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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Draft Prospect Watch: Ian Happ Collects Ten Hits in Two Days

Today we take a look at the first two days of week two from the best draft-eligible hitters in college. You can read more on each of these players in our college hitters preview. Yesterday, we covered the starts from the top college pitchers in this draft. The draft begins on June 8th and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the 19th and 32nd overall picks.

The key matchup this weekend was between LSU and Boston College. LSU shortstop Alex Bregman and BC right fielder Chris Shaw are two of the top college bats in this draft class. They played a doubleheader on Friday. Bregman went 2-for-5 with a single, double and stolen base in game one. In game two, he went 0-for-3 with a walk. On Saturday, he went 3-for-6 and drove in four runs in a 16-2 rout.  Bregman hit two doubles and a homer. He went 4-for-17 in his first week, with four singles.

Shaw went 1-for-4 in game one on Friday, collecting a two-run single. In game two, he had the exact same line. On Saturday, Shaw went 1-for-4 with a solo homer. The home run was his second of the season.

Last weekend, outfielder Ian Happ from Cincinnati made the most noise by hitting two homers. On Friday against Santa Clara, he went 3-for-5 with a double, RBI and stolen base. They played a doubleheader on Saturday and he went 4-for-5 with four singles and two runs scored. In game two, Happ went 3-for-4 with a walk, giving him ten hits over two days. One of his hits in game two was a double.

Florida shortstop Richie Martin faced Miami on Friday and went 1-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and two runs scored. On Saturday, he went 1-for-3 with a single, walk and run scored. Martin is 5-for-20 in his first six games and has managed to score nine runs.

Florida State’s D.J. Stewart went 0-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and two strikeouts on Friday against Georgia. FSU played a doubleheader on Saturday and Stewart went 1-for-3 with a single, HBP and another two strikeouts in game one. He had a strong second game, going 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. He hit a double and a two-run homer. The homer was his first of the season.

Pacific outfielder Gio Brusa went 0-for-4 against UNLV on Friday, as his team dropped to 0-5 on the season. He was 0-for-2 on Saturday, with two walks and a run scored, as his team lost their sixth straight. Brusa is 4-for-22 with seven strikeouts and a .507 OPS.

Valderbilt’s Dansby Swanson probably won’t drop to the Pirates, as most draft experts rank him in the top ten. On Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with his third double. He was 2-for-4 with a walk on Friday. His teammate Tyler Ferguson pitched in relief after doing poorly in his first start last weekend. He did even worse in relief, allowing two hits and three walks, while picking up just one out before being pulled. Ferguson has walked eight batters in 2.1 innings. He was a player that could get into the Pirates range with a good season, but now he could quickly work his way out of the top 50 if he doesn’t turn things around.

On the pitching side, not every big starter went on Friday. Houston’s Jake Lemoine faced Alabama on Saturday and looked like he could do something special early on. Lemoine retired the first 12 batters he faced, then everything fell apart in the fifth. He allowed three hits, two walks and one batter reached on an error before he was pulled from the game without recording an out in the fifth. Four runs ended up scoring, three of them earned. Lemoine threw five shutout innings in his first game and so far, he has thrown just 132 pitches in his first two starts combined.

Dillon Tate from UC Santa Barbara had his second strong outing to start the year. He threw seven shutout innings against Kentucky, giving up four hits, two walks and he hit a batter. Tate struck out nine batters and looked impressive early according to this tweet by Kiley McDaniel

Last week we mentioned that Pepperdine’s Jackson McClelland threw six shutout innings in his debut. The 35th round pick of the Pirates in 2012 is draft eligible this year  and made two top 200 lists in the preseason draft rankings. He could be moving up those lists because he followed up those six shutout frames with seven more on Friday against Butler. McClelland allowed three hits, walked five and struck out five batters.

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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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