2004 College Summer Leagues:Top Prospects
The top of Baseball America's annual Cape Cod League prospect rankings often resembles the top of the subsequent major league draft list. All six of the draft-eligible players on BA's 2003 Cape Top 10 list went in the first round of the 2004 draft.
Rice righthanders Philip Humber (Yarmouth-Dennis), Jeff Niemann (Harwich) and Wade Townsend (Wareham) went off the board in the first eight picks, as did Vanderbilt lefty Jeremy Sowers (Wareham). Oklahoma lefty David Purcey (Orleans) and Boston College righty Chris Lambert (Chatham) were the 16th and 19th overall choices.
Pro teams will have to wait an extra year before they can get their hands on this summer's No. 1 prospect, however. That's because Chatham lefthander Andrew Miller is just entering his sophomore year at North Carolina.
Miller turned in two of the Cape's most talked-about performances in 2004—neither of which counted in the league's official stats. He struck out the side four times in four innings against Falmouth before the game was called because of fog, then needed just 15 pitches to fan the side in order during the all-star game.
1. Andrew Miller, lhp, Chatham (North Carolina).
Had he been signable, Miller would have been an early first-round pick out of high school in 2003. Scouts are marveling that his stuff has continued to improve, as he overmatches hitters with a 94-96 mph fastball and an 82-85 mph slider. The scary thing is that he'll get even better as he fills out his 6-foot-6, 190-pound frame and improves his command.
"His arm is so electric," Chatham manager John Schiffner said. "His breaking pitch is devastating when it's on, and his fastball is amazing. He was unbelievable in the all-star game."
Miller won his only two decisions but had a 2.03 ERA and struck out 48 in 40 innings, though he walked 26 and hit 10 batters.
2. Tyler Greene, ss, Orleans (Georgia Tech).
Scouts voted Greene, who played with Team USA last summer, the winner of the league's official top-prospect award. A defensive standout with questionable hitting skills in high school, he's now a rare five-tool shortstop.
"He was skinny and couldn't handle the bat in high school," an American League scouting director said, "but he's a beast now." His arm, hands and range are all above-average, though Greene got a little lackadaisical on routine plays this summer. He made 16 errors in 32 games.
3. Craig Hansen, rhp, Harwich (St. John's).
Hansen's numbers are as sick as the combination of his mid-90s fastball and high-80s slider. He didn't allow an earned run and had a 41-2 strikeout-walk ratio in 22 innings, and the league hit .120 against him. His delivery, control and changeup may allow him to become a big league starter.
4. Dallas Buck, rhp, Falmouth (Oregon State).
Buck didn't light up radar guns like some of the other Cape arms, but no one beat his 0.77 ERA. His low-90s fastball and slider dance around bats, and he has a lively changeup as well. The only knock on him is that his delivery could be cleaner.
"His stuff is like David Cone's," a National League scouting director said. "He has a really live, hard slider and just wicked, wicked stuff. His stuff is so electric. It's moving everywhere."
5. Stephen Head, 1b/lhp, Chatham (Mississippi).
Head had one of the best pure swings on the Cape and hit .271-3-15 upon joining Chatham after being released by Team USA. He's still learning to drive the ball for power, but there's little doubt that it eventually will come, and he's also a solid defender at first base. Head, who has good command of decent stuff, had six wins and five saves for Mississippi this spring but didn't pitch for Chatham.
6. Mark McCormick, rhp, Wareham (Baylor).
McCormick was also No. 6 on this list a year ago, and he still has the same 94-98 mph fastball and tantalizing curveball. He still needs to show more life with his heater and more consistency with his curve. And he still hasn't allayed command and makeup concerns that have existed since his high school days. McCormick went 2-1, 0.93 with 47 strikeouts in 39 innings for Wareham before departing the Cape with a bicep strain in his pitching arm. He didn't pitch again after being clocked at 101 mph in a one-inning stint in the all-star game.
7. Daniel Carte, of, Falmouth (Winthrop).
Carte began the summer in an 0-for-19 slump and ended it as the Cape's MVP. He led the league in homers (11), RBIs (38) and slugging percentage (.560), and he became the sixth player ever to reach double figures in longballs and steals (13). Not physically imposing at 6 feet and 190 pounds, he does damage with quick hands and strong forearms. His other tools are solid across the board.
8. Ryan Mullins, lhp, Chatham (Vanderbilt).
He's not as scary as Miller, but Mullins was the Cape's most polished pitcher and trumped his Chatham teammate in ERA (1.82 to 2.03) and K-BB ratio (9.1 to 1.8). Mullins, the top prospect in the New England Collegiate League last summer, has three solid pitches: an 86-91 mph fastball he throws to both sides of the plate, a slider and a changeup.
"He dominates the game and you don't know it," Schiffner said. "He'll three-hit you with 12 strikeouts before you realize it."
9. Cliff Pennington, ss, Falmouth (Texas A&M).
A 5-foot-11 scrapper, Pennington was an easy choice for the league's 10th player award. He led the Cape in steals (21), showed good discipline and some pop from both sides of the plate, and got the job done defensively. He also helped lead Falmouth, which went 0-5 before he arrived, to the Western Division title.
"Cliff is one of those kids who makes any team better," Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy said. "He does so many things. He has great range, he's a tough out at the plate, he has a strong arm and he runs well. The most impressive thing might be that he never takes a pitch off."
10. Kevin Whelan, rhp, Wareham (Texas A&M).
The Cape's saves leader (11) and reliever of the year, Whelan pitched just nine innings because he was the backup catcher at Texas A&M this spring. He's similar to Hansen but less polished. Whelan touches 96 mph with a four-seam fastball and has a two-seamer that dives so much it gets mistaken for a splitter.
11. Robert Ray, rhp, Wareham (Texas A&M).
The third straight Aggie on this list, Ray blossomed on the Cape just like his Texas A&M and Wareham teammate Whelan. Long, lean and projectable at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, Ray features a 91-92 mph fastball that plays bigger than its velocity because it seems to explode at the plate. He flashes a plus curveball and average changeup, and scouts expect him to get better. In 33 innings, he fanned 57 batters.
12. Chris Leroux, rhp, Falmouth (Winthrop).
A Devil Rays ninth-round pick out of high school and a member of the Canadian junior national team as a catcher, Leroux also spent much of his first two years at Winthrop behind the plate. Falmouth recruited him as a catcher but quickly moved him to the mound to take advantage of his 91-96 mph fastball and plus slider. He's still not convinced his future is as a pitcher, but that's his ticket to going in the second or third round next year.
13. Zach Ward, rhp, Harwich (Gardner-Webb).
Ward finished eighth in NCAA Division I with 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings as a sophomore, then legitimized himself by continuing to blow away hitters on the Cape. He carves up hitters with a heavy two-seam fastball, a 92-94 mph four-seamer and a crisp slider. His short arm action bothers some observers and sometimes causes his stuff to drop off in the middle innings. That still didn't stop an AL scouting director from labeling Ward as a possible first-round pick.
"He throws cannonballs," Harwich manager Steve Englert said. "Everyone thinks it's a splitter, but it's a fastball. It just dives."
14. Mark Hamilton, 1b, Falmouth (Tulane).
A work in progress who got better as the summer wore on, Hamilton has the power teams want in a first baseman. A solid 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he had one of the prettier swings on the Cape. He also was the league's most impressive freshman hitter, finishing third in home runs (seven) and RBIs (29).
15. Micah Owings, of/rhp, Bourne (Georgia Tech).
Owings dropped from a Rockies second-round pick out of high school to a Cubs 19th-rounder in 2004, because his signability as a draft-eligible sophomore was in question. Also uncertain is what position he'll play as a pro.
Owings' ceiling is higher as a corner outfielder because he can hit baseballs further than most. But he also has a long swing and is overly aggressive at the plate, so he can be pitched to. He's a safer bet on the mound, though his 89-90 mph sinker and OK slider may make him nothing more than a setup man. The one constant in both roles is his bulldog attitude.
16. Justin Maxwell, of, Cotuit (Maryland).
Maxwell was the Cape's biggest success story in 2003. After Bourne signed him out of a tryout camp, he emerged as the best athlete in the league, not to mention a possible first-round pick.
His encore wasn't as pleasant, as he missed the entire spring at Maryland when an errant pitch broke the ulna in his right arm during preseason drills. Trying to make up for lost time with Cotuit, he got into just 17 games before another pitch broke his right hand and ended his summer. Before he got hurt, Maxwell showed the same solid-or-better tools across the board he did a year ago.
