Great Lakes League Top 10 Prospects
The Hamilton (Ohio) Joes, named for the late Joe Nuxall, wrapped up a championship series sweep and won their first league title in the franchise's second season. They swept Licking County after finishing 29-15 in the regular season.
1. Adam Brett Walker, of, Licking County (So., Jacksonville)
Walker's father Adam was a running back who reached the NFL with the Vikings in 1987, and Adam inherited his father's athleticism and physicality. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Walker came to the Great Lakes League with a reputation for hitting the ball very far—when he could get a hold of it. After his freshman season at Jacksonville when he struck out about every 2.5 at-bats, Walker focused on improving his plate discipline this summer. And while he is still far from patient (he struck out about every four at-bats this summer), Walker stayed away from bad pitches enough to be the scariest hitter in the league, tying for the lead with eight home runs and posting a 1.078 OPS. He has legitimate five-tool talent, and one coach compared him to B.J. Upton. Walker still struggles against good offspeed stuff, but if a pitcher hangs a curveball or challenges him with a fastball, Walker will make him pay. Said one opposing coach: "Every ballpark he plays in seems like it's too little for him."
2. Brent Suter, lhp, Hamilton (Jr., Harvard)
Suter comes from an athletic background, as his father Mike played football at Penn State and his mother Shirley, a swimmer, won a state championship. Brent Suter played basketball as well as baseball at Cincinnati's famed Moeller High and was a first-team all-Ivy League selection in the spring. He wasn't blowing teams away with his high-80s fastball that scrapes the low 90s, but he could pitch and at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, he has a good pitcher's body. One coach said he liked Suter's cerebral approach, and he rarely made a mistake as he led the league's starters with a 1.27 ERA. Opposing hitters said the ball looked heavy coming out of his hand, and he won the league's pitcher of the year award, as well as the league's Tony Lucadella top pitching prospect award.
3. Ryan Rua, ss, Hamilton (Jr., Lake Erie, Ohio, College)
Considered the league's best defensive shortstop, Rua was a key cog in Hamilton's championship run. He features a strong throwing arm and enough range and quickness to stay in the middle infield. One coach said he looked nonchalant in the field, but only because he made the position look so easy. Offensively, Rua runs well and makes contact; he batted .333 and also showed some sock, slugging .533. He has 22 home runs in two college seasons for Division II Lake Erie, which is new to the level. But this summer, Rua stood out against heavier-recruited competition—especially in the Great Lakes all-star game, where major league scouts voted Rua the MVP after his two-hit, three-RBI performance.
4. Ryan Jones, 2b, Southern Ohio (So., Michigan State)
Jones and Licking County's John McCambridge have similar tools, and Jones gets the edge here for playing infield and being younger. Jones, who as a redshirt sophomore will be draft-eligible in 2011, actually outclassed his veteran counterpart with 22 steals. Jones has good speed and showed a contact-oriented approach, hitting .385 while striking out just five times in 109 at-bats. He's patient (22 walks) and stays within himself. At 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, Jones lacks physicality and at times gave some at-bats away, according to one league coach.
5. John McCambridge, of, Licking County (Sr., Xavier)
McCambridge wasn't drafted as a junior after hitting just .307/.380/.432 for the Musketeers, but he has the tools to be a strong senior sign. A prototypical leadoff man, McCambridge drew praise for seeming to always find a way to reach base. He led the league in hits, hit by pitches and runs scored, leading to a .444/.506/.510 line this summer. And once he gets on base, McCambridge stays in the backs of pitchers' and catchers' minds—he stole 20 bases this summer. McCambridge, who ran a 6.3-second 60-yard dash at the league all-star game this summer, needs to tone down his aggressiveness, as he drew just 26 combined walks between the spring and summer seasons. He has below-average power.
6. Brennen Glass, rhp, Grand Lake (Sr., Kent State)
At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Glass has prototypical big league size, and he played football at Division II Grand Valley State (Mich.) as a quarterback before transferring to Kent State. A redshirt senior, The physical righthander also has big league bloodlines, as his father Tim Glass, a catcher, was the Indians' first-round pick in 1976. Brennen Glass packs some power in that prototypical pitcher's frame with a fastball that sat in the low 90s this year, and he also had good breaking stuff, led by a sharp slider. Glass is still figuring out how to use his stuff and how to put hitters away, having struck out 26 in 38 innings.
7. Seth Streich, rhp, Southern Ohio (So., Ohio)
A two-way player, Streich can generate some power as a lefthanded hitter, and he hit .259 over the summer. However, his professional future will be on the mound, and he impressed in his 14 summer innings, striking out 11. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, but Streich has the frame to reach 230. His fastball sits in the high 80s, but with more size he could consistently throw in the 90-92 mph. To become a high-profile prospect, Streich needs to improve his secondary stuff.
8. Zach Isler, rhp, Cincinnati (So., Cincinnati)
Having just finished his first season with Cincinnati, Isler still has room to grow, and not every manager saw him, as he made just five outings (four starts) in the league. His fastball sits in the high 80s with good movement, and he spots his secondary stuff well enough to post a 1.73 ERA in 26 innings this summer. At 6-foot-4, 233-pounds, Isler has significant upside but still needs plenty of polish. But for now, Isler impressed league coaches with good composure on the mound.
9. Justin Riddell, of, Lexington (Sr., Cincinnati)
Listed at 6 feet, 214 pounds, Riddell won't blow people away physically, but he flashed good power this summer, hitting five home runs, leading the league with 17 doubles and 89 total bases, helping him post a .601 slugging percentage, second in the league. He also runs well for his size and is consistent in the outfield. Riddell, who bats and throws righthanded, takes a big hack and has the sense to shorten up with two strikes. Riddell doesn't have a great profile but should be a solid senior draft because he can hit.
10. J.T. Odom, rhp, Lima (Sr., Mercer)
Not afraid to attack the zone with his sidearm delivery, Odom struck out a league-high 47 hitters in just 33 innings this summer. The 6-foot-1 Odom also led the league with a 0.82 ERA and .131 opponents' batting average and is reminiscent of former Mercer closer Cory Gearrin, who pitches in the Braves system and was a fourth-round pick in 2007. With a hard slider and a moving fastball, Odom kept hitters off balance, and one coach described him as "a nightmare for righties."