2002 College Summer Leagues: Top Prospects
CAPE COD LEAGUE
Freshmen rarely make a huge impact in the Cape Cod League. In most cases, they're facing tougher competition than ever and they're fatigued after their first college season.
Baseball America began rating the best Cape Cod League prospects in 1990, and future No. 1 overall draft picks Darin Erstad, Kris Benson and Pat Burrell weren't able to claim the top spot after their freshman years. In 1999, Mark Teixeira became the first to do so.
Fresh off his first team Freshman All-America selection as a two-way player, UCLA first baseman Wes Whisler followed in Teixeira's footsteps this summer. In a league that doesn't showcase power, Whisler's pop at the plate easily stood out. He batted .309-6-16 and led the Cape with a .512 slugging percentage. He also won the league's official top prospect award, voted on by pro scouts.
"Whisler centers the ball well, uses the whole field and has so much power and upside," a National League crosschecker said. "He did himself a favor by performing the way he did."
It was a good summer for talent on the Cape. There wasn't much in the way of catchers or middle infielders, but the overall crop ran deeper than usual. Here's our Top 30, based on discussions with league managers and scouts:
1. Wes Whisler, 1b, Yarmouth-Dennis (UCLA).
Whisler had easily the most raw power in the league, with Cotuit third baseman Lee Mitchell (Georgia) his closest rival. Most everyone loved Whisler's lefthanded swing and the strength packed in his 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame. He doesn't try to overpower the ball and is a decent athlete for his size. Whisler didn't get a chance to showcase his pitching skills because he felt a twinge in his elbow the one time he took the mound.
2. Tim Stauffer, rhp, Chatham (Richmond).
After earning first-team All-America honors and carrying Richmond to a school record for victories during the spring, Stauffer led the Cape with 67 strikeouts in 63 innings. He threw three-plus pitches for strikes: a fastball that reaches 94 mph and runs down and in on righthanders, a curveball and a changeup. He relentlessly pitched inside, and the only thing scouts were skeptical about was his height (listed at 6-foot-2).
3. Matt Murton, of, Wareham (Georgia Tech).
Murton also ranked third on this list in 2001, when he won an MVP award, RBIs title and championship on the Cape. He wouldn't have returned to the Gatemen for another championship had he not broken his right middle finger while trying out for Team USA. Showing a broad base of offensive skills, Murton hit .400 in 16 games as a Wareham DH and won the all-star game home run derby. His average arm will consign him to left field.
4. David Aardsma, rhp, Falmouth (Rice).
After a year at Penn State, Aardsma transferred to Rice and did solid bullpen work for a College World Series club. But no one was prepared for his coming-out party on the Cape, where he lived at 94-95 mph and touched 97 with his fastball. Mixing in an unhittable slider, he posted a 0.68 ERA and 45 strikeouts while permitting just 12 baserunners in 27 innings.
5. Matt Brown, rhp, Bourne (California).
Brown ranked 16th on our 2001 Top 30 as a setup man, and moved up as a starter this summer. He repeated a 90-93 mph fastball and a hard curveball consistently, and his clean arm action will allow him to improve. Brown threw more over the top this year, costing him some movement, but he also trimmed up his 6-foot-5, 235-pound body.
6. Ben Harrison, of, Hyannis (Florida).
At 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, Harrison had the best pro body among the Cape's position players. Only a below-average arm keeps him from five-tool status. "The tools are there," the crosschecker said. "He's fun to watch."
7. Chris Ray, rhp, Bourne (William & Mary).
Ray won or saved 12 of the Braves' 16 victories and earned a lot of comparisons to Aardsma. Using a high leg kick, Ray threw a fastball as quick as Aardsma's and also showed an 82-83 mph slider and a plus splitter. He exerts a little more effort than Aardsma does, and his breaking ball isn't quite as good.
8. Brian Snyder, 3b, Cotuit (Stetson).
Snyder's 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame doesn't fit the pro blueprint for third basemen, but he opened eyes with his all-around play. Snyder used the entire field and hit .294-4-21 with 15 steals. The all-star game MVP, he's also more agile than expected at the hot corner.
9. Pete Stonard, of/2b, Cotuit (Alabama).
Stonard didn't secure a Cape roster spot until the late spring, then rewarded the Kettleers with a batting title (.348) and MVP performance. He's a line-drive, on-base machine who runs well. He lacks some arm strength, and opinion was divided on whether he's better suited for center field or second base as a pro.
