Coastal Plain League Top 10 Prospects
Thomasville became the first team to win three consecutive Coastal Plain League championships, beating Florence 7-4 in the final game of the Petitt Cup tournament championships. A pair of teammates from The Citadel combined to score the eventual game-winning run in the fifth, as Richard Jones singled home Chris McGuiness from second to break a 4-4 tie. A third Bulldog, outfielder Sonny Meade, put the game out of reach with a two-run homer an inning later. Patrick Dean (Boston College) picked up the win for the HiToms, working 2 2/3 innings of three-hit relief.
With four players on this top 10 list, Thomasville was the most talented team in the league, and its talent won out. Most of the players on this list are older, reflecting a lack of high-upside young talent in the league this year aside from top prospect Deck McGuire.
1. Deck McGuire, rhp, Peninsula (So., Georgia Tech)
McGuire was a midweek ace for the Yellow Jackets as a freshman, going 8-1, 3.46, and he was even better in the CPL this summer, going 7-0, 1.28 with 65 strikeouts and 28 walks in 56 innings. At 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, McGuire pitches downhill with a heavy 88-91 mph fastball, and he's tough to square up with wood bats. He figures to add velocity as he firms up his body and adds strength to his durable frame. McGuire's hard, downer curveball is an out pitch, and he also commands a quality changeup. He earned raves from league managers for his competitiveness on the mound.
2. Kevin Mahoney, 3b, Forest City (Sr., Canisius)
A three-year starter at Canisius, Mahoney had his best season this spring, batting .369/.453/.665 with 12 homers for the upstart Golden Griffins. He followed it up with a tour de force summer in the CPL, leading the league in homers (13), runs (43), RBIs (43), slugging (.586) and total bases (112). Mahoney can do a little bit of everything on the diamond, but his best tool is his bat. He has unorthodox swing mechanics but his barrel is in the zone for a long time, and he consistently squares balls up. He has a mature offensive approach, excellent pitch recognition and the ability to use all fields. Mahoney isn't big at 6-foot, 203 pounds, but he has fringe-average power in his lefthanded swing. He's also a fringe-average runner whose excellent baseball instincts make him a very good baserunner: He stole 13 bases in 15 attempts this summer after swiping eight in nine tries this spring. He's an adequate defender at third base with a fringe-average arm.
3. Steve Grife, rhp, Florence (Jr., Mercyhurst College, Pa.)
Grife led Division II Mercyhurst in ERA (2.50), wins (six), complete games (seven), innings (68) and strikeouts (78) this spring, and he emerged as the ace of league runner-up Florence's staff this summer. Grife struck out 12 in a no-hitter against Fayetteville on June 8, and he finished 4-1, 1.65 with a 55-22 strikeout-walk ratio in 49 innings. Grife is generously listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds, but he had one of the quickest arms in the CPL, running his fastball up to 94 mph and pitching in the 91-93 range. He complements it with a very good changeup that he uses against both lefthanded and righthanded hitters, and a hard curveball that can be an out pitch at times and a show pitch at others. Grife is not physical and has plenty of effort in his delivery, which he tends to come out of too early. He projects as a power reliever at the next level.
4. C.J. Beatty, of, Thomasville (Jr., North Carolina A&T)
Beatty has hit 23 homers in two seasons as a starting outfielder for N.C. A&T, and he showed good power with wood this summer, batting .304/.382/.505 with nine homers and 44 RBIs for league-champion Thomasville. One of the league's best athletes, Beatty has a strong, compact 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame. He is a switch-hitter who makes good contact from both sides and generates excellent backspin from the left side—and he hit all of his homers this summer lefthanded. He's still refining his pitch selection and offensive approach, but he made progress in that area this summer. Beatty is an average runner who can play all three outfield positions but profiles best in right field, where his strong arm is an asset.
