Coastal Plain League Top 10 Prospects




POSTSEASON RECAP: Forest City, which finished 51-9 overall, won the league's Petitt Cup championship after dominating the CPL season. The Owls swept Peninsula in the championship series, sweeping all five playoff games after setting the league record with 46 regular-season victories. Forest City's 51 wins led all teams in all summer leagues.

 

1. Will Lamb, lhp/of, Peninsula (So., Clemson)

 

Lamb arrived at Clemson as a raw, high-upside two-way talent and made a bigger impact on the mound as a freshman this spring, posting a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings of mostly relief. He made six starts this summer, going 1-3, 6.23 but striking out 32 and walking 10 in 30 innings, and he also hit .236/.307/.362 with 26 steals in 29 tries. Lamb has a long way to go in all facets, but he has pro-caliber talent as a pitcher and as an outfielder. Off the mound, he works with an 87-91 mph fastball that tops out at 92-93 and an improving slider. He's long and loose at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, and he figures to add velocity off the mound and power with the bat as he matures physically. He has a good lefthanded swing and quick hands, and he flashes big pull power in batting practice, but he's still learning how to hit in games. He's a plus runner underway who has been clocked at 6.6 seconds in the 60-yard dash, and he has the athleticism and arm strength to play center field or right.

 

2. Graham Stoneburner, rhp, Petersburg (SIGNED: Yankees)

 

Stoneburner redshirted in 2007 with a torn ACL and a fractured vertebra suffered in high school, and he never quite lived up to lofty expectations in two seasons at Clemson, though he did flash his significant potential. Stoneburner has loads of arm strength and has run his fastball up to 94-95 mph at times, especially in relief. He came on strong down the stretch in a relief role for Clemson this spring, but six of his seven appearances this summer were starts. He performed well in the starting role, going 1-2, 1.97 with 34 strikeouts and 13 walks in 32 innings, but his smallish build (6-foot, 185 pounds) and the effort in his arm action could make him a better fit in the pen. Stoneburner's slider is an out pitch when he stays on top of it, but sometimes his elbow drops and it flattens out. He also throws a slower curveball that tends to be loopy. His changeup is workable but straight. The Yankees signed Stoneburner two days before the Aug. 17 deadline as a 14th-round pick for a bonus of $675,000.

 

3. Pratt Maynard, 3b/c, Forest City (So., North Carolina State)

 

Maynard had a decent freshman year for N.C. State, hitting .261/.362/.420 in 188 at-bats, but he really broke out this summer in the CPL, hitting .318/.423/.477 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 176 at-bats for league juggernaut Forest City. Primarily a pitcher in high school, Maynard converted to catcher for the Wolfpack, and he played third base this summer out of necessity. He handled the hot corner well, but he has a chance to be special behind the plate, where his arm is above-average and he shows promise with receiving and blocking. But Maynard's best tool is his lefthanded bat, which produces hard line drives from gap to gap. He also flashes average raw power to left and right field in batting practice. Maynard is a grinder who plays the game hard and has good baseball instincts.

 

4. Chris Epps, of, Thomasville (Jr., Clemson)

 

Clemson's offense gelled after Epps settled into the leadoff spot midway through this spring, and he carried his second half success over into the summer, batting .344/.470/.656 with six home runs, 22 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 17 attempts. Epps will go as far as his lefthanded bat carries him. He's a polished hitter with a knack for putting the ball in play and working counts. Epps has excellent plate coverage and can hit the ball to all fields. He has good bat speed and will turn on fastballs in favorable counts, but his power is below-average. Epps is an average runner, and his poor reads and jumps in the outfield relegated him to DH for most of the spring and some of the summer. But he has a solid-average arm and could be an adequate left fielder with some work. Epps is a competitor who wants to get better, and he has improved dramatically in just the last year.

 

5. Russell Wilson, 2b, Gastonia (Jr., North Carolina State)

 

Wilson is better known to Atlantic Coast Conference sports fans as the all-ACC quarterback for the N.C. State football team, and his commitment to the gridiron as well as a knee injury suffered in the Papajohns.com Bowl last season have limited him on the baseball field. But Wilson is undersized for football at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, and scouts believe he has a brighter pro future in baseball. Wilson played just 20 games in the CPL before heading back to campus for football obligations, and he hit just .205/.320/.241, but he did steal 12 bases in 16 tries. An exceptional athlete, Wilson is an average or slightly better runner with untapped raw power and all the skills to be a good defender at second base. Scouts insist that Wilson's pure baseball instincts are off the charts, and if he focused full-time on the game he could take off in a hurry. He has outstanding makeup, earning plaudits for his work ethic, energy and humility. Wilson's bat is very raw, obviously, but he has plenty of bat speed and the ability to make consistent contact; he just needs at-bats. Scouts say they hope he'll shelve his football career after this fall to give his baseball career all the attention it needs.

