Top prospects struggle in regional play

The NCAA tournament is a terrific scouting opportunity for not only the current draft class, but the next couple of years as well. Unlike the conference tournaments, there’s (virtually) no weak links, and it generally represents the best lineups pitchers will see, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, several of the top collegiate prospects were at schools that were unable to make the tournament, so this year was a bit of a letdown in that regard. That being said, we did have three of the contenders for the No. 1 pick on the field, as well as several prospects who have a chance to go early on Day 1.

• Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray may not have the stranglehold on the top pick that many once believed, but he made a good case for earning that right on Friday, with one noticeable caveat.

Gray struggled in the first two innings, but settled down to hold Coastal Carolina to just three runs while walking just one and striking out 12 Chanticleers in a 7-3 victory for the Sooners. Unfortunately, Gray was allowed to throw a whopping 130 pitches over his nine innings of work, a dangerously high pitch count at any point of the year.

“There were some less-than-ideal things, but some encouraging moments as well,” an NL scout said. “It’s good to see him bounce back from the early struggles. Coastal Carolina has a good lineup and they will make you battle, and I think he did that [Friday]. With that being said, that pitch count is pretty exorbitant, no matter if he isn’t pitching for another week or another year.”