Regional wrap-up — AKA the Money Round
A scout told me before the regionals started this past weekend that someone was going to make himself a million dollars (no, he didn’t say it like Dr. Evil). What he meant was that, especially with the lack of separation among college pitching, that a good performance over the weekend could enhance a guy’s draft stock. He moves up enough spots, he gets that much higher a bonus… get it?
Some are through to super regional play, where they can get one more shot to show off. ASU’s Mike Leake, UNC’s Alex White (along with Dustin Ackley et al, of course) and LSU’s Jared Mitchell are all first-round hopefuls who will keep playing.
Boston College’s Tony Sanchez, San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg (Yes, he doesn’t need more help, but he did lose his first game of the year by giving up two runs over 7 IP, albeit with 15 K, on Friday), Georgia 1B Rich Poythress, Indiana’s Eric Arnett, Mizzou’s Kyle Gibson — they are all done.
Still waiting to see what happens with games tonight are guys like Oklahoma State’s Andy Oliver, Clemson’s Chris Dwyer and South Carolina’s Sam Dyson. They could get one more pre-draft start in if their teams can win tonight.
So, looking back over the weekend, who made money and who may have lost some? Let’s take a look and the winners and losers from an exciting weekend of college action:
Mike Leake, RHP, ASU: This guy has been all about performance and he did it again at the regional Arizona State hosted. Facing No. 2 seed Oral Roberts, the top-seeded Sun Devils won, 4-1, behind Leake’s complete game. He gave up five hits and two walks while striking out 15. He’s now 15-1 with a 1.23 ERA, a .169 batting average against, 20 walks and 143 K’s in 124 2/3 IP. His name isn’t just being whispered in the top 10 right now, he’s being seriously discussed.
Chris Dwyer, LHP, Clemson: He’s a tough one to figure out, both from a peformance standpoint and because he’s an anomaly — a draft-elibible freshman. He certainly didn’t pitch like one on Sunday. Needing a win against Oklahoma State to force a game on Monday to decide who goes to a super regional, Dwyer went 8 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits, walking one and striking out 12.
Andy Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State: One of the reasons for Clemson’s need to beat Ok St. on Sunday was because of what Oliver did on Saturday. He didn’t get the win, but he did go 7 1/3 IP, allowing just two runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out six. It wasn’t a hugely dominant performance, but the enigmatic lefty hadn’t pitched this well in a while and it came in a big spot with plenty of scouts on hand.
Rich Poythress, 1B, Georgia: I had to throw one hitter on here, right? Poythress began his regional experience quietly, by going 4-for-4 with three homers and 7 RBIs. He homered again on Saturday, though his season ended with a hitless day on Sunday. Still, he finished with a .376 average, 25 homers, 86 RBIs and a .764 SLG. Not too shabby.
Alex White, RHP, North Carolina: Boy, he’s picked the wrong time to pitch poorly. White had the opportunity to reverse the trend with a strong regional start. Instead, he didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks, striking out five. The Tar Heels won the game and did advance to the super regionals.
Brooks Raley and Alex Wilson, P, Texas A&M: It was an ugly day on Friday for A&M pitchers. Raley started the game, went two innings, gave up four runs (just one earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out two. Wilson, once considered to be the top starter on this team, came on in relief and promptly yielded five runs on eight hits over four innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Huh? Not sure what to make of it
Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri: On the results side, it looked just fine. He tossed eight shutout innings against Monmouth on Saturday, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out eight. Perhaps he should have pitched Friday, but the plan was to have him for Saturday against Ole Miss. But since Mizzou lost on Friday, it had to play Monmouth. But the real reason for the question mark are reports coming from that start that had the right-hander throwing in the 82-86 mph range. Is he overworked? Perhaps. But if the velocity reports are true — and I’ve heard they are from two different national scouts (who, granted, weren’t at that particular start) — teams are going to be concerned.
Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt: On the one hand, he gave up four runs in the first inning, five total, while losing to Middle Tennessee State on Friday. He walked four and allowed 10 hits. On the other hand, he battled like heck and kept his team in the game by going all eight innings. He put up five shutout frames after that rocky first before giving up run No. 5. Unfortunately, Vandy scored two in the eighth to make it 5-4. The Commodores play today with a chance to move on to a super regional in the balance.
Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana: It wasn’t a great start for Arnett, who lost to Louisville. He went seven innings, gave up five runs (only one earned) on five hits while walking four and striking out six. I got very contrasting reports on the start. One scout told me he really liked what he saw, that his team’s defense didn’t do him any favors and threw the ball really well. Another scout really didn’t like what he saw and thought he’s a reliever in the future. That’s what makes the world go ’round. And while this second scout felt it would be a reach for Arnett to go too early, it still sounds like he’s creeping into conversations in the top half of the first round as teams look at least to have a viable, affordable option if all else fails.
Last thing, on the indy front. Aaron Crow pitched over the weekend. Went 6 innings, allowed two runs on six hits, walked three, struck out four. Tanner Scheppers goes tonight.