10. Jeremy Sowers, lhp, Wareham (Vanderbilt).
The Cincinnati Reds' 2001 first-round pick, Sowers joins Whisler as the only freshmen on the Top 10. Observers thought the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder looked somewhat worn down, but he still led the Cape with 65 innings. He repeats his delivery exceptionally well, allowing him to throw his 88-90 mph fastball, plus curveball and developing changeup wherever he wants. He also had the best pickoff move in the league.
11. Lee Mitchell, 3b, Cotuit (Georgia).
With Snyder getting most of the Kettleers' time at third base, Mitchell split time between the outfield and the hot corner. He has a big league arm that played well at both positions, and he had the Cape's best raw power this side of Whisler. Mitchell will have to tinker with his swing to make more contact and fare better against breaking stuff.
12. Anthony Gwynn, of, Brewster (San Diego State).
The son of future Hall of Famer and current Aztecs coach Tony Gwynn, Anthony made a name for himself on the Cape. As might be expected, he has a solid approach at the plate and constantly puts the ball in play with a line drive swing. However, he made a more lasting impression with his ability to run balls down in the gaps and was the best center fielder on the Cape.
13. Rodney Allen, of, Orleans (Arizona State).
Another son of a former big leaguer (Rod Sr., currently a broadcaster with the Diamondbacks), the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Allen was one of the league's better athletes. He was nearly Gwynn's equal as a center fielder and also impressed managers with his bat, speed and makeup.
14. Jeremy Slayden, of, Falmouth (Georgia Tech).
One of six freshmen to play prominent roles on the Commodores, Slayden stood out the most despite arriving late from the College World Series and Team USA tryouts and missing time with hamstring injuries. He has a sweet lefthanded stroke with leverage that gives him power, and scouts noted that he has gotten stronger over the last year.
15. Scott Baker, rhp, Orleans (Oklahoma State).
Teammate Brian Rogers was the Cape pitcher of the year and was one of three Cardinals with better ERAs. But Baker's combination of stuff and pitchability stood out most on a talented Orleans staff. Baker's two best offerings are a 90-93 mph fastball and an 80-mph slider, and he also uses a curveball and changeup. He pitches down in the zone and sets up hitters well.
16. Frasier Dizard, lhp, Chatham (Southern California).
Dizard worked just six innings for the Trojans during the spring because of elbow problems. He was kept on a strict pitch count that never topped 90 on the Cape and had to leave early because of a family illness. Before he departed, he displayed a 92-mph fastball and what Chatham manager John Schiffner called the best changeup in the league. His curveball was shaky as he tried to regain confidence in his elbow.
17. Nick Touchstone, lhp, Wareham (Okaloosa-Walton CC).
Touchstone turned down the Yankees as a draft-and-follow and signed with the Angels as an 18th-rounder before the season ended. Far from a prototypical lefthander, he's 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds and can touch 95 mph. His curveball and slider also have their moments, but he's going to need to sharpen his breaking stuff and his command.
18. Robbie Van, lhp, Orleans (Nevada-Las Vegas).
As a lefthanded reliever, Van could be on an express route to the majors. He opened the summer on Yarmouth-Dennis as a fill-in player, and when the Red Sox ran out of roster spots he joined Orleans. Van throws a low-90s fastball and had the consensus best slider on the Cape.
19. Gary Bakker, rhp, Cotuit (North Carolina).
There's plenty of projection left in Bakker's 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame, and he drew raves for his poise. Bakker's best pitch at this point is his curveball, though he also locates his 87-90 mph fastball extremely well. His arm speed suggests that he'll be able to add more velocity.
20. Daniel Moore, lhp, Chatham (North Carolina).
Moore fell from 5-2, 1.02 last summer to 2-5, 3.50 this time around, yet he still has big leaguer written all over him. Extremely projectable at 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, he has improved both his 89-91 mph fastball and his curveball. Several scouts were on hand for his best outing, a 13-strikeout gem against Hyannis.
21. Jim Brauer, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Michigan).
Brauer turned in the Cape's most dominating performance this summer, spinning a 14-strikeout no-hitter against Chatham. He doesn't have a dominating pitch, though he can spot his 90-91 mph fastball, plus changeup, curveball and slider where he wants. Once he fills out his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, his stuff should get better.
