Gray proving worthy of No. 1 overall pick

Could Jonathan Gray sneak in as the No. 1 pick in the draft? Andrew Woolley/Four Seam Images/AP Images

It was a wet weekend that saw many games cancelled or pushed back, but the games that were played offered fodder for plenty of interesting analysis.

Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray continues to look like the most dominant pitcher in college baseball. Meanwhile, an athletic right-handed arm continued his good run in difficult surroundings, while two outfielders did their best to prove their tools will show up in games.

• Gray was facing one of the worst teams in college baseball, so it should come as no surprise the Sooner ace was dominant Friday. Gray went six shutout innings, giving up two weak singles while walking no one and striking out 10 in a 10-0 win against New Orleans. Once again, Gray's fastball sat in the high 90s, and it's looking more and more like he's a lock as a top-five, if not top-two, pick in the draft.

Keith Law had Gray at No. 2 on his most recent ranking of the top draft prospects, which was released last week.

• One of the pleasant surprises of this year's class has been the surprising depth of college right-handers, and a name that has gone somewhat under the radar is Nevada's Braden Shipley. Shipley took on a very difficult New Mexico lineup -- led by potential first-round pick D.J. Peterson -- and pitched well, giving up just two earned runs and striking out 10. For the year, the Wolfpack ace has put up a 2.59 ERA while pitching in some very difficult altitudes/ballparks in the Mountain West Conference, and struck out 75 batters in 73 innings.

"There's a lot to like about [Shipley]" an NL scout said. "He's one of the more athletic pitchers in the class, and he's also got a great feel for pitching. You don't see that combination too often. The breaking stuff isn't frontline-starter good, but the change is an out pitch right now. I'd take him in the top 10 if I was running a club."

Sean Manaea was considered a potential challenger for the No. 1 pick coming into the season -- and while there's still time for him to get back into the running -- he hasn't pitched like a contender for that spot this season. The Indiana State left-hander didn't make it out of the sixth inning in his start against Illinois State on Saturday, giving up three earned runs while walking four and striking out eight. Manaea had some bad luck, giving up two infield hits and having a runner reach via catcher interference, but it's another start where he's failed to go deep in the game and left-handed hitters continue to give the Indiana State southpaw trouble.

• After missing the beginning of the year due to a strained right shoulder, St. Pius X (Houston) High School's Kohl Stewart has been nothing short of dominant in his first five starts. Stewart went seven shutout innings against St. Thomas Catholic while giving up two hits and striking out 10. The Texas A&M football commit did walk four, but once again his stuff was upper-echelon, and he's sure to land in the top half of the first round.


Clint Frazier might get mixed reviews in terms of how much upside he has, but there's no denying that he's having a special year with the bat. The Loganville (Ga.) High School outfielder went 2-for-3 on Wednesday, including his 13th homer of the sesaon, against Heritage High School. For the season, Frazier now has put together a line of .521/.557/1.197.

"The [bat] speed is plus-plus," said an AL West scout. "He gets the bat through the zone faster than anyone in this class. It's really a numbers game, though. If you think he's a center fielder, there's no reason to think he's not a top-five pick. If you think he ends up in a corner, then it's a lot tougher to justify taking him that high. Ultimately, I think he goes in the first dozen or so picks, but it's going to be tough for a lot of teams to pass on that offensive ability."

• Lakewood (Calif.) High School shortstop J.P. Crawford is known more for his offensive abilities but has come on strong with the glove of late. Crawford made several outstanding plays Saturday, including a sensational diving play to start a 6-4-3 double play. No one has ever questioned his arm strength -- he's been clocked in the high 80s on the mound -- but Crawford has improved his instincts and range as well. Don't be surprised to see him go in the top dozen picks come June.

• It was a big weekend for Aaron Judge, as the mammoth outfielder continues to try and show scouts that he can put his raw power to use in games. The Fresno State outfielder picked up four extra-base hits in his series against Air Force, including his sixth and seventh homers of the year. It's been said all along that if Judge could translate his batting practice pop into games he had a chance of going in the first round, and as of late he's done just that.

• It wasn't a huge weekend for Mississippi State's Hunter Renfroe, but he might have improved his stock more than any position prospect this season. After going 1-for-4 with a walk against Auburn on Saturday, Renfroe's overall line "dropped" to .407/.485/.815 for the year, and his 1.300 OPS ranks second to only San Diego's Kris Bryant among Division I hitters.

"He's always had the talent," an NL Central scout said. "In some ways he reminded me of [former Georgia Bulldog and Texas Rangers sandwich pick] Zach Cone -- a guy who shows you plenty of tools but doesn't ever put it together. Obviously, that isn't the case this year, he's hitting the ball with authority to all fields and his approach is markedly better than last year. The class needed a guy like this."