5. Parker Bangs, rhp, Fayetteville (R-So., South Carolina)
Bangs took a redshirt at South Carolina in 2007 and then got his feet wet in the Coastal Plain League that summer, posting a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings. A physical, 6-foot-3, 210-pound two-way player, Bangs hit .277 in 47 at-bats this spring, but he also took on a vital role in the Gamecocks' bullpen, posting a 4.61 ERA but striking out 34 in 27 innings. He played first base and relieved for Fayetteville this summer, but his future is on the mound, where he posted a 21-8 K-BB ratio in 21 innings for the Swampdogs. Bangs throws a heavy fastball that tops out at 92 mph and complements it with a promising hard slider with good tilt. Bangs throws strikes and runs his ball all over the place, and he breaks plenty of bats. He also has a decent changeup that he rarely uses in a relief role.
6. Brett Nommensen, of, Edenton (Sr., Eastern Illinois)
Nommensen capped his dynamic junior year (during which he batted .402/.518/.603) by going 13-for-25 (.520) in the postseason, leading EIU's run through the Ohio Valley Conference tournament and then capturing all-tournament honors at the Lincoln regional. Then he led the CPL in batting (.377) and on-base percentage (.462) while stealing 17 bases in 23 attempts. He hit an opposite-field home run off Steve Grife in the all-star game, the only homer Grife allowed all year, but Nommensen has below-average power. He does have a compact, efficient swing and strong hands, and he's an intelligent hitter who sprays singles and doubles to all fields. Nommensen is not physically imposing at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, but he's a good athlete with average speed and arm strength in center field.
7. Chris McGuiness, 1b, Thomasville (Jr., The Citadel)
McGuiness stands out most for his professional hitting approach and smooth lefthanded swing. He hit .305/.406/.480 with seven homers and 14 doubles for Thomasville, and he showed excellent plate discipline, drawing 35 walks while striking out just 29 times in 200 at-bats. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound McGuiness has good power to the gaps and is capable of hitting occasional home runs to left-center or to right. He's a scrapper with a hard work ethic characteristic of Citadel players, and he's an outstanding defender at first base, though scouts would give him a chance in left field. McGuiness is a slightly below-average runner with an adequate arm—he even threw 21 innings for the Bulldogs this spring.
8. Justin Sarratt, rhp, Thomasville (Jr., Clemson)
Sarratt was a fixture in Clemson's bullpen as a sophomore, posting a 4.34 ERA in 46 innings this spring, but he started for the Hi-Toms, going 7-1, 1.06 with a 57-9 K-BB ratio in 59 innings. He showed the ability to throw four pitches for strikes at any time, including a fringe-average 88-91 mph fastball, a tight 83-84 slider, a loopier 79-80 curve and a changeup. Sarratt is a bulldog with a mean competitive streak, and he took a leadership role on Thomasville's staff this summer. The biggest knock on him is that he's undersized at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, so he profiles as a middle reliever in pro ball despite his varied repertoire. He could slide into Clemson's weekend rotation as a junior, however.
9. Luke Demko, rhp, Edenton (Sr., Rhode Island)
After posting a dazzling 55-7 K-BB ratio in 43 innings of relief for URI this spring, Demko put up even more eye-popping numbers in the CPL, going 4-1, 2.37 with 15 saves and a 49-12 K-BB ratio in 30 innings. His best asset is his ability to pound the strike zone with a fringe-average 87-91 mph fastball. His delivery is deceptive, and the ball seems to come out of his ear. Demko has a hulking 6-foot-6, 255-pound frame, but he has effort in his delivery and he lacks projection. He complements his fastball with a fringe-average three-quarter tilt slider. He profiles as a middle reliever in pro ball.
10. Sonny Meade, of, Thomasville (Sr., The Citadel)
Meade led The Citadel in batting (.393) this spring and hit .326 to lead Thomasville this summer. He's lanky and projectable at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, and he shows good home run power in batting practice, but he's yet to unlock it in games (he had just four homers for Thomasville after hitting five for the Bulldogs in the spring). Meade's inside-out swing is much shorter than you'd expect for someone of his size, but he needs to extend more and add some muscle in order to tap into his plus raw power. He's a good corner outfielder with a solid arm, though he's a 40 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale.