While some of the top college pitchers struggled Friday night, one shone on Saturday. Hartford began its weekend series against Binghamton with a Saturday doubleheader, pushing ace Sean Newcomb's start back a day.
Newcomb, ranked No. 17 on MLB.com's top 50 Draft prospects, pitched well in a 3-0 victory. In eight scoreless innings, he struck out seven batters and allowed four hits and three walks. Five starts into the season, he has yet to give up an earned run, and he has 38 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings.
Pitching at Hartford in the America East Conference, Newcomb doesn't face the same level of competition as some of the other top college pitchers. Regardless of his opponents, the big left-hander's stuff stacks up well with anyone in the country. He throws his fastball in the low- to mid-90s, and he mixes in a biting slider, curveball and changeup. All of his pitches have a chance to be average or better.
Newcomb doesn't have an extensive track record, in part because he was sidelined for a month by a bout of mononucleosis while pitching in the Cape Cod League last summer. Scouts who have had the chance to see him, however, have been impressed.
"He wasn't on the radar the way he could have been if he had been healthy all summer," one scout said. "His stuff's going to play, whether he's pitching in the America East or not."
Rough outings for top college hurlers Rodon, Beede
College baseball reserves its Friday night lights for its aces. Usually, that means the first game of a weekend series is a low-scoring affair, dominated by pitching.
That wasn't the case Friday night for a pair of the top college pitchers in this year's Draft class. North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon and Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede, both ranked in the top 10 of MLB.com's Top 50 Draft Prospects, were victimized by errors in two of the poorest starts of their careers.
Friday at Maryland, Rodon allowed eight earned runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out eight, walked four and hit two batters. Though Rodon entered the season as the presumptive No. 1 pick, he hasn't always pitched with the same premium stuff he has in the past.
Meanwhile, Beede, ranked No. 6 on the Top 50, gave up a career-high 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings at Mississippi State. Though only five of the runs were earned, his ERA jumped from 0.84 to 2.06 in one night. He struck out two batters while allowing six hits and issuing five walks.
Rodon and Beede will look to get back on track this Friday. Rodon and North Carolina State host Miami, while Kentucky will visit Beede and Vanderbilt.
Top Canadian prospect Morgan impresses
Outfielder Gareth Morgan entered the year widely regarded as the top Canadian high schooler in this year's Draft class. Listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, the Toronto native has the size and tools to profile as a prototypical right fielder.
Scouts have gotten plenty of chances to see him in action lately. Morgan has spent much of March playing games against low-level Minor Leaguers at Spring Training facilities in Florida with the Canadian Junior Team and in Arizona with the Langley Blaze, an elite travel team. The Canadian Junior Team also played a game against the Blue Jays' big leaguers during which Morgan hit a sharp drive off Brandon Morrow back through the box.
Though evaluating an 18-year-old playing against professionals isn't always easy, Morgan's performance over the last month has only reinforced his status as Canada's top prospect.
"He has outstanding tools," one scouting director said. "He's a little more raw, and as a Canadian kid, that's understandable.
"He has the kind of tools you're looking for. His raw power is outstanding. It's well, well above average."
Morgan is committed to North Carolina State, and his power and physical presence give him significant upside.
The biggest concern scouts have about Morgan is how well he'll be able to adjust to more advanced pitching. It's a question scouts have to answer with every high school hitter, but Morgan's rawness and mixed track record makes it more pointed for him.
"Depending on how good a team feels about his bat and the contact and the plate adjustment is where he'll get selected," the scouting director said. "If you feel real good about it, he's going to be a high pick. If you feel so-so, maybe he'll go in the third or fourth round."