22. David Murphy, of, Wareham (Baylor).
Murphy was one of the league's most improved players, raising his average 91 points after hitting .213 for the Gatemen in 2001. His arm strength and right-field play were also better this time around. Murphy's swing and approach are sound, though he'll have to show more over-the-fence power.
23. Trey Webb, ss, Bourne (Baylor).
In a down year for shortstops, Webb was considered the class of the Cape. His defense is unquestioned, as his arm, hands and glove are all assets. His makeup also was a plus, as he won the league's 10th player award. Webb will have to get stronger and more selective to become an offensive threat; he batted just .222-0-6.
24. Brian Rogers, rhp, Orleans (Georgia Southern).
The Cape's pitcher of the year, Rogers posted the second-best ERA in league history at 0.40, trailing only Eric Milton's 0.21 in 1996. Rogers did it with location, repeating his delivery with ease, and a willingness to pitch inside. His slider and changeup are more impressive than his fastball, which was clocked at 85-90 mph.
25. Trey Taylor, lhp, Wareham (Baylor).
Like his teammate Sowers, Taylor was an early pick in the 2001 draft (supplemental second round, Rockies). Taylor has a tick more velocity on his 88-91 mph fastball and a better pro body at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. His changeup was his more effective pitch on the Cape, and his slurvy curveball also had its moments.
26. Chris Snavely, 2b/of, Harwich (Ohio State).
Snavely is a strong lefthanded hitter with uncommon size (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and pop for a middle infielder. He started fast this summer, then cooled off once teams started pitching him on the outer half of the plate. He's adequate as a second baseman and could face a move to third base or left field as a pro.
27. Jamie D'Antona, 3b, Chatham (Wake Forest).
D'Antona was easily the biggest disappointment on the Cape this summer. Managers were disappointed in his mental and physical approach, and he struggled with strikeouts (48 in 43 games) and errors (11). He has big-time power and a strong arm, but a NL scouting director noted that he'll have to hit a lot of homers to be of much value as a pro.
28. Myron Leslie, 3b, Orleans (South Florida).
Reports on Leslie were mixed. Those who liked him saw him as a switch-hitting athlete with plus third-base skills, average speed and occasional power. His detractors thought his 6-foot-3, 200-pound body lacked some life and weren't sure he could stay at the hot corner.
29. John Axford, rhp, Hyannis (Notre Dame).
Axford's stuff rivaled that of any Cape starter. He has a very loose arm that delivers 92-95 mph fastballs and a curveball that's unhittable at times. But his mechanics and release point are very inconsistent, which prevent him from throwing strikes. He went 0-3, 7.17 with 30 walks in 21 innings, yet his future will be bright if he can find command.
30. David Sanders, lhp, Wareham (Wichita State).
The fourth Gatemen southpaw on this list, Sanders finished second in the ERA race at 0.73. His fastball fluctuated from 83-85 to 88-90 mph, but his changeup and curveball were plus pitches from start to start. He could throw harder if he strengthens his 6-foot-4, 195-pound build, and he'll need to be more aggressive.
Baseball America compiled the following Top 10 Prospects lists in association with league managers from seven of the nation's top summer college leagues. Editor Allan Simpson and senior writer John Manuel tallied the survey and interviewed managers for their comments. The lists are presented by league in alphabetical order.
The Alaska Goldpanners and Anchorage Glacier Pilots made it an all-Alaska League final at the National Baseball Congress World Series, but that feat was not a glowing endorsement of the talent that passed through the league in 2002.
"The league was more competitive, but the talent was not as good as 2001," said Anchorage Bucs coach Jim Yanko. "We had no one in the class of (Rockies first-round pick) Jeff Francis. We had three or four quality arms, but we also had a lot of guys who threw in the 83-86 mph range."
Overall, here's how coaches viewed the league's top talent:
1. David Purcey, lhp, Anchorage Glacier Pilots (Oklahoma).
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Purcey had the best fastball in the league, routinely reaching 94 mph with good movement. He's nowhere near as polished as Francis, last year's No. 1 prospect, or even Jered Weaver and Ryan Schroyer, the Nos. 2-3 players on this list. But his upside is greater. At this point Purcey is just a thrower, not a pitcher. He's also more suited to close because he has not developed a third pitch. Because he turns 21 next April, Purcey will be draft eligible as a sophomore.
