Draft recap: Last weekend’s action
We’re in the process of putting together a weekly feature that recaps the weekend action on the amateur scene. It won’t be just stats, though they’ll be included when possible. The idea is that I’ll talk to scouts at the end of each weekend to see who stood out/who didn’t and report back to you what the Draft landscape is looking like. I got a little bit of a late start for this week as we’re getting the ball rolling on Draft-related coverage, so I wanted to just post some “news and notes” on 2013 Draft prospects and their performances from last weekend to whet your appetite.
May have been Stanford vs. Fresno State. Friday saw a good power vs. power contest with Mark Appel facing Fresno State’s Aaron Judge. The Stanford senior had a much better start than he did against Rice the previous week, tossing a complete game, allowing one run on three hits, walking one and striking out 11. He also got nine ground ball outs.
Judge went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in that game, but he finished off the series with a 5-for-5, 3 RBI performance, including his second home run of the season. People will talk about the swing and miss to Judge’s game, but as one scout put it… there are guys in Cooperstown who had swing and miss to their game. More than one scout projects Judge as a first-rounder.
Stanford will be watched carefully throughout the year because of the depth of talent there. Brian Ragira looked good over the weekend as well, going a combined 5-for-13 with a homer, a double and two RBIs
Sean Manaea, the Indiana State lefty was reportedly sharper in his second start of the year than his first. Facing College of Charleston in an Auburn tournament, Manaea gave up one hit and one walk while whiffing 10 over six shutout innings. He showed at least solid average stuff across the board as the top lefty in the class has made a very strong early case to be a top of the draft candidate.
Vanderbilt lefty Kevin Ziomek isn’t quite in that stratosphere, but he threw well on Friday, albeit against Monmouth. Ziomek was sitting at 91 mph with his fastball, touching 93 mph, to go along with a solid average curve, thrown 75-77 mph. His changeup is fringy, but he threw strikes and impressed with his mound presence as he went seven innings and allowed a run on five hits and two walks while striking out 11. Some scouts see him as a back end of the first round type of college lefty selection.
Appel wasn’t the only right-hander to throw well for scouts. Florida’s Jonathon Crawford didn’t go deep, going just 3 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out four. He had some command issues, which got him into trouble. But he was aggressive with his fastball, up to 94 mph, sitting 91-92 mph. He showed flashes of a plus slider and a fringe-average changeup.
Texas Tech’s Trey Masek got the ball on Sunday against UConn at the UCF tournament in Orlando and tossed nine shutout innings in a no-decision, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out seven. He was up to 93 mph with his fastball and worked very quickly, going right after hitters.. He also showed feel for three secondary offerings — an average slider, a fringy, but usable curve and a playable changeup. He’s not overpowering, but he showed how effective he can be.
Hunter Brothers of Lipscomb might be a little further out on the radar, but his arm strength might be something scouts will continue to monitor. Pitching Saturday at the tournament his school was hosting, Brothers was up to 95 mph in his start, sitting at 92 mph. He had given up just one run through five, but ran out of gas in the sixth, leaving with one out. He ended up allowing five runs total (two earned), allowing four hits and four walks wile striking out two. His command wasn’t good on all of his pitches. He showed glimpses with his slider and he kept attacking hitters, but delivery inconsistencies hurt him. With his arm strength, but lack of command and a changeup that’s not a factor, you have to wonder if teams will look at him as a future reliever.
High school arms
One of the more intriguing names to watch is that of Jordan Sheffield, and not just because of who his uncle is (Gary). The Tennessee high school standout showed some excellent arm strength in his last outing. He touched 95 mph with his fastball, sitting around 91 mph, and he showed a solid changeup, especially for a high schooler. What he didn’t have was good command, especially of his breaking ball. He competes well, though he’ll have to work on managing his effort level.
High school hitters
Scouts hoping to see top SoCal high school hitter Dominic Smith in action on Monday were disappointed. Smith, the Serra HS standout walked his first time up. Then he struck out in his second plate appearance. When he hit the catcher on his backswing — inadvertently, according to reports I received — Smith was ejected from the game by the umpire, leaving many frustrated.
Florida high school shortstop Oscar Mercado had a so-so showing over the weekend as well. Reports were good about his batting practice and infielde pre-game, but his at-bats were just fair and didn’t stand out. He did make some good defensive plays, but also threw a couple of balls away.