17. Jacoby Ellsbury, of, Falmouth (Oregon State).
The fastest player on the Cape, Ellsbury understands that his role is to get on base rather than hit home runs. While he'll probably never hit for much power, one NL crosschecker says he needs to get stronger in order to handle quality fastballs. Though he played left field for Falmouth, Ellsbury is a quality center fielder who can go get balls in the gaps.
18. Matt Antonelli, 3b, Falmouth (Wake Forest).
Very athletic for a third baseman, Antonelli drew comparisons to David Bell and Jeff Cirillo and even played shortstop before Pennington joined the Commodores. An outstanding defender with arm strength and quick reactions, he also shows a short stroke and fine discipline at the plate. His power potential is evident in batting practice, though he'll need to add strength.
19. Mike Costanzo, 1b/rhp, Hyannis (Coastal Carolina).
Costanzo did it all in the season-ending victory that put Hyannis in the playoffs. He brought the Mets back from a run down with a two-run homer in the eighth. After he surrendered the tying run in the ninth, he pitched a scoreless 10th and scored the winning run in the bottom half.
Though Costanzo didn't allow an earned run in 16 innings thanks to a 90-91 mph and a 12-to-6 breaking ball, pro clubs are more interested in his bat. He had one of the best bodies (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and some of the best loft power on the Cape, though he needs to close some holes in his swing. With his arm strength, converting him to a catcher would be an intriguing possibility.
20. Clete Thomas, of, Harwich (Auburn).
If Thomas, an unsigned fifth-round pick out of high school, can make some adjustments at the plate, he can be a five-tool player. His 6.5 speed in the 60-yard dash makes him an asset on the bases and in right field, and he has plenty of strength in his bat and arm. But his timing looked off this summer, as he didn't incorporate his lower half in his swing and allowed balls to get deep on him too easily.
21. Jensen Lewis, rhp, Falmouth (Vanderbilt).
A setup man for Falmouth last year, Lewis allowed just 10 runs in eight starts this summer, leading to a 4-0, 1.73 record. His fastball ranges from 89-94 mph, his slider varies from flat to sharp and his changeup is effective. He's a strike-throwing machine who works quickly, changes speed and keeps the ball down in the zone. His feel for pitching allows him to win without his best stuff.
22. Kyle Bono, rhp, Chatham (Central Florida/signed with Red Sox).
Bono didn't surrender a run in 12 appearances and shackled Cape hitters to a .100 average before signing with the Red Sox for $432,000, a record for an eighth-round pick. "Every pitch was an aspirin," Englert said. "He threw everything by us."
Bono's heavy 88-91 mph sinker and his changeup are his two best pitches. His slider is rather ordinary, though he locates it well in the strike zone. Aggressive going after hitters, he projects as a pro reliever.
23. Justin Blaine, lhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (San Diego).
After Miller and Mullins, there was no consensus on how the rest of the Cape's lefties stacked up. Most of them were finesse pitchers with good command who will fit in the back of a pro rotation. A swingman for Yarmouth-Dennis, Blaine looked better coming out of the bullpen. He pitched in the high 80s and showed a good slider, and he gave lefties fits with a cut fastball.
24. Daniel Perales, of, Falmouth (Southern California).
Falmouth had the most talented club in the league, and Perales is the ninth Commodore on this list. His compact swing was universally admired, and the NL scouting director compared it to Jody Gerut's. Perales already uses the entire field, though like most freshmen he needs to get stronger. He's not a blazer, but he established himself well enough in center field to keep the position after Ellsbury arrived.
25. Dan Brauer, lhp, Harwich (Northwestern).
Brauer isn't overly impressive on first glance. His fastball sits at 85-88 mph, and his curveball, slider and changeup don't qualify as out pitches either. But he locates all four of his pitches on both sides of the plate, keeps the ball down in the zone and lulls hitters to sleep. He shared the Cape lead in wins (six) and tied for second in strikeouts (65 in 47 innings).
"He's my favorite player in seven years up here," Englert said. "He comes out and competes every night. He can compete with anyone in the nation."
26. Adam Davis, of/ss, Yarmouth-Dennis (Florida).
Davis is just 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, but he's long on versatility. He played center field, shortstop, second base and third base for Yarmouth-Dennis, and his speed and arm enabled him to handle each position capably. He probably fits best in the middle infield. Scouts liked his hitting and basestealing ability, though he'll need to make more contact after striking out 52 times (second-most in the league) in 149 at-bats.
27. Matt Avery, rhp, Brewster (Virginia).
Avery missed 2 1/2 weeks with a sore shoulder, but he was Brewster's best pitcher at the end of the summer and had the most upside on the Whitecaps staff. He's 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds and throws strikes with an 89-94 mph fastball, a fringe average slider and a decent changeup.
28. Chris Nicoll, rhp, Orleans (UC Irvine).
Scouts noted Nicoll's improved velocity, which moved from 86 mph in the spring to 89-91 this summer, including a peak of 93 in the all-star game. His fastball is most notable for it's darting life, so the extra oomph made it unhittable at times. He also has good command of his breaking ball and changeup.
29. Matt Goyen, lhp, Brewster (Georgia College).
When a 6-foot-5, 220-pound lefty leads the Cape with 80 strikeouts in 58 innings, it would be natural to assume that he has overpowering stuff. Think again. Goyen won the strikeout title with the best changeup in the league and a deceptive delivery that befuddles hitters. His mid-80s fastball peaks at 89 mph and his curveball drew mixed reviews, but his changeup makes both those pitches better.
30. Mike Bell, 3b, Wareham (Grayson County, Texas, CC).
In 2003, Andy LaRoche went to Wareham and parlayed a big summer into a $1 million bonus from the Dodgers. The Gatemen unveiled another promising Grayson County CC shortstop this year in Bell, but he received far less exposure. He began the summer playing with a junior college all-star team that traveled to Taiwan, and by the time he got to the Cape most scouts had moved on.
In the final two weeks, Bell hit .357 with power, ran well, showed a strong arm and did a good job after shifting to the hot corner. Wareham manager Cooper Farris said Bell reminded him of former Gatemen star Aaron Hill, who became a 2003 first-round pick and is now a rising star in the Blue Jays system. Surprisingly, Bell went undrafted in June after his freshman year at Grayson.
Best of the Rest (listed in alphabetical order)
Brian Bogusevic, of/lhp, Falmouth (Tulane)
Jordan Brown, 1b, Orleans (Arizona)
Michael Campbell, of, Brewster (South Carolina)
Frank Curreri, c, Yarmouth-Dennis (Massachusetts)
Joshua Faiola, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Dartmouth)
Ryan Falcon, lhp, Brewster (UNC Greensboro)
Brad Furnish, lhp, Wareham (Nebraska/transferring to Texas Christian)
Chris Getz, 2b, Chatham (Michigan)
Tim Grogan, 3b, Harwich (Western Kentucky)
Chris Gutierrez, ss, Wareham (Oklahoma State)
Chase Headley, 3b, Cotuit (Tennessee)
Bo Lanier, rhp, Hyannis (Georgia)
Matt LaPorta, dh/of, Yarmouth-Dennis (Florida)
Nick Moresi, of, Yarmouth-Dennis (Fresno State)
Ryan Patterson, of, Brewster (Louisiana State)
Greg Reynolds, rhp, Bourne (Stanford)
Chris Robinson, c, Hyannis (Illinois)
Tony Sipp, lhp/of, Cotuit (Clemson/signed with Indians)
Anthony Varvaro, rhp, Harwich (St. John's)
Nick Webber, rhp, Falmouth (Central Missouri State)
Baseball America editor Allan Simpson and national writer Will Kimmey, in consultation with league mangers and scouts, compiled rankings of the leading professional prospects in the nation's other top summer college leagues.
The Alaska League was a pitcher's league in 2004, with the league's best pitching prospects leading the Anchorage Bucs and Mat-Su Miners to the league's two berths in the annual National Baseball Congress World Series, which Alaska teams had won 16 times in 35 years. Mat-Su, which won the Alaska League pennant by a game over the Bucs and Peninsula Oilers, eliminated the Bucs in a loser's bracket game at the 44-team NBC tournament and went on to finish second.
