Wednesday Roundup: Bubble Watch
Wednesday was a mixed bag for NCAA tournament bubble teams. Before we get to which bubble teams won and lost, let’s take a look at how mid-major favorites fared, keeping [...]
Upper New England
By Michael Levesque
(Talent Ranking: **** out of five) After righthanders Mark Rogers and Andrew Gale, the talent falls off fast in these states, but they alone make it a good year for a traditionally thin region. Rogers is the top prospect in the Northeast, and should go in the first half of the first round. It would make him Maine's first high school player ever drafted in the first round. Gale was considered a potential first-round pick entering the year, but he could slide out of the first five rounds after struggling this spring.
Projected First-Round Pick
• Mark Rogers, rhp
Unknown to people who weren't area scouts in the Northeast before last summer, Rogers got widespread attention at the East Coast Showcase when his fastball registered 96-97 mph on some guns. His fastball was so dominant against weak competition in Maine this spring that he struck out 99 in his first 38 innings, while allowing just three hits. He also hit almost .600 and was named the state's Gatorade player of the year for the second straight year. Also the captain of both his high school hockey and soccer teams, he has a lean, athletic build with room to fill out and get stronger. Rogers has a three-quarters delivery and throws slightly across his body, but has a loose, explosive arm. He should require just minor adjustments to his delivery. His fastball generally sits in the 90-95 mph range, with natural, hard running action and occasional bore. Rogers' hammer curve has solid rotation with three-quarter break and excellent depth for his arm slot. His 73-77 mph curve is inconsistent because he has an erratic arm slot and tends to drop his elbow, causing it to flatten out. Rogers, who projects as a No. 2 or 3 starter, throws his changeup with good arm speed, deception and sinking action. He has signed with Miami.
Second- to Fifth-Round Talent
• Andrew Gale, rhp
Gale, son of former big leaguer Rich Gale, is an excellent student who attends Phillips Exeter, a prestigious boarding school with a national reputation. One of the top high school arms entering the spring, the North Carolina signee's stock slipped after a series of poor outings this spring. Gale, who is also a solid hockey prospect, is a premium athlete with a 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame who projects to add strength. The velocity of his fastball was inconsistent this spring, ranging from 86-90 mph, but it's rated as an above-average pitch because his delivery creates deception, and he generates good cutting and sinking movement. Gale has a short, quick arm and pitches on a good downhill plane, but he will need a few mechanical adjustments. Gale throws a 79-83 mph slider that shows occasional bite and tilt to both sides of the plate, but it's an inconsistent pitch because he doesn't stay on top of it. His changeup is a potential above-average pitch, and he throws it with excellent deception.
Others To Watch
• LHP Parrish Castor struck out 20 American International batters in May to become the sixth player in NCAA Division II history to record at least 20 strikeouts in a game. Castor considered sitting out this spring for personal and academic reasons, but coach Ken Harring persuaded him to play. The criminal justice major has a good body and has been in the high 80s with a decent breaking pitch.
• C Eric Cavers led his conference in nearly every offensive category this season. He is athletic and can swing the bat, but some scouts see him as an outfielder because his catching skills will need a lot of work. Cavers has good speed and arm strength.
• RHP Ben Bleau is a 6-foot-6, 210 pounds and has solid mechanics. The Rhode Island signee throws in the upper 80s with an improving breaking ball and solid change.
• Canadian RHP Tim Grant should get drafted, but the visa embargo this spring may be a stumbling block to him getting drafted. The type of visa required for Canadians and other foreign citizens to play as minor leaguers has been cut off for this year. Grant throws in the high 80s with a decent slider.
• SS/3B Ed Lucas pounded the ball this spring, batting .405 and leading the Ivy League with 70 hits. He was voted the team and league MVP and as a senior would be an economical pick, but most scouts are not convinced he'll hit at the pro level. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder has slider bat speed and is a poor defender.
• RHP Mike MacDonald should get drafted as a senior. He throws 86-89 mph with a decent breaking pitch, but lacks projection.