We are unveiling the top 10 prospect lists for 18 different summer college leagues. Everyone can read the scouting report on each league’s top prospect, and subscribers can read the scouting reports for the full Top
10s. Links are added as each league is posted.
No. 1 Jake Stewart, of, Fairbanks (So., Stanford)
Not many scouts saw Stewart, as he missed the final three weeks of the summer after being hit by a pitch on the back of his left thigh. Over his 74 at-bats in Alaska, Stewart hit .270/.321/.365. The numbers weren’t loud, but Stewart’s tools are. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Stewart definitely has the physique scouts look for and could have played either football or basketball at the collegiate level. On top of that, Stewart moves exceptionally well, especially for such a physical player. He has well above-average speed, getting clocked from home to first (from the right side of the plate) in 4.1 seconds. The speed translates to the outfield, as well. Fairbanks head coach Jim Dietz coached at San Diego State for more than 30 years and has been with the Goldpanners for 14 years over three stints dating back to 1970. Dietz said Stewart might be the best outfielder he’s ever seen, in terms of his speed and ability to run down balls. He also has a strong arm, but tries to rush his throws sometimes. Stewart can put on a show in batting practice, but is still learning how to identify pitches and needs to work on getting into better hitters’ counts. If he can make those strides at the plate, Stewart has all the tools to be a special player.
ATLANTIC COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Chris Reed, lhp, Torrington (Jr. Stanford)
Reed pitched sparingly as a freshman in 2009 and struggled with his control as a sophomore at Stanford, going 2-0, 6.10 with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in 21 innings of relief this spring. But he turned a corner this summer in the ACBL, going 2-2, 1.23 with 23 strikeouts and 13 walks in 22 innings, mostly in relief. Reed has a projectable pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. This summer he showed good command of a 90-92 mph fastball and a sharp slider in the low 80s. He has significant upside but must continue to refine his feel for pitching and command.
CAL RIPKEN LEAGUE
No. 1 Glynn Davis, of/1b, Youse’s Orioles (SIGNED: Orioles)
Davis went undrafted after his sophomore year at Catonsville (Md.) CC, but he signed with the Orioles after going 16-for-37 (.432) with two homers in a brief Ripken League stint. Davis’ best tool is his speed—he has been clocked between 6.3 and 6.4 seconds in the 60-yard dash, making him a true 80 runner on the 20-80 scale. He has a good feel for using his speed on the basepaths, helping him go 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts this summer. He played shortstop this spring at Catonsville but will move to center field in pro ball. He shows average arm strength from the outfield. Davis’ lean, 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame has projection, and his quick hands generate plus bat speed. The ball jumps off his bat when he connects from an upright stance, producing hard line drives to the gaps and occasional loft power. He likes the ball up in the zone and keeps his hands inside the ball well. His above-average hand-eye coordination should help him improve his pitch recognition as he sees more offspeed stuff in pro ball.
CALIFORNIA COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Ryon Healy, 3b, Conejo Oaks (Fr., Oregon)
In a league heavy in pitching potential, the bat of a potential two-way player stood out. Healy wasn’t drafted this spring after floating a seven-figure signing bonus out of famed Crespi High in Encino, Calif. While he was a dominant pitcher as a high school junior and could pitch again for Oregon—he’s bumped 95 mph in the past in short stints and has a 6-foot-4 frame—he impressed with the bat this summer, hitting .360/.432/.522 with a league-best 17 doubles and 38 RBIs for Conejo. Healy’s swing, size and third-base position evoked comparisons to Evan Longoria and Scott Rolen from league managers. One scout said Healy’s hit tool was more advanced, while another said his best tool eventually would be his power. He has strong forearms and hands that help him generate good bat speed. Healy lacks polish defensively at the hot corner, making 16 errors this summer, and may wind up at first or in an outfield corner, though he’s a below-average runner.
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
No. 1 Carter Capps, rhp, Fayetteville (So., Mount Olive, N.C.)
