Great Lakes Top 10 Prospects
The Cincinnati Steam rolled to the championship by defeating Columbus in a winner-take-all scenario and going 4-1 in the playoffs. The Steam beat Columbus 5-2 in the final game and took two of three during the playoffs from the All-Americans. Cincinnati had the best regular-season record as well at 30-10. This championship is noteworthy because the Steam only invites homegrown players.
1. Tyler Wilson, rhp, Delaware (So., Virginia)
A 6-foot-1, 185-pound righthander, Wilson was a prominent recruit after pitching for USA Baseball's 18-and-under (junior national) team in high school. Wilson pitched in just 10 games and made just one start this spring at Virginia, but he dazzled Great Lakes teams throughout the summer, going 2-2, 1.82 with 48 strikeouts and 14 walks in 40 innings. The Great Lakes pitcher of the year, Wilson pitched off his 90-93 mph fastball. He worked hard to improve his slider this summer, and it showed depth and late breaking action, which was a reason he finished second in the league in strikeouts. He also did not give up a home run.
2. Burny Mitchem, rhp, Columbus (So., Dayton)
At 6-foot-7, 260 pounds, Mitchem has the pitcher's body scouts love. Though his fastball can reach the low 90s, it varied during the summer, falling as low as 87-88 in one game. Mitchem has decent secondary stuff that will require more work, including a changeup and a slurvy slider that he has to tighten. He led the Great Lakes League in strikeouts, edging Wilson by one in exactly the same amount of innings.
3. Zach Hurley, of, Cincinnati (Jr., Ohio State)
Hurley started a good chunk of the season for Ohio State, but hit just .302 before summer ball. Once he joined the Cincinnati Steam, Hurley was a different player. He was the premier hitter in the league, hitting .433/.507/.575, winning the batting title while adding three home runs, 30 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 15 tries. The switch-hitter is a pure hitter with a polished approach who can use all fields, and his power potential is much better from the left side. Hurley has an above-average arm and runs well.
4. Collin Brennan, rhp, Licking County (Sr., Bradley)
An unsigned 38th-round pick of the Indians as a junior in 2008, Brennan has plenty of upside, thanks to a fastball that some coaches said reached 98 mph. After having a bone chip removed from his elbow late last summer, Brennan went 0-4, 8.64 for Bradley in the spring, but still may have been feeling the effects of the surgery. He was a different pitcher during the summer, going 3-2, 2.41. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Brennan has a good frame and a fastball in the low 90s, but he still has consistency issues to work out.
5. Charlie Leesman, lhp, Cincinnati (Sr., Xavier)
An 11th-round draft pick of the White Sox, Leesman has a good pitcher's frame at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and can command the strike zone. After going 2-6, 5.32 at Xavier in the spring, Leesman went 2-1, 2.53 for Cincinnati, but only pitched in five games. He may have tired, as he was 90-93 one day, but mid-80s on another day. Leesman, No. 6 on this list a year ago, will return to the Musketeers as the Friday starter for the second consecutive year.
6. Ed Rohan, of/c, Stark County (So., Winthrop)
Rohan was third in the league in hitting and led the league in home runs and RBIs. He has a quick bat and a good eye and is a pull hitter. The biggest question surrounding Rohan is which position he will play, as he frequently was the DH for Stark County. He needs more agility if he is going to play catcher, but he played the outfield reasonably well.
7. David Goforth, rhp, Delaware (So., Mississippi)
Goforth is undersized at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, but he has a power arm that can kick things up to 96 mph. He was the first out of the bullpen for Delaware, and could go from 92-96 mph and is likely to see some time in Mississippi's bullpen in the spring. There is plenty of upside for any rising sophomore who can throw in the mid-90s, but he requires more polish on his slider.
8. Nick Karow, rhp, Delaware (Jr., Furman)
Karow didn't just play baseball during the summer; he got to go home. The Delaware area resident was 5-0 with nine saves for Furman in the spring and he built on that by leading the Great Lakes in saves this summer. He offers a fastball at 91-93 mph to go with a solid 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. A former catcher, he struck out 27 in 20 innings.
9. Chris Lewis, c/of, Columbus (Jr., Western Michigan)
The switch-hitting Lewis is balanced from both sides of the plate, has the ability to use all fields from either side, and has power from both sides. He was second in the league in hitting for the summer and showed some pop in his bat. However, Lewis may not have the arm or the agility to stick as a catcher, and he played more left field this year both for Western Michigan and in the Great Lakes League.
10. Rob Scahill, rhp, Licking County (Sr., Bradley)
A 48th-round pick of the Yankees, Scahill is the second Bradley pitcher to show up on this list, and like his teammate Collin Brennan, Scahill also had injury concerns after coming back from a torn labrum. Scahill touched 93 mph with his fastball during the summer and has a solid sinker and a good slider in his arsenal. The sinker helped him keep the ball on the ground with a 76-19 groundout-flyout ratio. He drew praise as being a good makeup guy with an aptitude for learning more.