Top 100 College Prospects: #97, Joe Pietro

Outfielder Joe Pietro, a junior this year at the University of New Orleans, is a prototypical center field prospect who can be a force at the top of a lineup. Pietro plays solid defense, can hit well for average, and is a catalyst on the base paths. For this reason, Joe Pietro ranks #97 on our list.

Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Joe Pietro began his collegiate career playing for Creighton University after leading Creighton Prep High School to two state championships. In 2001, his American Legion team finished third in the nation. At Creighton University, Joe started in 44 of their 46 games and immediately made an impact with his speed and defensive play in center field before transferring to the University of New Orleans.

In 2003, his first year at UNO, Pietro burst on to the national scene by hitting .385. He strung together two impressive hitting streaks in 2003. He had a 15-game hitting streak and ended the season with an 11-game hitting streak. Pietro also developed more gap power in his sophomore season and was an on-base machine (.439 on-base percentage). He racked up 28 multi-hit games last season, including 11 three-hit games. A left-handed batter, Pietro is capable of beating many balls hit to the left side of the field with his speed. He also has shown much progress in learning how to steal bases after getting thrown out nine times his freshman season at Creighton.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

R

BB

SO

SB

2002

Creighton

.244

180

44

2

2

0

17

34

22

41

11

2003

New Orleans

.385

221

85

10

3

2

19

45

19

39

15



Batting and Power. Pietro is a physically gifted leadoff hitter that has very good gap power. He bats lead off for the University of New Orleans and projects to do the same at the pro level. He has a very good batting eye and utilizes his tremendous speed to leg out hits.

Base Running and Speed. Pietro has incredible speed and runs the bases very well. He can steal any base in any situation. He's still learning to read the pitchers, being thrown out in 14 SB attempts in his career thus far. He has been clocked at 3.7 to 3.9 seconds from home to first.

Defense. Pietro is solid centerfielder defensively. He gets a good jump on the ball, runs well, and has an above average arm. Posted a .964 fielding percentage last season by fielding 135 balls out of 140 opportunities.

Projection. Joe Pietro projects to be a very good starting centerfielder hitting at the leadoff spot and is the prototypical centerfielder. His game, and in some ways his appearance, resembles Johnny Damon of the Boston Red Sox for a good MLB comparison.

Outfielders

School

Seth Smith

Mississippi

Danny Putnam

Stanford

Justin Maxwell

Maryland

Jeff Frazier

Rutgers

Sam Fuld

Stanford

Jeremy Slayden

Georgia Tech

Jonathan Zeringue

LSU

Eddy Martinez-Esteve

Florida State

Ben Harrison

Florida

Sean Gamble

Auburn

J.C. Holt

LSU

Michael Griffin

Baylor

Darryl Lawhorn

East Carolina

Tony Sipp

Clemson

C.J. Smith

Florida

Brandon Boggs

Georgia Tech

Chris Carter

Stanford

Cory Patton

Texas A & M

Mark Jurich

Louisville

Danny Figueroa

Miami

Joe Pietro

New Orleans

Jeff Fiorentino

Florida Atlantic

Anthony Raglani

George Washington



Comments


There are 23 potential outfielders among the Top 100 College Draft prospects. Stanford's Danny Putnam and Maryland's Justin Maxwell appear to be the top "five-tool" talents at this position this year. Sam Fuld and Florida's Ben Harrison are two of the more complete outfielders in the draft. Tony Sipp of Clemson could be drafted as a pitcher and Jeff Fiorentino of Florida Atlantic could be the "sleeper" in this class.

1. Seth Smith - Hit 4 HRs and had 9 RBI for Team USA in the Pan American games last summer after a good sophomore year at Ole Miss where he hit .333. Hit .402 as a freshman and like Jeff Frazier, he has walked more than he has struck out in his career.

2. Danny Putnam - One of the best offensive players in the land, Putnam hits to all fields with power and for average. Played for Team USA in the summer and is the leader of the Stanford Cardinal. Hit 16 HRs last season as a sophomore.

3. Justin Maxwell - A junior for the Terps, Maxwell has developed into one of the finer 5-tool talents At 6'5", he's a big kid that still has some room to fill out. He has outstanding range defensively. Led Maryland in several offensive categories last season.

