcher in this draft that projects to remain at the catcher spot in the pros.

Virginia has three guys who should be drafted within the first three rounds, outfielder Derek Fisher, first baseman Mike Papi and Nick Howard, who has been at DH when he’s in the lineup and he also pitches out of the bullpen. They took on Monmouth on Saturday and won by a 6-3 score. Fisher had a tough game, going 0-for-5, while Howard was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Papi had the big day, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. He scored one run and drove in another.

South Carolina’s Joey Pankake went 0-for-4 with a walk and run scored on Friday night against Clemson. On Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with a single, walk and run scored. Pankake has draft value because he can play shortstop, but this season he has been playing third base and left field. For most people, he is currently a second round pick.

Usually I save the former Pirates picks for Sunday, unless they are involved in a game with another prospect, but one from Saturday was too good to hold off on. Jake Stinnett from Maryland threw a no-hitter against Massachusetts on Saturday during game one of a doubleheader. He faced two batters over the minimum, allowing two walks. He had nine strikeouts on Saturday. In his previous outing, Stinnett allowed one hit, no runs and no walks over eight innings. He struck out 11 in that game.

Baseball America has a list of the top high school tournaments this year. One of the tournaments is going on this weekend, the LaGrange Tournament, so there should be reports from there soon. North Florida Christian is one of the teams involved and they have two top 100 prospects on their team, outfielder Matthew Railey and pitcher Carson Sands. Railey had a big game Friday, going 2-for-2 with two walks. Earlier that same day, Sands threw five no-hit innings, walking four and striking out eight batters.

Baseball Factory has a video of Sands, which is posted below for your viewing pleasure.

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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