1. Garrett Olson, lhp, Anchorage Bucs (Cal Poly).
Olson enjoyed modest success during the spring at Cal Poly, going 7-5, 5.57 with 92 strikeouts in 84 innings, but really figured it out this summer. He showcased two plus pitches—a moving 89-91 mph fastball that topped out at 93 and a late-breaking 12-to-6 hammer curveball—while going 7-0, 0.88, striking out 53 in 51 innings and walking just eight. He did not give up a home run. Olson also worked 16 scoreless innings at Wichita, while winning both his starts. It was the most dominant pitching performance by an Alaska Leaguer since lefthander Jeff Francis earned Alaska League and NBC MVP honors in 2001, a year before becoming a Rockies first-rounder. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Olson spent most of the summer refining a changeup and it was an effective third pitch in all but a couple of outings. Olson's impressive showing has elevated him to a possible third-round pick in the 2005 draft.
2. Jeff Gilmore, rhp, Mat-Su Miners (Stanford).
Stanford's No. 2 starter during the spring, Gilmore went 10-2, 4.43. But he worked 109 innings and began his summer in a relief role to ease the strain on his arm. He soon returned to starting and showed dirty stuff at times with two pitches that changed planes and baffled hitters: an 86-87 mph cut fastball and a Mike Mussina-like knuckle-curve that drops straight down. He also mixed in a four-seam fastball that registered 90-91. Gilmore commanded all three pitches for strikes. Scouts compared his pitching style and stuff to Kirk Saarloos, the ex-Cal State Fullerton righthander who made a meteoric rise to the big leagues from the 2001 draft.
3. Chris Malone, rhp, Mat-Su Miners (San Joaquin Delta, Calif., JC).
Malone had the best stuff in the league when he was on top of his game. In one two-game stretch, he threw a no-hitter against the Alaska Goldpanners, striking out 18, and followed up with six perfect innings in his next start against Athletes in Action. The key to his success is throwing his curveball for strikes, which he mixes with a fastball in the 88-92 mph range, a splitter and a changeup. Malone went undrafted in June and was set to transfer Tennessee—if he didn't sign out of the NBC World Series. He was being hotly pursued by several clubs.
4. Cameron Blair, 2b, Alaska Goldpanners (Texas Tech).
Blair chose to play in Alaska after being drafted in June by the Cardinals, who selected him in the 18th round after he hit .371-14-81 as a junior at Texas Tech. Only 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Blair showed a lot of thunder in his bat and led the league with 10 homers while earning MVP honors. In a July 4 doubleheader, he hit four homers against Mat-Su, which featured the league's best pitching staff. He generally struggled against good pitching, however, and was especially vulnerable to sliders. More of an athlete than a sound baseball player, Blair was capable of making the spectacular play at times. He showed above-average speed but lacked the arm strength to play shortstop at the next level, though he played a solid shortstop when picked up by rival Mat-Su for the NBC World Series. Scouts describe him as David Eckstein with more pop.
5. John Hester, c, Mat-Su Miners (Stanford).
Hester played little behind the plate for Stanford in the spring while serving as an understudy to Donny Lucy, a second-round pick in June. But the 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver made a strong impression on Alaska League managers—as a runner, receiver and hitter. He runs unusually well for his size (and for a catcher), showed an ability to hit the breaking ball in any count and was a solid defender, though his arm was erratic. Some managers felt like Hester has a higher upside than Lucy because he's just scratched the surface of his ability.
6. Travis Becktel, of, Anchorage Bucs (San Jose State).
Becktel struggled as a draft-eligible sophomore at San Jose State, hitting .264-4-27 with aluminum, but was a different player with wood in Alaska—hitting over .300 and leading the league in RBIs. The most impressive part of his game, however, was his arm. He threw out more than a dozen runners from right field with an uncanny spin move that belied slightly above-average arm strength.
7. Steve Morlock, rhp, Peninsula Oilers (UC Santa Barbara).
Overpowering at times with a fastball that peaked at 93 mph and looked faster because of deception in his delivery, Morlock dominated games with just his fastball. He also mixed in a cutter, curveball and changeup and occasionally had command of all four pitches, but he was plagued by inconsistency. He went 6-2, 3.36 with 61 strikeouts in 56 innings, a big improvement over his sophomore season at UCSB, where he went 7-5, 5.02.
8. Kenny Maiques, rhp, Alaska Goldpanners (Long Beach State).
Young and undersized at 6 feet tall, Maiques pitched sparingly as a freshman on an experienced pitching staff at Long Beach State during the spring. He went 0-0, 8.18 in 12 appearances. He was overpowering at times this summer with a fastball that peaked at 95 mph and a hard, biting slider that consistently registered 83-84. But he needs to develop better command and repeat his delivery with his breaking ball. Like his Goldpanners teammate Blair, he was added to the Mat-Su roster for the NBC World Series.
9. Matt Manship, rhp, Mat-Su Miners (Stanford).
Manship, and not Gilmore, was supposed to be the No. 2 starter in the Stanford rotation this spring. But Manship lost his ability to throw his curveball for strikes and lost his place in the rotation. It didn't return on a consistent basis this summer. His fastball can be electric, at times, ranging from 88-93 mph. If he can regain his ability to throw his curve for strikes and learn to throw a changeup, he could be nearly unhittable.
10. Brandon Roberts, of, Anchorage Bucs (Cal Poly).
Roberts not only won the Alaska League batting title at .363 but also earned the tag of league's fastest runner, enabling him to lead the league in stolen bases. His speed is more evident on offense than in the field. He can bunt, get down the line in a hurry and run the bases. As a sophomore at Cal Poly, he hit .379-3-44 with 30 stolen bases. But he's a below average defender with a below-average arm and profiles only as a singles-hitting left fielder.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
Twin City dominated the CICL regular season, winning the pennant by three games over Bluff City. But the Stars were no match for Bluff City, which won the CICL championship series in two straight games, or third-place Danville, which had the most prospects in the league.
1. Josh Johnson, rhp, Danville (Mississippi State).
Pitching success is nothing new to Johnson, who was named MVP of the 2002 American Legion World Series and went 5-1, 4.06 as a freshman this spring at Mississippi State. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder followed up on that success by going 5-1, 2.17 for Danville while leading the CICL in strikeouts with 61 in 54 innings. He excelled at changing speeds off his fastball, which peaked at 91 mph, and had command of three pitches. He was able to throw a slider with hard downward action in any count.
2. P.J. Finegan, ss/rhp, Springfield (Southern Illinois).
Finegan may have had the best arm in the league, even though his dual role of closer and shortstop compromised his arm strength and often detracted from each other. Scouts say that once he gives up playing shortstop, which he has done throughout his college career, his true arm strength will surface. As it was, his fastball registered 92-93 mph as a closer. And yet his out pitch was a changeup. He went 0-1, 3.65 with five saves in 11 appearances. Finegan is mostly a singles hitter and he's a slightly above-average defender—but only because of his superior arm strength.
3. A.J. Van Slyke, of, Bluff City (Kansas).
Van Slyke is the son of former big league outfielder Andy Van Slyke and his bloodlines were evident. Though none of his tools stood out, he was the league's most dominant player. He won the triple crown, hitting .414-9-38. He was the most advanced hitter in the league at recognizing pitches and made the best adjustments hitting with wood, though his swing was a little long at times. A leadoff hitter to start the year, he soon moved to the No. 3 hole. He gets good jumps on balls and is an adequate center fielder by college standards, but lacks the raw speed to play the position at the next level.
4. Nate Culp, lhp, Bluff City (Missouri).
At 6-foot-4, Culp has the look of a big leaguer. He also has the stuff: an 88-91 mph fastball and a big-breaking curve that was tough on both lefthanded and righthanded hitters. Very fluid, he had only one sub-par outing all summer while leading the league with six wins. He was also the winning pitcher as Bluff City nailed down the championship by beating Twin City 3-1. He'll be just a sophomore at Missouri in 2005.
5. Ty Davis, rhp, Danville (Vanderbilt).
The 6-foot-5 Davis was an intimidating force as a closer for Danville with a fastball that checked in at 95 mph. He also had an effective slider but needs to develop a third pitch to become a starter. Overall, he went 3-1, 1.35 with three saves and 38 strikeouts in 33 innings.
6. Eric Dessau, rhp, Bluff City (Missouri).
Undrafted out of Missouri as a junior, Dessau featured a 90-92 mph fastball, an 85-86 slider and hard curve. He needs a changeup or splitter to give hitters a different look, though, as he throws everything hard. He also has a herky-jerky delivery. Dessau went an impressive 5-2, 2.05, finishing second in the league in ERA.
7. Paul Coleman, lhp, Danville (Pepperdine).
A 6-foot-4, 195-pound lefthander with a loose arm, Coleman formed an effective lefty-righty tandem for Danville with Johnson. The two pitchers finished first and third in the league in strikeouts, with Coleman fanning 50 in 45 innings while going 3-1, 2.60. He featured quality stuff with a hard fastball and a quality slider and curve.