2. Jered Weaver, rhp, Anchorage Bucs (Long Beach State).
Farther along at the same stage of his career than his brother Jeff, now with the Yankees, Weaver already has command of three pitches. He has good sinking action on an 88-92 mph fastball, a slider that zips in and out of the zone quickly and good downward action on his changeup. He has the same loose arm action and deception as his brother, a former Fresno State star.
3. Ryan Schroyer, rhp, Alaska Goldpanners (Arizona State).
Released from the Team USA trials prior to trekking to Alaska, Schroyer was used as a closer by the NBC champion Goldpanners. He has the requisite makeup for the role while his fastball was clocked at 90-93 mph, and would top out at 96. He complemented it with a dynamite 12-to-6 curveball. At times, he was the most dominant pitcher in the league.
4. Marc Kaiser, rhp, Alaska Goldpanners (Arizona).
Kaiser throws four pitches for strikes, including a 91-94 mph fastball. He started the NBC World Series championship game. Scouts say he has the stuff to be a pitcher and seems a natural on the mound, but Kaiser's long-standing desire to play every day, specifically as a catcher, has prompted him to transfer to Lewis-Clark State, where he'll get a chance to play both ways next spring.
5. Paul Janish, ss/rhp, Kenai Peninsula Oilers (Rice).
Janish made his mark at shortstop as a college freshman but made an equally strong impression on the mound in Alaska. His arm is his best tool and his fastball was clocked from 91-93 mph. He also has solid middle-infield actions, but scouts say he needs a lot of work to refine his swing.
6. Blake Gill, 2b-ss, Mat-su Miners (Louisiana State).
Gill finished second in the Alaska League batting race playing for the Miners but really made his mark when he was added to the roster of the Goldpanners for the NBC World Series. Not only did the Goldpanners win the title, but Gill earned tournament MVP honors, playing shortstop. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Gill isn't very big but he's strong and swings the bat well from the left side. Defensively, he's best suited for second base or left field.
7. Chad Corona, 3b, Alaska Goldpanners (San Diego State).
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Corona has Troy Glaus qualities. He has a strong, projectable body with arm strength and above-average power potential.
8. Drew Anderson, of, Anchorage Glacier Pilots (Nebraska).
Anderson struggled early in Alaska but eventually developed into the best lefthanded hitter in the league. He has a picture swing and handled any pitch thrown at him. His other tools grade out average.
9. Dennis Bigley, rhp/inf, Anchorage Glacier Pilots (Oral Roberts).
Bigley's game is all about power—power arm, power bat—and it's a tossup whether his power is better suited on the mound or at the plate. Bigley's 10 home runs led the league while his lively fastball also was one of the league's best.
10. Eric Rodland, ss, Athletes in Action (Gonzaga).
Rodland led the league in hitting by almost 100 points, finishing at .423. More impressive to scouts, he kept his bat head in the hitting zone longer than any player in the league. But Rodland struggled in the field and didn't show the power to warrant a move to a corner position.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
1. Dustin Bensko, 1b/3b, Springfield (Illinois).
Coaches said the righthanded-hitting Bensko has three above-average tools—arm strength, hitting and power to spare from his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame. He ran well for his size but will have to improve to stay at third base defensively.
2. Brandon Cashman, of, Decatur (Illinois).
A veteran who will be a fifth-year senior, this Iowa State transfer was described as being average in all five tools.
3. Brock Till, rhp, Springfield (Bradley).
His size (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) will always be a factor, but this stocky righthander pairs an 89-91 mph fastball (at times better) with a nasty splitter. Till reportedly touched 96 mph, and his changeup and breaking ball are average pitches.
4. Logan Hughes, inf/of, Springfield (Missouri-St. Louis).
A versatile athlete who spent time all over the field, Hughes is an average runner with some pop in his bat. Managers liked his glove best at second base.
5. Anthony Tomey, rhp, Springfield (Eastern Michigan).
While he reportedly touched 93 mph, Tomey lives at 86-89 with is fastball, and has good deception and various arm angles on all his offerings. One knock on him is a maximum-effort delivery.
6. Drew Anderson, 2b, Quincy (Ohio State).
Another player whose tools belie his size, Anderson takes advantage of his plus speed with a switch-hitting, put-it-in-play approach. One manager called him the league's best prospect because of his polish and offensive talents.
7. J. C. Holt, 2b/of, Danville (Louisiana State).
A track and basketball star in high school, the speedy Holt's SEC experience showed most with his steady approach at the plate.
