Results tagged ‘ Stephen Strasburg ’

Draft Aft: Early series starts

It’s the week before college conference tournaments and, as a result, many of the weekend series are Thursday-Saturday, rather than the usual Friday-Sunday. As a result, there were some pretty good matchups yesterday that probably had good heat (meaning: a lot of scouting types) at them. For example:

Boston College 3, North Carolina 1
The key draws were Tar Heels starter Alex White and 1B Dustin Ackley to along with BC catcher Tony Sanchez. White was solid, going 7 innings, allowing two earned runs (three total). He allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six, but got the loss. Ackley went 1-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts. Sanchez went 0-for-3, driving in a run with a sacrifice fly. A bonus was BC lefty reliever Mike Belfiorie, who tossed three shutout innings, striking out four, for his 8th save. He struck out Ackley looking with two runners on and one out in the ninth, then getting Kyle Seager to fly out to end the game.

Florida 10, Kentucky 3
Ooof! Kentucky ace, and first-round hopeful, James Paxton, did not throw well. The lefty went 5 1/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and nine runs (eight earned). He didn’t walk anyone, at least, and he racked up six strikeouts. Not exactly the kind of outing against a good team you want to see this late. As good as his stuff is, he’s got a 5.86 ERA now.

South Carolina 7, Georgia 2
Unlike Paxton, South Carolina ace Sam Dyson, had an outstanding start against a good Bulldogs team. The right-hander pitched a complete game, giving up two earned runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out 13. Big Georgia 1B Rich Poythress went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Kenesaw State 6, North Florida 5, 11 innings
Kyle Heckathorn
went nine innings for Kenesaw State, but didn’t get a decision. The big right-hander allowed four runs and “scattered” 11 hits, but he also struck out 15 while walking only one. You try to put that in context.

Lipscomb at East Tennessee State, suspended
Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather and that’s a shame for scouts who went to this game to see Lipscomb lefty Rex Brothers throw. The first-round potential starter did get in four innings of work, where he allowed three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five.

Finally (you didn’t think I forgot, did you?):

San Diego State 11, Utah 2
Stephen Strasburg
didn’t let any suspense build, giving up two runs in the first inning after throwing a no-hitter in his last start. He gave up a total of six hits in seven innings of work, walked just one and struck out 10 for the win. He’s now 12-0 with a 1.34 ERA. In 94 1/3 innings of work, the right-hander has allowed 54 hits (.167 BAA) and 18 walks while striking out 174.

My first weekly Draft Notebook is up on the site now, so go check that out.

I’m working on my first projections — top 10 comes out on Thursday. Feel free to weigh in on who you think will go where in comments. The things I’m struggling with right now are:

1. Who will take the gamble on Tanner Scheppers and his shoulder? The Mariners seem interested, but is that too big of a risk at No. 2?

2. I keep hearing over and over that the San Diego Padres really like toolsy high school outfielder Donavan Tate at No. 3. Why can’t I believe it? Maybe it’s the organization’s draft history, maybe it’s Tate’s potential price tag, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I need some convincing.

I’m hoping maybe some of the college guys, particularly the arms in top 10 contention, separate themselves in conference tournament play next week.

Be back soon…  

Draft Aft: Strasburg is good

With our draft section officially launching today, I wanted to let you know that B3 is going to be very draft focused from now until after the June 9 Draft. I’ll try to do some Minors stuff here and there, but don’t count on it.

So, I was in San Diego on Friday. As luck would have it, Stephen Strasburg was pitching for San Diego State, so I figured I’d go have a look-see. He was kind enough to throw a no-hitter against Air Force, striking out 17 and never really being challenged. Now, with all due respect to Air Force, they are not a good baseball team. But tossing a no-no against metal bats is still pretty impressive in my book. If you don’t want to take my word for it, Toby Wachter over at Upper Deck was live blogging throughout the game. Not that there was any question about the Nats taking the guy, but most of the braintrust was in attendance, including acting GM Mike Rizzo and scouting director Dana Brown. Against a bad team, they’re going to be looking at things like command and location, and Strasburg was pretty locked in. He probably had his best stuff in the ninth and was still throwing 97 mph in that final inning. That’s the kind of thing an MLB team would look at. No triple-digits, but who cares, really?

