Atlantic Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
The ACBL has had teams in the Hamptons for two seasons, and the new teams have won league titles in each of the two seasons. After Westhampton won a year ago, North Fork captured the title in its second season this summer. North Fork capped a 31-15 season with a 5-4 win against Quakertown in the final game. A three-run homer by Rocco Gondek (Sacred Heart) highlighted North Fork's four-run third inning, propelling the Ospreys to the championship.
1. Chris Reed, lhp, Torrington (Jr., Stanford)
Reed pitched sparingly as a freshman in 2009 and struggled with his control as a sophomore at Stanford, going 2-0, 6.10 with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in 21 innings of relief this spring. But he turned a corner this summer in the ACBL, going 2-2, 1.23 with 23 strikeouts and 13 walks in 22 innings, mostly in relief. Reed has a projectable pitcher's frame at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. This summer he showed good command of a 90-92 mph fastball and a sharp slider in the low 80s. He has significant upside but must continue to refine his feel for pitching and command.
2. Chase Fowler, c, Riverhead (So., Southern Mississippi)
Fowler was a key recruit for Southern Miss after deciding not to sign with the Reds as a 16th-round pick out of a Georgia high school. He hit .314 as USM's backup catcher during his freshman year this spring, then hit .300 with two homers in 60 RBIs this summer. Fowler is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound switch-hitter with promising catch-and-throw skills. He has a strong arm and a quick release.
3. Eric Smith, 3b, Torrington (So., Stanford)
Smith was largely overshadowed in Stanford's second-ranked recruiting class last fall, and he got 77 at-bats as a reserve infielder this spring, but he tore up the ACBL this summer in a 10-game stint before leaving with an injury. He went 16-for-31 (.516) with four doubles and a triple before his summer was cut short. Smith has a good lefthanded swing and bat-handling skills, and his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame produces gap-to-gap power. He also flashed good defensive skills at third base in his brief ACBL appearance.
4. Billy Ferriter, of, North Fork (So., Connecticut)
After redshirting in 2009, Ferriter made a major impact on UConn's regional-hosting team in 2010, batting .363/.447/.475 with 33 stolen bases as a table-setting outfielder. He finished third in the ACBL in batting this summer (.373) and stole 17 bases in 20 tries. Ferriter's best tool is his above-average speed, which plays well on the basepaths and in the outfield. He has a good 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, but he is not a power hitter. He does make solid contact from the right side, however, and sprays the ball to all fields.
5. Zack Godley, rhp, Southampton (So., Tennessee)
After going 6-1, 1.51 as a freshman at Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) JC this spring, Godley had a strong summer in the ACBL, going 4-3, 2.75 with 53 strikeouts and 23 walks in 59 innings. He has a workhorse frame at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, and he can run his fastball up to 90 mph. He also has solid command of an improving cutter. A 50th-round pick by the Mets out of high school in 2009, Godley went undrafted this spring and will attend Tennessee as a sophomore.
6. Mike Russo, rhp, Jersey (Jr., Kean, N.J.)
A New Jersey native, Russo never quite put everything together in two years at North Carolina State, so he decided to transfer closer to home to Division III power Kean for his junior year. He showed signs of progress with his command and mound presence this summer, when he went 4-1, 2.83 with 39 strikeouts and 19 walks in 35 innings, but he still needs plenty of polish. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Russo has some upside, and he runs his fastball into the low 90s to go along with a mid-70s curveball that looks promising at times.
7. Brandon Kuter, rhp, Westhampton (So., George Mason)
Like Russo, Kuter has size and projection but lacks polish. He made just nine appearances as a freshman for George Mason in the spring, posting a 12.91 ERA, but he was much better this summer, posting a 4.05 ERA and a 29-10 strikeout-walk mark in 20 innings of relief. He worked around 87-90 mph when he arrived at Mason, but he routinely reached the 92-94 mph range this summer with good downward action thanks to his 6-foot-7, 210-pound build. He has a loose, live arm and some feel for a slider, though it's still very much a work in progress.
8. Kevin Grove, of, Sag Harbor (R-Fr., St. John's)
Talented but raw, Grove redshirted this spring at St. John's because he was not yet ready to contribute at the Division I level. After his huge summer for Sag Harbor, he might be poised to make an impact in 2011. Grove hit .325 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 117 at-bats, and though he struck out 34 times, he did draw an encouraging number of walks (26). Grove has a lanky, athletic 6-foot-4, 210-pound build and flashes raw power to all fields. He has average speed and a strong arm from the outfield.
9. Matt Soren, rhp, Long Island (So., Delaware)
Soren went 2-2, 7.18 in nine outings (eight starts) as a freshman this spring, but like several of the pitchers on this list, he made great strides this summer, going 1-3, 2.89 with 35 strikeouts and 12 walks in 28 innings. He has a lanky 6-foot-4, 200-pound pitcher's frame with solid projection, and he already touches 91 mph with his lively fastball. He also flashes a very promising breaking ball.
10. David Bartuska, rhp, Lackawanna, (Jr., Dominican, N.Y.)
Bartuska went 7-2, 2.40 with 91 strikeouts and 15 walks in 75 innings at D-II Dominican this spring, and he showed impeccable control this summer, going 1-3, 2.33 with 37 strikeouts and five walks in 39 innings. AT 6 feet, 175 pounds, he does not have as much projection as the other pitchers on this list, but he has better current feel for pitching. He also has a quick arm that produces a fastball that reaches the low 90s and has excellent movement. That pitch is his bread and butter, but he also mixes in a late-breaking slider at times.