Baseball America compiled top prospect lists for 21 college summer leagues and USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. Here are the No. 1 prospects for all 21 leagues, along with links to the full lists for subscribers. The writers who assembled these prospect lists were Mat Batts, Aaron Fitt, Ian Frazer, Pat Hickey, Michael Lanana, Mike Lemaire and Clint Longenecker.
|SUMMER LEAGUE TOP PROSPECT LISTS|
|Baseball America is ranking the top prospects in 21 summer leagues as well as Team USA.|
|Atlantic Collegiate||Great Lakes||Perfect Game|
|Cal Ripken Collegiate||Hamptons Collegiate||Prospect League|
|California Collegiate||Jayhawk||Team USA|
|Cape Cod||MINK||Texas Collegiate|
|Coastal Plain||New England Collegiate||Valley|
|Far West||New York Collegiate||West Coast|
A.J. Simcox, ss, Mat-Su (So., Tennessee): Simcox was a BA second-team prep All-American as a senior and a potential top-five-rounds talent who fell to the 38th round in the 2012 draft because of his commitment to Tennessee, where he started at shortstop and hit .283/.338/.317 as a freshman. This summer, he led the Alaska League in batting average and finished in the top five in all three triple-slash categories with a .356/.403/.422 line. Coaches tabbed him the best pure hitter in the league, and he tied for the league’s lowest strikeout rate (7 percent). He has great hand-eye coordination and a line-drive bat path, and he excels at driving the ball the other way. As the summer progressed, Simcox began to turn on the ball more. While he presently has gap power, scouts give his raw power at least average grades and believe the athletic Simcox will grow into his rangy 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame. He is at least an average runner with above-average quickness and lateral agility. While his glove is not flashy, he has the ability to stick at shortstop professionally as a consistent defender with sure hands and strong instincts. He has the best arm in the league, a plus weapon that allows him to play deep.
Matt Alvarez, rhp, Staten Island (SIGNED, Royals): Alvarez spent the last three years working primarily out of Boston College’s bullpen, posting ERAs of 5.88, 5.91 and 5.60. He went undrafted as a fourth-year junior this June, but he signed with the Royals as a free agent after flashing 93-96 mph heat with minimal effort as Staten Island’s closer this summer. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound righty also mixed in a 90 mph cutter, but his secondary stuff and command need improvement.
Nik Nowottnick, rhp, Rockville (SIGNED, Orioles): After going 4-4, 5.03 as a junior at Towson this spring, Nowottnick posted a 2.09 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 12 walks in 34 innings this summer for Rockville, showing good enough stuff to sign with the Orioles as a nondrafted free agent. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder is a textbook projection righthander. At his best this summer, he sat at 90-92 mph and touched 94 from a mid-three-quarters slot, and his fastball showed late movement. That’s a jump from where he was as a sophomore at Chesapeake (Md.) JC in 2012, when his fastball was 86-88. He also mixes in a decent 73-74 mph curveball and an occasional changeup. Nowottnick has intriguing upside if he can continue to fill out his lean frame and add strength.
Caleb Whalen, 2b/3b/of, Los Angeles Brewers (Jr., Portland): After two modest seasons at Portland, Whalen took the CCL by storm this summer, hitting .361/.434/.525 with 15 doubles and nine steals for the league champion Brewers. He singled, doubled and tripled in the league all-star game to capture MVP honors, and scouts who saw him repeatedly came away more impressed with each viewing. “He’s the best player in the entire league, bar none, no question in my mind,” one NL area scout said. “He’s really athletic—he shocked me with his combination of tools and skills.” Whalen has a live 6-foot-1, 185-pound body and plus-plus speed. He has good body control and actions at second base or third, and his plus arm plays at the hot corner or in the outfield. At the plate, the righthanded hitter impacts the ball with authority and drives balls through the gaps, giving him a chance to become a plus hitter with average raw power.