8. Chris Coghlan, 3b, Danville (Mississippi).
An 18th-round pick of the Diamondbacks out of high school, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Coghlan has been slowly growing into his game. He hit .324-1-30 and can drive his pitch to the gaps but lacks consistent raw power. He's also got solid actions at third with good arm strength and is adept at coming in on balls.
9. Jeff Rea, 2b, Danville (Mississippi State).
A scrappy little player at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, Rea understands how to get the most out of his physical limitations. He can handle the bat, going the other way on an outside pitch while turning on a ball on the inner third of the plate. Overall, he hit .296-2-27. He also has speed and quick hands at second.
10. Eric Theisen, rhp, Twin City (Illinois State).
Theisen, who will be a sophomore at Illinois State, was the best prospect on a Twin City team that dominated the regular season. He led the league in ERA (1.95) and tied for the league lead in wins with six, with a fastball that ranged from 86-91. He throws from a number of different arm angles and reached his peak velocity when throwing straight over the top.
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
Pitching most often dominates summer league competition because of the use of wood bats, so it's no surprise that Pettit Cup-winning Edenton, which had the best regular-season record at 32-11 and led the league with a 2.39 ERA, placed three pitchers on the Top 10 list.
1. Chris Rahl, of, Peninsula (William & Mary).
Rahl earned second-team All-America honors as a sophomore after batting .389-20-70 with 42 steals in 46 attempts. He kept at it this summer, ranking third in the CPBL in hits and steals (27), though he hit just four doubles and no home runs. Managers praised his all-around game and touted him as the league's best athlete. He hit .304 and posted a .367 on-base percentage. He's a solid outfielder, and his 6.4-second time over 60 yards allows him to cover plenty of ground in the field and on the basepaths.
2. Jason Neighborgall, rhp, Fayetteville (Georgia Tech).
There's no reason a pitcher with a 94-98 fastball that touches triple digits, a plus 12-to-6 curveball in the low- to mid-80s and a good feel for a changeup should rank anywhere but first on any list. Well, there is one reason: Neighborgall has struggled mightily with control issues since joining the Cape Cod League last summer. He began this summer there as well, but left for Fayetteville after his Cape coach lost confidence in the righthander's ability to throw strikes and stopped using him. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Neighborgall's numbers are at once tantalizing, troubling and clearly illustrative of his tremendous potential . . . and tremendous struggles: He struck out 25 batters and allowed just three hits in 19 innings, but also walked 34 batters, hit seven more and threw 14 wild pitches en route to a 5.30 ERA.
3. Steve Singleton, ss, Thomasville (San Diego).
Singleton started just 14 games as a freshman at San Diego as he was stuck behind a pair of upperclassmen. His status with the Toreros should change following his summer in Thomasville. Several managers rated Singleton the best defensive player in the league because of his smooth actions and plus arm. The switch-hitter also showed a fluid, powerful stroke from both sides of the plate, tying for second in the league with seven home runs and ranking fifth with a .327 average. Singleton added 13 doubles.
4. Keith Beauregard, of, Outer Banks (St. Anselm).
Beauregard earned Division II Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference all-star honors after ranking in the top 10 of nearly every offensive category in the Northeast 10 conference as a junior. His tools and instincts also played well in the CPL as he reminded one manager of Jim Edmonds in center field and ranked as the league's second-best athlete behind Rahl. Beauregard showed a solid arm in the outfield, but earned extra credit for his all-out effort and spectacular running, leaping and diving catches. He made two such plays in the all-star game, once robbing Singleton of a home run. Beauregard, 6 feet and 180 pounds, also demonstrated key top-of-the-order skills at the plate, knowing when to drop a bunt and how to steal a base. That led to a .380 on-base percentage and 10 steals. He made defenders play him honestly by ranking second in the league with 15 doubles while swatting three homers.
5. Edgar Ramirez, rhp, Edenton (Florida International).
Like Fayetteville's Blake Maxwell, Ramirez looks every bit the durable workhorse at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. He tied for second in the league with nine saves and displayed the clean mechanics and resiliency to bounce back on short rest. Ramirez' knack for pitching sets him apart from many relievers, and offers the upside of a possible move to the rotation. That could be in order when he heads to Louisiana State this year after leaving Florida International last February. He spent his freshman season as FIU's closer. His fastball works in the 90-94 mph range and he also features a solid curveball and changeup. Ramirez overpowered hitters, holding them to a .123 average while racking up 30 strikeouts (against three walks) in 22 innings while notching an 0.83 ERA.
6. Danny Powers, rhp, Edenton (Central Missouri State).
Powers helped Central Missouri State reach the semifinals of the Division II World Series as a junior, then went on to a dominant summer. He finished two innings shy of qualifying for the CPL leader board, where his 1.29 ERA would have ranked second to Gemma's. He started and won the league's all-star game. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder showed great command by registering 51 strikeouts and three walks in 42 innings, allowing 33 hits and a .204 opponents average. His fastball ranged from 88 to 92 mph, and Powers liked to run it in on righthanders, and also was able to cut it away from them. But his out pitch was a tight 85-mph slider that elicited countless swings and misses. He also used a curveball and changeup at times.
7. Blake Maxwell, rhp, Fayetteville (Methodist, N.C.).
Maxwell strikes an imposing figure on the mound at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds. It gets even scarier for hitters when he drops into his submarine delivery and slings bullets reaching 93 mph at them. Oh, and he also employs a hard slider that breaks all the way across the plate that's as effective against lefties and it is righties. He went 3-1, 1.03 with six saves in 26 innings for Fayetteville, notching 28 strikeouts against six walks. That basically is the same season he enjoyed as a sophomore at Division III Methodist College, located in Fayetteville, one in which his nine saves helped him become the school's career leader in that category with 13.
8. Brian York, 3b/of, Asheboro (Pfeiffer, N.C.).
Managers agreed that York could hit. The numbers bear that out: he led the league with a .360 average and .459 on-base percentage. They also liked his power, which was more apparent in his home run derby hacks and 12 doubles than it was in his two longballs in game action. York, heavily muscled at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, also showed solid wheels with a 6.5-second 60-yard dash time and 16 steals in 21 tries. Though York was first-team all conference as a shortstop for Division II Pheiffer College as a junior, defense was an issue. He moved all over trying to find a home, but probably fits best in left field. However, York's 90-92 mph velocity on the mound (with a plus slider) means he could also play right.
9. Chris Cahill, rhp, Edenton (Florida Gulf Coast).
Cahill teamed with Ramirez to form an unhittable bullpen tandem, and will join him this season at LSU. He's a tick smaller at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and a bit less polished but throws with similar velocity. Cahill displays a loose arm and good curveball, but needs work on his changeup. Still, he plowed through his share of eighth innings, fanning 37 batters in 24 frames while allowing a .157 average and seven walks. His control showed strong improvement from his sophomore season at Florida Gulf Coast, when he walked 14 and struck out 27 in 23 innings while notching three saves.
10. Dusty Bensko, 1b/rhp, Wilmington (Illinois). Bensko's future relies on plenty of projection, and the belief that he can continue to carry his clout into game situations. There's no questioning the tall, lean (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) athlete's power; Bensko won the home run derby at the league all-star game and added a three-run homer in the National League's 9-1 victory. He smacked six more home runs during the regular season, almost matching the eight he has hit in three seasons at Illinois. But, he hit just .260 because of a 20-45 walk-strikeout ratio. Bensko is a good enough athlete to play right field—and to pitch, which he did for 21 innings this summer. He used a 90-91 mph fastball to fan 19 batters while compiling a 2-1, 2.38 record.
GREAT LAKES LEAGUE
Lima had the league's best team, winning both the regular-season and playoff titles, but the Locos were no match for third-place Columbus when it came to fielding prospects, led by righthander Joe Ness who gained the almost unanimous endorsement of league managers.
1. Joe Ness, rhp, Columbus (Ball State).
At 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Ness has the look of a big leaguer. He also has three above-average pitches: an 89-92 mph sinking fastball that he commands to both sides of the plate, a sinker and changeup. He continues to work on throwing his curveball for strikes. He was named the league's top pitching prospect after finishing among league leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He went 7-4, 3.84 with 79 strikeouts in 84 innings in the spring as Ball State's No. 1 starter.
