As Josh noted on Friday, a pair of Phillies draft picks were investigated by the NCAA. That was the mushrooming draft-based story this week-end. It has already been discussed, but I'd be remiss if I didn't note it. Jim Callis wrote an article on the NCAA's inconsistencies on the topic. Aaron Fitt was on point on the story all weekend. And I mean all weekend, despite also covering a college baseball weekend.
Carlos Rodon gave up three in the eighth, which made his line look a bit ugly in a win against Appalachian State. He struck out nine, walking two, and allowing five hits and runs (three earned). His velocity numbers aren't where anyone would want yet, but it's not a problem. He's flashing three solid pitches, and it's February.
Trea Turner, his shortstop, beat out an infield hit to third in the first inning, leading to the first run. Turner went 1-for-4 with a strikeout, and made an error. The miscue came on a moderately spiked throw from short that a pro first baseman scoops. My concerns on his hitting are that I'm fearing his hits are often against the weaker pitchers in rotations. However, if the Cubs brass buy in on his hitting, I'd be good with him in the 1.4 spot.
In his first at-bat, his one-hopper almost crept down the third base line. His speed made it a single.
In his second at-bat, he hit a 1-2 pitch on a line to right. The outfielder caught it, and doubled off a runner on first.
On his third trip, he bounced one to third, forcing an error. At least he seems to keep it on the ground or on a line. No point having him hit routine fly balls three steps short of the track.
I had planned to listen to the East Carolina at Virginia game last Friday. On the club baseball link, it provided a radio station's call letters, as to who would be covering the game. As I was attentive and anxious, I had the station on 45 minutes early. Oldies channel, if you will. I started to get concerned when the station was still playing music ten minutes before the hour. As it crept past the top of the hour, I was afraid there was a problem.
By the time I returned to the team website and logged in, they wanted the standard fee for me to listen by the game, by the month, or by the season. Apparently, I won't monitor the ECUbaseball games this year.
Hoffman was drawing Twitter raves in the first, with talk of over 95 mile per hour fastballs with movement. Then, he gave up a homer in the second. Hoffman lasted 6⅔ innings, giving up five hits, including two homers by Virginia center fielder Brandon Downes, who suddenly becomes a major name. Downes now has three homers on the year. He's listed on the Virginia site as a 6-3 200 catcher/outfielder. Yeah, I'm interested. Any guesses who drafted him in 2011? If you guessed Boston, take a step forward. The Cavalier with more ink, left fielder Derek Fisher, went hitless in four tries. Left-field-only outfielders are so last decade. Or century.
Hoffman walked three, and fanned six in a loss. Scouts are pretty much forced to watch Hoffman. Or, at least, a good scout from each team, while with Rodon, everyone presumes he'll be top three without an injury. With an injury, you don't want him. As for now, though, with Hoffman, there is no such guarantee. If he gets pounded in a few starts, each team will want a good scout there to explain why. If Hoffman does slump, how much of a slip would be justified? Yeah, he'll have a captive audience for awhile.
Tyler Beede from Vanderbilt had his way with the UIC Flames in a blowout win, fanning 11 and walking just one over six innings. He allowed a hit and a run.
LSU's Austin Nola has been very solid this season. His velocity numbers aren't very impressive (rarely over 93), but he knows how to pitch. He pitched seven hitless on Friday against Virginia Tech. He won't be there, but you can add him to the list of players to consider at 2.4. I should add Virginia's Derek Fisher, but I won't. Scouts love his bat, but he can barely play left field in college.
However, I will add 6-4 California prep lefthander Brady Aiken (link is to video). Aiken throws in the 92 mile per hour range, and would be a nice option around 10 or 12. Maybe even sooner. With 1.4, to take a prep arm, you want more upside, usually. I'll leave him for the Phillies. So he can go undrafted and miss part of next season.
My preference list is Rodon/Kolek (or whichever prep arm is the ooooooh-aaaaaah-iest in June) or Beede/Turner.