Jeff Hoffman, rhp, Hyannis (Jr., East Carolina):Hoffman made a name for himself last summer in the Cape, touching 95 mph in the all-star game and ranking seventh on this list. He showed flashes of brilliance during an uneven sophomore spring at ECU, then firmly established himself as a strong candidate to be drafted inside the top five overall picks in 2014 with a strong four-start tour through the Cape this summer. Hoffman is still filling out his gangly 6-foot-4, 183-pound frame, but at his best he works in the 94-97 mph range and touches 98, though some scouts have seen him top out around 94 in other outings. He lacks pinpoint command of his fastball but is capable of working both sides of the plate, usually with good downhill plane. Hoffman’s 12-to-6 curveball can be a wipeout pitch at 79-84 mph, earning some plus-plus grades from scouts. His mid-80s slider can be a little flat at times, but it is another major weapon when it’s on. He also flashes an average changeup with fade and bottom. “When he locates his fastball, it’s pretty tough,” Hyannis coach Chad Gassman said. “He’ll be sitting 96-97 in the sixth, seventh inning—it’s almost like his velocity jumps later in the game. The thing about him is he’s made to be a starter. It’s free and easy, hardly any effort in there, and he really has an idea of how to be efficient when he needs to be.”
John Tuttle, rhp, Asheboro (Sr., Catawba): Tuttle dominated CPL hitters this summer, going 9-0 with a league-best 0.78 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 58 innings. But Tuttle stood out on the field as well as on paper. “I don’t know why he wasn’t drafted,” said one National League scout who has also seen Tuttle pitch in college. “That’s a mystery to me . . . He’s like a young Greg Maddux.” Tuttle’s greatest asset is his command. The 6-foot, 180-pound righthander pounds the lower half of the zone, generating good sink on his fastball with his quick arm action. Tuttle sits in the low 90s, topping out around 93 mph, and he features a hard slider and an average changeup. He’ll need to work on repeating his delivery, as he tends to jump out with his front side.
Francis Christy, c, California (Fr., Oregon): Christy stands out mostly for his size, quick wrists and arm strength. A strong commitment to the Ducks led him to campus after slipping to Oakland in the 37th round in June. As a 17-year-old, Christy hit .309/.434/.509 this summer and actually led the league in triples (5) despite his below-average speed. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound backstop has a compact swing from the left side and raw power to all fields. While Christy has turned in sub-2.0 pop times and is by all accounts a hard worker, he will need to improve his footwork and receiving in order to stay behind the plate.
Tyler Palmer, mif/of, Sanford (So., Seminole State JC, Fla.): At 6-foot, 185 pounds, Palmer is a versatile defender in both the infield and outfield. He led the league in home runs (nine), RBIs (32), hits (49), and stolen bases (24). After missing the league triple crown by just .004 batting average points, Palmer was named the league’s 2013 MVP. A fourth-round pick by the Marlins in 2011, Palmer suffered major nerve damage in his right forearm in a freak accident two years ago, which torpedoed his chances of signing a pro contract out of high school and his opportunity to play Division I ball at Georgia. He wound up at Oakton (Ill.) CC in 2012 and sat out last year after having surgery. Palmer will enter the 2014 season at Seminole State as a high draft prospect but will have to continue to show that he’s fully healthy.
Jamill Moquette of, Wachusett (Jr., Massachusetts-Boston): One of the most athletic outfielders in the Futures League, Moquette put together an impressive summer for Wachusett, hitting .350 with seven home runs. At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Moquette has a great frame for combining strength and speed. But with just four stolen bases this summer, Moquette will have to improve his baserunning ability and harness his overall athleticism.
Ashton Perritt, rhp/of, Licking County (Jr., Liberty): Perritt is an intriguing two-way player with some loud tools on the mound and as a position player. He enjoyed a breakout season with Liberty this spring, leading the team in batting (.343) and slugging (.512). He was equally impressive as a pitcher, which might be where teams like him the most. Green and projectable at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, Perritt sat comfortably in the 90-92 mph range and touched 94 in a relief role this summer. He added a curveball as an out pitch. He’s a terrific athlete, and has turned in plus-plus times in the 60-yard dash. He should slide into the Flames’ rotation next spring after pitching out of relief this year.
Nick Heath, of, North Fork (R-Fr., Northwestern State): Despite redshirting his freshman year, Heath’s talent immediately stood out, with one scout calling him “as toolsy at they get.” His arm is just adequate, but his above-average speed—he ran a 60-yard dash time in the mid-6-second range at scout day—helps him profile as a center fielder in the future. There’s still a fair bit of rawness to Heath’s game, as he tied for the league lead in strikeouts and his hits tended strongly toward the pull side, but he showed signs of strong natural hitting ability, leading the league in walks and putting together a .326/.453/.478 slash line. One league manager recalled Heath falling to a 1-2 count but sitting on a breaking ball and smacking a home run. Heath was also a menace on the basepaths, swiping 34 bags.