Other things of note:

The Indy Leaguers:  Both Tanner Scheppers and Aaron Crow threw on Sunday for their respective independent league teams. Scheppers had been generating a ton of buzz this spring with how he’s thrown, but while he was lighting up the radar gun for the St. Paul Saints, he was giving up five runs on five hits over five innings. Guess how many he struck out — that’s right, five. Crow, pitching for the Ft. Worth Cats, tossed four scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out two. Both could figure prominently in the top of the first round.

Best performance by a non-Strasburg college righty: A lot of the top arms were only so-so, but here’s one that really stood out. One is ASU’s Mike Leake, who continued his outstanding junior season by tossing seven shutout innings against Winthrop on Friday.  He walked none and struck out eight. For the season,  he’s 12-1 with a 1.47 ERA. He’s got 104 K’s (vs. only 18 BB) in 97 2/3 IP while hitters have managed just a .179 batting average against him.

Bounce-back start?: Vandy’s Mike Minor has had an up-and-down year. He didn’t start on Friday this weekend, and even with his most recent start, he’s just 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA on the season. One start does not a hot streak make — he was pretty bad a week ago at South Carolina — but against a very good Georgia team on Saturday, the lefty went the distance, allowing two runs and striking out 12.  He’s got one more regular-season start, against Tennessee. If he can pitch well there and then put together a strong peformance in front of a lot of eyes at the SEC tournament, he could climb further up draft boards.

Much more to come…

A little draft talk

That’s right, folks. Two posts in the span of three days. Crazy stuff, I tells ya.

I wanted to hop on as I sit in the PNC Park pressbox watching a thrilling Astros-Pirates game to chat with eveyrone on a number of issues.

Let’s talk draft, shall we? Take a look at these two season pitching lines from the college ranks:

Player A: 7-0, 54 1/3 IP, 34 H, 9 ER, 11 BB, 107 K, .177 BAA, 1.49 ERA
Player B: 8-1, 64 1/3 IP, 37 H, 11 ER, 14 BB, 74 K, .170 BAA, 1.53 ERA

You’ll recognize the line for Player A if you’ve been reading my Draft Reports. That’s consensus top talent Stephen Strasburg. But any guesses who Player B is? Send me who you think it is in comments and I’ll reveal the answer tomorrow.

A whlie back, I got a question on here that was draft-related (Jfish, hope you’re reading). The question was about Dustin Ackley of UNC and a little on Robert Stock at USC. Let’s start with Ackley. The question was about what people were saying about his draft value considering the lack of time he’s spent in the outfield. There is no question the guy can hit and he’s one of the more advanced bats in this draft class. The fact that it’s not a great year for hitters will help him without question. He does profile much better as a center fielder because he doesn’t have the kind of power you’d like to see for a first baseman. He’s also got good speed and would be a pretty good outfielder. He’s played out there some. Whether or not it’ll be enough for people to get a good enough read of his skills out there remains to be seen. But keep in mind guys have been drafted highly and moved to another position without ever having played there before (see LaPorta, Matt). At least Ackley has played the outfield before. Will he be a top 5 pick, as was asked? I think it’s possible. He’s not a true impact kind of bat, like say, Pedro Alvarez or Buster Posey, but he’s a pretty safe bet big-league hitter.

As for Stock, I honestly haven’t heard much of anything about him. For a guy who was so highly touted in high school, he does seem to have moved backward. I’m sure someone will take him, but I don’t see him as a top round guy at this point.

Draft Aft: An Update

I know, don’t be too shocked. But I had a few moments of down time while covering the Reds to throw up some draft tidbits. It’s not much, but hopefully it’ll keep you going until the next random time I can hop on here and talk draft.

First off, my latest Draft Report is up and ready for your perusal. Be sure to go to the landing page if you’ve missed any of the previous ones. We’ve got 32 in total to date, not too shabby considering it’s still March.

A couple of bits of information I’ve gathered along the way lately…

  • USC shortstop Grant Green, who I’ll have a report on next week, came out of a game earlier this week with an ankle injury. He was seen wearing a boot afterwards, which had some concerned. But from everything I’ve heard, it was just a precaution. He didn’t play in Wednesday’s doubleheader against Brown — which USC swept — but it seemed probable that he’d be in the lineup this weekend against ASU.
  • Scott Griggs, a high school right-hander in Northern California who was an AFLAC All-American last summer, has been dealing with a blister problem. That’s nothing serious, obviously, but it’s kept him from throwing enough for scouts to get a really good read on how he looks this spring.
  • Speaking of USC-ASU… how about this for a Friday night matchup: ASU’s Mike Leake vs. USC’s Brad Boxberger. That’s about as good a matchup as you can hope for at this point of the season.
  • Stephen Strasburg, the consensus top talent in the draft, will pitch against a tough TCU team. The game’s in Fort Worth and it should be his toughest test to date, as he’s been putting up video game numbers so far this season.

