Texas Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
The Victoria Generals swept the East Texas Pump Jacks in the best-of-three TCL championship series to capture their first league title in just their second season. Mark Hudson (Sam Houston State) went 6-for-9 with two doubles and four RBIs in the championship series, and all four of his RBIs came in Victoria's 10-2 win in the clincher.
1. Lee Orr, of, East Texas (Jr., McNeese State)
Considered the TCL's best overall athlete, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Orr has the potential to be a five-tool player. He runs fast enough and gets good enough reads to project as a center fielder at the next level, but he has enough power to play right field, where his plus arm fits well. More than half of his 40 hits this summer were for extra bases, and he swiped 24 bases in 27 tries, showing off his solid-average speed. But Orr also struck out about once every three at-bats, and he will need to become more disciplined to become a passable hitter at the high levels of professional baseball. He struggles against breaking balls—which also helps explain his 136-62 strikeout-walk mark in his two seasons at McNeese—but he also has legitimate power to all fields, as evidenced by his 31 homers in two college seasons. Orr was a 40th-round pick as a redshirt sophomore this spring, but he could boost his stock significantly if he can show a more mature approach to go along with his nice tool set next spring.
2. Miguel Pena, lhp, East Texas (So., San Jacinto JC)
Pena, a fifth-round pick of the Nationals out of high school in 2009 and a 13th-round pick of the Padres this year, impressed coaches with a loose arm and a good approach on the mound. He went 3-0, 0.57 with 21 strikeouts and seven walks in 15 innings for East Texas. Pena showed the ability to throw three pitches for strikes: a fastball that reached the low 90s, a sharp curveball and a solid changuep. He still needs to add strength to his 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame in order to hold his velocity better.
3. Nick Fleece, rhp, Brazos Valley (Sr., Texas A&M)
Fleece started his college career as a third baseman before the Aggies converted him to the mound in 2009. He went 1-2, 3.76 in 38 innings as a junior and was drafted by the Mariners in the 27th round. He went to the TCL and dominated, allowing just five hits and one unearned run in 15 innings, and he will return to A&M for his senior year. Fleece relied on an 88-92 mph sinker in the past, but he ran his heater up into the mid-90s this summer, illustrating that he is still scratching the surface of his ability. He has an athletic 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame and a competitive nature, but he still needs to clean up his delivery and improve his command.
4. Zach Nuding, rhp, North Texas (SIGNED: Yankees)
Nuding ranked eighth on this list a year ago but improved his stock after a strong sophomore year at Weatherford (Texas) JC. After posting a 28-8 strikeout-walk mark in 28 innings this summer, Nuding signed with the Yankees for $265,000 as a 30th-round pick. Nuding is big and physical, but he could benefit from toning up his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame. His power arm generates low-90s fastballs that top out at 96, and he made progress staying on top of his slider this summer. He must refine his changeup to stick as a starter in pro ball.
5. Zac Fisher, c, East Texas (So., New Mexico State)
An unsigned 49th-round pick by the Royals out of high school in California, Fisher made an instant impact as a freshman this spring, hitting .350/.423/.634 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 123 at-bats. He impressed coaches with an advanced approach at the plate this summer, hitting .327/.402/.515. He also flashed some power, leading the league with 17 doubles and ranking third with four home runs. Fisher is a tough out and is not afraid to take what pitchers give him. He waits for his pitch and uses all fields. Fisher is still raw behind the plate, however.
6. Joe Leftridge, of, North Texas (Jr., Angelo, Texas, State)
Leftridge's potential outweighs his production this summer (.250/.308/.375), but he has the tools. Leftridge has above-average speed, and one coach said he was the best defensive outfielder in the league. He has very good range but just a fringe-average arm, though it is fairly accurate. Leftridge has a simple, compact righthanded swing and some gap power. The 6-foot, 180-pounder does not project for much home run power in pro ball. He has improved his ability to hit offspeed stuff, but he still must improve his plate discipline, as he tends to chase pitches out of the zone a bit too often. A 27th-round pick by the Braves after his freshman year at Howard (Texas) JC in 2009, Leftridge went undrafted this year.
7. Bryson Myles, of, McKinney (Jr., Stephen F. Austin State)
Described as a "pure athlete" who also played football in high school, Myles has five-tool potential if he can strengthen his arm. He's inexperienced, but he showed improvement from last summer to this summer, when he hit .328/.428/.543 with six homers and 18 RBIs. After struggling against breaking balls last year, Myles did a better job laying off pitches out of the zone in 2010. He works hard, has good speed and quick wrists. After spending the last two years at Weatherford (Texas) JC, Myles will transfer to Stephen F. Austin State for his junior season.
8. Brock Hebert, ss/2b, Texas (So., Southeastern Louisiana)
While he wasn't the league's fastest prospect, Hebert was by far the TCL's most aggressive. Hebert stole a league-best 39 bases in 45 tries this summer. Hebert's bat doesn't have much pop—he had just three extra-base hits this summer—but he is a good contact hitter who posted a .299 batting average this summer. Hebert is undersized at 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, and he projects best at second base in pro ball.
9. Mark Hudson, of, Victoria (Sr., Sam Houston State)
The TCL player of the year last summer, when he ranked fifth on this list, Hudson does not jump off the charts with any of his tools. At the same time, Hudson does not have any huge flaw. He takes a good approach at the plate and uses the whole field. A plus runner with a strong arm and excellent baseball instincts, Hudson is a strong defender in center field. He hit nine homers this spring only just one this summer, and he does not project to hit for much power in pro ball, though he does have good bat speed.
10. Kolt Browder, rhp, Victoria (So., Baylor)
Browder walked on at Baylor as a shortstop but soon moved to the mound, where he appeared in 20 games out of the Bears' bullpen this spring. Browder, who struck out 47 batters in 28 innings this summer, relies on his low-90s fastball. He hides the ball well and gets good movement on the heater, but he needs to develop his secondary stuff. He made some progress improving his breaking ball, but until this summer he had never thrown a changeup.