We talked earlier this week about how well Derek Dietrich and Zack Cox were swinging the bat of late, but with both players being left-handed hitters, it would be prudent -- and valuable -- to see how these two, and some other key talents in this year's class, are managing when facing others with the split advantage.
With the help of our friends at CollegeSplits.com, we've learned the following:
Thus far, Cox is 8-for-17 versus left-handed pitching through the weekend, including two of his five long balls and a strong 8-2 BB/K ratio. It's a small sample size, of course, but his sub-.700 OPS versus LHPs a year ago suggests his first 26 plate appearances against southpaws in 2010 represents a significant improvement.
"I saw him in Berkeley [against the Cal Bears] and it looked to me like he was staying back and maybe seeing the ball better," said one area scout. "I'd only seen him a few times before, but it's an experience thing at this level. The more reps, the better. You have to see as much pitching -- of all types and handedness -- as possible."
Dietrich has solid, albeit unspectacular numbers versus left-handers, but he's hitting them for power -- six of his 15 extra-base hits have come off southpaws in 38 plate appearances, also a noteworthy improvement over 2009.
"Those are more than satisfactory numbers," the scout said, "though we would want to know the quality of arms they are doing it against, but the statistics show promise at least. It bodes well for both players and their [draft] stock."
Another interesting find is that Miami (Fla.) catcher Yasmani Grandal, a switch hitter, is batting just .286/.405/.457 as a right-handed batter while posting an OPS just under 1.300 as a lefty. There's been no talk of Grandal giving up switch-hitting that I have heard, but we'll dig further to see if that has been discussed, and hopefully Keith Law will get a look at Grandal from both sides of the plate later this spring.
A couple of splits notes on pitchers reveals that neither Matt Harvey of North Carolina nor Ohio State's Alex Wimmers is showing problems against left-handed batters to this point, with both right-handers showing strong trends. The sample size will become more convincing as the season moves along, so we'll check back on these guys in May.
Around The Diamond
• Jameson Taillon went all the way and struck out 14 Tuesday night, issuing three walks and allowing an unearned run. It was Taillon's second consecutive strong outing after a couple of off performances that may have simply been bumps in the road.
• Dietrich hit his seventh home run of the year Wednesday to continue his hot streak. By the way, we shouldn't forget that the junior infielder is a left-handed hitter, too.
• Clemson's Kyle Parker continued his stellar season last night versus nationally ranked East Carolina, notching home run No. 11 and drawing two walks in five trips to the plate. The Jacksonville, Fla. native is hitting .394/.513/.766 for the year, including 22 walks against 16 strikeouts.
• Perhaps the top catcher in the draft, potential first-round pick Yasmani Grandal (mentioned above), hit his third homer of the year Wednesday among three hits in four at-bats and enters play this weekend hitting .411/.530/.644 with 14 extra-base hits.
• Josh Rutledge singled three times and doubled in five at-bats versus Alabama-Birmingham improving to .412/.451/.598 for the year. In comparison, and despite the small discrepancy in terms of competition in favor of Rutledge, Fullerton State's Christian Colon is hitting .301/.409/.559 with six home runs.
• Micah Gibbs (2-for-4, walk, homer No. 4) and Leon Landry (3-for-3, walk, triple) led the LSU blowout over Binghamton Wednesday. Gibbs is up to .367/.437/.589.
• Austin Wates improved to .427/.518/.667 with a single, double and homer versus East Tennessee State. Wates owns a 13-12 BB/K ratio and has tallied 14 extra-base hits in 25 games.
• Middle Tennessee State outfielder Bryce Brentz will reportedly miss at least three weeks with an ankle injury that is being classified as a fracture after initial reports stated it was simply a sprain.
• Bishop Blanchet High School (Wash.) right fielder Josh Sale will return to the field Thursday afternoon, and still has a chance to be the first prep bat taken despite missing time recently.