How Will MLB Handle Big Changes With Cuba?
See Also: Rankings, Scouting Reports On Top 15 Players Still In Cuba ($) See Also: Cuban National Team Hitter Reports From Mexico ($) See Also: Cuban National Team Pitcher Reports […]
By Jim Callis
Cape Cod League opponents saw more than enough of Andrew Miller in 2004, but at least then they had a fighting chance. Miller was dominant but not efficient, and earned just two decisions (both wins) in seven starts.
Miller opted to return to Chatham rather than pitch for Team USA this summer, and his performance established him as the early favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2005 draft. The big lefthander won six of his seven starts with three times as many strikeouts (66 in 49 innings) as hits allowed (22). The league's co-pitcher of the year, he headlines our Cape Top 30 Prospects list for the second straight summer.
"He's the Randy Johnson of the Cape League," Yarmouth-Dennis manager Scott Pickler said. "There's a fear of facing Andrew Miller among the kids. There's no one else like that in the league."
1. Andrew Miller, lhp, Chatham (North Carolina)
A 6-foot-6, 195-pound lefty, Miller threw 93-96 mph all summer long. His fastball, clocked at 99 mph during the all-star game, also has terrific late action. One National League crosschecker graded both Miller's fastball and slider as 70 pitches on the 20-80 scouting scale. While his stuff is big league-ready, scouts still view Miller as a work in progress. His command, control and mound presence all need more improvement.
2. Daniel Bard, rhp, Wareham (North Carolina)
Miller and Bard gave North Carolina a sweep of the first two spots, which hadn't happened since Georgia Tech had Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra in 1993. The league leader in strikeouts (82) and innings (65), Bard has a classic pitcher's frame (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and a plus fastball (93-95 mph). He flashes a good slider, though it's inconsistent because he tends to drop his elbow.
3. Evan Longoria, inf, Chatham (Long Beach State)
Longoria was an obvious choice as the Cape's MVP and top position prospect. He led the league in homers (eight), RBIs (35) and slugging percentage (.500), launching balls with an effortless swing. He probably isn't quick enough to stay at shortstop, but he has good hands and arm strength and would fit at either second or third base. "He never gets cheated at the plate. Never," Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy said. "He's a scary hitter."
4. Chris Errecart, 1b/of, Yarmouth-Dennis (California)
After hitting .298 with eight homers during the spring with aluminum, Errecart took to wood and batted .303 with six homers before a sprained ankle ended his season three weeks early. He has a good approach at the plate and moves well enough to play left field.
5. Brandon Morrow, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (California)
Morrow also stood out much more on the Cape than he did at Cal, where he had control problems and a 9.36 ERA as a sophomore. He had the best fastball in the league, consistently working at 96-99 mph, and put hitters away with a mid-80s splitter.
6. Brad Lincoln, rhp/dh, Bourne (Houston)
A lefthanded power hitter, Lincoln was one of the better bats on the Cape. But scouts definitely preferred him on the mound, where he makes up for his stature (6 feet, 200 pounds) with a 90-95 mph fastball with boring action and an 82-84 mph power curveball that one scout compared to Ben Sheets'. Lincoln won the Cape's 10th player award for his inspired play and exceeding expectations.
7. Dallas Buck, rhp, Falmouth (Oregon State)
The Cape's ERA leader (0.77) and No. 4 on this list a year ago, Buck didn't look as crisp, seeming tired after pitching Oregon State to the College World Series. Buck throws strikes and achieves plenty of life with his 87-92 mph fastball and his slider, though some scouts wonder if his future lies in relief.
8. Greg Reynolds, rhp, Bourne (Stanford)
With his size (6-foot-7, 230 pounds), 90-95 mph fastball and hard curveball, Reynolds has first-round potential for the 2006 draft. He'll start missing more bats once he improves the command of his two-seam fastball and the consistency of his curve.
