Atlantic Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
Compiled by Aaron Fitt
The Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League championship game featured a familiar face as well as a fresh face. Defending ACBL champion Kutztown squared off against upstart Long Island, an expansion franchise that won the Kaiser Division in its inaugural season.
Long Island, run by former ACBL players Doug Manfredonia (manager) and Phillip Andiola (general manager), punched its ticket to the championship in dramatic fashion. The Mustangs were tied 3-3 with the Metro New York Cadets heading into the bottom of the ninth in the second game of the Kaiser Division championship, when P.J. Como (Fordham) led off with a single and stole second base. With one out, Bryan Burke (Keane, N.J.) delivered a line-drive into short left-field that scored Como with the winning run, setting off a celebration and sending Long Island to the finals. Kutztown's road was a little easier--the Rockies swept the Lehigh Valley Catz, winning both games by seven runs.
Kutztown captured its second straight league title with a 5-2 win in the championship game behind 5 1/3 strong innings by righthander Brad Unger (Harvard).
1. Ryan Buch, rhp, Quakertown (So., Monmouth)
Buch earned Northeast Conference rookie of the year honors after going 9-2, 2.44 as a freshman at Monmouth this spring, and he was even better in the ACBL this summer. After striking out 76 in 81 innings this spring, Buch whiffed 50 in 34 innings for Quakertown. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Buch has a good pro body to go along with a low-90s fastball and an outstanding, sharp curveball. He needs to improve his command, but his power stuff and good frame make for a nice package.2. Ryan Page, lhp, Lehigh Valley (Sr., Liberty)
Page went 3-3, 4.57 in a relief role as a junior this spring and went undrafted in June, but he thrived as a starter in the ACBL, going 6-1, 0.92 with an eye-popping 61-5 strikeout-walk ratio in 49 innings. Page showed outstanding command of his repertoire, and he pitches off his high-80s fastball. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he has a professional body.3. Adam Matos, ss, Kutztown (Sr., West Georgia)
Matos had a pedestrian spring at West Georgia, batting just .273/.344/.435 in 161 at-bats, but he finished second in the ACBL in batting (.385), third in slugging (.471) and tied for first in stolen bases (16 in 19 attempts). The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Matos showed above-average speed (6.6-second 60-yard dash) and some defensive skills at shortstop.4. Eric Johnson, rhp, Long Island (Jr., New York Tech)
Johnson battled atrocious command all spring for New York Tech, going 1-4, 11.57 with four strikeouts and 17 walks in 12 innings. He drew attention in the ACBL all-star game with a 92-94 mph fastball and a decent 72 mph curveball. Johnson's 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame is tantalizing, and he flashed his talent and his control issues this summer, going 0-1, 1.93 with 19 strikeouts and 13 walks in 14 innings.5. Dan Gardo, lhp, Kutztown (RS-Fr., Pittsburgh)
After redshirting this spring, Gardo excelled in the ACBL, going 7-0, 2.04 with a 42-15 strikeout-walk ratio in 53 innings. He induced a league-high 70 groundball outs because he pitches from a good downward angle with a 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame. Gardo works in the mid- to high-80s with his fastball and also has a decent curveball.6. Zach Calhoon, rhp, Lehigh Valley (So., Texas-San Antonio)
As a freshman this spring, Calhoon played a crucial bullpen role for a UTSA team that went 24-6 in the Southland Conference, as he went 4-4, 3.03 with six saves and a 48-28 strikeout-walk ratio in 33 innings. He continued to demonstrate a closer's mentality this summer for Lehigh Valley, going 1-1, 1.56 with two saves and a 23-10 strikeout-walk ratio in 17 innings. Calhoon attacks hitters with an 88-90 mph fastball and an outstanding slider.7. Eric Smith, rhp, Stamford (So., Rhode Island)
Smith posted an 8.53 ERA in 22 innings this spring, mostly in a relief role, but he was much better as a starter this summer, going 1-2, 3.26 with a 37-19 K-BB ratio in 39 innings. He has a projectable 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame, leading to optimism that he can add velocity to a fastball that already touches 90 mph. He also throws a promising tight-breaking slider.8. Tim Schemel, ss, Quakertown (Sr., Keystone, Pa., College)
Schemel led Quakertown with a .318 average and six triples this summer, showing good gap power. He's an athletic shortstop with good range and speed (6.7-second 60-yard dash). He'll need to develop a more patient approach to succeed at the next level, as he drew just eight walks this summer while striking out 29 times.9. Jeff Toth, ss, Jersey (Jr., College of New Jersey)
Like Schemel, Toth is a solid defensive shortstop with good athleticism, and he has even better speed (6.6-second 60-yard dash). A contact hitter despite his sturdy 6-foot-2, 210-pound build, Toth batted .298 with just six extra-base hits in 94 at-bats, but he showed good discipline at the plate, posting a 19-18 strikeout-walk ratio. He also displayed impressive baserunning instincts, stealing 11 bases in 11 attempts.10. T.J. Greig, if/of, Long Island (So., Molloy, N.Y., College)
An outstanding contact hitter from the left side, Greig led the ACBL with a .403 batting average in 129 at-bats, though he had just five extra-base hits. He lacks strength at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, but his versatility is an asset, as he is an adequate defender all over the diamond. He has an average arm.