4. Jeff Frazier - The former New Jersey Player of the Year as a high school senior, Frazier is a devastating hitter against left handed pitchers, hitting .390 againt south-paws. He can hit to all fields and has developing power. Has one of the better batting eyes in all of baseball, drawing 39 more walks than striking out...a rare feat in today's game.

5. Sam Fuld - A First Team Preseason All-American, Fuld's arguably the best centerfielder in college baseball is is one of the best defensive players. He can hit, throw, run, hit for power, etc, and should be a great leadoff prospect in this year's draft. He's a Kenny Lofton type.

6. Jeremy Slayden - Georgia Tech's everyday right fielder had a disappointing second year after bursting on to the scene as a freshman when he hit 18 home runs, setting a new school record for HRs by a freshman. Boasts a .323 career mark.

7. Jonathan Zeringue - A team leader for LSU, Zeringue was a third round draft pick of the White Sox in the 2001 draft. Hit .339 with 13 HRs last season and plays a very good defensive right field.

8. Eddy Martinez-Esteve - Only a sophomore, Esteve is considered one of the best hitters in all of college baseball. Hit .371 as a freshman third baseman and is playing right field in 2004. Was a third round pick of the Mariners in 2002.

9. Ben Harrison - An all around good player, both offensively and defensively. In less that 500 career at-bats at Florida, Harrison has 23 HRs, 123 RBI, and 30 stolen bases in 34 attempts. Hit .362 in 2003 and use all fields.

10. Sean Gamble - Like Raglani, Gamble is strong in all areas. He won't hit for too much power, but could be a solid all around performer.

11. J.C. Holt - Plays a great defensive center field, making no errors last season. Played mostly second base and short stop his freshman year. Has a good bat with decent gap power. He is more of a speedster than power hitter. Holt was named the 2003 MVP of the Cape Cod Baseball League this past summer after hitting .388.

12. Michael Griffin - Played most of his freshman year at 3B, but plays outfield as well. He oozes talent in the batter's box. 43.7% of his hits in 2003 went for extra bases and played for the USA National Team in the Pan American Games last summer.

13. Darryl Lawhorn - Was named Co-National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America after hitting .416 with 19 home runs for the Pirates in 2002. Was a dominant pitcher in high school and is dripping with five-tool talent (he stole 15 bases his freshman year).

14. Tony Sipp - A left-handed hitter that can run well with speed. Depending on who drafts him, could be drafted as a pitcher. Early prediction is his future is on the mound.

15. C.J. Smith - This Florida Gator has big time power, knocking 17 home runs in 2003 which ranked second in the SEC. Smith hits to all fields and has a good batting eye. Not known for his defense, Smith committed 7 errrors at 1B last season. More of a DH type, possibly left field.

16. Brandon Boggs - A switch-hitter, Boggs is a "toolsy" player with good gap power and speed. He's a bit of a free swinger but plays a strong defensive center field. Has a strong arm and covers a lot of ground.

17. Chris Carter - A junior for the Stanford Cardinal, Carter possesses big time power, clubbing 17 HRs in just 208 career at-bats entering 2004. Missed two months of 2003 with a shoulder injury. Has good batting eye and great work ethic. Can also play 1B. A good '04 and he could rank a lot higher on this list.

18. Cory Patton - Like Jurich below, Patton has a ton of power despite size. At 5'10", Patton hit 16 HRs last season for the Aggies and still drew more walks than struck out. Uses all fields as a hitter.

19. Mark Jurich - Could have been much higher in the rankings has a hand injury not derailed him so much in 2003. At 5"11, Jurich has a lot of pop in his bat. Hit 16 HRs as a sophomore and he resembles Brian Giles in the batter's box. One to watch in 2004.

20. Danny Figueroa - Figueroa's game is all about the speed. Stole 41 bases in 63 games for the Miami Hurricanes last season. He is an on-base machine, drawing more walks than striking out, and getting 17 hit-by-pitches last season.

21. Joe Pietro - Good contact hitter, has gap power, and could be a force at the top of any lineup. His game is more about the speed than power.

22. Jeff Fiorentino - A kid that could be a real "sleeper" in June's draft. Does everything well. Has a body frame to add more weight and power. Hit .382 as a sophomore. Has five-tool talent.

23. Anthony Raglani - A junior for the Colonials, Raglani has developing power, a good eye, patience at the plate, and good gap power. His one weakness is his throwing arm. A definite left fielder.

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