After covering most of the top draft-eligible college starters on Friday night, we took a look at the best college hitters on Saturday and how they fared during the first two days of the weekend schedule. Today we check up on some former Pirates picks, plus add some high school news and notes. The 2014 draft begins on June 5th, just under eight weeks away. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 24th pick in the first round this year. They also picked 65th overall in the second round and 74th, which is their competitive balance pick. For more information on the top players in this draft class, check out our four-part draft preview.
Last year, the Pittsburgh took Maryland pitcher Jake Stinnett in the 29th round and couldn’t sign him, so he returned for his senior season. He has pitched so well this year, that he has gone from a late round pick to a possible second round pick. Clint Longenecker from Baseball America had a chance to see Stinnett last week and he posted a recap and video from the game.
This week, Stinnett went on the road to take on Virginia Tech. He took the loss, throwing an eight inning complete game. Stinnett gave up three runs(two earned) on nine hits and three walks, with eight strikeouts. He threw 120 pitches, 75 for strikes. The Pirates obviously liked him last year, but they probably won’t have a chance to take him again. It’s likely too late for him to move up to the first round, but he should go sometime before they make their second pick 41 spots later.
Pepperdine’s Aaron Brown is a former Pirates pick and one of the best two-way players in the nation. On Saturday against BYU, he pitched seven innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts. At the plate, he went 1-for-4 with his seventh homer. Brown has a 2.33 ERA over 65.2 innings, with 65 strikeouts and a .200 BAA. At the plate, he is hitting .328/.372/.569 in 137 at-bats.
Pirates 34th round pick from last year was Connor Goedert, brother of 2013 Indianapolis third baseman Jared Goedert. He decided to return to school and that decision will likely pay off. He attends Neosho County Community College, where he went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs during the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday this week. In game two, he went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and walk. He had four walks, three runs scored and an RBI during a Thursday doubleheader. On Saturday, Goedert finished his week with another doubleheader, going 2-for-6 with two walks, a double, RBI, HBP and three runs scored. His team is 37-9 on the year and he leads the way with a .483/.576/.986 slash line. Goedert has driven in 81 runs and reached base 106 times in 46 games.
Walker Buehler, the Pirates 14th round pick in 2012, is the mid-week starter for Vanderbilt. He has picked up six wins already this year by posting a 1.65 ERA and .213 BAA in 49 innings. Buehler has 55 strikeouts and 18 walks. On Tuesday, he went seven innings against Indiana State, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, while striking out ten batters.
Not all former draft picks that the Pirates failed to sign, excel in college. Brandon Platts, a high school pitcher taken in the 13th round in 2011 is a great example. As a freshman for Missouri in 2012, he made two starts and three relief appearances and got hit around, posting a 12.27 ERA. He then redshirted his sophomore year and transferred to North Iowa Area Community College, where he plays now. Platts has pitched just once this season and allowed five runs in 0.2 innings.
High School News and Notes
Dan Kirby from Through The Fences, has his weekly list of ten high school players on the rise. He mentions some familiar names that we have mentioned here, Michael Gettys, Michael Chavis and Scott Blewett, but also adds some news names, like pitcher Jacob Bukauskas, who has been getting some good press recently and may be a first round option for the Pirates. I’ve included a scouting report from Big League Futures on Bukauskas and a game report/video here from late-March by Clint Longenecker.
Braxton Davidson has been mentioned in the Pirates range all season, even going to Pittsburgh in some early mock drafts. On Friday, Davidson homered and walked three times in his team’s 5-1 win.
Prep shortstop Jacob Gatewood went 5-for-6 with a homer on Tuesday. He has been mentioned as a mid-to-late first round pick. Some scouts/experts doubt his ability to hit enough at higher levels and most believe he won’t be able to stick at shortstop. Besides Tuesday’s strong game, Gatewood also had a key triple in his team’s win on Thursday. The only downside to the week, is that he also made two errors that ended up hurting his team, one in each game, which again will bring up questions about his defense.
Sean Reid-Foley is a high school righty that we focused on early this year. He has remained a late first round option and someone the Pirates might take a strong look at when they make their first selection. Reid-Foley pitched well on Friday, giving up one run over six innings, with one walk and eight strikeouts. He was hitting 95 MPH, which is where he was topping out early this year.
Lefty Kodi Medeiros out of Hawaii, had a solid outing on Friday in front of a lot of scouts. He had 14 strikeouts in a 2-1 complete game win. Medeiros wasn’t at his best, allowing five hits, one walk and he hit three batters. He is an interesting pitcher in that he has an advanced feel for pitching, with two plus off-speed pitches already, including what might be the best slider in the prep ranks. As a lefty, he can touch mid-90’s as well. Medeiros isn’t that big and scouts feel he has very little projection left, but he is also very physically fit for his age, so durability and the ability to handle a full workload might not be a problem in the pros.
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.