 

6. Gerard Hall, 2b/of, Edenton (SIGNED: Royals)

 

Hall went undrafted after hitting .323/.397/.413 for Old Dominion this spring, but he caught scouts' attention in the CPL, hitting .294/.374/.469 with six homers and 17 steals in 19 tries. Hall was the most impressive player at the league's all-star game, going 2-for-2 with a home run, and he signed with the Royals shortly after. A three-year starter at shortstop for ODU, Hall played second base this summer and has a fairly strong arm, but his hands are suspect and most scouts like him better as a center fielder or a utilityman. Hall is undersized at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, and he needs to add some strength, but he's a switch-hitter with good bat speed from the left side. He is also a plus runner with excellent baserunning skills.

 

7. Daniel Cropper, rhp, Wilmington (Jr., UNC Wilmington)

 

After having Tommy John surgery and redshirting in 2008, Cropper made a successful return to the mound this spring, going 5-2, 5.46 with 53 strikeouts and 15 walks in 59 innings. As a freshman in 2007, Cropper sat in the 88-92 range and touched 93-94, but he worked in the 87-90 range this spring, topping out at 91. The bigger issue this spring was his location—at his best, Cropper fills up the bottom of the strike zone and paints the corners, but he left too many balls up and over the middle of the plate in 2009. But Cropper got stronger this summer, pitching in the 88-92 range and showing better command. His numbers reflected his progress: He went 2-4, 2.05 with 68 strikeouts and 16 walks in 70 innings. Cropper complements his average fastball with a decent slurve with sharp, late break. He also has a straight changeup that is fringy but workable. Cropper has a strong 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame and figures to add velocity this spring with his surgery behind him.

 

8. Stewart Ijames, of, Thomasville (So., Louisville)

 

Ijames hit .351/.401/.583 with eight homers as a freshman in 2008, but he missed all of the 2009 spring season after he damaged his rotator cuff during preseason drills. He returned to his mashing ways this summer, hitting .282/.342/.503 with 12 homers (tied for the league lead) and 37 RBIs in 177-at-bats. A physical 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, Ijames has plenty of leverage and power in his lefthanded swing, and he has a good feel for the strike zone. He punishes fastballs from lefthanders as well as righties, but he's vulnerable against quality breaking balls from southpaws. Ijames will go as far as his bat carries him, as he's a below-average runner who will be limited to left field, though he does have some arm strength.

 

9. Trent Rothlin, rhp, Martinsville (Jr., Mississippi)

 

Rothlin was a key member of Clemson's 2007 recruiting class, but he pitched just 13 innings as a freshman and transferred to Walters State (Tenn.) JC for his sophomore year, going 7-1, 4.32 with 65 strikeouts and 29 walks in 58 innings. He followed that up with a strong summer in the CPL, going 4-1, 2.62 with 83 strikeouts and 31 walks in 65 innings. Rothlin's 88-92 mph fastball has good sink and run, and he did a good job this summer commanding it low in the zone. His slider has made major progress since he arrived at Clemson—it now can be a power pitch that eats up righthanded hitters. Rothlin also has good feel for a changeup. He has a clean arm action and a decent frame at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, and he could add velocity as he matures. Rothlin went undrafted this spring, but he could boost his stock significantly if he proves he can handles the rigors of the Southeastern Conference at Ole Miss next spring.

 

10. Spencer Patton, rhp, Forest City (Sr., Southern Illinois-Edwardsville)

 

After two years at Parkland (Ill.) JC, Patton struggled in his first taste of Division I competition at SIU-Edwardsville, going 4-6, 5.24 this spring, though he did strike out 77 in 69 innings. But Patton was utterly dominant for league champ Forest City this summer, going 9-0, 1.46 with a league-record 110 strikeouts and 22 walks in 74 regular-season innings, then adding 17 more strikeouts in 15 postseason innings over two more victories. Patton is not physically imposing at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, and he lacks overpowering stuff. His fastball ranges from 87-91 mph, and he can cut it or run it to his arm side. He mixes in a 75-77 mph slurve with sharp break and a dramatically improved changeup, and he has the confidence to throw all three pitches in any count. Patton has good mound savvy and pitches to contact early in games to conserve his strength. Sometimes his arm drags in his delivery, causing his stuff to flatten out, but he is usually able to make adjustments over the course of a game. Patton lacks a plus pitch and projectability, so he'll have to prove himself at every stop in pro ball, but his feel for pitching should at least carry him to the upper levels of the minors.