9. Brad Meyers, rhp, Orleans (Loyola Marymount)
The only freshman in the Top 10, Meyers was one of the league's most projectable pitchers at 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds, He needs to get stronger, though he already owns a 90-92 mph fastball and two good secondary pitches in a changeup and slider. Meyers allowed just one earned run in two playoff starts, sharing postseason MVP honors as Orleans won its second championship in three seasons.
10. Mark Hamilton, 1b, Falmouth (Tulane)
Hamilton had as much raw power as anyone on the Cape and tied for second in homers (six) despite missing the first two weeks while Tulane made a run to the College World Series. He trusts his swing and showed more selectivity (21 walks, 19 strikeouts) than he did in 2004, when he ranked No. 14 on our Cape Top 30.
11. Justin Masterson, rhp, Wareham (San Diego State)
Unknown before this summer, Masterson quickly gained notoriety with his 6-foot-6, 235-pound build, a 93-94 mph fastball that sinks and a hard slider. He pitched his way into the early rounds of the 2006 draft and a transfer from Bethel (Ind.) to San Diego State.
12. Chris Coghlan, 3b, Chatham (Mississippi)
Coghlan (.346) edged Chatham teammates Baron Frost (.343) and Alex Presley (.341) to win the Cape's closest three-way batting race since 1992. Scouts viewed Coghlan's power as fringy to average, but his ability to hit, his eye at the plate and his defense are all strong assets.
13. Eric Berger, lhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Arizona)
Berger missed the second half of the Cape season after pulling an oblique muscle, but he made quite an impression before he left. He's a lean 6-foot-2, 192-pound lefthander who keeps his 90-93 mph fastball down in the zone and supplements it with two more good pitches, a curveball and a newly added changeup.
14. Brant Rustich, rhp, Orleans (UCLA)
Another big-bodied righthander (6-foot-6, 220 pounds), Rustich is still a work in progress but was refined enough to post a 1.71 ERA as a setup man. "That was the best life on a fastball I saw all year--power sink at 91-96," the NL crosschecker said. Rustich also has a low-80s slider, but it's inconsistent.
15. Tim Lincecum, rhp, Harwich (Washington)
Lincecum scared scouts during the spring with his seven-figure asking price—the Indians drafted him in the 42nd round as a sophomore-eligible—and he scared Cape hitters during the summer. "He just makes guys look silly," Harwich manager Steve Englert said. "I've never seen kids of this caliber look this bad like they do against that breaking ball." With a 92-95 mph fastball and a devastating curve, Lincecum led the league in ERA (0.69) as opponents hit .104 while whiffing in more than half their at-bats (68 of 134). But because he's just 6 feet tall and has an over-the-top delivery, scouts wonder if he'll hold up and project him as more of a reliever.
16. Brett Sinkbeil, rhp, Falmouth (Southwest Missouri State)
Sinkbeil already has a lot going for him, and at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, he has room for projection as well. He already owns a 91-94 mph fastball with life and a good slider, though he needs to pick up a changeup.
17. Matt Antonelli, 3b, Falmouth (Wake Forest)
Following a slow start during which he uncharacteristically struck out in bunches, Antonelli recovered to finish strong and equal his performance from 2004, when he ranked 18th on this list. A former Massachusetts state high school player of the year in football and hockey, he's a better athlete than most third basemen. He has all-around tools, though his power has yet to blossom, to go with a sound approach and strong makeup.
18. Jared Hughes, rhp, Chatham (Long Beach State)
Managers and scouts had differing opinions of Hughes, who topped the Cape with seven victories. Managers saw a 6-foot-7, 230-pounder with plenty of run on a low-90s fastball and the ability to change speeds off his slider. Scouts, however, liked his pitchability more than what they saw as average stuff.
19. Todd Frazier, ss/3b, Chatham (Rutgers)
Frazier is still raw but his talent is evident and he could surpass his brother Jeff's draft status (third round to the Tigers in 2004) two years from now. He's a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder with a live bat (he tied Longoria for the league lead with 16 extra-base hits), good actions and solid speed and arm strength. He'll outgrow shortstop, his primary position for Chatham, but should find a home at third base or in the outfield.
