Clark Griffith League Top 10 Prospects
In their first season in the Clark Griffith League, the Southern Maryland Cardinals went 19-19 in the regular season, finishing 10 1/2 games behind perennial power Vienna and 9 1/2 games behind Carney. But third-seeded Southern Maryland toppled Carney in the playoffs, and Fairfax stunned top-seeded Vienna, paving the way for the Cardinals to surge to the league championship. Carney came through the loser's bracket to face Southern Maryland again in the finals, but the league's top prospect, K.C. Hobson, went 3-for-3 with a homer and five RBIs in the final game to propel the Cardinals to a 13-4 victory.
1. K.C. Hobson, 1b/of, Southern Maryland (SIGNED: Blue Jays)
Hobson, the son of former Red Sox third baseman and later manager Butch Hobson, would have been a valuable two-way player for Texas A&M but instead signed with the Blue Jays on Aug. 17 for a $500,000 bonus as a sixth-round pick. He played just 15 games in the Clark Griffith League before signing but tore the league apart, batting .431/.448/.708 in 65 at-bats. Thirteen of his 25 hits in regular-season play were for extra bases (eight doubles, five triples). Hobson shows above-average savvy as a hitter and makes pro-level adjustments during at-bats—he struck out just twice all summer against much older competition. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Hobson has below-average speed but runs well underway, which may allow him to play a corner outfield spot at the pro level.
2. Chad Morgan, c, Carney (Fr., Virginia Tech)
Playing a premium position, Morgan drew considerable interest from scouts during his senior year at Paul VI High in Fairfax, Va., but his bonus demands and strong commitment to Virginia Tech caused him to go undrafted. He was a mid-order hitter for Carney, batting.345/.449/.540 in the regular season and .467/.556/.533 in the league playoffs. An above-average athlete with average arm strength (he showed pop times between 2.0-2.1 seconds), he played corner outfield in several games. But he profiles as a catcher, where he shows above-average receiving and blocking skills. Morgan has below-average power at present, but that might improve as his 6-foot-1, 190-pound body matures and he develops as a player in the Atlantic Coast Conference. His makeup is above-average and he projects as a pro backup for now.
3. Ryan Camp, rhp, Vienna (Jr., Illinois State)
Spotty control plagued Camp this spring, as he went 6-3, 4.73 with 50 strikeouts and 44 walks in 78 innings. He did a considerably better job throwing strikes this summer, going 5-0, 2.74 with 44 strikeouts and 22 walks in 43 innings, though he sometimes rushed his delivery and opened up his front side, affecting his control. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Camp largely overpowered hitters this summer with an 89-94 mph fastball with some arm-side run. His mid-to-upper three-quarters arm slot lends his stuff extra life, but he needs to work on repeating his delivery more consistently. Camp's 77-79 mph slider has late break but limited depth. Camp needs to do a better job controlling the running game to prevent opponents from taking advantage of his 1.35-1.50-second release time to home plate.
4. Matt Crouse, lhp, Carney (So., Mississippi)
Crouse had a fine freshman year for Young Harris (S.C.) JC this spring, going 7-1, 3.23 with 65 strikeouts and 35 walks in 56 innings. He followed it up by winning co-pitcher of the year honors in the CGBL, going 6-0, 0.82 with 34 strikeouts and 17 walks in 44 innings. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound southpaw is lean and strong with loads of projection, and he earns plaudits for his makeup. He has decent command of an 87-89 mph fastball that touches 90-91, and he has very good feel for a changeup and curveball, though he must improve his command of both pitches. With a few mechanical adjustments and some added strength, Crouse could blossom into a high-round pick at Ole Miss.
5. Matt Snyder, 1b, Carney (So., Mississippi)
Snyder and his brother Mike were prep stars in Virginia who both elected to play their college ball at Ole Miss, where Matt hit .298 with eight homers as a freshman. He played the summer season with a dislocated finger, which sapped his power, and he finished at .267/.347/.378. At 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, Snyder has plenty of power already and projects for more as he matures. The lefthanded hitter is largely a pull hitter at this stage of his career, but he has shown a willingness to adjust and will occasionally drive outside pitches to left field. Snyder is a below-average runner with a slightly below-average but serviceable arm at first base.
6. Jamie Bruno, 1b, Vienna (So., Tulane)
Like Matt Snyder, Bruno is a lefthanded power hitter whose bat will carry him into pro ball. He showed plenty of present power and hitting ability this summer, batting .311/.377/.570 with a league-leading nine homers and 42 RBIs to win the CGBL's player of the year award. Bruno's hit tool and power both project as average to plus tools. He focuses well with runners in scoring position and will shorten his stroke and make adjustments with two strikes. Like many college power hitters, he drops his back shoulder to get loft, which causes him to undercut pitches up in the zone. Although the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is a below-average runner (4.40), he's better underway and reads defenses well. He must improve defensively, as his range will never be better than average, but he is good at scooping throws out of the dirt.
7. Johnny Bladel, of, Fairfax (Fr., James Madison)
As an incoming freshman competing against much older competition in the CGBL, Bladel led the league in batting (.356) and on-base percentage (.450) while stealing 12 bases in 13 attempts. He demonstrated offensive maturity far beyond his years, drawing 16 walks while striking out just 15 times in 101 at-bats. Bladel needs to add strength to his 6-foot, 180-pound frame, but he has a smooth, compact righthanded stroke and the ability to line balls from gap to gap. He's an above-average runner with good range in center field and a strong arm (he also worked 15 innings off the mound this summer, posting a 4.91 ERA). He has a chance for four average or better tools and could develop a bit of power as well.
8. Connor Mielock, rhp, Carney (So., Oakland)
Mielock struggled mightily as a freshman this spring, posting an 8.18 ERA in 30 innings. He was much better this summer, going 4-2, 2.08 with 28 walks and 11 strikeouts in 48 innings for Carney. Mielock's lacks overpowering velocity, ranging from 86-91 mph, but it has good sink and projects as a plus pitch as he fills out his slender 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame. Mielock has three pitches, and his second pitch is a promising 78-79 changeup that has good arm speed but sometimes lacks movement.
9. Ryan Doiron, rhp, Vienna, (So., Tulane)
Doiron posted a 4.85 ERA in 30 innings of relief as a freshman this spring, and he split time between starting and relieving this summer, going 4-1, 2.70 with a 25-6 K-BB ratio in 33 innings over 11 appearances (five starts). In relief, he shows an average fastball that reachs 91 mph. His 73-76 curveball has good separation from his fastball and can be an out pitch at times. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Doiron is not overly physical, but he works within himself and keeps his fastball and curve down in the zone. He occasionally flies open with his mid-three-quarters delivery and bounces a curveball in front of the plate. Doiron is working on a 77-78 mph changeup, which has below-average movement.
10. Pat Somers, lhp, Carney (So., East Carolina)
Somers made 24 appearances (all but three in relief) for East Carolina as a freshman this spring, going 2-2, 5.64. He shined in a starting role this summer, going 3-1, 1.49 with 28 strikeouts and 15 walks in 36 innings. Somers lacks projection at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, and his fastball is a below-average offering in the 84-87 range with arm-side run. But Somers should be able to carve out a pro career as a deceptive lefty with a very good breaking ball. In fact, he throws two curveballs: a roundhouse 67-69 pitch that he uses as a backdoor strike on righthanded hitters, and a plus 75-76 hammer with 12-to-6 action. Somers bears down with runners on base and has an excellent pickoff move, helping him pick off two runners in three innings in one game against Vienna.