Yesterday, we took a look at the starts this weekend from the top draft-eligible college pitchers. Today we focus on the best bats from around college in this draft class. If you missed it from Saturday morning, it was all about high school players and there were some strong pitching performances. 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.
The big match-up this weekend was at Florida, where the Gators took on Tennessee. Florida’s Richie Martin is one of the best shortstops in college and Tennessee’s Christin Stewart is one of the best outfielders. On Friday, Martin went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored. Stewart was 2-for-3 with a solo homer(his fourth) and a HBP. On Saturday, Martin had a nice day in his team’s 8-3 win. He went 3-for-5 with three singles, a run scored and an RBI. Stewart was 1-for-4 with a single and run scored. Martin finished up on Sunday by going 2-for-4 with his fourth double. He had a sacrifice bunt and a run scored. Stewart went 1-for-4 with his fifth homer.
Cincinnati right fielder Ian Happ has been the best hitting prospect early in the year. His team played a doubleheader on Saturday against Toledo, then finished with a Sunday game. Happ went 1-for-4 with a single and two stolen bases in game one, then went 1-for-4 with a single in the second game. On Sunday, he finished off his quiet week with another 1-for-4, hitting a single and a sacrifice fly.
Florida State left fielder D.J. Stewart went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in his team’s 4-1 loss to Wake Forest on Friday. He followed that up with two-run homer that helped his team to victory on Saturday. He went 1-for-4 and also scored a run after being hit by a pitch. On Sunday, Stewart drove in two runs with a single in the second inning and added another RBI with a single in the fourth. He also drew two walks and scored a run.
Bryant Holtmann pitched for Florida State on Sunday. He was the 37th round draft pick of the Pirates in 2014. Holtmann went 2.2 innings and picked up the win. He allowed one run on three hits, no walks and two strikeouts. He has a 5.00 ERA in 18 innings this year, with a 6:9 BB/SO ratio and a .293 BAA, which includes seven doubles and a homer allowed. Holtmann is still an intriguing draft prospect because he is a 6’5″ lefty that can hit 94 MPH.
LSU shortstop Alex Bregman was one of the top college bats for everyone coming into the season and he hasn’t done anything early on to change that thinking. On Friday, he homered against Ole Miss, finishing his day 1-for-4 with two runs scored. His game on Saturday was one he would like to forget. Bregman went 0-for-6 in a 14 inning loss. He finished off his week with a big game, going 3-for-6 with a homer, double, single and three runs scored. He has five homers this season and he’s gone 12-for-13 in stolen base attempts.
A player that was mentioned as “one to watch” in our college hitter preview, was Clemson right fielder Steven Duggar. He is hitting .270/.359/.317 through his first 17 games, showing a decent 11:11 BB/SO ratio, but he has just three extra-base hits, all doubles. Duggar has plus speed that ranks among the best in this draft class. Despite that, he is 2-for-4 in stolen base attempts this year. His arm is also above average and some believe he can play center field. Duggar’s bat has questions and early on, he isn’t hitting like a first round pick.
You can find the early weekend results for Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson and Boston College right fielder Chris Shaw in the link from yesterday, which can be found at the top of the page. Swanson went 1-for-4 with an RBI single on Sunday, while Shaw finished his week with an 0-for-4 day.
TCU’s Alex Young made his start on Sunday this week. Against Baylor, he went six innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks, with four strikeouts. He has a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings, with a .156 BAA and a 5:25 BB/SO ratio.
Kentucky’s Kyle Cody started on Sunday against one of the best teams in the country, sixth ranked South Carolina. He went 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four batters. Cody is 6’7″, 245 pounds, so he has the size you look for in a workhorse starter. Coming into Sunday, he had a 3.43 ERA in 21 innings, with a .192 BAA and a 3:26 BB/SO ratio.
One high school player to watch is a familiar name, Nolan Kingham, the younger brother of Pirates prospect Nick Kingham. Nolan is a 6’4″, right-handed pitcher, who throws low-90’s with good secondary stuff. He’s also an athletic player who spends time in right field. His stats haven’t been strong in two starts this year, allowing six runs in nine innings, but Kingham has the projectable arsenal and body/frame to turn out to be one of the best high school pitchers in this draft.
I’ve included a recent video below from Prospect Pipeline. Nolan signed a commitment with the University of Texas, so he will likely need to be drafted high to bypass college. Here is an article from last June about Nick and Nolan, talking about their experiences at the PG National Showcase. It’s a little old, but it gives you a good look at the younger Kingham and how he is similar to his brother when he was the same age.
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.