With a durable 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame and the best velocity in the league, Capps stood out as the CPL’s top prospect. In his 45 innings with Fayetteville, he went 3-1, 1.60 with 35 hits allowed, 10 walks and 47 strikeouts as opponents batted just .216 against him. That performance earned him a trip to the league’s all-star game, where he caught the attention of scouts after touching 96 mph and sitting 94-95 in his two-thirds of an inning. Capps gets good downward plane and sink on his fastball from a mid-three-quarters arm slot. His second pitch is a hard slider that registers between 84-86, a potential plus offering that features good tilt. He generates his velocity using a quick arm and an upright motion, prompting comparisons to Tommy Hanson. However, one American League scout speculated that Capps might profile best as a reliever due to his stiff finish, which produces a moderate amount of effort in his delivery. Now considered a high-level follow for talent evaluators heading into the spring, Capps will try to prove his mid-90s velocity is here to stay as a redshirt sophomore for the Trojans.
FLORIDA COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Brandon Thomas, of, Sanford (So., Georgia Tech)
A 37th-round pick by the Mariners out of high school in Atlanta, Thomas hit .262/.385/.381 in 84 at-bats as a reserve at Georgia Tech this spring, then showed what he can do in an everyday role this summer, hitting .312/.395/.413 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 138 at-bats. He has above-average speed out of the box, and he stole 17 bases in 23 tries this summer. His speed also plays well in the outfield, where he takes good routes to fly balls. A switch-hitter, Thomas already flashes good power potential, and his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame has plenty of room for projection. He’s still polishing some rough edges, but he has five-tool potential.
HAWAII COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Joc Pederson, of, Waimea (SIGNED: Dodgers)
Pederson’s father, Stu, starred at Southern California before reaching the big leagues as a Dodgers outfielder in 1985. Joc passed up a chance to follow his father to USC so he could follow his father’s pro footsteps. He signed with Los Angeles for a $600,000 bonus as an 11th-round pick after his strong summer against largely older competition in Hawaii, where he hit .319/.417/.440. Pederson’s best tool is his slightly above-average speed, which leads to above-average range in the outfield. He lacks a premium tool, but he has average or better tools across the board, including average raw power. He also could be an average hitter if he can refine his approach at the plate, making progress toward that end this summer. A former football standout in high school, Pederson carries that hard-nosed mentality over to the baseball diamond, where his upside is significant.
GREAT LAKES LEAGUE
No. 1 Adam Brett Walker, of, Licking County (So., Jacksonville)
Walker’s father, Adam, was a running back who reached the NFL with the Vikings in 1987, and Adam inherited his father’s athleticism and physicality. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Walker came to the Great Lakes League with a reputation for hitting the ball very far—when he could get a hold of it. After his freshman season at Jacksonville when he struck out about every 2.5 at-bats, Walker focused on improving his plate discipline this summer. And while he is still far from patient (he struck out about every four at-bats this summer), Walker stayed away from bad pitches enough to be the scariest hitter in the league, tying for the lead with eight home runs and posting a 1.078 OPS. He has legitimate five-tool talent, and one coach compared him to B.J. Upton. Walker still struggles against good offspeed stuff, but if a pitcher hangs a curveball or challenges him with a fastball, Walker will make him pay. Said one opposing coach: “Every ballpark he plays in seems like it’s too little for him.”
No. 1 Charlie Lowell, lhp, El Dorado (Jr., Wichita State)
Lowell and 6-foot-8 Broncos (and Shockers) teammate Brian Flynn both got support as the Jayhawk League’s top prospect, with Lowell earning the edge for his combination of polish and arm strength. While the Laurence-Dumont Stadium radar gun had Lowell register 98 mph during the NBC World Series, most observers thought the gun was hot, by at least 3 mph. However hard he was throwing, he fanned 16 in 12 innings of work in the NBC. Lowell’s fastball sits around 90 mph regularly, though, and he touches 93-94. He has a solid-average slider with above-average potential; together with the angle he manufactures with his delivery, he can be very tough on lefthanded hitters. Lowell, who went 0-1, 4.00 this summer for the Broncos, has some feel for pitching, adding and subtracting from his pitches, and has a solid changeup with room to grow. If the 6-foot-4, 234-pounder doesn’t stick as a starter, he could wind up as a lefty reliever.
