Bama SS Rutledge could move up in draft


Perhaps the best matchup on Wednesday night took place in Birmingham, where Alabama hosted Georgia. Shortstop Josh Rutledge, potentially an early-round selection this June, went two-for-four with a double and two stolen bases. Second baseman Ross Wilson, possibly a Top-100 pick in his own right, singled and walked twice to improve his numbers to .381/.519/.429 on the season.

Rutledge is the prospect to watch at Alabama, however, as the 6-foot, 185-pounder looks to prove he can play shortstop and provide offense that does more than fit the profile. He's batting .360/.400/.560 on the year and is coming off a sophomore campaign in which he hit .305/.396/.444 with 21 extra-base hits.

"Physically, the skills are present for him to hit enough for the big leagues," an AL area scout said, drawing thoughts from his preseason notes. "Ideally this year he'll prove the power -- maybe even show more strength, get a little more power out of that swing. I can see him staying up the middle; I really think he stays at short, he can play there."

Elsewhere ...

&#8226; James Madison closer Kevin Munson gave up an unearned run on two hits Wednesday, added a strikeout and still boasts the triple-doughnut for an ERA. He's walked two and fanned three in 3 1/3 innings, and all three hits off him are singles.

&#8226; Clemson outfielder Kyle Parker, a bat we haven't mentioned yet this season, had three hits Wednesday, including his fourth home run of the season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-handed hitter enters Friday's matchup with South Carolina -- where he will face Gamecocks junior right-hander Sam Dyson -- with a line of .464/.531/.893. He's drawn just three walks but has also struck out on just four occasions, showing an improved ability to make contact after whiffing in 19 percent of his plate appearances a year ago.

&#8226; Middle Tennessee State star Bryce Brentz had two singles and two strikeouts versus Southern Illinois and sports a .955 OPS with four extra-base hits in seven games. He's yet to homer, however, and since he doesn't play the toughest of schedules in the Sun Belt Conference, scouts want to see him dominate.

&#8226; Auburn first baseman Hunter Morris went 2-for-7 with two strikeouts Wednesday and enters play this weekend hitting .351/.368/.486 but without a long ball or a walk. That's not going to get him drafted on Day 1.

&#8226; Looking to Thursday's actions, right-hander Cole Cook, a sophomore-eligible at Pepperdine, will start Game 1 at LSU with southpaw Matt Bywater getting the nod in Game 3 on Saturday. Tigers bats Micah Gibbs and Leon Landry will get a nice test versus a fellow draft prospect in the opener, which is always interesting and useful for scouts.

&#8226; Oregon State brings right-handers Kevin Rhoderick and Greg Peavey to Cal-Riverside, where catcher Rob Brantly will look to improve his 1.129 OPS versus some strong competition.