The biggest story is that there have been 22 no-hitters pitched this season so far that includes Casey Mize and John Rooney.
We now have 22 no-hitters in college baseball this season. @Cougbaseball’s Parker McFadden tossed five shutout in a win over #SantaClara, while the bullpen did the rest. The no-hitter frenzy is crazy.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) April 23, 2018
The other big news this week was Nick Madrigal’s return. It feels like he never left and his first week back he went 5-11 with a 3B, RBI, 3R, BB. Madrigal still has 0 strikeouts on the season.
Mock drafts are still trickling in at this point, so I’ll include them below:
Fangraphs.com (4/19) - Braves select Kumar Rocker, RHP
BaseballAmerica.com (4/3) - Braves select Ethan Hankins, RHP
John Sickels is still working on player draft profiles. Find them here.
Find the spreadsheet here: Talking Chop player draft spreadsheet.
College player stock trending up
Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) - Jenista hit a rough patch near the middle of the season, but he’s starting to rebound. After seeing his batting average dip to around .281 he’s boosted it back up to .320. He hasn’t shown much power this season, but he has hit 3 doubles and a home run since April 10th. If he keeps tapping into his raw power more he’ll move back up draft boards.
Joey Bart (Georgia Tech) - At the beginning of the season, Joey Bart was seen as the best catcher in the draft and a 1st round pick. Now he’s making the case to be a top 10 pick. He’s displayed hitting (.376 avg), power (12 HRs), arm (53% CS%) and defense (.994 FLD%). His pop times of 1.85-1.90 would put him top 5 in MLB today. Everything is going right for Bart.
Luke Reynolds (Southern Miss) - This is an interesting case and can show how cut throat college baseball can be. After his J1 community college season he transferred to Mississippi State, but didn’t start like he had hoped. Wanting a starting role, he transferred to Southern Miss, but per NCAA rules he would need to sit out 2017. While Reynolds is technically only a Junior, he’s 23 years old. He is starting at third base and making the most of it hitting .364 to go along with 24 extra base hits. Because he’s older, I’d imagine that will hurt his stock, but he’s always hit when he’s played, so might be worth a gamble in the later rounds.
Brady Singer (Florida) - While Singer is no longer in the 1-1 conversation, there is still a lot to like about him as a pitcher. He’s had a bit of an up and down season, but this past weekend, Singer really dominated #6 Kentucky. This is no easy feat as Kentucky has a lot of good hitters that include several draft prospects.
At 104 pitches and the Gators up 9-2, Brady Singer’s night is likely done. Strong performance against a good offensive club. Maintained velo into the final frame. Kept UK off balance with 3 pitch mix. #MLBDraft.— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) April 20, 2018
7IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 10K.
Here’s the 10th K. pic.twitter.com/0jgNBbm3uO
Justin Lewis (Kentucky) - After giving up 11 runs to then #5 Arkansas, Lewis has pitched much better, and then on Saturday he did the unthinkable. He shut down the Florida offense - 8IP, 1H, 0ER, 3BB, 11K. This is probably the single best performance by Lewis to date. The 6’7” RHP might not go in to the top 2 rounds, but again, it’s about finding value in those early to middle rounds that can make or break a teams draft. I’m still a believer in Lewis.
Other players to note: Jonathan India, Nick Madrigal, Trey Truitt, Cesar Trejo
College player stock trending down
Jackson Kowar (Florida) - Kowar feels a bit like Blaine Knight. On the surface he has solid numbers like a 2.40 ERA and pitched a decent game against Kentucky for the win. However, when you look below the surface, things get a little muddy. He’s carrying a 3.70 BB/9 and an 8.40 K/9. He also has a much higher WHIP than many of the other standout pitchers. Kowar has a plus fastball and a plus change, but doesn’t have a solid breaking pitch or solid control. Those last 2 things are really going to dictate his future as either a starter or reliever.
Kyle Bradish (New Mexico State) - Bradish has been hanging with the big boys, but his strikeouts have slowly declined and the walk rate has slowly increased over the course of the season. His last start he gave up 6 hits & 7 walks over just 3 innings. Granted the defense really let him down that game, but that doesn’t explain the 7 walks. His walk rate is now sitting at 5.77 BB/9. One of the more impressive things about Bradish is that he’s only given up 1 HR all season and teams are just hitting .200 against him. He’s another that’s not likely to go into the top 2 or 3 rounds, but if a team thinks they can help him improve his control, then he might be one of the better steals in the draft.
Tristan Pompey (Kentucky) - Heading into this season, Pompey was one of my sleeper picks to get into the top 15. He started out great too and looked like it might happen, but hasn’t quite been the same since returning from an injury. He has just 1 home run and 3 total extra base hits over the past 11 games. He also has 4 games with 2 strikeouts in that span too. So while he’s still hitting at a solid clip, the lack of power and 22% strikeout rate could likely keep him from being a 15-20 pick.
Other players to note: Seth Lancaster, Brendan Venter, Ryan Johnson
College players to keep an eye on
Kyle Isbel (UNLV) - The 5’11” OF just keeps hitting (.375) and showing a lot of power (10 HRs & 29 XBH).
Kevin Smith (Georgia) - 6’5” LHP throws mid 90’s heat from the bullpen, but can start. 50 strikeouts in 34.2 innings of work. Might be able to draft him as a reliever in a later round and move back into a starting role similar to Tucker Davidson. Smith did start against then #4 Kentucky and got the victory throwing 7 innings and striking out 8.
John Rooney (Hofstra) - Another 6’5” LHP putting up stellar numbers. 0.97 ERA to go along with 78K:17BB in 65 innings. Throws 91-94 with a slider and change.
Clark Cota (UNC Wilmington) - Cota has a .123 batting avg against. That’s just sick. He also has 36 strikeouts in 20.1 innings of work as a reliever. He’ll throw in the 93-95 range with a curveball.
James Varela (LIU) - 6’2” RHP has put up numbers on par with some of the best in college, but is in D2. I’ve never heard of him and can’t find anything on him. 94K/21BB in 79 innings (1.94 ERA) with a .166 BAA and a 0.74 WHIP.
LIU Post 2, Southern Connecticut 1— Axcess Baseball LI (@axcessbaseball) April 14, 2018
WP: James Varela (9 IP, 1 ER, 13 K--sixth consecutive complete game)
Zach Fritz hit game-winning double in ninth
High School Player Notes
Matthew Liberatore & Nolam Gorman - So they faced off against each other this past Thursday and looks like Liberatore got the best of Gorman.
Liberatore strikes out side swinging in b3, including Easley & Gorman. FB 91-93, also mixing in CB, SL, CH. Mountain Ridge leads 1-0 after 3. 8 Ks for Liberatore so far. https://t.co/gKUaTrKyUc— Bill Mitchell (@billazbbphotog) April 20, 2018
Cole Wilcox - He’s still the name behind Hankins and Rocker, but he’s right there with them.
Have heard good things about Cole Wilcox this spring. Sounds like the slider has looked sharper. https://t.co/2WRnzJwBBV— Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo) April 18, 2018
Gunnar Hoglund - Throwing 92-93, max 96 with a curve as his breaking pitch.
The most amazing statistic of 2018 belongs to Gunnar Hoglund, a Florida prep right-hander who pitched in his final regular-season game tonight and has jumped into first-round consideration. In 47 1/3 innings this season, he has struck out 107 batters and walked 0.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 20, 2018