No. 1 Mike Kickham, lhp, Sedalia (SIGNED: Giants)
After getting drafted in the sixth rough as an eligible sophomore at Missouri State, Kickham’s time in the MINK League was cut short when he signed with the Giants. But he made the most of the time he had. The lefthander went 3-0, 0.29 with 42 strikeouts in 24 innings and showed the stuff that prompted the Giants to give him a well-above-slot $410,000 signing bonus. He has a nice and easy delivery and his fastball sits at 89-92 mph, often touching as high as 94. He complements his fastball with two good breaking balls—a true slider and an overhand curveball—in addition to a solid changeup. All of that, packaged with good command and a solid 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, gives Kickham a chance to be a big league starter down the road.
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Kenny Diekroeger, ss, Newport (So., Stanford)
Diekroeger instantly became one of the best incoming freshmen in the country when he spurned Tampa Bay, who had drafted him in the second round in 2009, in favor of the Cardinal. He largely lived up to the hype, leading Stanford in hitting with a .356/.391/.491 line in 216 at-bats, on his way to garnering first-team freshman All-America honors. His talent was on display this summer as well, as NECBL coaches almost unanimously chose Diekroeger as the circuit’s best pro prospect after he hit .324/.354/.446 in 139 at-bats with the Gulls. A wiry 6-foot-2, 200 pounder, Diekroeger has gap-to-gap power to go along with advanced plate discipline and good, quick hands that make it hard for pitchers to fool him. After playing primarily third base at Stanford, Diekroeger split his time between shortstop and third base with the Gulls, and some coaches weren’t convinced he could stick at shortstop. He has average speed and range to go along with good infield actions and a strong arm. There were questions about his maturity and work ethic down the stretch and he was even benched for part of the postseason, during which he managed just one hit in 15 at-bats. But his athleticism, bat speed and approach suggest he has a bright future as an offensive shortstop or third baseman down the road.
NEW YORK COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Mel Rojas Jr., of, Amsterdam (SIGNED: Pirates)
The son of the former big league closer of the same name, Rojas turned down offers to sign out of the Dominican Republic before arriving at Wabash Valley (Ill.) CC. He redshirted in 2009 while getting his eligility in order, then put together a strong summer in the NYCBL last summer, ranking as the league’s No. 5 prospect. His stock climbed in the spring, and he signed for $423,900 as a third-round pick after hitting .298/.337/.362 with 11 steals in 24 games for Amsterdam. Rojas has a lithe, athletic 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame and above-average speed, giving him a chance to be a center fielder in pro ball. He played all three outfield positions for Amsterdam, and his solid-average arm plays in right as well. A switch-hitter, Rojas is a better hitter from the left side—a gap-to-gap hitter with some power—but he has more pop from the right. Rojas has worked hard in the weight room to add strength, but his power is still below-average, though it has a chance to be average in time. His pure tools stood out above the rest of the crop in the NYCBL, and he finished the summer in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he struggled offensively.
No. 1 Steve Nyisztor, ss, St. Cloud (So., Rutgers)
Like former Rutgers star Todd Frazier, Nyisztor was a youth star in Toms Rivers, N.J., and like Frazier he made an instant impact as a freshman. Nyisztor stepped right into Rutgers’ No. 3 hole and hit .410/.450/.563 with four homers and 51 RBIs in 229 at-bats, while fielding .989 at second base. He followed that up by winning Northwoods League MVP honors, hitting .306/.349/.486 with eight homers, 56 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 278 at-bats. He also slid over to shortstop this summer and held his own, though he needs to improve his reads, and his first step is a bit slow. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Nyisztor profiles better at third base as he matures physically. His solid-average to plus arm is strong enough for either position, and he has average infield actions presently that should be plus in time. He also should develop enough power to hold down a corner—he has very quick, strong hands, and he made progress this summer toward using his lower half better and driving the ball with more authority. He flashes good righthanded power to all fields, though currently he employs a line-drive, gap-to-gap approach. He is also a gifted two-strike hitter who abhors striking out. A long-strider, Nyisztor is a good runner underway, and his baserunning instincts are excellent. In a nutshell, he has tantalizing five-tool potential and grinder makeup to match.