8. Kyle Bloom, lhp, Springfield (Illinois State).
The southpaw showed three solid average pitches as he improved during the summer—86-89 mph fastball, curveball and straight changeup. His curveball is a big, slow number, at times more offspeed than his changeup.
9. Anthony Cupps, rhp, Danville (Mississippi).
Though an injury ended his summer early, Cupps had easy 89-92 mph velocity on his fastball; his change and curve are still raw. His biggest asset may be his effortless delivery.
10. P.J. Finigan, ss, Springfield (Southern Illinois).
Considered the league's top defender at short, Finigan shows a plus arm and the range to make the play in the hole. He showed gap power and average speed.
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
While East Carolina standout Darryl Lawhorn, a second-team All-American as a freshman, didn't make the list, that's mostly because he played just part of the season. He and twin brother Trevor also played in the league's best pitcher's park in Wilmington. League managers thought talent was slightly down from 2001, but Justin Verlander has a chance to be a premium pick in 2004 if he stays healthy after a heavy workload in his freshman season.
1. Justin Verlander, rhp, Wilson (Old Dominion).
The Colonial Athletic Association's top freshman lacks some feel but pumps 93-95 mph heat and has a true hammer curve, a power pitch that makes opponents swing and miss regularly. The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder started the summer at Team USA's trials.
2. Mike Reese, of, Wilson (Rollins, Fla.).
The league's MVP impressed managers most with his surprising speed from his stocky 5-foot-10, 190-pound frame, but his overall game vastly improved from the previous season.
3. Chris Coughlin, rhp, Wilmington (UNC Wilmington).
Top pitcher on the league's top staff posted an ERA under 1.00 with a veteran's knowledge and command of average stuff.
4. Josh Archer, 1b, Florence (Middle Tennessee State).
Big and strong at 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, Archer has power potential and isn't afraid to hit to the opposite field.
5. Thomas Berkery, c, Edenton (Mississippi State).
His quiet feet, good hands, receiving skills and plus arm caused one coach to liken him to Reds prospect Dane Sardinha. He also showed solid power and an improved approach at the plate as well.
6. Jaymie Russ, rhp, Gastonia (Belmont Abbey, N.C.).
Small-school ace went after hitters aggressively (90 Ks in 66 IP) and was able to expand the strike zone with plus command.
7. Tug Hulett, 3b, Peninsula (Auburn).
Son of ex-big leaguer Tim Hulett runs better than his dad ever did and made consistent contact with a short lefthanded swing.
8. Tim Turner, lhp, Wilson (East Tennessee State).
Perhaps the league's best defensive outfielder and fastest runner, the athletic Turner led the league in Ks with a lively 85-88 mph fastball and solid changeup. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound southpaw's velocity improved through the summer.
9. Justin Sturge, lhp, Fayetteville (Coastal Carolina).
After relieving most of the spring, this lanky lefthander showed his stuff plays in the rotation by throwing the league's only no-hitter.
10. Marshall Hubbard, of, Outer Banks (William & Mary).
Easy lefthanded power and plus arm made this lefthanded-hitting right fielder a hot commodity—he has received his release to transfer.
GREAT LAKES LEAGUE
1. Brian Bixler, ss, Delaware (Eastern Michigan).
An aggressive offensive player who hit .389 and led the league with 56 hits, Bixler handled a wood bat better than anyone. He runs well and while not flashy, he made every play expected of a shortstop.
2. Chris Cordiero, rhp, Northern Ohio (UCLA).
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound righthander used a 93 mph fastball to go 5-0, 1.47 and win the playoff clincher for league champion Northern Ohio. He was especially effective against righthanded hitters when he dropped down on his slider.
3. Josh Anderson, of, Stark County (Eastern Kentucky).
By hitting .414, third in the league, Anderson demonstrated his ability to hit for average. His other tools also play, especially his speed and arm strength.
4. Chase Odenreider, 3b, Youngstown (Nebraska).
The leader in RBIs by a wide margin, Odenreider's strengths are his ability to hit for power and average. "He's an animal with the bat," one coach said. Odenreider is adequate defensively and should challenge for the starting job at third for Nebraska after redshirting as a freshman.
5. Dan Horvath, rhp, Northern Ohio (Central Michigan).
A four-time all-league pitcher, Horvath is 23 but enjoyed another strong summer after a disappointing college season. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound righthander led the league with a 0.66 ERA, earned three wins and a save as Northern Ohio won its third straight championship and also beat a barnstorming Team USA. He has command of four pitches, including a fastball that tops out at 91 mph.
