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That sinking feeling

5/8/2010

Drew Pomeranz had an opportunity to create some distance between himself and the rest of the draft pack on Friday night, but did not put forth the kind of showing he needed. The Ole Miss southpaw allowed four earned runs on nine hits and two walks, lasting 6 2/3 innings to take his first loss of the season versus Arkansas.

Pomeranz sat in the 86-90 mph range with his fastball, and threw quite a few curveballs and changeups. His command was occasionally good, but he could not put away enough hitters once he reached two strikes, and he fell behind too many of them.

He threw 115 pitches, just 68 went for strikes, and Zack Cox reached base safely all three times against him.

Pomeranz's lackluster outing opens the door for LSU's Anthony Ranaudo and Georgia Tech's Deck McGuire, right? Well, it did, but neither right-hander stepped up. Ranaudo continues to struggle, lasting just 2 2/3 innings versus Vanderbilt Friday night, yielding six earned runs on five hits and four walks. He struck out just one and reached the zone with a mere 33 of his 69 pitches, an awful percentage.

McGuire had an equally mediocre line, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in six innings of work. He struck out six and walked just one, but needed 109 pitches to get through his outing versus Illinois-Chicago.

For those clubs in the top half of Round 1 looking for a college arm to push quickly to the big leagues, this wasn't a good weekend from which to draw any conclusions. For Ranaudo, one has to wonder if something isn't wrong physically. Could it be his elbow? Could there be lasting effects from the ball he took off his shin last week?

Can Ohio State's Alex Wimmers come back from a hamstring tweak to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him? Can Pomeranz or McGuire come through with strong performances during the season's final few weeks? We'll have to wait and see, but there's a handful of prep arms waiting in the wings to grab hold of a much bigger piece of the Top 10 if their elder statesmen don't put it together.

Elsewhere

• LSU catcher Micah Gibbs doubled twice and homered, driving in six versus Vanderbilt to raise his season line to .425/.495/.608 with 19 extra-base hits and a 25-17 BB/K ratio in 46 games.

• Cox finished the game versus Ole Miss 3-for-3 with three singles and a walk, and was also hit by a pitch. He's hitting .452 entering play Saturday.

Brett Eibner hit home run No. 17 Friday and added a double in the win over Ole Miss. He's a legit two-way prospect with athleticism, above-average power and a plus fastball from the mound.

• Minnesota backstop Michael Kvasnicka went 4-for-6 with a double and his seventh home run of the year, driving in five runs in the process. Kvasnicka could find himself a first-day selection (Top 50) if he continues to impress.

• Gophers right-hander Seth Rosin could earn his way into the first three rounds with more solid outings like his start Friday versus Michigan. Rosin punched out 10 in six frames, allowing three earned runs on six hits.

Bryce Brentz had two hits in five plate appearances Friday, including home run No. 12 on the season. In 33 games, Brentz is hitting .333/.4439/.667 with 19 extra-base hits.

Justin Grimm turned in a solid outing Friday amidst a mediocre junior season, striking out 11 over seven innings versus Tennessee. The right-hander allowed three earned runs on eight hits and issued just one base on balls. Grimm is 2-7 with a 5.75 ERA in 11 starts, but has fanned 61 batters in 61 innings.

• The Citadel right-hander Asher Wojciechowski struggled Friday right along with the aforementioned trio of college arms, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out four and needed 104 pitches to finish his outing.

• One assistant scouting director opined Friday morning that the prep class had a real chance to convince a club or two in the top 10 that they were worthy options, despite the risk involved in taking high school pitchers. This came on the heels of a string outing by Jameson Taillon, who struck out 13 in six frames Thursday night, advancing The Woodlands Highlanders further into the postseason. Maranatha HS (Calif.) right-hander Dylan Covey was strong Friday night, going six innings and striking out eight in a 13-3 win. He allowed five hits and one earned run.