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Friday games a scout's paradise

3/26/2010

After a quiet and relatively uneventful Thursday, Friday's slate of games is stacked with several blue-chip matchups serving as a scout's paradise. The docket starts with North Carolina's Matt Harvey (3-0, 1.97 ERA, 37 K, 14 BB, 32 IP) facing off against Georgia Tech's own right-hander, Deck McGuire (3-1, 1.15 ERA, 39 K, 8 BB, 39 IP) and the Yellow Jackets daunting lineup that includes infielder Derek Dietrich.

Harvey has allowed just three extra-base hits all season and could be climbing back into the first round with his recent performances. McGuire has solid numbers and throws in the low-to-mid 90s, but scouts have mentioned issues with the delivery and lack of polish on his secondary stuff as reasons why he may not be a Top 5 selection.

Another talent to keep an eye on is Tech catcher Cole Leonida, who enters the weekend hitting .413/.465/.733 with 13 extra base hits and has thrown out seven of 20 runners attempting to steal. The early word on Leonida is that he may hit, and may hit for power, but he didn't exactly impress on the Cape this past summer, particularly on the defensive side.

Kentucky and left-hander Logan Darnell head to Vanderbilt where right-hander Sonny Gray will serve as Darnell's counterpart. Last weekend, Darnell was outdueled by Ole Miss left-hander Drew Pomeranz.

Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, a prospect to watch for 2011, and outfielder Jarret Parker face off against Clemson's Kyle Parker Friday. The Cavalier's outfielder is hitting just .305 with 20 strikeouts and one long ball, while Clemson's version brings a .405/.520/.810 line into the series.

Tennessee's Bryan Morgado matches up with LSU's Austin Ross and will have to bear down on prospects Micah Gibbs and Leon Landry. With a sharp outing of his own, Ross, who will face both Cody Hawn and Blake Forsythe, could begin to work his way into the Top 100.

Alabama and Arkansas match up this weekend as well, a series boasting five potential first-day picks in Josh Rutledge and Ross Wilson for the Tide and Razorbacks trio Zach Cox, Brett Eibner and Andy Wilkins. Wilkins enters the series in a slump while we look for Cox to hit the ball a little harder and with more distance.

Other Notes ...

• Chipley High School (Fla.) star Karsten Whitson is expected to make another start Friday, this time versus Pensacola Catholic. The right-hander has dazzled in each outing so far this season, solidifying his place among the top tier of prep arms in the 2010 class. He's fanned 43 and walked just three in three starts, igniting a bit of a battle between himself, Ovideo's A.J. Cole and The Woodlands' Jameson Taillon for the top spot among prep pitchers.

• The Redlands East Valley (Calif.) left-hander Griffin Murphy tossed six more scoreless innings Thursday in what may have been his best outing of the season, and he did so in front of dozens of talent evaluators. Murphy went six shutout innings, striking out seven and issuing just one walk. He moves to 5-0 on the season with a 0.39 ERA and a 31-3 K/BB ratio in 23 innings.

Cam Bedrosian won't start again until next week, but the right-hander's no-hitter earlier this week included 13 strikeouts and he now owns a 3-0 record with 42 punchouts in 21 innings. "I still see a second-round talent," said one talent evaluator, citing Bedrosian's delivery and lack of ideal size.

Fellow Georgia prospect Trey Griffin, a multi-tooled athlete committed to Oklahoma State, is hitting .486 with two home runs and 11 steals in 12 attempts. He stands 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds and, if he can find a way to stick in center field, he might be a heck of a prospect due to his athleticism and natural physical abilities, though he's considered raw at the plate.

• Cal's Dixon Anderson, who's missing bats but finding a way to allow 43 baserunners in 29 1/3 innings -- including four doubles and three home runs -- has been re-assigned to the bullpen and will take his act to Tempe to face off against Arizona State. Anderson's arm strength intrigues scouts, but it may very well have been as a reliever anyway.