6. Kevin Estrada, ss, Northern Ohio (Pepperdine).
Estrada transferred from Florida to Pepperdine last year but missed the 2002 season with a broken wrist. Still, he was drafted in the 42nd round in June by the Cardinals. A solid defender with plus range and arm strength, the switch-hitting Estrada was praised for his approach to the game.
7. Matt Davis, rhp, Lima (Ohio State).
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Davis pitched in just 26 innings his first two years at Ohio State, while battling arm and control problems, but made a big breakthrough this summer. He located a 91-92 mph fastball well and complemented it with a slider and changeup.
8. Brad Schutz, ss, Youngstown (Cincinnati).
A middle infielder with good range and arm strength, Schutz also had the league's longest hitting streak.
9. Caleb Brock, c, Delaware (Kentucky).
The league's best defensive catcher, Brock has excellent catch and throw skills. His bat continues to develop.
10. Adam Kirkendall, lhp, Grand Lake (Louisiana Tech).
A lefthander with an 87-88 mph fastball and a solid curve, Kirkendall's best pitch is his changeup.
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
The NECBL continues its climb up the ladder of summer leagues, with intriguing talents continuing to find their way there. The top two prospects here were the top freshmen in the Big East Conference, and league managers were impressed with the number of power arms they saw, though many were in the bullpen. Among the notables who didn't make the list were righthanders Chris Gale (Virginia) and Sean Ruthven (Fresno State), sons of big league pitchers.
1. Chris Lambert, rhp, Concord (Boston College).
He dominated the Big East in the spring, and did it in NECBL (72 Ks in 46 IP) with a 90-94 mph fastball, power slider and aggressive approach.
2. Jeff Frazier, of, Danbury (Rutgers).
A Baseball America first-team Freshman All-American, Frazier is a potential five-tool talent for the 2004 draft, showed flashes of developing power and is a plus runner. He was the NECBL's rookie of the year after tying for the league's home run lead and going 18-for-18 on stolen bases.
3. Mike Wagner, of, North Adams (Washington).
Wagner never stopped hitting or showing plus opposite-field power from a pro-ready body (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and short, compact swing. Frazier's ceiling is higher, but Wagner has plenty of polish and has the arm for right field.
4. Grant Reynolds, rhp, Concord (Kennesaw State, Ga.).
Polished Australian wasn't drafted in June, but used an 88-90 mph fastball, plus changeup and good command to set league ERA record (0.46).
5. Justin Orenduff, rhp, Keene (George Washington).
After winning 10 games in the spring as a setup man, Orenduff took his 87-90 mph fastball (which touched 93) and nasty slider to a closer role. Orenduff also has confidence in his stuff (at times touching 93 mph) and misses bats regularly while showing good command.
6. Chris Homer, rhp, North Adams (Marist).
Older than Orenduff, Homer nevertheless was the league's best closer with a bulldog approach, 90-92 mph fastball and solid curve.
7. Trey Hendricks, 1b, Keene (Harvard).
A big (6-foot-3, 215) power plant from both sides of the plate, Hendricks needs a position. The lefthander pitched for Harvard but not this summer.
8. David Austen, rhp, Keene (South Florida).
A reliever during the season for the Bulls, Austen competed with three average pitches and threw strikes consistently.
9. Brian Harrison, rhp, Keene (Georgia Southern).
A 10th-round pick of the Indians in 2001, Harrison struggled in the spring but regained confidence in his low-90s head and solid slider. In bursts, his stuff rivaled that of Lambert as the best pure stuff in the league.
10. Jason Motte, c, Sanford (Iona).
He lacks any plate approach, but Motte's catch-and-throw skills are impressive; his quick release generated reports of 1.7-second times to second base. He lacks a plan with the bat and will need extensive work.
1. Aaron Marsden, lhp, Brainerd (Nebraska).
After spelling the injured Shane Komine as the Husker's top starter for a spell in the spring, Marsden took on the No. 1 role for the Northwoods League's top team He showed a fluid motion, good movement on his fastball, plus command and a solid changeup.
2. Connor Falkenbach, rhp, Rochester (Florida).
One manager rated the righthander's best assets as his command and changeup, which he graded just ahead of Marsden's. Falkenbach also showed a low-90s fastball and an overhand curve that was at times a plus pitch.