20. Tim Gustafson, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Georgia Tech)
Gustafson played in same defensive backfield as Braves rookie sensation Jeff Francoeur at Parkview High (Liliburn, Ga.), where they won three state 5-A football championships together. Gustafson has the stuff to one day join Francoeur in the majors, starting with a 91-94 mph fastball and a power slider.
21. Brooks Brown, rhp, Chatham (Georgia)
Brown set up Derrick Lutz for Chatham, but scouts liked his long-term future a little bit more. He works at 90-94 mph and touches 97, has an effective curveball and throws strikes with ease. His arm isn't resilient enough to allow him to pitch on consecutive days, and he'll need to refine a changeup to fit as a starter.
22. Derrick Lutz, rhp, Chatham (George Washington)
Lutz tied for the save lead with 12 and didn't allow a run during the regular season. "I call him BTC—Born To Close," Chatham manager John Schiffner said. "He has the nerve to blow a bubble on the mound as he's blowing a fastball by you." His 6-foot, 210-pound body isn't the prettiest, but he delivers 91-93 fastballs from a low three-quarters angle, drops down lower to throw his slider and isn't afraid to use his changeup.
23. Colin Curtis, of, Orleans (Arizona State)
Curtis was the best member of a lackluster crop of outfielders that left scouts wondering if any of them would become big league regulars. Curtis could make that jump if he can translate his power from batting practice into games. He's a gifted hitter whose other tools are decent.
24. Scott Sizemore, 3b, Harwich (Virginia Commonwealth)
A second baseman at VCU, Sizemore moved to the hot corner for Harwich. His glove and power potential are more suited for second base, but he helped himself this summer by showing a quick stroke and soft hands.
25. Jason Donald, ss, Cotuit (Arizona)
Donald had an outside chance to go in the first round out of high school in 2003, and seemed destined to get picked that high in 2006. But scouts say that while he's talented, he hasn't made much progress in the last two years. He has solid but not standout tools, and his actions and range may not be quite good enough for shortstop in the long run.
26. George Kontos, rhp, Harwich (Northwestern)
All of Harwich's regular starters drew interest from scouts, who rated Kontos ahead of Harold Mozingo (Virginia Commonwealth), Kevin Mulvey (Villanova) and Adam Ottavino (Northeastern). A dogged competitor, Kontos excels at keeping his heavy 90-94 mph fastball down in the zone, and his 80-82 mph slider shows some bite. He needs to learn to change speeds and to add some strength.
27. Aaron Bates, 1b/c, Brewster (North Carolina State)
An eighth-round pick by the Marlins in June, Bates wanted $200,000 to sign and headed to Brewster when he didn't get it. One of the better power hitters in the league, he won the home run derby at the all-star game and led the Cape in on-base percentage .446. He has some arm strength and has caught sporadically, but his lack of agility may limit him to first base.
28. Pat Bresnehan, rhp, Harwich (Arizona State)
Bresnehan has arm strength, as evidenced by his 91-94 mph fastball and hard slider. He needs better control and command, which are effected by his tendency to throw across his body, though he made progress with his mechanics this summer.
29. Tim Norton, rhp, Falmouth (Connecticut)
Undrafted as a junior in June, Norton made Falmouth out of the league's tryout camp for fill-in players and wound up sharing pitcher-of-the-year honors with Andrew Miller. Norton has a sturdy 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame and a heavy fastball in the low 90s. His delivery is unorthodox but also deceptive, and he has picked up a splitter that works better than his inconsistent curveball.
30. Emmanuel Burriss, inf, Orleans (Kent State)
The co-playoff MVP, Burris was the most dangerous baserunner in the league, using his well above-average speed to lead the league in steals (37, 19 more than his closest competitor) and hits (52). He uses a slap approach that enhances his chances of getting on base but produces very little power. Used mostly at third base by Orleans, he projects as a middle infielder as a pro.