California Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
The Santa Barbara Foresters finished with the best record in the competitive California Collegiate League at 19-11. The team was led by outfielder Chad Mozingo (Rice), who led the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage with a .470/.520/.590 line. Santa Barbara also had the league's best pitcher, Carson Andrew (Jacksonville), who went 4-0, 0.77 over 47 innings. He struck out 45 and walked 13.
The Foresters went on to win the National Baseball Congress World Series. Behind a complete-game shutout from righthander Mike Ford (UC Santa Barbara), the Foresters beat the Seattle Studs 2-0 in the championship game. Center fielder Andre Miller (Loyola Marymount graduate) went 2-for-3 with a home run and an RBI triple for the Foresters, and Ford allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out nine. It was the second NBC title in three years for Santa Barbara.
1. Kevin Keyes, of, Santa Barbara (So., Texas)
Big and physical at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Keyes got better as the summer went on, hitting eight homers, slugging .632 and stealing 16 bases in 17 attempts. He has average or better raw tools across the board and used them to lead Santa Barbara to the NBC World Series championship, where he was named MVP. His raw power stands out as his best tool, but to bear it out consistently, Keyes will need to learn more patience at the plate and improve his pitch recognition.
2. Kevin Gelinas, lhp, Conejo (So., Central Arizona JC)
A 6-foot-5, 235-pound lefthander, Gelinas was the league's top reliever, racking up four wins and four saves for Conejo while giving up just seven hits all summer. Gelinas struck out 47 in 27 innings but also walked 23 and hit seven batters. Gelinas has power stuff, throwing in the low 90s regularly, but will have to improve his control. He's considered a hard worker and earned some comparisons to White Sox 2007 first-round pick Aaron Poreda. He transferred from Pepperdine to Central Arizona Junior College this summer.
3. Chris Joyce, lhp, Santa Barbara (Fr., UC Santa Barbara)
Joyce didn't sign as a 10th-round pick of the Dodgers. He's had some injury issues this year, with minor knee surgery this summer, and missing time during the spring with a muscle strain in his back. When healthy, though, he's shown a fastball consistently reaching 92 mph at times. He also throws a hard slider, curveball and changeup. He was limited to just 17 innings and walked 17 but struck out 29.
4. Cameron Rupp, c, Santa Barbara (So., Texas)
Rupp seized the starting catcher job at Texas this spring due to injuries to veteran Preston Clark, and he was the Foresters' primary catcher when 100 percent healthy this summer. He missed some time with nagging injuries but showed a strong work ethic, pro body and raw power at the plate. He's average defensively as a receiver with a plus arm. Offensively, he'll tap into his potential as he becomes more consistent with his approach and swings at more hitter's pitches.
5. Kevin Castner, rhp, Santa Barbara (Jr., Cal Poly)
Big and physical, Castner has reached the high 90s with his fastball in the past and did so again this summer. An unsigned 10th-round pick of the Rangers as an eligible sophomore this year, Castner sat in the 93-95 mph range and showed better fastball control this summer. His secondary pitches are still coming along and he still isn't performing (12.79 ERA in six innings, with 15 baserunners allowed), but he's a big-bodied power arm.
6. Josh Poytress, lhp, San Luis Obispo (Fr., Fresno State)
Poytress has athletic ability and showed the ability to dominate in a short league stint, striking out 25 in just 16 innings. He's a former football quarterback who spurned the Astros as a 16th-round pick this year to attend Fresno State, where he has a chance to step into the defending national champion's rotation as a freshman. At his best, he commands a fastball in the 89-90 mph range, as well as a solid breaking ball.
7. Nick Akins, 2b, MLB Urban Academy (Jr., Vanguard, Calif.)
Akins has been drafted twice before but still hasn't signed, and he'll head to Vanguard's NAIA program in the fall. He remains somewhat raw, and missing his senior high school season didn't help, as he's still playing catchup in terms of pitch recognition and plate discipline. He's athletic and has tremendous bat speed that generates impressive power, and he led the league with nine homers. Defensively he's unpolished at second base and may wind up moving to the outfield as a pro.
8. Mason Radeke, rhp, San Luis Obispo (Fr., Cal Poly)
Another rising freshman who got his first taste of college ball this summer, Radeke didn't sign as the White Sox's 41st-round pick. He pitches a bit like the similarly named Brad Radke, commanding an 88-91 mph fastball this summer and leading the league in strikeouts with 67 in just 54 innings. He repeats his mechanics and throws his fastball, slider and nascent changeup for strikes consistently. At just 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, he lacks the ideal pro body but should be able to contribute soon in college.
9. Neil Medchill, of, Santa Barbara (Jr., Oklahoma State)
An unsigned 33rd-round pick of the Mets, Medchill was a redshirt sophomore who hit .349 with 11 homers this spring for Oklahoma State. He followed up with a strong summer for the Foresters, helping them to the NBC World Series title by leading the team with 38 RBIs on the summer. He's athletic and a typical "cheap five-tool" player in that scouts and coaches who like him consider him average across the board. His throwing arm is his best tool, and he'll have to keep improving offensively to fit the right-fielder profile.
10. Ryan Cook, rhp, Santa Barbara (Sr., Southern California)
Cook has shown flashes of above-average stuff in his college career, but he has yet to turn it into consistent production—he's 18-13, 5.33 in 252 career innings for the Trojans. The Diamondbacks drafted him in the 27th round in June but he didn't sign, instead helping the Foresters in their strong summer that included a three-game July trip to Cuba to play the eventual Olympic silver medalists. He gave up a six-spot in the first inning to Cuba but rebounded to be one of the CCBL's top starters, ranking third in the regular season in ERA (1.97) and fourth in strikeouts with 55 in 46 innings. His fastball touches 93 mph, and when he's at his best he commands a solid-average slider as well. His mound presence and tempo are plusses.