Far West League Top 10 Prospects

Postseason recap: Humboldt capped off its third straight Far West League title this summer after falling into the losers’ bracket early in the tournament. The Crabs reeled off three wins in a row after that, earning revenge against Menlo Park—the team that beat them the first game of the playoffs—and then taking both games against Top Speed Baseball to clinch it. Righthander Chad Hodges, who won pitcher of the year honors, earned his league-high seventh win of the summer in a do-or-die game against the high-powered California Warriors offense, pitching into the eighth inning and allowing four runs on four hits while striking out eight.

The top prospect to pass through the Far West League was lefthander Matt Krook, an unsigned supplemental first-rounder by the Marlins who headed to Oregon. Krook did not qualify for this list because he threw just four innings this summer for the Warriors, but he showed power stuff, including a premium fastball and a hard slider.

1. 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 (five) 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. He employs a slightly open stance and has plenty of bat speed to let the ball travel deep in the zone. 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.

2. David Hearne, rhp, Redding (So., Notre Dame)

Hearne made nine starts and 21 appearances for the Irish in the spring, going 1-2, 4.70 with 36 strikeouts and 14 walks in 44 innings as a true freshman. He’s a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder who stood out for his advanced feel of the strike zone, posting a 33-5 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings. Hearne’s fastball ranges from 89-93 mph with decent life, and he pairs it with a hard 76-78 mph curveball. He wasn’t a big name coming out of Providence Catholic (Ill.) High, but he has turned into a very good prospect with first-day draft potential in 2015, according to one scout.

3. Trevin Haseltine, rhp, California (Fr., California)

Haseltine stands out as a projectable righthander with a great pitcher’s frame and a live arm. Standing at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, Haseltine works in the 88-92 mph range with his fastball and mixes in a changeup that has good tumbling action as well as a sweeping low-80s slider. He struck out 40 in 33 innings this summer but also walked 17 and posted a 4.36 ERA. His arm action is a little long and he has some funk in his delivery, but he creates heavy downhill action with a high arm slot.

4. Jordan Desguin, rhp/if, Redding (So., Feather River CC, Calif.)

A California prep product, Desguin transferred to Feather River from Florida State due to a lack of playing time. He played both ways this summer and was Redding’s regular shortstop but is a better prospect on the mound, where he allowed just six hits in 16 innings while striking out 24. Desguin has received interest from several professional clubs and Division I schools on the West Coast. His fastball touches 92-93 mph, and he his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame is still maturing. He could be a top-10-rounds pick next June.

5. Greg Kuhlman, lhp, Top Speed (R-Jr., Indiana State)

Kuhlman pushed his way into the Sycamores’ weekend rotation late in the spring, and he stood out this summer as a projectable southpaw with power stuff. His fastball ranges anywhere from 90-94 mph, and he flashed a plus breaking ball that was very tough on lefties. At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Kuhlman has room to add strength, and his whippy arm is fast. He’s battled through inconsistent release points in his first few years in college, leading to significant control problems. He walked 23 in 25 summer innings but also struck out 35.  He has swing-and-miss stuff and could be poised to take a leap forward if he can clean up his mechanics.

6. Tyler Mautner, 3b, Top Speed (R-So., Buffalo)

Mautner won the league’s triple crown and player of the year accolades after hitting .390 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs this summer. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder barreled up any type of pitch and hit with power to all fields. Mautner has an effortless swing from the right side with quick hands through the zone. At the hot corner, he has a plus arm but might not have the lateral instincts required to react to balls to either side of him. He has below-average speed but should be able to handle left field if he winds up having to move there, as some evaluators think he will.

7. Cameron Olson, c, Humboldt Crabs (So., UC Davis)

Olson wrapped up his summer by finishing near the top of the FWL in every major offensive category, hitting .323/.436/.602 in 157 plate appearances for the league champs. The 6-foot, 195-pound backstop stands out for his powerful, lefthanded bat. He generates plus raw power to the pull side and can hit quality fastballs with authority. Olson has a short, compact swing and the ball jumps off his bat. He struggled with breaking balls in his freshman year at UC Davis, hitting .274/.354/.369 while making 21 starts for the Aggies. Defensively, he has a good arm on throws down to second base, but needs to clean up his footwork as his pop times have been below-average.

8. Manny Ramirez Jr., 1b, California (Fr., Central Arizona CC)

The son of the former major league slugger by the same name, Ramirez’s power blossomed this summer, and he’s still just 17 years old. Ramirez is still growing into his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, but he generates plus bat speed from a slightly open stance using an easy, effortless swing. Ramirez gets his hands into a good launching position and, like his father, likes to drive the ball to the opposite field while also showing raw power to the pull side in leverage counts.

9. Tyler Cyr, rhp, Top Speed (Jr., Embry Riddle, Fla.)

Cyr transfers to NAIA power Embry Riddle this year after pitching for Skyline (Calif.) CC, and he opened some eyes this summer thanks to the league’s best fastball. It sat at 93-95 mph in the FWL and touched 97. Cyr has a long, lean frame with room to add more weight. His changeup flashed plus potential out of the bullpen and he also mixed in a get-me-over slider. Cyr has issues commanding his pitches and throwing strikes in general, walking 17 in 15 innings while striking out 20. But he throws gas, and he could reward a pro club that takes a flier on him next June.

10. Justin Hovis, 3b/ss, Redding (So., Michigan State)

Hovis was the Spartans’ everyday third baseman as a true freshman this spring, and he was stellar defensively at shortstop and third for Redding this summer. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound righthanded hitter finished just .215/.254/.254 in 137 plate appearances for MSU, but he showed improvement this summer, hitting .317 in 20 games before suffering an injury on a play at the plate. Hovis’ glove is far more advanced than his bat, as he showed a plus arm and good instincts defensively. He needs to continue to develop his bat in order to boost his prospect status.