New York Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
The Amsterdam Mohawks swept the Elmira Pioneers in the NYCBL's best-of-three champoinship series to win their second straight title, and their fifth overall. Championship series MVP Kyle Koeneman (Louisiana State) went 2-for-3 with an RBI in Amsterdam's 4-0 win in the clincher, and Mohawks starter Dan Zlotnick shut out Elmira on six hits over seven innings to pick up the win.
1. Mel Rojas Jr., of, Amsterdam (SIGNED: Pirates)
The son of the former big league closer of the same name, Rojas turned down offers to sign out of the Dominican Republic before arriving at Wabash Valley (Ill.) CC. He redshirted in 2009 while getting his eligility in order, then put together a strong summer in the NYCBL last summer, ranking as the league's No. 5 prospect. His stock climbed in the spring, and he signed for $423,900 as a third-round pick after hitting .298/.337/.362 with 11 steals in 24 games for Amsterdam. Rojas has a lithe, athletic 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame and above-average speed, giving him a chance to be a center fielder in pro ball. He played all three outfield positions for Amsterdam, and his solid-average arm plays in right as well. A switch-hitter, Rojas is a better hitter from the left side—a gap-to-gap hitter with some power—but he has more pop from the right. Rojas has worked hard in the weight room to add strength, but his power is still below-average, though it has a chance to be average in time. His pure tools stood out above the rest of the crop in the NYCBL, and he finished the summer in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he struggled offensively.
2. Jon Schwind, if, Amsterdam (Jr., Marist)
After posting a .924 OPS during his breakout sophomore year at Marist, Schwind hit .292/.355/.455 with four homers, 39 RBIs and 13 stolen bases for Amsterdam. The 6-foot, 180-pounder played shortstop and second base for the Mohawks but profiles at second base in pro ball. He has solid middle-infield actions and a strong arm for a second baseman. He has quick feet, good range and above-average speed on the basepaths. Offensively, Schwind is a righthanded hitter who uses all fields and has very good bat control. He also flashes occasional pop, though he won't be a power hitter down the road. He's a grinder with a strong work ethic and excellent feel for the game.
3. Cody Kulp, of, Amsterdam (Jr., Amsterdam)
A two-way player for Amsterdam, Kulp hit .294/.350/.517 with eight homers and 27 RBIs in 143 at-bats this summer and also made five relief appearances off the mound. But his future is in right field in pro ball. His strong arm plays well in the outfield, and his average speed leads to good range as well. He also has intriguing raw power that gives him a chance to succeed as a corner outfielder if he can show more aptitude. Kulp is a pull hitter who must improve his plate discipline and learn to use more of the field. He also earns notice for wearing his emotions on his sleeve.
4. Kyle Hunter, lhp, Amsterdam (So., Dartmouth)
Hunter came on strong down the stretch of his freshman year, earning the win in the decisive game of the Ivy League championship series and pitching into the seventh inning of a Coral Gables Regional game against Texas A&M, leaving with a 3-2 lead after tying his season high with seven strikeouts. He was utterly dominant this summer, going 5-0, 0.68 with 33 strikeouts and 10 walks in 40 innings for Amsterdam. Hunter is a bit undersized at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, but he makes up for it with his competitiveness and command of a solid three-pitch mix. He pounds the zone with an 86-90 mph fastball that tops out at 92 on occasion. His second pitch is a very good changeup, and he mixes in a slurvy breaking ball.
5. Dan Zlotnick, lhp, Amsterdam (So., Marist)
Zlotnick is a carbon copy of Amsterdam teammate Hunter: Both are 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, and they feature very similar three-pitch repertoires. Zlotnick attacks hitters with an 88-90 mph fastball and a good changeup, and his slurve has a bit more power than Hunter's. Zlotnick could add some velocity if he can learn to use his lower half better. Not only did he earn the win in the NYCBL title clincher, but Zlotnick had a very consistent summer, going 4-0, 1.57 with 43 strikeouts and 15 walks in 46 innings.
6. Vincent Mejia, if, Glens Falls (Jr., Texas-Pan American)
After transferring from El Paso CC, Mejia had a huge sophomore year for UTPA, hitting .380/.487/.577 with eight homers and 51 RBIs. He kept on hitting this summer, finishing at .329/.460/.510 with four homers and 34 RBIs in 155 at-bats. Mejia's bat is his best tool. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and a mature plate approach, and he routinely hits hard line drives to the gaps, with occasional home run power. At 6 feet, 215 pounds, Mejia has thick legs and lacks foot speed, suggesting he'll have to move from the middle infield to a corner (probably third base) in pro ball. He'll have to develop more power to hold down a corner spot at the higher levels.
7. Matt Conway, 1b/lhp, Amsterdam (So., Wake Forest)
Conway was the best hitter on a bad Wake Forest team as a freshman, hitting .382/.460/.618 with six homers in 152 at-bats. He hit .275/.327/.422 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 102 at-bats this summer before a broken wrist ended his summer. At 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, Conway has serious leverage in his righthanded swing. As he fills out his skinny frame, he should start to unlock his significant power potential. In addition to getting stronger, Conway needs to improve his foot speed and his defense at first base. He has a solid approach at the plate and good hand-eye coordination, giving him a chance to hit for average in pro ball.
8. John Colella, rhp, Elmira (So., Holy Cross)
Colella took his lumps as a freshman this spring, posting an 8.86 ERA in 21 innings, but he was nearly unhittable as Elmira's closer this summer, going 2-1, 0.00 with 13 saves and a 37-7 strikeout-walk ratio in 23 innings. He allowed only one unearned run and eight hits in 18 appearances. Colella has a durable 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame, and he pitches downhill with a heavy four-seam fastball in the low 90s. He also made progress with his curveball this summer, and it has a chance to be an out pitch in time.
9. Alex Todd, ss, Cooperstown (Sr., Sonoma, Calif., State)
After two seasons at West Valley (Calif.) JC, Todd transferred to Centenary and hit .323/.413/.485 in 167 at-bats this spring. Centenary will move to Division III next year, and Todd will move to Division II Sonoma State. Todd stands out most for his defense at shortstop. He has solid range and instincts to go along with a good, accurate arm, and he is steady on routine plays. He has a rangy 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and a gap-to-gap approach at the plate.
10. Shae Simmons, rhp, Watertown (So., Southeast Missouri State)
Simmons was an impact freshman for SEMO, posting a 3.20 ERA and five saves while striking out 43 in 39 innings this spring. He collected five more saves this summer, going 2-0, 0.61 with 25 strikeouts and eight walks in 15 innings. Simmons lacks physicality at 6 feet, 177 pounds, but he has a quick arm that produces 88-92 mph fastballs and promising sliders.