Well, that felt good to get a little info out there. I can’t promse I’ll be able to do much of this draft stuff until my Spring Training duties are over, but know it’s not from lack of effort.

Draft Aft: Weekend preview and stuff

A good friend suggested using “Draft Aft” — borrowing a nautical term — for when I’ve got draft news. I liked it, so I went with it (Besides, I got no other suggestions).

I have to admit I love this time of year. Not because of the weather here in my Pittsburgh home, that’s certainly not it. No, it’s because draft season is really upon us.

If you’re jonesing for some baseball and can’t wait for Spring Training games, you don’t have to. There’s some good amateur baseball to follow, with some top draft prospects in action. Some of it is even on TV.

This weekend, at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., there’s the Urbanstephen_strasburg.JPG Invitational. The colleges involved are San Diego State, University of San Diego, Bethune-Cookman and Southern University. Games start Friday, but you’ll want to tune into the MLB Network on Saturday as they’ll broadcast the doubleheader. At 5 p.m. ET, you can watch USD take on Bethune-Cookman. The nightcap is SDSU vs. Southern. If you’re only going to watch one of them, that’s the one to watch because it looks like Stephen Strasburg will be starting for Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State team. Strasburg, in case you don’t know, is generally considered to be the top talent in the 2009 draft class and is a pretty good bet to be the top pick when all is said and done.

In the early game, San Diego sophomore Kyle Blair will start. Blair was a good high school prospect back in 2007 and was selected in the fifth round by the Dodgers that June, but opted to go to school. Throughout this tournament, you’ll also likely get to see how USD right-hander Matt Thomson looks. There’s also RHP AJ Griffin from San Diego and lefty Nate Solow from SDSU. A sleeper to watch is San Diego’s Darrin Campbell, a red-shirted sophomore who is coming off TJ surgery, but has been up to 93 mph at times.

Other college tourneys worth checking on (with draft prospects listed underneath):

Big East-Big Ten Baseball Challenge
Clearwater/St. Petersburg/Bradenton/Dunedin, Fla.

Teams: Michigan, South Florida, Cincinnati, Purdue, Connecticut, Michigan State, Georgetown, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, Minnesota, Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, St. John’s… is there anyone NOT playing in this thing?)

Players to watch: Matt Bashore, LHP, Indiana; Sean Black, RHP, Seton Hall; Eric Decker, OF, Minnesota; Josh Phegley, C, Indiana; A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame

Coca-Cola Classic
Mobile, Ala.

Teams: Liberty, Mississippi, Mercer, South Alabama

Players to watch: Aaron Barrett, RHP, Mississippi; Scott Bittle, RHP, Mississippi; Jordan Henry, OF, Mississippi

Grand Canyon Tournament
Phoenix, AZ
Teams:
Missouri, Nevada, Gonzaga

Players to watch: Trevor Coleman, C, Missouri; Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri; Aaron Senne, OF, Missouri

Other odds and ends…

Someone left a comment recently about Austin Maddox, out of Eagle’s View Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. (it looks like they play on Friday, also, in Jacksonville, if you want some HS ball). The comment was:

Where does Austin Maddox from Jacksonville Eagles View rank for this
upcoming draft? Is he likely to be drafted as a catcher or pitcher? Any
info would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Thanks for the question. Obviously, it’s early, but early signs point to Maddox being very highly regarded come June. With a plus arm (one scout said it rated 70 on the scale, 80 being the highest one can get) and legit power, people will be watching his performances. Catching usually gets over-drafted, and there’s not a ton of it in any draft class, particularly legit catchers coming out of high school. If Maddox performs well this spring, it wouldn’t shock me to see him at least be in first-round consideration… as a catcher.

If you’ve got more questions about the draft, or the Minors, don’t hesitate to leave ‘em in comments (I’ve got a question from a while back about LHP prospects that I promise to answer soon).

Finally, back a couple of weeks ago, our own Ben Platt covered the high school draft showcase at the Urban Youth Academy. He interviewd 3B prospect Matt Davidson. Been meaning to add it, so you can listen to it here:  020809_matt_davidson.wma 

Alright, kids, that’s it for me. Talk to you soon.

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