2. Aaron Bulkley, of, Grand Lake (LeMoyne).
Three years after being drafted in the 10th round by the Pirates out of a New York high school, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Bulkley may have finally turned the corner on an underachieving college career. A combined .214-6-26 hitter in three years at LeMoyne, Bulkley went 3-for-3 in his first day as an unrecruited walk-on at Grand Lake and never stopped hitting. He batted .346 and was named the league's top offensive prospect. A speedster, he was clocked at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash and led the league with 18 stolen bases. Always blessed with tools and raw athletic ability, Bulkley finally grew into his tools this summer though he still needs to learn to hit the ball the other way and develop better center-field instincts.
3. Chris Cummings, rhp, Lima (Marshall).
Big and strong at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Cummings worked between 92 and 94 mph with a heavy, live fastball. But he tended to lose velocity on the pitch after four or five innings. He also showed a good hard slider when he stayed on top of the pitch and threw it for strikes. But he lacks Ness' command and is more thrower than pitcher at this stage of his development.
4. Andy Busch, c, Columbus (Ohio Wesleyan).
Busch impressed managers and scouts alike with two above-average tools, and the Giants were expected to sign him after the season as a nondrafted free agent. He generates power with an effortless swing and finished second in the league in homers. His pop times were routinely at 2.0 seconds or better to second base.
5. Ben Snyder, lhp, Columbus (Ball State).
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Snyder, the younger brother of Indians 2003 first-rounder Brad Snyder, was academically ineligible in the spring as a freshman at Ball State so this summer was his first test against college hitters. He went 5-0, tying for the league lead in wins, and generated mid- to high-80s velocity and a good curve with an easy delivery. He'll add velocity as he gets stronger and control with experience. Snyder is expected to join Ness at the front of the Ball State rotation in 2005.
6. Brad Miller, 1b, Stark County (Ball State).
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Miller is the third Ball State player to crack the list. He was drafted in the 49th round by the Blue Jays in June after hitting .366-15-58 as a draft-eligible sophomore, but elected not to sign. He followed up by hitting .382-4-35 this summer, earning league MVP honors while finishing among league leaders in all Triple Crown categories. A tough out, he's adept at working deep counts. Despite his size, he doesn't have overwhelming power but uses the whole field.
7. Aaron Tennyson, lhp, Grand Lake (Kentucky).
The athletic, 6-foot-4, 190-pound Tennyson, a late-round high school draft pick, is all about projection. His fastball is a mid- to high-80s pitch now but will pick up velocity as he fills out his lanky frame. His curve and changeup, just average pitches now, will be refined with experience.
8. Chad Wagler, rhp, Stark County (Kent State).
A closer at Kent State in 2004, Wagler will become a starter in 2005. He auditioned for the role this summer, showing good mechanics and mound presence, along with excellent control of an 89-91 mph fastball and plus slider.
9. Justin Thomas, lhp, Columbus (Youngstown State).
A big-bodied lefty with a bit of a violent delivery, Thomas had four pitches, including a 90-91 mph fastball and a decent breaking ball.
10. Ross Liersemann, rhp, Grand Lake (Akron).
The ace pitcher on the league's best pitching staff, the 6-foot-4, 170-pound Liersemann posted the league's best ERA at 0.64 and added a 108-pitch complete game win in the playoffs. His best pitch was a cutter that touched 91 mph and was especially effective against righthanders. He also demonstrated good control, walking four in 37 innings.
El Dorado won the Jayhawk League regular-season title by a half game over Hays and was the league's last team standing at the NBC World Series in nearby Wichita. They also claimed the league batting title (Anthony Hatch), ERA leader (Rusty Jones) and No. 1 prospect (Matt Green).
1. Matt Green, rhp, El Dorado (Louisiana-Monroe).
Projected as a possible third- to fifth-round pick in June as a draft-eligible sophomore, Green was passed over in the draft because his bonus demands were deemed excessive. It could prove to be a good break for the 6-foot-4, 185-pound righthander, who went 4-1, 2.57 with a league-best 51 strikeouts this summer for El Dorado and earned every vote as the Jayhawk League's top prospect. Green, a closer in 2003, was used mostly as a starter this summer and consistently held the velocity on his 92-94 mph fastball deep into games. In rare bullpen outings, he pumped his velocity up to 96-97 but was more of a thrower than a pitcher in that role. He also had command of a sharp 12-6 power breaking ball, his best pitch. Green was used as both a starter and reliever during the school year at Louisiana-Monroe, where he went 4-3, 5.25. He has an extremely easy delivery and just needs to develop better command of a third pitch, a changeup, to become a complete pitcher.
2. Mike McCallister, of, Liberal (Alabama).
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound McCallister missed the first half of the Jayhawk League season while attending summer school at Alabama, but he made a big impression in the second half, hitting .441-5-21. McCallister has all the tools. He's got quick hands and can drive balls to all fields. He's an average outfielder but possesses right-field arm strength. He's primed to be a top draft pick in 2006.
3. Kevin Russo, ss, Hays (San Jacinto, Texas, JC).
Besides possessing sound shortstop actions with above-average arm strength, Russo was also Hays' leading hitter at .374-6-24. His presence in the National Baseball Congress World Series was sorely missed as Russo, who will transfer to Baylor this fall, elected to return home to be with his ailing father, who found out he had cancer in July.
4. Stephen Marek, rhp, Hays (San Jacinto, Texas, JC).
A junior college teammate of Russo's, Marek was named the outstanding pitcher at this year's Junior College World Series for runner-up San Jacinto. He continued his strong showing during the summer, going 1-0, 0.84 while sharing the Jayhawk League lead in saves. With a 93-94 mph fastball and good curve, he averaged 15.1 strikeouts per nine innings. A 40th-round pick of the Angels in June, he's scheduled to return to San Jac for his sophomore year.
5. Anthony Hatch, 1b/3b, El Dorado (Nicholls State).
The lefthanded-batting Hatch hit .379-8-33 at Nicholls State in the spring and followed up by winning the Jayhawk League batting title at .425. Tall and slender at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Hatch played shortstop in college but spent the summer dividing time on the infield corners. First base appears to be his natural position but he may need to get stronger to play there.
6. Nolan Reimold, of, Hays (Bowling Green State).
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Reimold is a solid player across the board, but his bat is his best tool. After hitting .404-13-57 for Bowling Green in the spring, he hit a team-high 14 homers as Hays' 4-hole hitter, including a tournament-high four at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita. His best at-bat of the year, however, resulted in a single—on the 18th pitch of the at-bat.
7. Gilbert Delavera, lhp, Elkhart (Pima, Ariz., CC).
Delavera, a smallish lefthander, was a 15th-round pick of the Royals in June. His fastball is not overpowering at 86-88 mph but he has command of three pitches.
8. Bob Reifschneider, rhp, Hays (Duquesne).
Reifschneider mixes speeds well on four pitches, including an 89-91 mph fastball. He finished second in the league in strikeouts while walking only 10 in 47 innings.
9. Matt Rainey, rhp, Hays (Odessa, Texas, JC).
Rainey, a 32nd-round draft pick of the Devil Rays, was used in a set-up role for Marek. A two-pitch pitcher, he combined a good overhand curve with an explosive fastball. He'll transfer to Florida International in the fall.
10. Trent Lare, lhp, Nevada (Coffeyville, Kan., CC).
Lare, a 43rd-round pick of the Tigers, was clocked consistently at 87-90 mph. There should be plenty more in there as Lare is 6-foot-5 with long arms and just completed his first year at the junior college level.
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
Sanford dropped the first game of the three-game NECBL championship series, as the league's top prospect Richie Lentz closed out the win for Newport. Sanford catcher Jake Smith (East Carolina) evened the series with an inside-the-park home run against Lentz in the 10th inning of game two. The Mainers then captured the title behind their closer, Ryan Crew, the league's No. 3 prospect, to complete the come-from-behind series win. Crew earned a save earlier in the playoffs as Sanford advanced out of the first round by beating North Adams 1-0 despite getting no-hit.
1. Richie Lentz, rhp, Newport (Washington).
Lentz has spent plenty of time around great players—his father Mike was the No. 2 overall pick by the Padres in 1975, he played with Mariners bonus baby Matt Tuiasosopo in high school and pitched with freshman All-American Tim Lincecum this spring at Washington. This time, he gets top billing. He showed great stuff in the spring but struggled with his control (52 strikeouts and 41 walks in 50 innings) and landed in Washington's bullpen. He stayed there for Newport, developing into a dominating closer. Lentz, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, pitched at 90-94 mph and reached 97 on occasion while also showing a plus slider from a three-quarters arm slot. He went 2-0, 1.66 with nine saves while recording 32 strikeouts in 22 innings. Lentz allowed nine hits and 13 walks. He'll need to develop a third pitch to move back into the Huskies rotation, but showed the makeup to pitch in pressure situations that could make him a top closer.
