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2021 MLB Draft Prep: College bullpenning

And other notes from high school and college baseball draft prospects.

Kumar Rocker got rocked in his last outing. Could he fall to the Cubs at 21?
Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

I was introduced to the term bullpenning by former Kane County Cougars announcer Wayne Randazzo. Now with the New York Mets broadcast team, Randazzo noted that when MLB pitchers were on Midwest League rehab stints, the presumed starter, who lost the first inning or two to the MLB arm, often performed better than expected in his new environs. Even I disagreed with the idea at first, but it now has legs into the World Series. It’s here to stay. It appears even major college programs have taken to bullpenning.

Midweek games, or non-conference games smooshed between three or four game weekend get-togethers, have long been havens of bullpenning. Send out the freshman with a lively arm. Hope he can go two or three innings. Then, send out a cavalcade of relievers. Sometimes, it works like a dream. Other times, the kid walks three of the first four, and the Tuesday game ends up 16-14. But, that’s not the new trend.

The Florida Gators are ranked in the top 15. They started at the top, but bullpen issues clouded the benefits of a strong rotation. They had a few outings where the bullpen imploded, recently were swept in a three-game in South Carolina, and tried a new angle the first weekend in April against Ole Miss. Tommy Mace, who’s on my second-round list, watched the first four innings, and entered in the fifth, tossing the last five. The next night, Jack Leftwich (third round list) entered midway as a reliever, and was lit up for a well-deserved loss. The weekend this covers, the Gators visit the Tennessee Volunteers, who are playing better than projected. We’ll see if the bullpenning continues.

I can’t imagine pro squads are in love with seeing 60 pitches from guys they’d rather see about 100 from, but the Gators pitching has had some pitiful outings.

Gage Jump is a lefty on many two-deep mocks. Here are some pictures.

I mentioned Alex Mooney last week, as much for his bat flip as his homers. He hit four in a twinbill recently.

Here’s a prep arm. I limit interest in prep arms, but how does he look to you?

Kumar Rocker of Vanderbilt, a possible No. 1 overall pick, was touched for three homers in a game he fanned a dozen. I’d still be good with him if he slips.

My first Friday game was East Carolina hosting Memphis. Pirates’ starter Gavin Williams was sitting 95 with some 96 and 97, and fanned four in the first two innings. One of the 96s went as a home run to slumping shortstop Ben Brooks.

Florida was back to Tommy Mace as the Friday starter against the Volunteers.

His name is Luca Tresh. He’s a catcher on my board for 1.21. He’s a cousin of former MLB players Mike Tresh and Tom Tresh.

Niko Kavadas wants to be moved higher than my seventh round list.

A walkoff for the Hoosiers.

Totally new name to me, Fordham’s Matt Mikulski gets a fifth-round grade.

Check out Gunnar Hoglund’s change-up.

Sam Bachman alert!

The lefty Doug Nikhazy is on my alert list.

This. Tradition. Rocks.

Other notes:

The Illini were no-hit. I wrote a running piece on it.

Here is Mason McRae’s big board. Who looks appropriate to you? I’ve posted video above for many of them.

Here is my Cubs-centric board.

Here’s the Friday D1 Baseball Digest.

Ask any questions you have below, or at the location you ran into the article.