Where were you during week two? I made a weekend roadie to Conway, SC proud home of Coastal Carolina University. The Chanticleers hosted their annual Baseball At The Beach Tournament which featured UConn, Wichita State, Illinois, George Mason, and host Coastal Carolina. Here's some notes on two draft prospects I was able to get a look-see at.
Casey Gillaspie - 1B - Wichita State - I'd never seen him in person prior to this weekend but he sure has a the look of a big league bodied first baseman right now. He's a chiseled 6'3, 235 pounder which made me wonder if he's been working out with Chris Davis. The switch hitter has easy plus power from both sides of the plate and has a solid track record of that power showing up in games. His bat speed looked above average although his swing had length at times and I noticed he can get beat inside with a good fastball. He hit .667 over the weekend and has been named MVC hitter of the week.
Ben Smith - LHP - Coastal Carolina - Baseball America has Smith rated at 48 on their preseason Top 300. It's one outing and I did see some things I liked but overall didn't come away that impressed with Smith who struggled with getting ahead in the count and lacked a plus secondary offering. He did strike out 7 but all 7 K's were batters caught looking on his fastball that can really sneak up on and freeze hitters with his deceptive release point. He mixed in a change up that flashed above average and I would've liked to see him use it more to getter a better opinion on it. His breaking ball was slurvy and needs improvement. He can throw 89-92 MPH with good arm side run which will get him drafted fairly high and give him a shot at pitching in the bigs, but he's got some work to do to remain a starter longterm in my opinion.
Following a two-game sweep of Georgia, Florida State (6-0) is now the only undefeated team in the ACC. That didn't take long.
After a shocking home opener loss to Canisius, NC State (6-1) has won six straight, including a sweep of Appalachian State this weekend.
Carlos Rodon Update: Picked up his first win of the year on Friday: 8 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. (BA Game report)
Ace of the Week: Jake Stinnett - RHP - Maryland - The Senior ace blanked Bryant on just one hit over 8 innings, didn't walk a batter, and struck out 11. Stinnett was drafted in the 29th round (Pirates) last year but opted to return to school for his Senior year.
Meet the new No. 1 Team in the Country: Virginia - The Cavaliers (6-1) are now the top dog following their weekend sweep of East Carolina. Nathan Kirby (6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) outdueled ECU's ace and likely top ten pick Jeff Hoffman (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) in Game 1.
Upstager of the Week: Brandon Downes - OF - The junior draft prospect put on a show for the large scouting contingent on hand, belting two home runs off Jeff Hoffman.
Miami (4-3) picked up a nice looking series win at home over in-state rival Florida.
Houston is off to a nice 7-0 start and could find themselves ranked in the upcoming weeks. Draft prospect Aaron Garza (6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) picked up the W against Michigan on Friday.
Comeback Team of the Week: UConn - The Huskies went 0-fer last weekend at the Snowbird Classic tournament only to turn things around and win the Baseball at the Beach tournament I attended this weekend.
(Big 12 Highlights)
Kansas improved to 8-0 after winning the Snowbird Classic. We'll see how the JayHawks fair in conference play but an encouraging start.
Pitcher Spotlight: Senior righty Frank Duncan won Big 12 pitcher of the week after striking out 14 over 7.1 innings against Mississippi Valley State.
N0. 16 TCU (6-1) won the Kleberg Bank College Classic as Jim Schlossnagle notched his 500th career win a coach. Draft prospect Branden Finnegan: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K
Stock Down: Oklahoma - The Sooners exit the poll this week after dropping two games to UCF and Ohio State at the UCF tournament.
Stock Up: Texas - Guess who replaced the Sooners in the poll? That's right, the rival Longhorns did. Hey, they deserve it after taking the series from Stanford. Parker French was sharp (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) in Friday night's win for No. 27 Texas.
(Big West Highlights)
Cal Poly (6-1) continues to impress, bumping up to N0. 17 in the poll after a series win at UCLA. OF prospect Nick Torres: 4-13, HR, 5 RBI
Freshman Spotlight: Slater Lee - RHP - Great name, great pitching performance: 2-hit shutout in Game 2 versus UCLA to win Big West pitcher of the week.
Stock Down: Cal State Fullerton - The Titans (4-3) have dropped from Preseason No.1 to No. 10 in a matter of two weeks. They won 2-of-3 against San Francisco over the weekend. Draft prospect Matt Chapman batted .368 with a HR, 2 doubles, and 5 RBI.
Long Beach State picked up an RPI booster of an 11-0 win against No. 29 Arizona State. Nick Sabo struck out eight over eight scoreless.
(Mountain West Highlights)
Conference play has already begun for some esoteric reason in the Mountain West and the Fresno State (6-2) has an early lead following their sweep of Nevada.
Pitcher Spotlight: Jordan Brink - RHP - The Junior ranks as the conference's 3rd best prospect and shut down Nevada (8.1, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) on Friday night.
Stock Down: UNLV - The Rebels traveled to Tennessee where they were handed the old the sweep.
(Mid Major Highlights)
Sean Newcomb - LHP - Hartford - He's considered a 1st round talent and made his season debut (5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K) in a loss to Georgetown on Friday.