No. 1 Navery Moore, rhp, Nashville (Jr., Vanderbilt)
Entering the 2011 season, Moore seems to be on the cusp of realizing the vast potential that made him one of the top pitchers in the country as a 16-year-old. Moore had Tommy John surgery prior to his senior season in high school and threw just five innings as a freshman at Vanderbilt while rehabbing his elbow. He struggled mightily with his control that spring and last summer in Cape Cod. As a sophomore, Moore was unlucky again when he broke his kneecap during fall practice, limiting him to just 13 innings; he finished with a 9.24 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 12 walks. Finally healthy this summer, Moore showed what he was capable of on the mound for the Outlaws. In 46 innings, he posted a 3.94 ERA as well as 48 strikeouts to 21 walks. Opponents hit just .236 against him and no one took him deep all summer. Moore’s fastball may not have as much zip as it did before the surgery, but it still sits in the 92-94 mph range with late life. When he is locating his curveball, it is a true 12-to-6 pitch with tight spin; the problem is that his control is still inconsistent. Once he gains more confidence in his pitching ability, and if he harnesses his secondary stuff, he has a high ceiling as a potential closer—but that’s a big if. The good news is Nashville coach Brian Ryman lauded his makeup and called him one of the hardest-working players on the team.
TEXAS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Lee Orr, of, East Texas (Jr., McNeese State)
Considered the TCL’s best overall athlete, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Orr has the potential to be a five-tool player. He runs fast enough and gets good enough reads to project as a center fielder at the next level, but he has enough power to play right field, where his plus arm fits well. More than half of his 40 hits this summer were for extra bases, and he swiped 24 bases in 27 tries, showing off his solid-average speed. But Orr also struck out about once every three at-bats, and he will need to become more disciplined to become a passable hitter at the high levels of professional baseball. He struggles against breaking balls—which also helps explain his 136-62 strikeout-walk mark in his two seasons at McNeese—but he also has legitimate power to all fields, as evidenced by his 31 homers in two college seasons. Orr was a 40th-round pick as a redshirt sophomore this spring, but he could boost his stock significant if he can show a more mature approach to go along with his nice tool set next spring.
No. 1 Jerome Werniuk, rhp, Haymarket (So., Le Moyne)
Big and physical at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, Werniuk paired his pro size with performance this summer. In 27 innings as Haymarket’s hybrid setup man/closer, he recorded three saves and a 1.98 ERA, allowing 22 hits and 14 walks with 34 strikeouts. Werniuk throws from a high three-quarters release point, allowing him to create good downward angle on a fastball that sits in the high-80s and touches 92 mph. He shows some athleticism in an easy, effortless motion, although his size makes it difficult for him to repeat his delivery, which saps his velocity at times. Werniuk’s 76-78 slider breaks late when it’s thrown well, but he needs to improve its consistency. He also throws a rudimentary changeup that needs refinement. A member of the Canadian junior national team before being selected in the 20th round of the 2009 draft by the Rangers, Werniuk will return to Le Moyne in the spring to compete for a spot in the Dolphins’ weekend rotation.
WEST COAST LEAGUE
No. 1 Stefan Sabol, c/3b/of, Cowlitz (Fr., Oregon)
For the second straight year, the West Coast League’s top prospect is a just-graduated high school catcher from California on his way to a school in Oregon. Last year it was Oregon State’s Andrew Susac, and this year it’s Sabol. Sabol was one of the best athletes in last year’s draft. With his chiseled, 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame, it’s no surprise that he is the cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro safety Troy Polamalu. In a league full of college sophomores and juniors, Sabol still looked like a man among boys, physically. An Aflac All-American last summer, Sabol came into the spring as one of the top high school players in the class, but slipped to the Braves in the 17th round because of his strong commitment to Oregon and questions about his future position. Sabol has five-tool potential to go along with just passing the eye test. But despite his athleticism, Sabol is stiff behind the plate, and his arm strength doesn’t translate well there, either. He started just five games at catcher this summer, spending most of his time at third base. Sabol does have good baseball instincts and is a hard worker, so there’s a chance he can improve enough to stay at either of those positions, but some scouts believe he’ll eventually wind up in left field. But that’s okay, because his bat should play anywhere. He always has a plan at the plate and waits for his pitch. Sabol has a short, powerful swing and strong hands and forearms. He can drive the ball to the gaps with ease and has pull power now, which should expand as he continues to mature.