MINK League Top 10 Prospects
There was little doubt which was the best team in the MINK League this season. Led by lefthander Mike Kickham (Missouri State), the Sedalia Bombers breezed through the league with a 35-8 record to win the South division. First baseman Johnny Coy (Wichita State) and the St. Joseph Mustangs narrowly edged out the Chillicothe Mudcats for the North division crown. In the championship series, Sedalia swept Chillicothe two games to none to win the title.
1. Mike Kickham, lhp, Sedalia (SIGNED: Giants)
After getting drafted in the sixth round as an eligible sophomore at Missouri State, Kickham's time in the MINK League was cut short when he signed with the Giants. But he made the most of the time he had. The lefthander went 3-0, 0.29 with 42 strikeouts in 24 innings and showed the stuff that prompted the Giants to give him a well-above-slot $410,000 signing bonus. He has a nice and easy delivery and his fastball sits at 89-92 mph, often touching as high as 94. He complements his fastball with two good breaking balls—a true slider and an overhand curveball—in addition to a solid changeup. All of that, packaged with good command and a solid 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, gives Kickham a chance to be a big league starter down the road.
2. Johnny Coy, 1b, St. Joseph (So., Wichita State)
At 6-foot-8 and 204 pounds, Coy is an imposing figure on the baseball diamond. He would look much more in place on the hardwood, which is where he almost ended up after going to Arizona State on a basketball scholarship. Following his freshman year, he transferred to Wichita State, where he earned a starting job in his first year playing collegiate baseball. Coy's best tool is his righthanded power, which has a chance to be a plus skill when he fills out physically. His 12 home runs this summer were more than twice as many as any other player in the league hit. He is prone to striking out, and making better contact will be a key for him going forward. He is rough around the edges defensively but has good athleticism. A seventh-round pick by Philadelphia out of high school, Coy went undrafted as an eligible freshman this year, but he should draw interest once again with another strong showing at Wichita State in 2011.
3. Jeremy Patton, 2b, Sedalia (Jr., Florida International)
Patton has the best swing of any prospect in the league, which showed when he hit .405/.541/.582 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 79 at-bats this summer. But what stands out most about Patton is his patient plate approach. He accumulated an on-base percentage of .453 this spring with Florida International and drew 28 walks while striking out just nine times in 79 at-bats this summer. Though he's just 6 feet, 190 pounds, Patton has decent pop from the left side. Though he plays primarily third base for Florida International, his skillset profiles better at second base in the professional ranks. He doesn't possess above-average speed, but is quick and agile enough to play the position.
4. Matt Skipper, 1b, Mac-N-Seitz (Jr., San Diego State)
Skipper was recruited by San Diego State as a pitcher and outfielder, but he figures to be a first baseman in the future. At 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, he has decent power, specifically to the opposite field, but struggles to make consistent contact with breaking balls. He has a good knowledge of the strike zone and doesn't swing at bad pitches, which hints at an ability to hit for a good average in pro ball. He hit .367/.462/.646 in 79 at-bats this summer. Skipper possesses some athleticism and is adequate at first base. His big body gives him a good target for infielders to throw to. He also pitched this summer, but was ineffective, going 2-2, 5.49, and isn't considered a strong prospect from the mound.
5. Jose Behar, c, Sedalia (Sr., Florida International)
Behar didn't really stand out this season at Florida International, where he hit just .252/.324/.325, but his stock picked up some steam this summer, as he led the MINK in hitting (.433/.477/.517). He is mostly a line-drive hitter who focuses on going up the middle and the other way, but toward the end of the summer he started showing some signs of power. His swing can get long at times, but he has good bat speed to make up for it. Where Behar really shines is behind the plate. He uses good footwork and an above-average, accurate arm to record pop times consistently in the 1.8-1.9-second range.
6. Luke Voit, c, Sedalia (So., Missouri State)
Drafted in the 32nd round in 2009 by Kansas City, Voit decided to go to school and posted a solid freshman season. He started 30 games and hit .272 with five homers this spring, then hit .287/.359/.393 in the MINK. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Voit has been described as "country strong" and has shown signs of big power. He is athletic and moves well behind the plate for someone his size. Apart from Mike Kickham and Coy, Voit is the most projectable player on this list.
7. Dan Kickham, rhp, Sedalia (Jr., Missouri State)
The Rockies drafted Kickham in the 37th round out of Crowder (Mo.) CC, but rather than sign he elected to follow in the footsteps of his twin brother, Mike, and head to Missouri State. Kickham saved 13 games and collected 43 strikeouts in 37 innings at Crowder this spring. He followed that up by cruising through the MINK this summer, striking out 26 batters while allowing just 11 hits in 21 innings while serving as Sedalia's closer. He has a good body for a closer, at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he also throws an average 81-83 mph slider that has room for improvement.
8. Mark Robinette, rhp, Chillicothe (So., Northeast Texas CC)
Robinette can swing the bat pretty well and even hit .355/.378/.500 in the MINK this summer, but his future is on the mound. After dominating as a freshman with Northeast Texas, he led the MINK in strikeouts with 49 in 37 innings and had a 2.08 ERA. He throws his fastball anywhere from 89-92 mph, but it lacks movement, which has prevented it from becoming a plus offering. Robinette gets the majority of his strikeouts with his curveball, which is above-average. At this point, the fastball and curveball are all he throws, and he will be relegated to a relief role if he doesn't develop another pitch.
9. Jake Johansen, rhp, Omaha (So., Dallas Baptist)
Johansen's 4.27 ERA this summer in the MINK won't really jump out at you, but he has a good body and flashed good enough stuff to make this list. Johansen's body is a very projectable 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, which is part of the reason the Mets drafted him in the 45th round in 2009. He throws a fastball that sits around 90 mph, but his control needs a lot of work. He walked 21 batters in 31 innings this summer and goes through stretches where he can't seem to throw strikes consistently.
10. Jon Wegener, of, Sedalia (Sr., Central Missouri)
Wegener had a very good season this spring with Division II Central Missouri, hitting .333 with 11 homers. His average dipped a little bit this summer, but the power was still there, as he tied for second in the league with five homers. His swing is short and quick and generates good power. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has a chance to develop plus power as he continues to mature. Defensively, he was one of the best outfielders in the league, partly because of his well above-average arm. He's got enough speed to stick at center field as well as steal his share of bases.