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Friday, December 9, 2022

Draft Prospect Watch: D.J. Stewart Homers Twice, Cody Ponce Returns to Action

Today we take a look at some action from Sunday, as we wrap up the weekend. You can find links to the last three draft articles here, which covers the first six days of the week. The draft begins on June 8th and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the 19th and 32nd overall picks. The Pirates will have the 11th highest draft bonus pool.

Florida State left fielder D.J. Stewart hit two homers on Sunday during a 13-1 win over Virginia. Stewart also walked twice, singled, drove in six runs and scored four times. He is hitting .304/.534/.684 in 25 games. Stewart has nine homers and 34 walks.

Cal Poly Pomona starter Cody Ponce returned to the mound on Sunday after missing three weeks with shoulder fatigue. He threw 43 pitches and went three innings, allowing a run on three hits and no walks. He struck out three batters. I’ve included a video below of his performance courtesy of Prospect Pipeline. In the video, you can see Ponce hitting mid-90’s numerous times.

On Saturday, Miami’s Andrew Suarez made his second start since returning from a strained oblique. He went five innings against Wake Forest, allowing four runs(three earned) on seven hits and one walk. He threw 82 pitches and struck out three batters. He was drafted 57th overall last year, but decided to return to school.

TCU’s Alex Young had his worst start of the year, failing to get out of the third inning. Part of his problem was the defense behind him, which led to all six runs he allowed to be unearned. Young retired the first two batters in third, then the next seven hitters reached base. Young threw 64 pitches in his abbreviated outing. The start actually began well, as he struck out three batters in the first inning. He has a 1.21 ERA in 29.2 innings, with 29 strikeouts and a .189 BAA.

TCU closer Riley Ferrell pitched once this weekend  and took the loss on Friday when he allowed a solo homer in the 12th inning. He has given up just two runs on two hits in 11.2 innings this season. Ferrell struck out five in his two innings of work, giving him 20 strikeouts on the season.

Kentucky’s Kyle Cody had a rough outing, giving up nine runs(six earned) over four innings to Mississippi State. He allowed seven hits and three walks, while failing to pick up a single strikeout. The first six batters he faced in the fifth inning all reached base. He now has a 4.88 ERA, yet still has some strong numbers, including his 7:30 BB/SO ratio in 31.1 innings and a .237 BAA.

Arizona’s double play combo of shortstop Kevin Newman and second baseman Scott Kingery have both been added to our weekly watch after incredible starts to their season. On Sunday against Stanford, Kingery went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs in the 6-0 victory. He had two singles, a sacrifice fly and he was hit by a pitch. Newman was 1-for-4, with a walk and run scored.

Texas high school righty Beau Burrows has made two starts this season, giving up two runs over 11 innings. He has allowed eight hits, one walk and struck out 16 batters. Burrows was ranked numerous times in the Pirates range during pre-season rankings, so he is one to follow. You can read more about him in our high school pitcher draft preview.

Another high school right-hander to watch is California’s Kyle Molnar. He has made four starts this year, posting a 1.25 ERA over 22.1 innings, with one walk and 22 strikeouts. He has thrown two complete games, including one on Thursday night when he threw a shutout. You can see more for Molnar in the draft preview linked above.

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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.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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John: Not the Stewart you mentioned, but another LH hitting OF, Christin Stewart of Tennessee, is hitting .343/.483/.716/1.199 for a team playing .500, and in a lineup with very little protection. Both are 6’0″ but the Stewart of Tenn gives up about 30 pounds to the Stewart from Fla St. and will probably remain under the radar going into the draft. 6 HR’s in 67 AB’s.


Forgot to mention A LHSP/LHRP “sleeper” from Vanderbilt, Philip Pfeifer. He is currently the 3rd busiest pitcher with 26 IP with 3 Saves and the lowest ERA on the team at 1.71. He is a red shirt Junior and will turn 23 in 2015, but he has the make-up to progress very quickly. Undersized and under-appreciated.

R Edwards

Cody seems to be dropping like a rock….that DJ Stewart seems like an interesting prospect – obviously has power. Plays LF now….could he play first base? Does he strike out a lot?

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