Atlantic Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
In the franchise's inaugural season, the Westhampton Aviators beat the Jersey Pilots 7-5 to win the ACBL championship game. Westhampton fell behind 3-0 when Jersey slugged back-to-back-to-back homers in the top of the first, but the Aviators soared back and took the lead for good with four runs in the fourth inning.
1. Nick Tropeano, rhp, Riverhead (So., Stony Brook)
Tropeano came on strong down the stretch as Stony Brook's No. 3 starter this spring, finishing 5-1, 5.12 with 50 strikeouts and 16 walks in 58 innings. He was downright dominant this summer in the ACBL, going 7-3, 1.61 with a sparkling 77-14 strikeout-walk ratio in 50 innings to win the league's pitching triple crown (wins, ERA and strikeouts). Tropeano's bread and butter is his biting breaking ball, and he uses his changeup effectively as well. He could add velocity to his 87-88 mph fastball as he grows into his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame. Tropeano earns plaudits for his composed demeanor and focus on the mound.
2. Brian Dudzinski, rhp, Lehigh Valley (Jr., Furman)
Dudzinski generated some buzz from scouts this spring at Brookdale (N.J.) CC, running his fastball up to 91 mph. His 6-foot-6 frame is loose and projectable, and he figures to add velocity to his 88-91 heater as he fills out. Dudzinski also mixes in an average slider and has good feel for a changeup. In 40 innings this summer, he went 4-1, 2.45 with 28 strikeouts and 22 walks, evidence that his control must still be refined.
3. Nick Ahmed, ss/rhp, Westhampton (So., Connecticut)
Ahmed took over as UConn's starting shortstop in early April and went on to hit .288/.343/.366 with 11 steals in 14 tries as a freshman. He struggled with a wood bat in the ACBL this summer, batting just .182 with four extra-base hits in 143 at-bats, but he did steal 19 bases in 22 tries. Ahmed has an athletic 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame, excellent speed, sound defensive skills and a strong arm. His bat is a major question mark, though he made some progress in the second half of the summer, and his future might be on the mound, where he can run his fastball into the low 90s. He did not pitch this spring but went 2-0, 1.04 with nine strikeouts and no walks in nine innings for Westhampton this summer.
4. Pete Greskoff, of/1b, Riverhead (Jr., Brown)
Greskoff mashed his way into Brown's starting lineup as a sophomore this spring, leading the Ivy League in slugging (.679) while tying for the league lead in home runs (11). He followed that up with a remarkable summer, batting .397 and leading the ACBL in OBP (.510), slugging (.760), home runs (10), RBIs (37), doubles (14) and total bases (92). The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Greskoff is simply a hitting machine with average to plus righthanded power. He has played both corner infield positions for Brown but profiles best as a first baseman or left fielder. Greskoff will go as far as his bat takes him.
5. Nate Reed, lhp, Kutztown (Sr., Pittsburgh)
Reed has been an enigma since 2006, when he ranked as Pennsylvania's top prep prospect for the draft thanks to his arm strength and projection. He has been wildly inconsistent in three years at Pittsburgh, and he was drafted in the 20h round by the White Sox after going 4-6, 6.21 as a junior this spring. At his best, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound southpaw pitches downhill with an 89-92 mph fastball, flashes an average curveball and shows feel for a changeup. But his velocity vacillated between 83-90 mph this summer, as he went 0-2, 6.87 with 17 walks and 12 strikeouts in 18 innings. Still, Reed has legitimate talent and could climb into the top 10 rounds as a senior sign if he can put it together next spring.
6. Andrew Leenhouts, lhp, Peekskill (So., Northeastern)
Leenhouts was a revelation as a freshman this spring, going 1-1, 2.37 with 41 strikeouts and 18 walks in 30 innings (mostly in relief) for Northeastern. He switched to a starting role this summer, going 4-1, 4.05 with 38 strikeouts and 15 walks in 33 innings. A natural athlete, Leenhouts also played football and basketball in high school, and his sister runs track at Yale. Leenhouts has a lean, projectable frame at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, and he could add velocity to his 87-88 mph fastball as he matures physically. His strikeout pitch is an excellent curveball with sharp downer action.
7. Alex Pracher, rhp, Westhampton (Jr., Stanford)
Pracher, a New Jersey native, ranked as the No. 5 prospect on this list a year ago, but he failed to parlay his strong summer into the spring season at Stanford, going 0-1, 5.53 with 11 strikeouts and 10 walks in 28 innings. For the second straight year, he was much stronger in the summer, going 3-1, 0.82 with a 25-5 K-BB ratio in 22 innings. Pracher showed good command of a four-pitch repertoire this summer. He worked around 88 mph with his fastball but has reached 90 in the past, and his physical 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame hints at more velocity to come.
8. Justin Bradley, rhp, Westhampton (Jr., UNC Wilmington)
Bradley first made a name for himself as a high school senior, leading Ashley High in Wilmington, N.C., to the state title game, where he drew the start against future first-round pick Madison Bumgarner. He has taken his lumps in two seasons at nearby UNC Wilmington, though he showed signs of progress this spring, going 3-3, 6.80 in 46 innings. Bradley seemed to turn a corner this summer in the ACBL, going 1-2, 2.31 with 34 strikeouts and 15 walks in 35 innings. He has a good pitcher's frame (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) and attacks hitters with a solid three-pitch mix: an 88-90 mph fastball, a good slider and a promising changeup.
9. Grant Kernaghan, rhp, Lehigh Valley (Sr., Bloomsburg, Pa.)
Kernaghan drew some interest from scouts as a junior this spring, when he went 5-4, 2.81 with 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 48 innings. He pitched in the 86-88 mph range this spring, touching 90-92 on occasion, but his velocity was up a few ticks this summer, as he showed low-90s heat with minimal effort. He also showed progress with his slider and changeup, and he finished the summer 5-3, 4.50 with 40 strikeouts and 11 walks in 54 innings. Kernaghan is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound strikethrower who likely profiles as a reliever in pro ball. He could be drafted in the top 10-12 rounds as a senior next June with another solid spring.
10. Gardner Leaver, rhp, Sag Harbor (Jr., Rhode Island)
After an up-and-down spring (4-1, 5.13), Leaver used his excellent feel for pitching to carve up the ACBL this summer, going 2-0, 0.84 with 18 strikeouts and two walks in 21 innings. His command and control are his best assets, as his stuff is fringy. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound Leaver keeps hitters off balance with a fastball that tops out at 90 mph, a good slider and a changeup.