2. Zack Kalter, of/rhp, Berkshire (Pasadena, Calif., CC).
Kalter proved why he was a first-team All-South Coast Conference pitcher and second-team hitter during his sophomore year at Pasadena CC as he emerged as the NECBL's top two-way talent. Kalter will continue raising the ante competition-wise when he transfers to Southern California this fall. He rates at least average in all five tools as a position player, with pluses in speed and power. Kalter batted .353-5-21 to finish fifth in the batting race while placing second in slugging percentage (.597) and adding 15 steals in 18 tries. He consistently hit 90 mph and above from the mound, allowing 35 hits in 43 innings while notching 34 strikeouts against 12 walks. Managers were divided whether they liked Kalter better in the field or on the mound, but everyone loved his makeup.
3. Ryan Crew, ss/rhp, Sanford (Texas-San Antonio).
Crew shined as one of the league's top athletes and rivaled Kalter as its best two-way player. His hands stay loose at the plate, allowing for excellent bat speed and plus power potential. The ball jumps off his bat, and he tied for the league lead in total bases (90) while batting .346-6-30. Crew also showed his speed, swiping 14 bags in 17 attempts. Crew, an athletic shortstop who was the Southland Conference's freshman of the year in 2003, has the actions, range and arm strength for the position. His arm also worked well in short relief stints as Crew fired 92-93 mph fastballs, a plus curveball and solid changeup.
4. Brooks Brown, rhp, Keene (Georgia).
Brown didn't pitch much as a freshman at Georgia, but was a candidate to face Texas if the Bulldogs could have pushed the Longhorns to an "if" game at the College World Series. He still earned a start against a loaded lineup, facing Team USA on its summer tour of the NECBL. Brown rang up eight strikeouts in five innings, allowing an earned run on three hits before the national team rallied for a 4-2 win. His 92-94 fastball, easy arm stroke and 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame all point to future success. So did his 27 strikeouts, seven walks and 12 hits allowed in 19 innings this summer that led to a 2-1, 0.93 record. He'll need to add stamina and hone his average breaking ball if he's to move into the starting rotation.
5. Jim Negrych, 2b, Keene (Pittsburgh).
Negrych is small in stature at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds and rates as an average runner and fielder, but still gets the most out of his physical skills. He hit .378 in the spring to rank second in the Big East and earn first-team Freshman All-America honors. He kept on swinging for Keene, batting .354 while leading the league in homers (nine), RBIs (39), total bases (90) and slugging percentage (.625). Those power numbers were even better than what he produced during a full season in college. Negrych rarely gets fooled on a pitch and has the bat speed to make up for it even when he does. He also stole 14 bags.
6. Jordan Newton, c, Danbury (Western Kentucky).
The athletic 5-foot-11, 185-pound Newton showed top quality skills behind the plate. He made quick transfers from mitt to hand, then unleashed his plus arm to gun down basestealers. Newton also used good footwork when catching, showing all the requisite tools for success despite needing a bit more experience to gain a better feel. His offense drew raves as well. He tied for second with eight home runs, finished as the runnerup in the league's home run derby at the all-star game and ranked fourth in slugging percentage (.579). Along with that plus power, Newton showed fleet feet for a catcher.
7. Andrew Bailey, rhp, Mill City (Wagner).
Some managers wondered how an arm as electric as Bailey's landed at tiny Wagner college. His pure stuff stacked up against that of anyone in the league. He stuck out 84 batters in 76 innings as sophomore at Wagner, then racked up a league-high 79 K's (25 looking) in 62 innings for Mill City, for whom he pitched a one-hitter and a three-hitter. He went 4-4, 3.32 with a .188 average against while relying on a dynamic fastball at 91-95 mph. He notched many of his strikeouts with his 12-to-6 curveball, which registers in the low 80s. However, the pitch was inconsistent at times owing to Bailey's raw mechanics.
8. Ryan Turner, lhp, Keene (Georgia Tech).
Turner went 1-2, 7.91 in 22 innings as a freshman at Georgia Tech before posting a 5-0, 1.24 mark this summer for Keene. Turner throws in the upper 80s with arm-side run and tops out at 91 mph. His loose arm and thin-but-sturdy frame (6-foot-1, 188 pounds) leave room to project more velocity. Turner also makes solid use of a plus slider. He struck out 40 in 44 innings and held batters to 27 hits and 11 walks. Turner showed his potential in a three-game stretch in July (3-0, 0.82) that ended with a nine-inning, two-hit shutout. Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said Turner reminded him of former Yellow Jackets lefty Cory Vance, a fourth-round pick of the Rockies in 2000.
9. Chris Stanton, 3b/of, Newport (Virginia Tech).
Stanton's game is speed, plain and simple. He finishes the 60-yard dash in 6.4 seconds, the kind of time that allows one to lead the league with 21 steals in 26 attempts. That quickness, and an astute knowledge of the short game—bunting and slapping balls on the ground—also helped him pace the league with a .405 average and 40 runs scored while ranking second with a .471 on-base mark. His 10 doubles offered just enough power so the opposing third baseman didn't play in front of the pitcher. He did get overmatched at times by 90-plus mph fastballs and also struggled defensively at third base. Left field might end up as Stanton's best position as he enters his senior year at Virginia Tech.
10. P.J. Antoniato, ss, Manchester (St. John's).
Antoniato and Concord's Bobby Tewksbary (Vermont) rated similarly at shortstop, with the former getting the nod here for his superior defensive skills. He showed excellent instincts, great hands and a solid arm. Antoniato hit .306 with a .371 on-base percentage, and his ability to control the bat and drive the ball from gap-to-gap remind some of Craig Biggio. That's the second-base version of Biggio, and a position Antoniato might end up playing at the professional level. He already has some experience there during his freshman year at St. John's as he deferred to senior Mike Rozema, now in the Atlanta Braves organization.
Duluth, making its first playoff appearance in its second year of existence, knocked off St. Cloud, which was in the postseason for a record-tying seventh straight year, to advance to the finals. There, Duluth faced Madison, which posted the league's best record at 42-21 to net manager of the year honors for Darrell Handelsman. Madison knocked off La Crosse in two games to reach the best-of-three final series.
1. Lance Broadway, rhp, Wisconsin (Dallas Baptist).
Broadway helped Dallas Baptist win the National Christian College Athletic Association title by capping a 10-2, 2.82 season with seven scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts in the semifinal round. The 6-foot-4, 184-pounder led the Patriots with 109 innings, but had plenty left this summer. Broadway had a 15-strikeout no-hitter against Alexandria, and led the league with a 1.80 ERA and 95 strikeouts, walking 17 in 65 innings while allowing 40 hits. Broadway, who will transfer to Texas Christian this fall, ran up those gaudy numbers despite leaving nearly a month early at the behest of TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, who was concerned about his workload. He showed a smooth arm stroke, which allowed him to consistently throw a 90-92 mph fastball and nearly unhittable curveball for strikes.
2. Max Scherzer, rhp, La Crosse (Missouri).
Scherzer worked just 20 innings as a freshman at Missouri, but showed he could be a key component to the Tigers' future success this summer in La Crosse. He uses his solid build (6-foot-3, 196 pounds) and loose arm to work in the 92-94 mph range, topping out at a blazing 98 mph. That kind of stuff led the Cardinals to select him in the 43rd round out of high school. He also displayed a solid slider, and the combination of that and his heater allowed him to punch out 41 hitters in 26 innings. He yielded just 14 hits and 13 walks, nailing down six saves with a 2.42 ERA.
3 Ryan Zink, rhp, Madison (Illinois-Chicago).
Zink's summer success was hardly a surprise. He did all his sneaking up on teams for Illinois-Chicago, where he went 9-3, 2.07 to earn second-team Freshman All-America honors in the spring. At 6-foot-5, he does blow hitters away with pure gas, but sits comfortably in the 88-90 range with excellent command and gets up to 92 at times. Zink also mixes in an above-average slider, one that helped him ring up 75 strikeouts in 75 innings while allowing 49 hits and 14 walks. His location and ability to set up hitters resemble the skills of a more experienced pitcher. He posted a 2.03 ERA, but just a 4-5 record because of a lack of run support.