Prospect on the Rise: James Norwood - RHP - Saint Louis - Game report from Baseball America
A man named Sasha stole the the show in the A-10 this weekend. Senior outfielder Sasha LaGarde won player of the week for Mercer after batting .455 with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Mercer is now 8-0 and looks like a 40 win team in the making again this season.
Upset of the Week: Nebraska over Oregon State - The unheralded Cornhuskers, coached by former heralded big leaguer Darin Erstad, went into Corvallis and handed previous No. 1 Oregon State a shocking 9-2 loss on Friday.
Stock Down: Indiana - The Hoosiers dropped to 2-5 and No. 25 in the poll. Not a fun start for the Big Ten favorites. Good news: Top draft prospect had Kyle Schwarber a 4-for-5 game with a HR in Friday's win over Washington.
X Gonna Give It To Ya: Xavier stunned UNC with a 2-1 victory on Friday night and only lost by one run in the next two games.
No-N0 Alert: Reed Garrett - RHP - VMI - Our first no hitter of the season! Garrett punched out 14 against Lafayette. Aaron Fitt has a scouting report on Garrett in his Friday recap.
College of Charleston improved to 6-1 and looks like the early favorite in the CAA. The Cougars top prospect, shortstop Gunnar Heidt, is batting .360 with a HR.
FIU improved to 8-0 and is getting some poll votes after their weekend sweep of Stony Brook.
UAB is also 8-0 and righthander Chase Mallard won C-USA pitcher of the week honors...again.
Jordan Foley - RHP - Central Michigan - He's the top draft prospect in the mac and turned in a nice outing (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 H, 8 K) against Troy on Friday.
Road Warriors: Western Carolina - The SoCon favorites won two games out in Washington State. Jeremy Null (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) turned in another impressive outing.
Friday Night Upset: Stephen F. Austin over Alabama. SFA ace Cameron Gann outdueled draft prospect Spencer Turnbull in a 2-1 win.
Best of the Mids: Louisiana Lafayette - The Cajuns (7-1) are ranked No. 20 and have an intriguing mid week showdown with LSU on the docket this week. They swept Southern Miss over the weekend.
Pepperdine righthander Corey Miller made headlines with a two-hit shutout with 11 K's against Utah Valley on Friday.
Best in the West: No. 5 Oregon - The Ducks are 7-0 following a sweep at Loyola Marymount. 3B Scott Heineman is off to a rough start, batting just .161 so far.
Stock Down: Oregon State - The Beavers (6-2) drop to No. 7 in the polls after losing games to Nebraska and Michigan State over the weekend.
California (5-2) won the Auburn classic which included a shutout 5-0 win over host Auburn.
Shutout Fiends: No. 6 South Carolina - The Gamecocks have pitched five consecutive shutouts and are now 7-0.
Stock Rising: Tennessee - The young Vols are off to a nice 7-0 start after sweeping Erick Fedde and UNLV at home over the weekend.
Offensive Juggernaut: Kentucky - The Wildcats put on some fireworks at the Old Dominion baseball tournament, scoring a combined 36 runs in their three wins. A.J. Reed belted 5 home runs.
Draft Prospect: Hunter Cole - OF - Georgia - The lone bright spot (2-for-4, 3 RBI, HR) in Georgia's 10-4 loss to FSU on Saturday.
LSU (7-0) lookin like the best in the SEC West again as they move up to N0. 3 in the polls after winning the LSU tournament.
Ole Miss (6-1) took the series from Georgia State and Chris Ellis threw a 5-hit shutout on Friday.
Stock Down: Mississippi State - Ouch, the bulldogs managed to drop 2-of-4 to Holy Cross AT HOME. Good news:1B Wes Rea swatted three home runs
Player of the Week: A.J. Reed - 1B/LHP - Kentucky
Junior first baseman A.J. Reed had a monstrous weekend at the plate for the Wildcats. He batted 7-for-13, drove in 11, and belted 5 home runs in three games! He's also Kentucky's Friday night starter. Weekend's like this raise question of whether Reed is a better prospect as a hitter or has a hitter. Good problem to have if you're A.J. Reed, I suppose. Tough problem, if you're a scout.
HM/ Casey Gillaspie - 1B, Wichita State, Alex Blandino - 3B, Stanford, Brad Zimmer - OF - San Francisco, Chris Marconcini - 1B, Duke, Matt Chapman - 3B, Cal State Fullerton, Taylor Sparks - 3B, UC Irvine
Pitcher of the Week: Aaron Nola - RHP - LSU
Virginia Tech, a pretty solid offensive unit, traveled to Baton Rouge Friday night where they were promptly stymied by one of the best pitchers in the all of college baseball. Nola didn't allow a single hit and just one walk over seven innings of work, striking out eight in LSU's 9-0 win. He's 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his first two starts of the season and has first round potential in the draft in June.
HM/ Reed Garrett - RHP, VMI, Tyler Beede - RHP, Vanderbilt, Brandon Finnegan - LHP, TCU, Chris Ellis - RHP, Ole Miss, Daniel Mengden - RHP, Texas A&M, Sam Hpward - LHP, Georgia Southern
The latest rankings, via college baseball writers
That concludes this weekend's recap. See you next week
Stay classy, not crassy