Dalton Viner, rhp, Hays (So., San Jacinto JC, Texas): Viner was a 31st-round pick by the Marlins in the 2013 draft thanks to his raw arm strength. He has a big frame at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and can run his fastball up to 95 mph. His command varies from batter to batter, pointing to problems with repeatability and tempo in his delivery, and his secondary stuff isn’t a factor yet. Viner struck out 26 batters in 16 innings for the Larks and held hitters to a .227 average, but he also gave up 15 walks and nine earned runs. One scout who saw him said he struggled to get through innings. Viner’s build and velocity will ensure he gets noticed, and playing for one of the best junior college programs in the country will also help, but he still has a lot of improvements to make.
Blake Trahan, ss, Clarinda (So., Louisiana-Lafayette): Trahan had already made a name for himself by hitting .319/.410/.423 as a freshman for a Louisiana-Lafayette team that won 43 games, and his combination of athleticism, plate discipline and defensive ability made an impression on coaches and scouts in the league. Trahan has surprising present pull power and quick hands that allow him to control the bat well and spray the ball to all fields. His plate discipline is still a work in progress, and he can still get out on his front foot too much, but opposing coaches were impressed with how quickly Trahan made adjustments. He also has above-average speed and natural baserunning instincts. Defensively, Trahan has enough range and arm strength to stick at shortstop, although some evaluators felt his size (he is just 5-foot-10, 185 pounds) made him suited for second base at the next level. He needs to work on fielding to his backhand side and getting his body around the ball, but his footwork around the bag is solid and his actions are smooth.
Nathan Kirby, lhp, Keene (So., Virginia): In a league that featured several talented lefthanded arms, Kirby was the best of the bunch, going 3-0, 2.32 with 81 strikeouts in 54 innings. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Kirby has a projectable frame and a clean delivery. He commands both sides of the plate with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, touches 94 and shows good movement. His breaking ball can be dominant at times, and his changeup improved throughout the summer—though it still needs work. “If he gets his changeup, he’s going to be really special,” Keene manager Kevin Winterowd said. Kirby started just twice for Virginia as a freshman, going 4-1, 6.06 in 33 innings. He started nine times for the Swamp Bats, and opposing managers praised his composure as well as his upside.
Robert Winemiller, rhp, Geneva (Jr., Case Western Reserve, Ohio): Winemiller spent most of his first two college seasons as a catcher, but he started pitching consistently this summer for the first time since his freshman year of high school and registered eight strikeouts and a 1.12 ERA in eight innings. Working exclusively from the stretch, Winemiller sits 90-94 mph with above-average armside run. The live-bodied Winemiller hides the ball with an athletic delivery from a three-quarters arm slot. His 80-84 mph slider flashed above-average with power and sharp two-plane break. Winemiller struggled to consistently throw strikes, walking five in his eight innings, and there is some effort in his delivery, but he will merit a trip for scouts to Case Western, a school that has only had one player drafted.
Colin Poche, lhp, Willmar (So., Arkansas): An unsigned 2012 fifth-round pick from Texas, Poche started five games as a freshman and had eight total appearances, generating a 1.37 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 20 innings. If Poche had thrown five more innings to qualify for the Northwoods ERA title, he would have ranked second (2.26) and in the top five in both strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.8) and strikeouts-per-nine (10.6). Poche has a clean, athletic delivery and repeats it well. He has a loose arm and hides the ball well from a high three-quarters arm slot. His 88-92 mph fastball with average movement and sink plays up because he gets good extension out front and has above-average command. He has feel for a changeup with good arm speed and a breaking ball with three-quarters tilt that both show the makings of average or better offerings. Poche has an athletic, projectable 6-foot-3, 210-pound build with a large frame, long limbs and room to add more strength.
Trey Wingenter, rhp, Amsterdam (So., Auburn): Wingenter is a highly projectable, low-mileage arm who could be poised for a breakout sophomore season. The lanky 6-foot-7 righthander converted from catcher to the mound just two years ago. Houston took a flier on him in the 36th round of the 2012 draft, but he went to school and worked mostly out of the Auburn bullpen in the spring, limiting hitters to a .236 average in 15 innings. Wingenter has a live arm and occasionally bumps 92 mph with leverage and life, and he mixes in a solid-average curveball in the mid-70s. He struck out 10.5 per nine this summer for the league champs but is subject to bouts of wildness at times and will need to further develop another offspeed pitch going forward.