4 Nick Hundley, c/of, Alexandria (Arizona).
Teams decided not to run much against Hundley after he showcased a plus arm, quick transfer and rapid release that led to 1.8-second pop times to second base. He stood out as the league's most polished defensive catcher, and also showed good power potential at the plate. One manager felt Hundley could develop into a major league catcher who hits 20 home runs per season. He was athletic enough—and had enough bat—to earn some time in the outfield when not catching. Hundley batted .293-4-27 with 12 doubles for Alexandria after hitting .299-4-27 as a sophomore during Arizona's College World Series season.
5. John Shelby, ss, Waterloo (Kentucky).
Yes, his father shared the same name while spending 11 years as a major league outfielder. That's the position where John Shelby III might end up, though he played in the middle of the diamond this summer and batted .274-6-30 with 15 steals. Shelby packs plenty of raw tools into his 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame, most notably bat speed, power and range. His arm lacks a little and could force a move to second if he stays in the infield. He batted .279-5-23 with seven steals as a freshman at Kentucky and produced the same 2-1 strikeout-walk ratio there he showed at Waterloo.
6. Phillip Hawke, 1b, Waterloo (Louisiana-Lafayette).
Hawke earned league MVP honors after ranking first in home runs (11), RBIs (41) and slugging percentage (.510) because of plus power and excellent bat speed. He basically reproduced his junior season at Louisiana-Lafayette, when he hit .329-10-42. One manager called him "country strong—even if he's not from the country". Hawke's .443 on-base percentage, second in the league, proves he's not a one-dimensional hitter and has good discipline. He's an average defender who doesn't show great footwork or footspeed, but that bat can make up for the shortcomings.
7. John Gaub, lhp, St. Cloud (Minnesota).
Gaub joined St. Cloud late after finishing a summer school class following his freshman year, but immediately began dealing gas. He pitched at 88-93 mph with life, topping out at 96. He struggled with his control early on at Minnesota, so he pitched just 24 innings there this spring but notched 37 strikeouts and 15 walks. Gaub fanned 17 against three walks in 11 innings for St. Cloud. He found his control at Minnesota after scrapping his full windup and working exclusively from the stretch. Gaub's mechanics are sound, but he struggles at times because he gets too emotional. His other pitches still lag behind his fastball developmentally, but he should emerge as an effective reliever once he gets the hang of his slider.
8. Jay Johnson, of, Madison (Xavier).
Johnson simply epitomizes the all-around baseball player. He can play the small game with drag bunts, wrap base hits to all fields and even swings with a bit of power. He hit .325-3-28 with a .400 on-base percentage thanks to a solid approach. Johnson's 19 steals show how well he runs, an asset that along with a strong arm makes him an excellent defensive right fielder. His fleet feet made him an All-Atlantic 10 selection as junior center fielder at Xavier, where he hit .326 with a .391 on-base mark.
9. Ben Stanczyk, rhp, La Crosse (Wisconsin-Milwaukee).
Stanczyk was a two-way star in college, earning Horizon League pitcher and player of the year honors as a senior while setting Wisconsin-Milwaukee's single-season strikeout record (95). He went undrafted and reported to La Crosse, where he showcased an 89-92 with late life. Stanczyk delivers the pitch from a true three-quarters arm slot, so sometimes it appears to rise and other times he can work it down and in. He also features a solid to above-average slider and has a sturdy 6-foot-1 frame, and an especially strong lower half. He racked up 86 strikeouts against 15 walks in 71 NWL innings before the Brewers signed him as a free agent on July 29. Stanczyk's hitting days are likely behind him as he profiles best as a major league reliever.
10. Mark Melancon, rhp, Duluth (Arizona).
Melancon went 6-4, 4.33 as a freshman at Arizona, but emerged as a key reliever during the team's run to the College World Series. He might play a larger role for the Wildcats next season, especially after going 1-2, 1.95 with 33 strikeouts and 14 walks in 37 innings for Duluth. Melancon is most confident in his 90-94 mph fastball, which draws as much attention from scouts as his strong pro body at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and easy arm action. His offspeed stuff can impress—especially the big 12-to-6 curveball—but Melancon must develop more consistency with those offerings.
TEXAS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
The first-year Texas Collegiate League was created, in part, to give a homestate advantage to teams and players from the Lone Star state. So far, so good. Players from Texas dominated a managers' survey of the league's top prospects and Texas and Rice, two of the past three College World Series champions, got an early indication how some seldom-used players and newcomers might play instrumental roles in 2005.
1. Drew Johnson, rhp, Coppell (Texas).
Johnson worked only an inning for the Longhorns in the spring as a freshman but should be a prime candidate to move into the rotation next year off his performance this summer. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Jason Jennings-lookalike used a sinking 92-93 mph fastball and dominating slider to lead the TCL in strikeouts with 72 in 63 innings. A bulldog competitor, Johnson should be ready to assume a more prominent role for the Longhorns as a sophomore as he is mechanically sound and has good command of his pitches.
2. Bryce Cox, rhp, McKinney (Paris, Texas, JC).
Pitching is still relatively new to Cox, who was used primarily as a third baseman in junior college. He had the best arm on a strong McKinney staff while being used as the closer—a role he's expected to assume for Rice in 2005. His fastball consistently clocks in at 91-92 mph, and he showed big improvement over the summer with his command and offspeed stuff. In addition to Cox, two other highly regarded junior college transfers—righthanders Josh Geer of McKinney and Ryan Tacker of Coppell—will be expected to pick up the slack next year on a Rice pitching staff that is expected to lose three first-round pitchers to the draft.
3. Eric Lis, 1b, Colleyville-Grapevine (Evansville).
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Lis was selected the league's player of the year. A rising junior at Evansville, he was one of the few non-Texans to make an impact on the league. The smooth-swinging lefthanded hitter led the league with a .418 average and was second with 35 RBIs. The ball jumps off his bat, and he projects to hit for both power and average.
4. German Duran, ss, Coppell (Texas Christian).
Duran was easily the best all-around shortstop in the league, and he displayed an outstanding arm, quick hands and excellent range. He also hit .293-5-34 and finished among league leaders in RBIs. Poor grades will force Duran to transfer to Weatherford (Texas) JC for the 2005 season.
5. Matt Spencer, of, Colleyville-Grapevine (Texas).
The lefthanded-hitting Spencer got only 17 at-bats for the Longhorns in 2004 and, not surprisingly, was passed over in the June draft. He may have put his career back on track with a breakout summer. He led the league with 12 homers and 41 RBIs, while finishing second in average (.367). He used the whole field and consistently had good at-bats; he was adept at waiting until the last second to commit on pitches. The rest of his tools are average at best.
6. Braedyn Pruitt, 3b, Weatherford (Stetson).
Even though he hit a modest .266, the lefthanded-hitting Pruitt was universally praised for his hitting ability. Tall and thin but wiry strong, he showed good opposite field power and his smooth stroke drew comparisons to John Olerud's. A sound defender with solid tools, Pruitt's speed was his only below-average tool.
7. Adam Morris, 3b, McKinney (Rice).
Morris hit .276-5-28 as Rice's regular third baseman in 2004 and flirted with .400 over the first half of the TCL season before slumping in the second half. His bat is his best tool. Morris has a big league swing with gap power and makes adjustments at the plate well. He's just an average defender.
8. Travis Reagan, c, Weatherford (Rice).
A rising sophomore at Rice, Reagan split the catcher's job at Rice as a freshman—a noble assignment considering he caught first-rounders Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend. He's an excellent defender with good receiving skills and arm strength and was easily the best in the TCL at shutting down the running game. Reagan needs a lot of work at the plate, but made big strides in the second half of the season.
9. Pete Duda, rhp, Weatherford (Stanford).
Duda has a funky, maximum-effort delivery but his fastball was routinely clocked at 93-94 mph. He complemented it with a good slider and had excellent command of his stuff but didn't have a quality third pitch.
10. Ryan Tacker, rhp, Coppell (Navarro, Texas, JC).
Tacker started slowly but came on strong with a fastball that was consistently from 90-92 mph and touched 94. An 82-84 mph slider was rated the best in the league. He will transfer to Rice this fall after starting his college career at Texas A&M.
Harrisonburg won the Southern Division with the league's best record at 30-14, but failed to reach the finals. Winchester, the second-best team at 29-15 and Northern Division winner, did advance to the finals, where it beat Staunton two games to one for the title. Winchester won on the strength of its pitching, and tellingly, its two best arms take the top two spots on the prospect list.
1. Chris Dennis, rhp, Winchester (Auburn).
Dennis was Auburn's only regular pitcher with an ERA less than 4.00 this spring, then set a Winchester record with 13 saves, one off the league lead. With long arms and a 6-foot-1 frame, he used his 92-95 mph fastball and sharp 88 mph slider to strike out 43 batters in 34 innings while permitting 20 hits and eight walks. Dennis used the summer to add a changeup, which could lead to a move into the Tigers rotation next spring.
