Great Lakes League Top 10 Prospects




Postseason recap: Columbus swept to the 2007 Great Lakes League title, beating Southern Ohio 3-2 and Delaware 6-1 in the league playoffs. Righthander Adam Samson (Wooster, Ohio) pitched six shutout innings in the title game against the Cows.

1. Brad Stillings, rhp, Columbus (So., Kent State).

Stillings worked just 21 innings for the Golden Flashes this spring and just 26 this summer for the All-Americans, but he clearly had the league's best arm, reminding some in the league of Kent State teammate Chris Carpenter, who didn't sign with the Yankees as a 17th-round pick after ranking 31st on BA's Top 200 draft prospects. Stillings works off a low-90s fastball that touched 96 mph without maximum effort. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound rising sophomore also showed a curveball and changeup he could throw for strikes.

2. Jay Jackson, rhp/of/1b, Delaware (Furman)

The league's top athlete, Jackson hit just .196 but has a future on the mound, despite being a shorter (6-foot-1) righty. His loose arm allows for some projection and lends movement to all his stuff, and his athleticism allows him to repeat his delivery well. His fastball regularly sat around 90 mph and touched 93, and his solid command allowed him to throw not just strikes, but consistent quality strikes. He showed some ability to spin a breaking ball for strikes. He showed his athleticism by running a 6.6-second 60-yard dash on scout day.

3. Jordan Petraitis, ss/3b, Lake Erie (Jr., Miami, Ohio)

An all-MAC choice, Petraitis was the league's top infielder due to his combination of tools. While he's a master of none, he does everything well. His best tool might be his arm, which helps him play the left side of the infield. While he's played shortstop for Miami, most projected him as a third baseman or corner outfielder as a pro. If that happens, Petraitis will have to turn his average raw power--which especially is evident when he goes the other way--into more home run power. He's an average runner if not a tick above, and will blossom if his bat takes off.

4. Matt Shoemaker, rhp, Columbus (Jr., Eastern Michigan)

A former infielder, Shoemaker had as much arm strength and athleticism as any pitcher in the league other than Jackson. He brought a closer's mindset after picking up 14 saves in the spring for Eastern Michigan, and he was more aggressive this summer, pounding the strike zone with a 90-92 mph fastball that touched 94 at times. Shoemaker has good control, walking just two in 19 innings. He'll make the next step when he hones in on a No. 2 pitch; right now, he throws a good slider, and toys with a changeup, split-finger fastball and curve. That repertoire is too big for a starter, not to mention a closer, so ditching one or two pitches and improving his slider (his best secondary offering) would serve him best in a short relief role.

5. Jake Hale, rhp, Columbus (Jr., Ohio State)

Most league coaches considered Hale a late bloomer who was just starting to fill out his 6-foot-8 frame. Hale pitched well enough at Ohio State to move from the bullpen to starting the Buckeyes' regional opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, working into the eighth inning. He's added 20 pounds in the last year or so to get up to around 200 pounds and has added velocity to his fastball, now running it up to the 88-90 mph range and touching 92. He throws a slider, curveball and changeup as well, and when he's on, he uses his size to keep all his average stuff down in the strike zone, using his size to get a good downward plane. A 20th-round pick this spring as an eligible sophomore, he didn't sign with Toronto and instead ranked third in the GLL with a 1.39 ERA.

6. Charlie Leesman, lhp, Cincinnati (Jr., Xavier)

Leesman has one of the league's better pitcher's bodies at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, and he was among the league's hardest throwers. One coach said he touched 94 mph, and most reported him throwing in the low 90s against them. Leesman has a smooth, repeatable delivery and throws enough strikes with his fastball; control wasn't the problem. It's his secondary stuff that left coaches wanting, and he struggles to put hitters away with his breaking ball or changeup. Leesman must either hone his fastball command to above-average or bring his secondary stuff up to at least fringe-average to progress from arm-strength guy to pitcher.

7. Mark Krauss, 1b/of, Grand Lake (So., Ohio)

Most league coaches considered Krauss the league's top hitter after he hit .352 with 30 RBIs, second-best in the loop. The Mid-American Conference freshman of the year, Krauss has good size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and a track record for hitting, after batting .369 with eight homers in the spring. He showed more gap power this summer but impressed more with his ability to use the whole field and mature approach. Krauss lacks a true defensive home and would be well-served by improving his below-average defensive play.

8. Matt Bischoff, rhp, Lima (So., Purdue)

The Big Ten freshman of the year, Bischoff seems destined for college greatness. He commands the fastball, which he can run up to 92-93 mph at times; competes as well as anyone in the league; throws both his slider and curveball for strikes; and pitches aggressively, attacking hitters inside fearlessly. His 1.02 ERA led the league, and combined between summer ball and Purdue, he walked just 18 in 104 innings. Now the "but": he's just 5-foot-11, 175 pounds listed, and is probably shorter than that. Bischoff could be Purdue's ace the next three years and then be a great senior sign. Long-term, he's probably best suited for a middle relief role in pro ball.

9. Jake Oester, 3b, Cincinnati (Jr., Toledo)

After a modest spring as Toledo's shortstop, Oester shifted to third base for the Cincinnati Steam, with his father Ron Oester managing. Like his dad--the former Reds second baseman and minor league field coordinator--Oester doesn't have loud tools but gets the most out of his ability. He plays a sound third base and showed pull power that he hasn't shown with metal bats. Managers agreed his league-leading batting average (.376) was inflated in part by the Steam's small, hitter-friendly park, and several questioned how much better the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder can get going forward.

10. Tony Campana, of, Southern Ohio (Jr., Cincinnati)

Campana makes the list despite having only one true plus tool. The 5-foot-7, 144-pounder is an 80 runner, clocking a 6.31-second 60 time in front of scouts during the league's all-star weekend. He ranked second in the nation in steals as a sophomore in the spring with 60, and led the GLL with 24 (in 33 tries) this summer. He plays the small game well and hit .349 this summer with 44 hits, second-best in the league; he's willing to draw walks as well. drawing 33 this spring and 14 more this summer. Campana's hit tool could be graded as average in the future if he can gain enough strength to keep from getting overpowered. He has little power and doesn't throw particularly well, and has improved defensively in center. He'll go as far as his bat can take him, and he'll get there quickly.