03/12/09 10:00 AM ET
Draft Report: Eyeing key matchups
College tourneys in Texas, Arizona live up to advanced billing
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
Marquee matchups can be so disasppointing, can't they?
How often has a predicted pitching duel between aces simply not lived up to the hype? More often than not, right?
If you don't want to be disappointed, then read the rest of this week's Draft Report. That's because the early stages of the college season -- at big-time tournaments with plenty of scouts on hand -- there were not one ... but two games that more than lived up to advanced billing.
The first was at the DeMarini Invitational Tournament, hosted by Arizona State. Everyone was curious to see how Missouri ace Kyle Gibson would fare against solid, yet somehow under appreciated (though perhaps not anymore) Sun Devil right-hander Mike Leake. The end result: a 2-1 ASU win that took just two hours and 20 minutes to complete. The two starters went a combined 15 innings, allowed just six hits and two earned runs (both by Gibson), walked only one and struck out a combined 18. It was the kind of dual performance that gets scouts buzzing. Seeing one first-round talent on the mound in a game is outstanding. Getting to see two in one night? It's like winning the lottery.
And it wasn't the only place it happened. Over in Houston, Tex., a couple of starters stepped up big time when given the opportunity to pitch on a big-league field. Watching Rice's Ryan Berry and Texas A&M's Alex Wilson, it wasn't too hard to project either of them calling a place like Minute Maid Park home in the not-too-distant future. This one was a 2-0 Owls victory that was over in two hours and 16 minutes. Berry was nearly untouchable and the two went 15 innings combined, allowing only five hits, three walks, two runs (both allowed by Wilson in the tough-luck loss) while striking out 19.
That quartet would be enough for any Draft Report, but wait, there's more. We'll throw in one more very impressive starting pitcher from the Houston Classic, a pair of catchers who were on display at these tournaments and an outfielder who might have one of the better bats in the Draft class.
Never you fear, high school fans. We know that TDR was college-focused this time around, but next week's edition will return full force to the prep ranks.
Before moving on to the nitty gritty, we're introducing a new wrinkle into this year's weekly Report: The Strasburg Update. Since the San Diego State ace is clearly the consensus top player in the Draft class, each week TDR will check in on his progress and most recent outing. So...
Last outing: March 5
Opponent: University of San Diego
Result: 5-3 win
Game stats: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 18 K
Season stats: 3-0, 20 1/3 IP, 13 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 45 K, .178 BAA
Note: Strasburg was throwing his fastball in the 97-101 mph range with a wipeout curve and a changeup against San Diego.
Kyle Gibson, RHP
University of Missouri
In his start at the DeMarini Tournament against Arizona Sate, Gibson got the loss but was nonethless impressive. He went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits, walking none and striking out eight. It wasn't just a one-start thing, either. The big right-hander is now 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA. In 21 innings, he's allowed just three earned runs on 14 hits, walking only four while striking out 27. Complete Report
Mike Leake, RHP
Arizona State University
Leake got the victory against Gibson and Mizzou by being nearly perfect. He allowed his lone base hit in the eighth, walked just one and struck out 10 over eight shutout innings. He's been outstanding all year and now stands at 3-1 with a 0.64 ERA, having allowed just two earned runs on 11 hits and four walks while striking out 30 in 28 innings. Complete Report
Ryan Ortiz, C
Oregon State University
Over the course of the tournament, the solid backstop went 1-for-13 with two RBIs, four runs scored, five walks and one strikeout. For the season, Oregon State's No. 3 hitter is off to a .222 start (8-for-36) over 10 games. Complete Report
Notre Dame University
On the day of his report, the Irish center fielder went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. He also stole two bases. Over the course of the three-day tournament, he went 5-for-12 with five runs scored, a home run, four RBIs and three steals. Over the 10-game season, Pollock sports a .341 average (14-for-41) with a homer, 12 RBIs and five stolen bases. Complete Report
Houston College Classic
Ryan Berry, RHP
In his Classic start against Texas A&M, Berry was as good as he'd been since his freshman year, tossing a complete-game two-hit shutout. He also struck out a dozen without walking a batter at Minute Maid Park. He shook off a rough first start of the season the previous week and may be finding a groove. His start after the Classic was another two-hit shutout, in which he again walked none and struck out eight. The right-hander is now 2-0 with a 1.99 ERA, having allowed just eight hits over 22 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out 23. He's working on a streak of 19 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Complete Report
Diego Seastrunk, C
New to his position, Seastrunk caught two games in the Classic and was the designated hitter in the other. He went 2-for-3 with a double in the opener, then went a combined 0-for-5 in the next two games. For the year, the switch-hitter is hitting .342 (13-for-38) with three homers, 10 RBIs, a .711 slugging percentage and a .528 on-base percentage. Complete Report
Kendal Volz, RHP
Volz's Classic start came against UCLA and the Team USA closer showed his future might be in a rotation after tossing seven shutout innings, yielding just four hits while walking three and striking out six. He's now made three starts on the year and is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA. He's allowed just 10 hits over 19 1/3 innings (.164 average against) while walking nine and striking out 13. Complete Report
Alex Wilson, RHP
Texas A&M University
Shaking off the rust after red-shirting last season due to Tommy John surgery, Wilson nearly matched Berry in his Classic start, losing 2-0. The right-hander went six solid innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out seven. Though he is just 1-2 record-wise, he's allowed just two earned runs over 18 2/3 innings (0.96 ERA), yielding nine hits (.136 batting average against) and five walks while striking out 35. Complete Report
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.