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Friday, December 9, 2022

Draft Prospect Watch: Max Pentecost and Michael Conforto Wrap Up Weekend With Big Games

Wrapping up the weekend of college ball with some Sunday stats and a look at four former Pittsburgh Pirates draft picks that will all likely be taken in the upcoming draft. The recap from Friday night can be found here, while Saturday night’s action involved a home run from a player linked to the Pirates in a recent mock draft. Yesterday, we also posted the news of UNLV’s Erick Fedde needing Tommy John surgery.  2014-Draft

We start with the Sunday game for Indiana, as they took on Penn State. Catcher Kyle Schwarber was recently chosen by Baseball America as the Pirates pick in their first mock draft. On Sunday, Schwarber went 2-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and three runs scored. Indiana first baseman Sam Travis looks like he will be a second round pick and he is someone the Pirates might look at with their 65th overall pick. He homered on Sunday, finishing the day 2-for-5 with three RBIs. It was the tenth homer of the season for Travis.

Max Pentecost from Kennesaw State had a huge game on Sunday, driving in five runs with two doubles and a home run. He now has 20 doubles and eight homers this year. With his recent hot streak and the fact he is a catcher that will stick at the position, Pentecost will likely be gone well before the Pirates pick.

Oregon State’s Michael Conforto went 0-for-3 with a walk, hit-by-pitch and run scored on Saturday against UCLA. As a player that has been rated mid-to-late first round all year, we featured him in our draft preview this week. On Sunday, he had a big day, hitting a three-run homer in the seventh inning and a two-run shot in the eighth inning. He has seven homers of the season.

Bradley Zimmer finished his weekend series against St Mary’s with a 1-for-5 day, collecting a ninth inning double. The San Francisco outfielder was rated as high as top ten recently, although some sources now have him dropping a little.

Virginia won 3-1 over Georgia Tech on Sunday. They have three players that will likely be taken in the first two rounds. Outfielder Derek Fisher is rated the highest. He went 1-for-5 with a single and run scored. First baseman Mike Papi was 0-for-4 with a walk, while closer Nick Howard picked up his 17th save with a perfect ninth. He had two strikeouts.

San Diego State closer Michael Cederoth had a strong, extended outing on Saturday. He threw 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing no hits, one walk and he struck out three batters. Cederoth picked up his 18th save. Most have him as a second round option and he could be a steal for a team that is able to fix his mechanics, because Cederoth has a big arm and can handle the starting role.

Hard-throwing Louisville closer Nick Burdi, picked up his 13th save on Friday. He had two strikeouts in his one shutout inning. On Sunday, Temple took Louisville extra innings and Burdi ended up pitching brilliantly in long relief. He retired all nine batters he faced, six by strikeout and in the process, picked up the win. Tuesday night might provide an interesting match-up for Burdi when Louisville plays a mid-week game against Kyle Schwarber, Sam Travis and Indiana.

Former Pirates Pick Jake Stinnett

Jake Stinnett from Maryland was taken by the Pirates last year in the 29th round and decided to return to college. The move looks like it will pay off big time for him, with only one concern, his pitch count. Stinnett has looked great this year and pitched his way to a likely second round pick. He has a 2.56 ERA in 13 starts, with 111 strikeouts in 95 innings. Stinnett has a .183 BAA and an 0.94 WHIP. This week against Pittsburgh, he had an easy week as far as his pitch count was concerned. The game got out of hand early, ending in a 21-1 score. Stinnett needed just 86 pitches to get through six innings. Prior to this week is where the red flags were being thrown.

On May 2nd he threw 128 pitches in a complete game win over Notre Dame. April 25th saw him throw 110 pitches in just six innings against Boston College. Against Georgia Tech on April 18th, he threw 141 pitches in a 7-2 complete game win. The previous week was 120 pitches in a complete game(eight innings). His first April outing was 111 pitches in seven innings. So it was good to see him get limited work this week, because he has been piling up some high pitch counts over the last month.

Other Pirates Picks In This Year’s Draft Class

Aaron Brown from Pepperdine is one of the best two-way players in the nation. He has put up some strong pitching performances and looked good at the plate and in center field. Going into Sunday, he had a 2.34 ERA in 12 starts, with 80 strikeouts and a .221 BAA in 80.2 innings. At the plate, Brown has a .315/.356/.551 slash line with a team-leading nine homers. The one downside to his hitting, which is why he is liked better as a pitcher, is his plate patience. Brown has just eight walks and leads his team with 41 strikeouts.

Connor Goedert was taken last year by the Pirates and decided to return to Neosho County Community College. Early in the year, he was putting up video game numbers, which have slid down a little recently, but he is still finished up with a great season. Goedert played his last game a week ago, going 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly RBI. In 59 games, he ended up hitting .444/.542/.882 with 21 doubles and 19 homers. He also drove in 90 runs, 33 more than his next highest total from a teammate.

Outfielder Dale Carey from Miami was drafted by the Pirates in 2010, so this is his senior year of college. He went undrafted last season. Carey will probably get picked this year, because he is putting together a decent season. Through 51 games, he is hitting .295/.400/.455 with 12 stolen bases and no errors in 90 fielding chances.

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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.

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