Today, we recap the weekend for the top college hitters in the draft, as well as take a first look at one of the best shortstops in college. On both Friday and Saturday, we looked at the top college pitchers in action. 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 best place to be this weekend was Tallahassee, where right fielder Chris Shaw from Boston College and left fielder D.J. Stewart from Florida State faced off. Starting with the visitor, Shaw went 0-for-2 with a walk and strikeout on Friday, as only three BC batters reached base in a 2-0 loss. On Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in the first inning. BC ended up losing 3-2, giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth. The homer was his fourth of the season. Shaw finished the weekend with a 1-for-4 day. He had a single and scored a run. Boston College next plays against Louisville on Friday, when they will likely go up against top-ranked pitcher Kyle Funkhouser.
On Friday, Stewart went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and an RBI ground out. On Saturday, he was 0-for-2 with a walk and HBP. Stewart finished up with an 0-for-2 game, in which he walked twice and scored a run. He is hitting .292/.528/.667 in 16 games, with 21 walks and five homers.
Florida shortstop Richie Martin went 0-for-3 with a walk and RBI on Friday against Maine. He went 0-for-4 on Saturday. Martin reached on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning, but he was picked-off. He finished strong with a single, double, triple and a walk on Sunday. Martin is hitting .283/.429/.415 in 16 games. If you missed it from yesterday, Keith Law has recently lowered his ranking of Martin.
Cincinnati outfielder Ian Happ has been the best college hitter early. His team took on Niagara in a series that will wrap-up on Monday. On Saturday, Happ went 2-for-4 with a double and single. He drove in two runs. On Sunday, he went 2-for-2 with two homers and two walks. Happ scored three times and drove in four runs. He is hitting .523/.625/.977 in 12 games this year. He has five homers and five doubles.
LSU shortstop Alex Bregman got a lot of praise this weekend for his strong overall play, both on offense and defense. His team faced three different teams this weekend. On Friday against Houston, he went 2-for-4 with a double and stolen base. Against Baylor on Saturday, he was 1-for-5 with a single. He finished with a 2-for-4 game against Nebraska. Bregman scored two runs and stole two bases.
Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson also faced three different teams this weekend. On Friday versus UCLA, he was 2-for-5, with his fifth stolen base. On Saturday against USC, Swanson went 2-for-5 and stole two bases. He played TCU on Sunday and went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. Swanson is hitting .354/.419/.538 in 15 games.
TCU close Riley Ferrell recorded the last five outs for his fifth save. He gave up a walk and struck out three batters. Ferrell has given up just one hit in 7.2 innings.
Walker Buehler started the game for Vanderbilt on Sunday, his second start of the season after missing the beginning of the year with elbow soreness. Working on a limited pitch count, he went four innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk, with five strikeouts. Buehler threw 67 pitches, 43 for strikes. That was up from 31 pitches in his first outing. Aaron Fitt had good things to say about Buehler’s start on Sunday.
Well, Walker Buehler looks pretty darn good. Sitting 93-94, T95, showing plus power curve at 79-81. Fans 3 in 2nd, 2 on 95 heaters on black.
— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) March 8, 2015
Tennessee left fielder Christin Stewart went 1-for-3 with his second homer on Friday against Grand Canyon. He also reached base via hit-by-pitch. Stewart was 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday. He wrapped up the weekend with a 3-for-4 performance. Stewart had three singles and drove in two runs. Tennessee has had trouble with the weather this year, with eight games either canceled or postponed, so Stewart and his teammates haven’t seen regular playing time yet this year. He is hitting .316/.460/.605 in 11 games.
Entering a new name to watch this weekend, Texas shortstop C.J Hinojosa was recently ranked 18th among all college juniors. He was originally drafted in the 26th round by the Astros out of high school in 2012. Hinojosa isn’t a big player at 5’9″, 179 pounds. He is a solid defensive shortstop, who should stick at the position. He won’t hit for power, but has got on base during his first two seasons of college and he is at least an average runner. Hinojosa hasn’t been hitting well this season, batting .216/.354/.275 through his first 15 games, so that could hurt his draft status if it continues. Right now he probably has an outside shot at being the Pirates pick at 32nd overall.
I’ve included a video below by Moore Baseball for Hinojosa from summer ball. You’ll notice the difference in height/weight. I went with the HT/WT from the Texas site.
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.
Richie Martin is a guy I’ve been following since John’s first draft primer since it is relatively rare for a college SS who can stick to make it this Seems like the questions about his bat aren’t being resolved, which is kind of a good thing for Pirate fans since he wouldn’t have a chance of making it to #19 let alone #32 . Maybe the orgs somewhat new focus on bats could turn him around as well.
Maybe it’s the uniform but C.J does not look very athletic. The swing looks OK but he just doesn’t look like a shortstop to me