2006 Great Lakes League Top 10 Prospects

1. J.B Shuck, lhp/of, Columbus (Ohio State)

A
star in tiny Galion, Ohio, Shuck was a second-team All-Freshman
selection after a big first season with the Buckeyes. Playing both
ways, Shuck continued to excel in both areas during the summer, as he
posted a 0.95 ERA and hit .364 with Columbus. Scouts are still
undecided on where Shuck’s future will take him. At the plate Shuck has
a short quick stroke that makes consistent contact, yet provides little
power. A quick runner, Shuck is very good in the outfield, where his
arm strength plays well. On the mound, Shuck draws praise for his
makeup, and the southpaw displays maturity in setting up hitters. His
high-80s fastball doesn’t blaze radar guns but he has good control of
the pitch. Shuck’s secondary pitches, including a developing curve,
lack consistency.

2. Damon Brewer, lhp, Lima (Bethune-Cookman)

Armed
with the league’s best fastball, Brewer led the league in saves. His
heater, which comes in at 91-93 mph, offers very good arm-side run.
Brewer has good control of the pitch, walking just six while striking
out 33 in 20 innings. However, he made little progress with his slider
during the summer. Headed to Bethune-Cookman from Lake City, Fla., CC,
Brewer’s lefthanded velocity will go a long way with scouts if he can
make progress with his breaking ball.

3. John Baird, rhp, Delaware (Cincinnati)

Hardly
used in a deep Birmingham-Southern pitching staff, Baird had the
opportunity to transfer closer to home when BSC dropped its Division I
baseball program in the early summer and will pitch for Cincinnati next
season. Baird’s initial move back to Ohio went well, as the righthander
did not allow an earned run in the first half of the season. Baird
showed a live arm in the spring, albeit one with consistency problems.
His best pitch is a hard slider, thrown in the low 80s with
inconsistent depth. Baird does have problems throwing the pitch for
strikes, leaving the onus on his low-90s fastball; he walked 17 in 37
innings. Coaches liked the arm-side run on Baird’s fastball, and he
improved his command of the pitch on his way to posting a miniscule
0.97 summer ERA.

4. Chris Kupillas, rhp, Grand Lake (Central Michigan)

Kupillas
pitched just 5 1/3 innings with Central Michigan as a freshman in 2006.
He drew rave reviews this summer for his pitcher’s body (6-foot-6, 230)
and performance, as he led the league in opponents average (.150) and
strikeouts (52 in 43 innings). Kupillas’ low-90s fastball, touching 94,
is the key to his arsenal, and his curveball improved as the summer
progressed. Like many young pitchers, Kupillas has little feel for his
changeup, and at times relies on nothing but his fastball.

5. Kyle Maunus, 3b, Cincinnati (Western Michigan)

After
three years of gradual improvement at Western Michigan, and a good
beginning to his Great Lakes League season, the Reds jumped on Maunus
after 34 games. Now a pro prospect, Maunus left quite the impression on
coaches before he left the league. While the third baseman has just
shown gap power in the past, many of his doubles should turn to home
runs down the road. Maunus achieves this power despite a relatively
short swing founded upon a contact-first, patient approach at the
plate. In the field, Maunus is a bit better than average athletically,
having been tried at second base with Western Michigan. While Maunus
doesn’t offer a huge ceiling, his stock could improve if he develops
home run power as some league coaches predict.

6. Josh Harrison, if, Southern Ohio (Cincinnati)

After
a fantastic freshman season for the Bearcats, Harrison hit .347 in 118
at-bats in the summer. A versatile player, Harrison played a multitude
of positions, and his future may involve a utility role. Harrison is
best suited for second base, which plays to his small frame (5-foot-8),
quick feet (6.9 seconds in the 60-yard dash) and good hands. He draws
significant praise for his plus makeup as well as excellent instincts
and baseball intelligence, explaining his ability to adjust on the fly.
A mature hitter who is rarely overmatched at the plate, Harrison offers
enough pop to keep defenses honest.

7. Mike Wilson, rhp, Great Lakes (Michigan)

The
Wolverines knew when they brought Wilson from Ontario what they were
getting themselves into–a project. As a result, during his freshman
season, Wilson threw in just eight games, posting a 7.71 ERA. Pitching
more consistently in the summer, Wilson thrived, posting a 2.14 ERA.
Wilson’s 6-foot-6, 225-pound frame includes thick legs, and he has
power stuff to go with his powerful frame: a low-90s fastball that
touches 94. The pitch generates both numerous strikeouts and walks.
Wilson has the makings of a good slider, but the pitch is inconsistent,
and Wilson relies heavily on his fastball. Still quite raw, Wilson’s
potential matches any pitcher in the Great Lakes League–yet no pitcher
may be further from reaching it.

8. Travis Jones, 2b, Lima (South Carolina)

A
teammate of Damon Brewer at Lake City (Fla.) CC, Jones will head to
South Carolina next year. Jones had among the best set of tools in the
league, and he should be able to handle the move up to the Southeastern
Conference. Jones’ best tool is his game-breaking speed and ability on
the bases, as evidenced by his 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts. A
capable defender, Jones has a weak arm and will be limited at second
base at the next level. At the plate, he has a good approach and a
short, quick swing that generates good pop. Jones has yet to completely
translate his tools into performance, but he should continue to refine
his game this fall at South Carolina.

9. Matt Stiffler, of, Southern Ohio (Ohio)

Stiffler
hit .367/.447/.500 and drew raves for his makeup as well as his
offensive approach. The league leader in doubles, Stiffler has good gap
power, though it’s doubtful he’ll develop much home run power. His best
asset is the ability to make consistent, line-drive contact from the
left side. Stiffler shows good baseball intelligence on the bases and
in the field. The key for Stiffler will be convincing scouts that he
can play center at the next level, as he lacks the power for an
outfield corner.

10. Mark Sorensen, rhp, Columbus (Michigan State)

After
experiencing a sophomore slump with the Spartans during the spring,
Sorensen blossomed during the summer, going 6-1, 1.71. What sticks out
most about Sorensen is his endurance, as the righthander had three
complete games and was third in the league in innings pitched. His
biggest strength is his control, especially of his high-80s fastball
that touched 91 in the summer. While Sorensen has good feel for a
changeup, that pitch and his breaking ball both need improvement, as
Sorensen does not miss enough bats, striking out just 28 in 47 innings.

College | #2007

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