Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Snorting Bull Baseball Tour Day 1: USA College National Team versus Cuba

Tonight marks the beginning of my first annual baseball tour.  Just something I am trying on a small scale this year.  Living in North Carolina I get a lot of chances to see baseball at a lot of different levels.  Over the next week, or there abouts, I am going to be attending a few baseball games mostly around central North Carolina.  First up is the USA Collegiate Baseball team taking on the Cuban National Team.

I did a write up on a USA Baseball game last year if you are unfamiliar with the program run during the summer in Cary, North Carolina.  Basically the team is filled with freshman and sophomore's and serves as sort of an All-Star team for the college baseball leagues.  I will be checking in on a little bit more college baseball later in the week too.  Here is a look at the current roster for USA Baseball.....

If you clicked that link above to my write up from last year and compared it to the amateur draft from last week you would see that there were several top picks on last year's squad including first overall pick Dansby Swanson.  Truth be told, if you read my write up I liked Alex Bregman better, but I was probably splitting hairs.  This year I am interested in a few players.  Here's my run down on five of them:

Buddy Reed- The Florida sophomore has been the offensive star for USA Baseball in the early part of their schedule.  He arrived late, due to the College World Series, but has been a .500 hitter and driven in five runners during his first week with the squad.  He's not considered one of the elite prospects on this team, but a good summer with the College National Team could certainly boost his stock.

Nick Banks- The Charlotte native plays his college ball at Texas A&M and is considered an elite draft prospect for the 2016 MLB Draft.  FanGraphs ranks him currently as the best college position player in the draft.  The junior to be lead the SEC in batting this year.  Currently he is one of the offensive leaders of this summer's College National Team with a .393 average.  

A.J. Puk- The Florida lefty is considered the best college pitcher in the 2016 MLB Draft.  He has already made two appearances for USA Baseball this summer giving up one run in 6 innings of work.  This spring at Florida he went 9-4 with an ERA of 3.81, but also made eight starts as a first baseman. With a mid 90s fastball his MLB Draft stock is strictly based on his pitching arm.  He seems a little raw, but when you're 6'7. left-handed, and throw hard......

Bobby Dolbec- This is another two way player in college who is going to be drafted for a very specific skill: power.  Dolbec is currently the only player on the National College Team with a home run this summer.  He actually has two.  The corner infielder lead Arizona with 15 home runs this past season and looks to be the top power prospect in the 2016 MLB Draft.  He's a big guy and a lot of people have started making the comparison to Kris Bryant with him, but I think that's not completely accurate.  Bryant was a little bit more polished as a college hitter, but Dolbec is still going to hit home runs somewhere in the near future.  

Tanner Houck- The star pitcher thus far for the US National College Team has been Mizzou freshman Tanner Houck.  He has made two appearances so far this summer for the squad including an impressive start against Chinese Taipei.  Overall he sporting an ERA of 3.12 with a win and no losses.  At Mizzou this season he was named a Freshman All-American by Baseball America and became one of the better pitchers in the tough SEC during the season.  

You can follow along with the game tonight by following my Twitter account or by checking out my page tomorrow morning.....

1 comment:

  1. Sounds fun. I always wanted to visit all the baseball fields and stadiums in the Midwest, maybe one day I will. I haven't seen them play much because I'm not much on college baseball (not a fan of metal bats), but living close to Mizzou I am always hearing great things about Tanner Houck and Ryan Howard. I hope you enjoy your baseball tour.