With the minor league schedule kicking in, my following college ball will crash like a cheap computer. Nonetheless, Draft Prep is a large part of my internal drive, so I continue. As usual, the SEC gave us some early quality on Thursday.
Arkansas did two things against lefty Hunter Barco (2nd Round possible) that few teams have managed. They extended him, and scored off of him. Barco gave up three runs over five, and was tagged with the loss, despite seven strikeouts. The top five Hogs scored seven of the eight runs, and five came in the eighth. As such, the game was more compelling than it appears from the 8-1 final score.
Arkansas starter Connor Noland is draft-eligible, and is putting together good numbers in the SEC. A pitcher who shuts out Florida over seven innings makes sense in the third-to-fifth round range, with a good body of work. The only run and two of the Gator hits came off of Zebulon Vermillion, who I'd welcome into the Cubs system over his fantastic moniker.
The secondary SEC game saw Kentucky visit Texas A&M. A pitchers duel, it ended in style in the 11th with a catcher getting his third hit of the night. A&M won, 3-2.
.@troy_claunch wins it in the 11th!#GigEm pic.twitter.com/XwWUEvncg6— Texas A&M Baseball (@AggieBaseball) April 8, 2022
The in-thing to do is to ride the momentum of Arizona's Daniel Susac at catcher.
Meanwhile, Friday's Georgia Tech/Florida State matchup pitted Parker Messick against Kevin Parada. Messick has been better than whoever he's faced this season. Until tonight. Parada homered twice in a 7-3 Jackets win.
Here are both home runs from Kevin Parada in today's 7-3 win for the Yellow Jackets vs. Florida State. Hard to think of anyone more productive on offense than Parada that's eligible for the 2022 MLB Draft. pic.twitter.com/wJIRVTVx0o— Will Hoefer (@whoeferbaseball) April 9, 2022
Trailing 3-2 to Missouri at the seventh inning stretch, Tennessee scored the game's last six runs as the Volunteers stretched their winning streak to twenty in a row. Ben Joyce fanned three and walked one in relief. Tennessee won 8-3.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State played an instant classic in Stillwater. It was a bit of a pitching-optional day. Both sides scored in the second, third, and fifth innings, with OSU leading 7-4. The Sooners tallied twice in the seventh and ninth to win 8-7. Second round possibility Peyton Graham went 2-for-5 with two runs.
Gavin Cross went 4-for-4 with two homers and a walk, re-asserting his name into the 1.7 discussion.
Virginia Tech dumped North Carolina State 21-10.
Gavin Cross is 10 for his last 20, dating back to last Friday's win over North Carolina.— Chris Hirons (@chrishironsVT) April 9, 2022
In that span, he's homered four times and driven in eight runs. Productive to say the least. https://t.co/qpo0I6rKAf
Out west, Cooper Hjerpe did Cooper Hjerpe things over six four-hit innings, fanning nine in an Oregon State 9-1 win over Southern California. Hjerpe fits as one of those pitching options for the Cubs second choice.
Oregon State’s Cooper Hjerpe (#33 on the @ProspectsLive top 400 2022 Draft Board) , posted 6 whiffs in the 1st inning , stranding 2 runners with 1 K. Pounding the K-Zone early on. pic.twitter.com/ricTu1POmX— Jackson Thomas (@BaseballByJT) April 9, 2022
Some Hjerpe open side, up-tempo delivery with rhythm , short sling shot like arm action with above average arm speed. Really enjoyable to watch tonight. pic.twitter.com/23deyW4Qne— Jackson Thomas (@BaseballByJT) April 9, 2022
More on the rest of the weekend, with eight names to know, in a few days in next week’s Draft Prep article.