We wrap up the weekend of action in college baseball today, looking at both hitters and pitchers. The Pittsburgh Pirates own the 22nd and 41st picks this year. The draft begins on June 9th and lasts three days, with the first two rounds selected on day one. You can view our draft preview here, which covers many of the names who fall in the Pirates’ range. It also focuses in on players who fit the recent draft strategy of the Pirates.
Before I get into the weekend action, Prep Baseball Report updated their rankings of the best players in this draft class. Now these only include high school players from the 25+ states they have covered so far(not sure why since their pre-season included other states)so it’s tough to pinpoint who would be the 22nd best prospect in the entire draft class. I did however notice that if you split the pick in half, then the 11th best player on their list is catcher Ben Rortvedt out of Verona Area(Wisconsin). If you check our draft preview above, he was the catcher I singled out as the one who could be intriguing to the Pirates. They are obviously strong at the position with Elias Diaz and Reese McGuire, but a high school catcher drafted this year, would be well behind the top catchers in the system.
On Saturday, we took a look at two pitchers who were ranked by Baseball America as the 22nd and 41st best players in the upcoming draft. Following up on that article, we check out how they did this weekend. Starting with Robert Tyler, a big right-handed pitcher from Georgia. He was ranked 22nd by BA in their latest top 100. Tyler had three strong outings to begin this year, then faltered on Friday. He gave up six runs(five earned) on seven hits and a walk against Lipscomb. Tyler went 4.1 innings and struck out five batters. In his first three starts combined, he allowed three runs over 17 innings.
Righty Mike Shawaryn from Maryland, was ranked 41st by BA in their top 100. He also did well in his first three starts, though he had some command issues, so that is something to watch because it continued into this week. Facing Bryant University, Shawaryn allowed three runs(two earned) over seven innings in his team’s 5-3 win. However, he walked five batters and had just two strikeouts. Exactly half of his 94 pitches went for strikes. Despite the control issues, Shawaryn has a .152 BAA and an 0.90 WHIP this year.
Mississippi shortstop Errol Robinson has been off to a slow start the first three weeks of the season. He had five games this week and his big hit was a homer on Friday. Robinson raised his slash line to .250/.338/.367 through 15 games. He is still eighth on his team in OPS at this point, but the improvements this week are a good sign. The 3rd Man In has an article on Robinson, along with a highlight video, worth checking out. Robinson is a gifted defensive player, with speed. He will stick at shortstop and has the ability to get on base when he’s on his game. Baseball America ranked him 57th overall in their last update, but everyone else has been higher on him.
Outfielder Ryan Boldt from Nebraska played six games this week. He had three hits in each of the two mid-week games. Boldt didn’t do quite as well over the weekend against Loyola Marymount, going 4-for-16, with a pair of hits in two of the games, and nothing in the other two contests. He is hitting .318/.382/.424 through 15 games, with seven stolen bases in 12 attempts.
Nick Banks from Texas A&M is a toolsy outfielder, with average or better rankings across the board in all five tool categories. He’s been off to a slow start this year, while also missing a weekend due to a back injury. He returned last week and had a so-so week, which led to BA dropping him to 24th in their latest updated rankings. This week against Fresno State, Banks went 2-for-8 with a triple, two walks and a HBP. Everyone had him ranked higher to start the year, so others might not be so quick to drop him down the rankings, despite the slow start.
Oregon has two starters we are following, with Cole Irvin(Pirates’ 32nd round pick last year) going on Friday, followed by Matt Krook on Saturday. Krook is the better prospect, but Irvin has been lights out this year. Against Mississippi State this weekend, neither lefty was sharp, but Irvin still had a much better outing. He went 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on nine hits and three walks, with two strikeouts. Irvin was matched up against Dakota Hudson, who was ranked 19th overall in this draft by BA in their latest update. He went 5.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and five walks, with nine strikeouts. Krook had a disastrous outing on Saturday, recording just two outs(both strikeouts) before being pulled. He surrendered five runs on two hits and five walks.
Florida’s Logan Shore was ranked #21 overall by BA recently. That’s a little higher than where he was ranked at the start, but he has been dominating early. This week against Harvard, he came back to Earth, allowing five runs over six innings. Even with the poor outing, he has a .189 BAA and a 2:28 BB/SO ratio in 27 innings this year.
Finally, we mentioned on Saturday that Kyle Funkhouser dropped down the prospect rankings due to command issues and lower velocity. On Friday, he faced Notre Dame and went eight strong innings, giving up one run on three hits and two walks. He had just two strikeouts. Funkhouser was sitting 90-93 for the first seven innings according to those at the game, only fading in the eight inning as his pitch count got high. I’ve included a video of the game below from Prospect Junkies.
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.
That prospect list seems to be missing HS kids from about 40 states. Seems to me it is a bit heavy on FL., Wi., and Ks., with a few others sprinkled in for good measure.
You’re actually semi-right. I didn’t look into the list, just checked it out for this article. They have completed rankings for 22 states, plus New England(which is another five states for them) and Ontario. Apparently those were the only players included on this list, leaving California and Texas among the states not listed, which are two of the better baseball states. That’s odd, since their previous list included everyone and they said this is an update of that list. I updated the intro to the list.
I live in Kenosha, Wi., I’m going to try to go see Gavin Lux play this season. Would be good if ITA gets some games against some of the other top prospects in the state. However, it is not likely, there isn’t a very long season up here and conference games and tournaments will take up most of it.
I don’t know how limited their schedule is, but I only see five games listed and none of the opponents have a top player. Kenosha Tremper has a first baseman named Jeff Steuck. Not really a top prospect, but he seems to be big and athletic, plus strong defensively, so maybe he breaks out as a senior
Yes, ITA is in Kenosha. Thanks for the heads up about Steuck, I would like to catch a couple game for all the HS teams here. Depends on what the wife/schedule allows.
As far as how limited the schedule is, it’s still only getting into the 40’s for a high here. Not that that really bothers anyone, it’s just not conducive to good baseball.