New York Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
Postseason recap: It took 10 innings for the Brockport Riverbats to defeat the Glens Falls Golden Eagles, 3-2, in the final game of the New York Collegiate Baseball League championship series. The Riverbats' first NYCBL championship in their five-year existence came on a sacrifice fly by the championship series' most valuable player, outfielder Ryan Nokelby (Texas Lutheran).
1. Logan Darnell, lhp, Amsterdam (So., Kentucky)
Darnell pitched sparingly (17 innings) at UK due to inexperience and spotty control but flashed 93-94 mph out of the bullpen for the Wildcats. With a lot of innings gone from the Kentucky staff, Darnell grabbed the experience he needed this summer to compete for a weekend spot, and his command improved with each start. At the league's all-star game, Darnell's fastball sat in the 91-93 range while touching 94-95 in front of a dozen scouts. He also features a serviceable curveball, but he needs to develop a third pitch. He has a durable 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame and a live arm, making him an intriguing prospect for the 2010 draft.
2. Shane Davis, lhp, Glens Falls (R-So., Canisius)
Davis went 12-1, 2.42 to capture freshman All-America honors this spring, then went 5-0, 0.33 to win the NYCBL's pitcher of the year award. The 6-foot, 175-pound lefty, who pitched for the Canadian junior national team in 2005, dominates without plus velocity—he works in the 85-88 mph range with his fastball, but the pitch has plenty of life and he commands it very well to both sides of the plate. Davis also has good command of a slider and changeup.
3. Matt Branham, rhp, Brockport (Jr., South Carolina-Upstate)
Branham, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound righthander, was 6-5, 4.04 in 14 starts this spring, but he was even better this summer, going 3-1, 2.95 with a 24-5 strikeout-walk ratio in 21 innings. Branham's best pitch is his low-90s fastball that topped out at 93 this summer. He has an easy arm action and a projectable frame, so it's conceivable he could wind up pitching in the mid-90s.
4. J.D. Martinez, of, Saratoga (Jr., Nova Southeastern, Fla.)
Martinez, a former 36th-round draft pick out of high school in 2006, is a hitting machine who batted .379 as a freshman at Division II Nova Southeastern, then hit .370 with 12 homers as a sophomore, then hit .392 and tied for the league lead with seven homers in the NYCBL. The 6-foot-3, 194-pounder makes consistent contact but also shows good raw power. A decent runner as well, Martinez may have enough arm strength to play right field and also is an excellent defender.
5. Mike Spina, 3B, Amsterdam (Sr., Cincinnati)
A 45th-round pick of the Twins in June, Spina followed up a monster year at Cincinnati (.377 with 21 homers) with another big year in the NYCBL, hitting .350 with 10 homers. While not showing exceptional bat speed during the summer, the solidly built 6-foot, 223-pound Spina has undeniable power. Spina also shows a pro arm with accuracy and solid hands at third base, although his footwork could be improved. His makeup and leadership are off the charts.
6. Dan Forman, lhp, Amsterdam (So., Manhattan)
Like Shane Davis, Forman became an immediate impact pitcher in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this spring, going 8-4, 4.70 with 81 strikeouts in 82 innings. Before leaving Amsterdam early due to injury, Forman went 4-1, 3.00 with a 32-11 K-BB ratio in 36 innings. A 6-foot, 174-pound lefty with a quick arm, Forman sits in the 87-89 mph range with his fastball and reaches the low-90s at times. He had a few command issues at school, issuing 48 walks as a freshman, but showed no sign of that during the summer. His best pitch is a devastating 81 mph slider.
7. Kellen St. Luce, lhp, Saratoga (So., Vanderbilt)
A raw, projectable lefty who was drafted in the 37th round out of high school in the Virgin Islands last year, St. Luce has one of the NYCBL's highest upsides. He has long arms and a pro frame at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, but he's still ironing out his mechanics. His velocity could spike into the low 90s or above once he straightens out his arm action, because he has terrific arm strength. He showed a glimpse of his promise this summer, striking out 30 in 30 innings, but he also issued 17 walks and posted a 5.64 ERA.
8. Ryan O'Rourke, lhp, Brockport (Jr., Merrimack College, Mass.)
O'Rourke, a 6-foot-1, 209-pound lefthander, went 5-4, 1.79 for Division II Merrimack this spring and then went 6-1, 2.61 with a sparkling 52-12 K-BB ratio in 48 innings this summer. He works in the high 80s and touches 90 mph with his fringy fastball, but he commands it well. O'Rourke's changeup and breaking ball are serviceable pro pitches.
9. Luis Feliz, cf, Glens Falls (Sr., Rutgers)
A 47th-round pick of the Nationals out of high school, Feliz had his best college season as a junior in 2008, batting .328/.394/.506. He hit with less authority this summer, batting .267/.318/.317, but he did steal 13 bases in 15 attempts. A pro defender with a good center-field arm, Feliz is a plus runner. He is starting to make harder contact than he did earlier in his career, but his bat still lags behind his defense.
10. Ricky Breymier, rhp, Amsterdam (Sr., Pittsburgh)
Breymier showed good stuff this spring but struggled in Pitt's bullpen, posting a 7.20 ERA in 19 appearances. His 17-18 K-BB ratio in 25 innings was illustrative of his control problems. He still posted a high walk rate in the NYCBL (15 in 25 innings), but his overall results were much better. In 11 relief appearances for Amsterdam, Breymier went 2-0, 0.36 with 39 strikeouts. He scrapped his third pitch and enjoyed success with his 90-94 mph fastball and quality breaking ball. Breymier has a mature 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame and a max-effort delivery, and he projects as a reliever in pro ball. He is a fiery competitor on the mound.