The 2014 MLB draft is today, and if you’re like me, you might be a bit tired of all the smoke and mirrors over the past couple of days in regards to who is going where, and you just want to let it all unfold already.
So, while you’re waiting for the first round to start, why not unwind a bit with some of the silliest stats that have occurred during the spring high school and college baseball seasons. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I like to throw out some ridiculous stats. Most of these players will hear their names called early in the draft, some you may not have heard of, and a couple are teams that ran like the wind. Here are some of my favorites from the past couple of months:
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Udall HS in Udall, Kansas either uses different rules for scoring a stolen base or Ricky Henderson is their first and third base coach. Over 22 games, the team went 323-for-324 in stolen base attempts. Sophomore Alex Perez is the one kid who got caught stealing — yeah, I’m calling him out. On May 8, in a doubleheader, the team went 82-for-82 in stolen base attempts and stole at least 20 bases in a game seven times.
Almost as crazy as the stolen base totals at Udall were the stolen base totals at Shaw HS in Mississippi. Over 15 games, the team went a perfect 288-for-288 and stole at least 20 bases in six games. With an average of 19.2 stolen bases per game as compared to 16.7 for Udall, I guess they were crazier numbers. Or maybe I was sleeping and imagined this whole thing.
William & Mary junior first baseman Michael Katz was quite the run producer this season for the Tribe. Over 56 games, the 6’-3”, 220 pound right-hander drove in 75 runs, currently second in the nation. He added 24 doubles, 14 home runs and a .646 SLG. He was especially efficient during an eight-game stretch between March 12-24. He went 23-for-36 (.639) with five home runs, seven home runs and didn’t strike out once. His OPS was 2.059 and his game log looked like this:
6-5-3-7 2B, HR
5-3-4-5 2B, 2 HR
5-3-4-5 2 HR
3-4-3-5 2B, HR
Cody Reed, a 6’-3”, 250 pound southpaw from Ardmore HS in Alabama, gets the Denton Keys Award for putting up the most eye-boggling pitching stats from a small school. Keys, a southpaw from Rye HS in Colorado, and current Phillies prospect, had 115 strikeouts over 45.2 innings last year for a 22.7 K/9 ratio. He tossed four no-hitters over his nine starts and allowed just 12 hits and nine walks. Reed, also from a small school, out did him this spring. Over 88 innings, he had 216 strikeouts to just 15 walks and struck out at least 19 batters in four of his 13 starts. His 22.1 K/9 ratio was a bit short of Keys‘, but he logged almost twice the innings. Reed is projected to go in the top-five rounds of the 2014 MLB draft and is a Vanderbilt recruit.
Clay Casey, a 6’-3”, 200 pound right-hander from De Soto HS in Mississippi, put up gaudy numbers all spring. Over 38 games, he hit .464/.543/1.009 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI. During an 11-game stretch from April 11 to May 3, however, he was seeing grapefruits. Over that span, he went 23-for-32 (.719) with a double, four triples, nine home runs, 27 RBI and a 2.607 OPS. Casey is committed to Ole Miss and could get drafted in the first 10 rounds.
Cody Reed may have put up higher strikeouts numbers, but Cameron Varga has been more efficient with his whiffs. The 6’-4”, 200 pound right-hander out of Cincinnati Hills Christian HS in Ohio totaled 144 strikeouts over 58 innings this spring for a 22.3 K/9 ratio. He tossed four no-hitters and, over a two-start stretch, had 31 K/0 BB over 10 perfect innings — yes, prep catchers drop a lot of third strikes. He has allowed just one earned run on 14 hits and has issued just six walks. Varga is projected to be drafted on day one and is committed to North Carolina.
David Thomas, a senior shortstop from Mesa Prep HS in Arizona, has the distinction of having the highest batting average this season for recorded games. Over 17 games, the 5’-10”, 150 pound right-hander went 43-for-55 for a .782 batting average. His on-base percentage was a Barry Bonds-like .824.
Tyler Kolek toyed with his peers all spring for Shepherd HS in Texas. The 6’-5”, 240 pound right-hander started the season with 76 K/1 BB over his first six starts (34.1 IP), allowing just one run on eight hits. He tossed a no-hitter in his first three starts and finished with 112 K/6 BB over 54.1 innings, allowing just two runs on 20 hits. Kolek is committed to TCU and is a likely top-five pick in the draft.
Over a 10-start stretch between February 28 and May 10, Evansville southpaw Kyle Freeland had 100 K/6 BB over 78.2 innings. His 11.5 K/9 and 16.7 K/BB ratios during that span may be the most impressive stats from the college baseball season and are the main reason why he is in top-10 talks. For the season, he finished with 128 K/12 BB over 99 innings. He finished third in both K/9 (11.56) and K/BB (10.67) in the nation and is the only to pitcher to rank in the top-20 in both categories.
Chase Dunker, a 5’-9”, 150 pound senior from Sedgwick HS in Colorado, topped 20 strikeouts twice this spring. The first time, he had 20 strikeouts over just six innings on April 8 against Akron HS — again, prep catchers drop a lot of third strikes. The second time, he whiffed 21 over seven innings against Lutheran HS on May 18. For the season, he finished with 144 Ks over 57.2 innings.
Another power arm who put up video-game numbers this spring was Jacob Bukauskas. A 6’-1”, 190 pound right-hander out of Stone Bridge HS in Virginia, JB used his 100 mph fastball to simply blow away the competition this spring. Over 43.1 shutout innings, he had 98 strikeouts to just five walks, allowing just 11 hits. His 20.4 K/9 ratio is right up there with Varga’s and Reed’s. Bukauskas let teams know last month that he was honoring his committed to North Carolina but that might not stop teams from trying to lure him with a big signing bonus.
From March 12 to May 21, Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost got at least one hit in every game he played in — 36 in total. A hitting streak of that length is impressive enough, but when you average more than two hits per game during it, that’s when it gets silly. He hit .487 (76-for-156) over those 36 games with 16 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and stole 10 bases. Just for the sake of comparison, Joe DiMaggio hit .409 during his 56-game hit streak in 1941 and Pete Rose hit .385 during his 44-game hit streak in 1978. Pentecost is a likely top-15 pick in the draft.
Fangraphs will tell you that a 12.5 percent strikeout rate is great and a 10.0 percent strikeout rate is excellent. Well what about a 2.3 percent strikeout rate? That’s what Charleston Southern junior outfielder Bobby Ison posted this season. Over 263 plate appearances, he struck out just six times. It’s not like this is new to Charleston Southern fans as he has struck out just 32 times over 759 career plate appearances for a 4.2 percent strikeout rate.
And finally …
Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed finished his season leading the nation in home runs with 23, which means he has hit more home runs than 186 of the 302 division one schools.
Feel free to follow me on twitter @DanMKirby for MLB draft updates, high school and college news, as well as Chicago Cubs ramblings.