3. Matt Anderson, 1b, Alexandria (UC Irvine).
Probably the league's purest hitter, Anderson's gap power and sweet lefthanded strokes evoked easy Mark Grace comparisons. He built on a successful freshman season by finishing third in the league in hitting.
4. Andre Ethier, of, Rochester (Arizona State).
After missing a month of the spring season with a broken right thumb, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Ethier showed little rust with an athletic frame that sprayed line drives to all fields.
5. Andrew Wishy, of, Mankato (Arkansas).
Noted for his piano playing, Wishy's best tool is his bat, which for now generates mostly gap power. He runs well and is an average defender.
6. Jason Jaramillo, c, St. Cloud (Oklahoma State).
A 12th-round pick out of high school, Jaramillo's catch-and-throw skills caused one manager to put him at the top of his ballot. He has a solid arm and plus receiving skills.
7. John Purdom, c/1b, Brainerd (Indiana State).
Voted the league's MVP because of his bat, Purdom has a strong arm but his other skills may not play behind the plate. Luckily for him, he has solid power and advanced hitting skills.
8. Steve Grasley, rhp, Wisconsin (Creighton).
The league's new record holder for saves (19) in a season, Grasley doesn't throw particularly hard, but has a plus slider and excellent command of both offerings.
9. Mark Sopko, rhp, Madison (Arizona State).
While an injury cut his season short, Sopko was around enough to show the league's best fastball, a consistent 91-92 mph offering that he also was able to spot for strikes.
10. B.J. Brandenberger, lhp, Wisconsin (Texas-Arlington).
Able to dominate with a fastball nearly as hard as Sopko's (90-91 mph), Brandenberger also showed an average slider and plus command to make the list ahead of teammate Adam Rowe, the league's leading winner.
1. E.J. Shanks, rhp, Harrisonburg (Oklahoma City).
Harrisonburg had the league's best pitching staff, and this big 6-foot-5, 235-pound righthander dominated the league with a 92-93 mph fastball and exquisite command. In 48 innings, Shanks walked two and struck out 68.
2. Chris Westervelt, c, New Market (Stetson).
Regarded more as an offensive catcher in college, Westervelt received high grades this summer for his receiving ability though his footwork behind the plate still needs work. He has a solid approach at the plate and was the league's best hitter down the stretch, finishing second in the batting race. He takes a hard cut every time up and is unusually adept at recognizing pitches.
3. Logan Kensing, rhp, Harrisonburg (Texas A&M).
The league's hardest thrower, Kensing was clocked as high as 96 mph in his role as a closer.
4. Joe Honce, 2b, Covington (West Virginia Wesleyan).
The league's MVP is one of those rare players who, scouts say, hits better with wood than aluminum. He has good hands and feet on defense, but a below-average arm may limit him at the next level.
5. Taylor Cobb, rhp, Staunton (Central Florida).
Not overpowering at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, the league ERA leader stymied hitters with a sharp slider. He also has good mound presence and knows how to pitch. His heavy fastball was mostly in the high 80s but touched 91.
6. Elvys Quezada, rhp, Winchester (Seton Hall).
A 15th-round pick of the Mets in this year's draft, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Quezada has a good pitcher's frame and got his fastball into the mid-90s on occasion. But he lacked the strength to do it on a consistent basis.
7. John Hardy, ss, Harrisonburg (Arizona).
A cousin of Brewers shortstop prospect J.J. Hardy and an 11th-round pick himself in the same 2001 draft, Hardy has the fielding skills, speed and natural instincts to develop into a solid middle infielder. His bat is a work in progress.
8. Jason Martinez, lhp, Harrisonburg (Mesa State, Colo.).
A lefthander with a 91-93 mph fastball, Martinez has a solid idea how to pitch but lacks command of his pitches.
9. Clayton Hamilton, rhp, Winchester (Penn State).
Tall, skinny and raw, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Hamilton throws free and easy in the low to mid 90s. After a breakthrough summer (4-1, 1.81), he should be ready to step in as Penn State's No. 1 starter in 2003.
10. Carlos Guevara, rhp, Covington (St. Mary's, Texas).
Second in the league with a 1.30 ERA and a sparkling 68-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the 6-foot, 175-pound Guevara lacks size but has good command of a 90-91 mph fastball and split-finger pitch.