Troy Conyers, lhp, Danville (So., San Diego): Conyers went 5-1, 1.53 for Danville and finished second in the league in strikeouts (60) despite throwing just 41 innings. The first thing that stands out about Conyers is his physical and projectable frame. A rising sophomore who stands 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Conyers has only just started to mature and is a good bet to add strength and velocity. He fills up the zone with three pitches and uses a funky delivery, helping him hide the ball and keep hitters off-balance. RHis fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 80s but got as high as 91 this summer. His slider is effective but will need refinement for it to be as effective at the next level, and his changeup—his best pitch—has plus potential because of its late drop and Conyers’ ability to make it look like his fastball coming out of his hand. Multiple opposing coaches said they were impressed with his ability to throw all of his pitches in any count, his ability to live in the lower half of the strike zone, and his ability to remember hitters’ weaknesses so he could attack them. Conyers struggles occasionallyto repeat his delivery and can still hang his slider at times, which is why he was up and down as a freshman for the Toreros.
Logan Taylor, ss, Acadiana (So., Texas A&M): Stuck behind dependable veteran shortstop Mikey Reynolds as a freshman, Taylor failed to make much of a dent this spring, accumulating just 53 at-bats and hitting .183/.267/.283. Given a chance to play every day for the Cane Cutters this summer, Taylor showed an all-around skillset that helped him stand out from the rest of the position players in the TCL. A solid 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Taylor is not done filling out his frame, but he showed some present strength this summer, hitting .339/.445/.463 with three home runs and 17 stolen bases. He stood out in the league for his physicality, athleticism and approach at the plate. Defensively, Taylor has the arm strength, footwork and range to play shortstop in college, but most evaluators were convinced that his best position will be third base at the next level. His best tools defensively are his above-average arm strength and hands, and if he can improve his footwork, he has the potential to be an excellent defender at the hot corner. Taylor really impressed this summer at the plate, exhibiting quick hands, terrific bat speed and good patience that allowed him to spray the ball to all fields. He has gap-to-gap power right now but could add pop as he matures physically. He is able to stay back on the ball and keep the barrel in the zone for a long time, making him a tough out. Occasionally he gets a little pull-happy and over-aggressive, but most TCL coaches attributed that to his inexperience rather than poor pitch recognition and plate discipline.
Max Povse, rhp, Strasburg (Jr., UNC Greensboro): Drafted out of high school by the Dodgers in the 42nd round in 2011, Povse progressed from 2-6, 6.55 as a freshman to 4-4, 4.75 as a sophomore in UNCG’s rotation. In 54 innings this summer, Povse had a 3.17 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP with 60 strikeouts and just 12 walks. He uses a high three-quarters slot and sits at 90-91 with his fastball. In both his college and summer seasons, he’s flashed occasional 93-94 heat, but he’ll need to become more consistent in his delivery in order to harness his arm strength. At 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, Povse’s height makes it difficult for him to have a consistent release point. His front leg is often stiff, causing his pitches to flatten out in the zone. His second pitch is a 76-78 curve with 11-to-5 action when he’s got control. A third offering is an 82-84 change with inconsistent location and depth. He’s projected as Greensboro’s Friday night starter as a junior; should his body fill out and his poise improve, he could move up draft charts in 2014.
Cody Poteet, rhp, Walla Walla (So., UCLA): Poteet was a weekday starter as a freshman at UCLA and got to Walla Walla late because of the Bruins’ Omaha run, making six WCL starts with a 2-1 strikeout-walk ratio and a 3.74 ERA. Poteet hides the ball with a high glove extension, has a quick arm and gets downhill plane and good extension from a whip-like arm action and high three-quarters slot. The ball jumps out of his hand with natural cut to his 90-94 mph fastball that touched 95. Poteet has feel for three offspeed pitches that have average or better potential. His calling card is a high-70s power curveball with tight rotation, but his newly developed low-80s slider has plus potential, and his emerging low-80s changeup flashes above-average. He needs to fine-tune his command and reduce his walk rate, but he has an athletic 6-foot-1, 191-pound evenly proportioned build with room for further strength gains.