Straying a bit from the usual Sunday coverage where we take a look at former Pittsburgh Pirates draft picks and wrap up the college weekend. The National High School Invitational took place this week and it was filled with top high school talent. On Wednesday, we took a look at the recap of the first day, including a chance to see Touki Toussaint pitch six innings. The last two days provided a chance to look at another top pitcher, as well as extended looks at the top bats. Each team in the tournament played four games over three days.
Jonathan Mayo provided a list of the top ten players in the tournament and an early recap of each player. He notes that for players like Jacob Gatewood and Michael Gettys, this tournament is huge because there are questions about their bats and the NHSI allows scouts to get extended looks at them in action.
Baseball America has a recap of day two of the tournament, which included a mound appearance from Mac Marshall. Clint Longenecker notes that Marshall touched 92 MPH with his fastball and shutout one of the best teams in the country. He also mentions his curve and change-up both have above average potential.
Day three of the tournament doesn’t include the big name pitchers, but BA points out that there were some lesser known names to remember.
Braxton Davidson is one of the more intriguing names from the NHSI. We covered Davidson here and he has been mentioned often because most early mock drafts have him either going to the Pirates or somewhere in that range. Davidson reached base four times in his last game at the NHSI, getting two hits and drawing two walks. He also had two hits in game two and walked twice in the first game.
Michael Gettys pitched his team to victory in game one, but scouts were there to see his bat. He went 0-for-1 in game one, with a walk, HBP and RBI. In game two, he was 1-for-3 with a single, as his team got shutout. Game three was a tough one for Gettys, who went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Game four ended a rough NHSI for him, 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. One hit in four games won’t help his draft standing, especially in short tournaments like these where teams are going to their fourth best pitcher on the last day and bullpen arms are being used often.
The other name on offense to watch is Jacob Gatewood, who has slipped a bit for scouts, who love his raw power, but question his bat and ability to stick at shortstop. He didn’t have a standout tournament like you would hope, going 4-for-14 with four singles, one RBI and a walk.
As mentioned in the Toussaint recap above, I had a chance to see shortstop Josh Morgan and he looked good against one of the top high school pitchers in the nation. He wasn’t able to finish strong though, going 1-for-9 with three walks over the four games. Except for Davidson, none of the top batters really impressed.
News and Notes
Yesterday, I forgot to mention the outing by a Friday night starter, who had his outing pushed back to Saturday due to the weather. Aaron Nola from LSU, took on Florida in the first game of a doubleheader and pitched well despite taking the loss. He went 8.2 innings before allowing a walk-off homer to end the game with a 2-1 score. Nola gave up six hits, walked one and struck out five batters.
In keeping with the normal Sunday theme, two former Pirates draft picks were involved in Sunday’s LSU/Florida doubleheader, sort of. Christian Ibarra, drafted in the 32nd round last year, and Zack Powers, taken in the 28th round in 2010, play for LSU and Florida respectively. Ibarra played third base in both games and went 2-for-4 in game one and 0-for-3 with an RBI in the second game. Powers involvement in the games was watching, after he picked up a four game suspension for his part in a brawl last weekend against FSU. Powers is a senior this year and struggling bad. He is hitting .171 with a .493 OPS. He saw regular time last year and had a .747 OPS in 228 at-bats.
I also have to mention Connor Goedert, the Pirates 34th round pick from last year. His numbers at Neosho County CC have been insane early on and somehow, he actually improved on them over the weekend. In the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, he went 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs. In 36 games, he is hitting .508 with 15 doubles, 17 homers and 73 RBIs. Goedert has a 1.092 slugging percentage.
A new mock draft came out from Dan Kirby at Through The Fences. It has a great write-up on the top 41 players. He has the Pirates taking Jack Flaherty with their first round pick. Flaherty is a strong two-way prep player from Harvard Westlake HS in California. He is a right-handed pitcher, with a nice 6’4″, 200 pound frame, who has a low-90s fastball and a plus slider. Flaherty is also a power-hitting third baseman, who is very athletic. Big League Futures has an excellent write-up and video on his defense and hitting. Below, I’ve also included a recent video of Flaherty pitching from Perfect Game Baseball, so you get to see both sides of his game.
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.
Love this draft class. Going to love whoever we get. The talent is so deep. Barring no one falling, my wish list for that first round is:
1. LHP Sean Newcomb (I still think chances are slim he falls but who knows)
2. RHP Dylan Cease
3. RHP Scott Blewett
4. SS Greg Deichmann
5. OF Marcus Wilson
Blewett finally starts his season this week. Looking forward to some reports on him because he is definitely interesting. I always think when some of these kids from colder climates look good, there is always more room for improvement than a kid playing in Florida, Texas and California.
Bad news for the draft class and the Pirates, Dylan Cease is out with a slight tear to his UCL and may require TJ. Really unfortunate as I was hoping we could snag him in the 1st round.
Thanks for the update. I mentioned on Wednesday that he was missing the NHSI, but they didn’t know how long he was going to be out.