Friday night was the opener for many of the best pitchers in college baseball. You can read the college pitcher preview here, to familiarize yourself with these players listed below. The draft begins on June 8th and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the 19th and 32nd overall picks.
Starting off with Kyle Funkhouser, who threw seven innings for Louisville and looked like he was in mid-season form. He allowed just a single and a walk, while picking up 12 strikeouts. Funkhouser threw 96 pitches, 65 for strikes. Aaron Fitt had radar readings on his fastball topping out at 97 MPH and he was holding his velocity late in the game.
Funkhouser warming up with a 1-2-3 second – has 5K thru 2 IP. slider looking sharper now, with more power (83-85). FB 93-94, T97. #mlbdraft
— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) February 13, 2015
Lefty Nathan Kirby also threw seven shutout frames in his debut. The Virginia ace allowed three hits, two walks and struck out five batters against East Carolina. He threw 90 pitches, 60 for strikes.
Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer took on Santa Clara on Friday. He went five shutout innings, allowing two hits, three walks and he had seven strikeouts. Fulmer threw 88 pitches, 53 for strikes. Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson was listed as the best college hitter in many of the early draft rankings. He batted lead-off and went 1-for-5 with a run scored in his debut.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Cody Ponce went 4.1 shutout innings, allowing two hits, no walks and he had six strikeouts. He threw 66 total pitches, 48 going for strikes. Ponce was hitting 95 MPH according to multiple sources. His opposition is a name to watch after just one outing. Azusa Pacific’s Josh Staumont was hitting 100 MPH, though he was having control issues, issuing five walks. The 6’2″ righty wasn’t ranked in any early top 50 draft rankings, but he wasn’t far off, getting ranked as a late 2nd to early 3rd round pick according to a couple sources.
UCLA’s James Kaprielian faced Hofstra in his opener. He went six innings, throwing 105 pitches(65 strikes) on the night. Kaprielian allowed two runs(one earned) on four hits and two walks, with five strikeouts.
Jon Harris from Missouri State isn’t ranked as high as the other pitchers mentioned above, but he could make a move into the Pirates range with a strong season. In his debut against UT Arlington, he went five innings, giving up two runs(one earned) on five hits and four walks. He had five strikeouts.
Links and Notes
Here’s an article from Perfect Game on Michael Matuella, who has a chance to go first overall. He threw six shutout innings with eight strikeouts in his debut Friday against California.
Baseball America has a list of draft-eligible players with injury concerns. Among the names, Walker Buehler, who was drafted by the Pirates in 2012 and Carson Cross, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in 2013.
For ESPN Insiders, Chris Crawford has a list of five storylines for the 2015 draft.
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.
John: Let me stay in my current home state of Tennessee – At Vandy, Buehler is the higher rated pitcher, but Fullmer is excellent and can be someone who may be available around #19 . He was 7-1, 1.98 ERA for Vandy in 2014 as a SP/RP and also recorded 10 Saves. He and Funkhouser were the best pitchers on the 2014 Collegiate National Team.
I know Dansby Swanson of Vandy is a Top 10 pick in the draft, but an OF from Tennessee, Christin Stewart, could be a very worthwhile pick. He is a solid ballplayer and outhit everyone on the 2014 Collegiate National Team by almost 100 points – a LH hitter with gap power who can also go yard. He just hits and hits and hits!
I had both Buehler and Swanson as unlikely to drop to the Pirates in my previews. The injury to Buehler could “help” him drop, but if he proves the rest of the way that he is healthy, then I’m sure teams will forget about the minor scare. Stewart I put in my “names to watch” section because not everyone had him rated top 50, but that doesn’t mean he can’t move up with a solid season. I’m sure I’ll talk about him plenty during the season, assuming he doesn’t start off slow
John: They are playing at FIU in Miami and have split their first two. Stewart is doing it in pairs – 2 hits (double/triple), 2 RBI’s, 2 W, 2 HBP.
if only Walker Buehler would have singed.
That was the first year of the new draft system. Pirates went from outspending every team in baseball in the draft to missing out on their first round pick, fourth round pick and kids like Buehler. That draft had strong potential and ended up fairly weak
I know. MLB does some idiotic things. Boston just wanted Josh Bell, that’s why this whole thing happened. But I think it worked out for us in the long run because I would rather have Austin Meadows than Mark Appel. Didn’t like Mark Appel at the time he was drafted and don’t really like him as a prospect that much now, feel he is very over hyped.
Agreed. Meadows > Appel. I always felt Appel peaked in his junior year of college…
I think Meadows is a better prospect than Appel as well so it did work out. I was hoping the Pirates took J.P. Crawford with the next pick, but we knew they were going to take McGuire because they had some big front office people watch him multiple times. I saw Crawford play this year in Low-A and he looked like he was going at a different speed than everyone else. Reminded me of the time I saw John McDonald(pre-2007) play a Low-A rehab game and you could just tell he didn’t belong there. Crawford is going to be a star
I wanted Crawford too. I loved his athleticism. He’s already showing power at 20 and great patience and discipline. As bad as the Phillies are and the rate he is moving he will be in the majors next year…maybe even by the end of this year really. I am happy with what the Pirates got but Crawford looks like he will be special.
Be careful watching college baseball. You might notice how boring MLB by comparison.
LOL. I go to a lot of college games these days, and they do keep the game moving along at a good pace. I then go home and “zip” through the marathon ML games on the DVR…