2. Mike Wagner, rhp, Winchester (Vanderbilt).
Wagner worked just 22 innings on a deep Vanderbilt staff as a freshman, but used his summer in the Valley to audition for a larger role. He went 6-0, 1.79 and led the league in wins, ranked second in ERA and fourth in strikeouts. He fanned 75 batters in 55 innings, and 15 of those K's came in one sterling performance. Wagner also demonstrated excellent command of three solid pitches, issuing just seven walks. His fastball sits in the low 90s, and his slider and changeup are at least average. Wagner won't back down from any hitter, but sometimes his eagerness gets the best of him. He sometimes tries to throw too hard in tight situations rather than simply stick to his game plan of changing speeds.
3. Jon Jay, of, Staunton (Miami).
Jay, a first-team Freshman All-American and member of the College World Series all-tournament team, didn't destroy the league but still acquitted himself nicely during his first summer using a wood bat. Managers liked that he played the game and hit the baseball the same way—hard. Jay batted .307 with a .370 on-base mark and seven steals, providing the same top-of-the-order spark for Staunton as he did for Miami. He knows how to bunt and also sprays live drives all over the field. Jay's speed and plus arm make him a strong defender in center field.
4. Brendan Katin, c/of, Covington (Miami).
Katin reminded many of Pat Burrell when he transferred to Miami before last season. He stands 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds and possesses the same type of raw power the former Hurricanes slugger does. He never found regular duty in Miami last season, but did hit six homers in 99 at-bats. He equalled that total this summer with wood and rekindled the Burrell comparisons. Katin also tried a new trick, moving behind the plate and drawing mixed reviews there. Some managers thought he showed a good feel for the position but looked rusty; others just saw a below-average backstop. Everyone saw the power, and most liked his quiet approach at the plate. But Katin must trim his 32-12 strikeout-walk ratio if he's to hit better than the .260 he showed with wood.
5. Omar Aguilar, rhp, Covington (Merced, Calif., CC).
Aguilar expected to go higher than the eighth round when he was drafted in June by the Giants for the second straight year, so he ended up not signing. The freshman from Merced (Calif.) CC product called late to secure a spot in the Valley, where he showed everyone the arm strength his draft stock was based on. Strong and durable at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, Aguilar fired fastballs in the mid-90s all summer for Covington, hitting at least 93 in every start. He held his velocity deep into games and often looked like the league's most dominant pitcher. He struck out 76 batters in 49 innings, allowed just 23 hits and was the league's most dominant pitcher. Aguilar also showed the ability to throw his slider for strikes, but at times fell in love with his offspeed pitches and shied away from his fastball. The nibbling led to 47 walks.
6. Joe Kemp, 1b, Harrisonburg (Indiana).
Kemp, who played last season at Indiana as a red-shirt junior, led the league with a .396 average, proving a good hitter late in counts while showing good balance and the ability to use the whole field. He ranked second in slugging (.570) and third in on-base percentage (.449) showing his power potential and knowledge of the strike zone. He's a smart player who also runs well for a first baseman. He displayed solid skills at first base, including good footwork, which could make him a candidate to move to the outfield if scouts feel he's too small for first base at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.
7. Jon Love, of, Front Royal (Kennesaw State, Ga.).
Love shared the MVP award with Winchester third baseman Jeremy Terni (Southern Connecticut State) after leading the league with 15 homers, a .756 slugging percentage, a .492 on-base percentage, 60 hits and 45 runs scored. Love has the bat control and power to punish all types of pitches; he'll rake mistakes but also hit a 400-foot home run off a curveball at his knees this season. He's a surprisingly good athlete who won national titles as a cheerleader at Kentucky during his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Kennesaw State, for whom he played in the Division II World Series as a red-shirt sophomore in 2003. His athleticism shows in center field, where Love is an adequate defender with a plus arm. He could be a good senior sign next year.
8. Chris Perez, rhp, Staunton (Miami).
Perez has always displayed the arm strength to reach the mid-90s with his fastball, but made strides this summer in commanding his repertoire, which also includes a slider and changeup. He struck out 30 batters in 19 innings as a freshman at Miami, but also walked 18 batters and hit five more. Perez trimmed his walks to 10 in 21 frames for Staunton while whiffing 35. He still could use more time on the mound to iron out his inconsistencies in location and refine his offspeed pitches. Perez' frame (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and clean mechanics still leave room to project more velocity.
9. Kyle Dubois, rhp, Woodstock (Manatee, Fla., JC).
Like his older brother Jason, an outfielder at Triple-A in the Cubs organization, Kyle Dubois is a strong-bodied two-way college player. This Dubois excels on the mound, where he was a second-team All-Suncoast Conference performer last year as a sophomore at Manatee JC. He'll transfer to Old Dominion this season. Dubois uses all of his 6-foot-4, 200 pound-body to get his fastball into the mid-90s. He can blow it by hitters, and sent 74 away on strikes in 72 innings this summer. Dubois has struggled to find a complement to that pitch, however. His control of an average slider varies from start to start; it's the difference between a dominating performance and a sub-par one.
10. Chase Tucker, lhp, Staunton (Panola, Texas, JC).
Tucker posted a 44-15 strikeout-walk ratio in 36 innings as a freshman at Panola JC, but might have expected things to get a bit tougher in the Valley. Instead he posted a 40-12 ratio in 24 innings for Staunton, allowing 16 hits. He went 2-1, 2.22 with six saves. The 6-foot, 200-pound lefty has a bulldog mentality and goes right after hitters. Tucker just pounds the zone with 90-92 mph fastballs and a tight 12-to-6 curveball that's effective against hitters on either side of the plate. He also showed a rudimentary changeup.
ATLANTIC COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
1. Jeff Sues, rhp, New Jersey (Vanderbilt)
2. Steve McFarland, rhp, Samford (Pace)
3. Todd Martin, of, New Jersey (Tennessee)
4. Kyle Collina, rhp, Quakertown (Lehigh)
5. Aaron Kalb, rhp, Jersey (Rutgers)
6. Ross Boudreaux, c, Lehigh Valley (Southern Arkansas)
7. David Welch, lhp, Lehigh Valley (Texarkana, Texas, JC)
8. Milton Feliciano, rhp, Metro New York (Georgia State)
9. Mick Lefont, rhp, Stamford (Rhode Island)
10. Doug Anderson, ss, Jersey (Fairfield)
CLARK GRIFFITH LEAGUE
1. Adam Mills, rhp, Silver Spring (UNC Charlotte)
2. Brad LaNinfa, 1b, Bethesda (Mississippi State)
3. J.J. Hollenback, rhp, Herndon (Virginia Military)
4. Michael McKendry, c, Bethesda (Middle Tennessee State)
5. Jon Link, rhp, Herndon (Virginia Commonwealth)
6. Brandon Bowser, of, Herndon (James Madison)
7. Daniel Burton, of/1b, Vienna (Louisville)
8. Manny Burris, ss/2b, Vienna (Kent State)
9. Chris Rhoades, rhp, Bethesda (Towson)
10. Keith Moreland, rhp, Bethesda (UNC Charlotte)
FLORIDA COLLEGIATE SUMMER LEAGUE
1. Drew Shetrone, rhp, Seminole (Fla.) CC
2. Tim Orlosky, of, Central Florida
3. John DeStefano, of, Stetson
4. James Belyea, c, North Florida
5. Angelo Petracca, 3b, Villanova
6. Kyle Patrick, rhp/ss, Seminole (Fla.) CC
7. Ron Baptiste, of, Rollins College
8. Matt Horwath, ss/2b, Louisiana State
9. Jason Fletcher, rhp, South Carolina
10. Jeff Howell, c, Florida Southern
PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
1. Tim Lincecum, rhp, Seattle (Washington)
2. Kyle Parker, rhp, Aloha (Washington
3. Cole Gillespie, 1b, Wenatchee (Oregon State)
4. Zach Clem, 3b/of, Bellingham (Washington)
5. Andrew Lafave, of, Everett (Edmonds, Wash., CC; Hawaii)
6. Josh McLaughlin, rhp, Kelowna (Georgia)
7. Nate Fogle, rhp, Aloha (Mt. Hood, Ore., CC; Oregon State)
8. Taylor Johnson, of, Seattle (Washington)
9. Chad Decker, lhp, Aloha (UC Riverside)
10. Nick Batkoski, ss, Seattle (Washington)