2011 Cape Cod League Top 30 Prospects List
Power bats impress scouts the most
The Harwich Mariners got hot at the right time, going 6-1 in the postseason to win the Cape Cod League title. Jake Davies (Georgia Tech) hit a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning of a back-and-forth contest to give Harwich a 7-5 win against Falmouth and a sweep of the championship series.
Like all teams in the Cape League, Harwich had plenty of talent, but coaches lauded the Mariners and regular-season division winners Hyannis and Orleans for their chemistry and teamwork. In terms of high-end pro talent, Cotuit and Bourne stood out most, combining to land eight players among the league's top 10 prospects.
Yarmouth-Dennis also had plenty of top-shelf talent, but Stanford righty Mark Appel and Florida catcher Mike Zunino both just missed qualifying for this list (which required one plate appearance per team game for hitters, 1/3 inning per team game for starting pitchers or 10 appearances for relievers). Both likely would have ranked in the top five had they been eligible.
Some coaches said they thought the Cape's overall talent level was down, particularly among starting pitchers. Some scouts agreed, but others were satisfied with supply of power arms and power bats.
"It's probably the most raw power I've seen in the Cape in a long time, with (Hyannis' Adam Brett) Walker, (Harwich's Austin) Wilson, (Cotuit's Victor) Roache—those guys all have like 70-80 raw power," an American League scouting director said. "I really don't remember the power in the league being this good. I don't know that they're all really good hitters, but they all have power."
1. Deven Marrero, ss, Cotuit (Jr., Arizona State)
Marrero, who ranked seventh on this list a year ago, started his summer with Team USA (where he ranked as the No. 2 prospect behind Appel), then returned to Cotuit for 12 games, hitting .326 in 46 at-bats. His summer was cut short when he was hit by a pitch in the left hand and suffered a deep bruise.
Marrero is a "complete player," as one scouting director called him, with at least average tools across the board and a grinder mentality. His simple swing, good hand-eye coordination, control of the strike zone and all-fields approach should make him a slightly above-average hitter, and he has a chance to grow into average power, though he's more of a doubles hitter presently. Marrero's slightly above-average speed plays up because of his excellent instincts on the basepaths. But he stands out most for his defense. He reads balls very well off the bat, and his smooth actions and plus arm will keep him at shortstop throughout his career, though his focus sometimes drifts, leading to errors.
"He's the best defensive player I've ever seen at 19, 20 years of age," Cotuit coach Mike Roberts said. "Walt Weiss was pretty darn good, but this young man—I've never seen anybody who could get his feet in the right position almost all the time. If for any reason he doesn't get his feet in the right position, he has the ability to still get his hands in the right place, and understand the speed of the runner. I think he's Omar Vizquel at 20."
2. Chris Beck, rhp, Cotuit (Jr., Georgia Southern)
Beck was a key piece of Georgia Southern's banner recruiting class in 2009, and after going 2-4, 8.31 as a freshman, he turned a corner as a sophomore, going 9-5, 3.23 with 109 strikeouts in 103 innings. He kept that momentum going into the summer, posting a 2.12 ERA and ranking fifth in the Cape League with 41 strikeouts in 51 innings.
Physical and durable at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Beck attacks hitters with a 91-94 mph fastball that tops out at 96 on occasion. His power breaking ball—which he throws at 81-84 mph with some bite to it—is between a curveball and a slider, but it has a chance to be a plus pitch if he can learn to repeat it more consistently. He also knows how to use his fading, sinking 83-84 changeup, giving him a chance for three plus pitches in time. Beck is generally around the strike zone, but his control is ahead of his command at this stage. Still, his easy arm action and fairly clean delivery lead scouts to believe he'll be able to improve his command as he matures.
3. Ryne Stanek, rhp, Bourne (So., Arkansas)
Like Marrero, Stanek went to the Cape after a successful stint with Team USA, where he ranked as the No. 3 prospect. An unsigned third-round pick by the Mariners out of high school, Stanek struggled through most of his freshman year, which was hindered by an illness early on. This summer, he showed why scouts regard him as a potential first-round pick if he's eligible for the 2012 draft as a sophomore. (With his July 26 birthday, Stanek will not be eligible if the draft starts June 4 or 5 but will be if it starts the next week.) Wiry and extremely projectable at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, Stanek has an electric arm, though scouts aren't enamored with his funky arm action and head snap, which causes some to believe his future is in the bullpen.
"It's a little bit of a high elbow in the back—it makes his hand come out on the side of the ball at times," a National League scouting director said. "It probably gives (his stuff) life, but also can create a little command issue. But I don't think he'll have to be a guy with big command; his life's so good that he just has to have average or better control, and I think he'll do that."
Stanek's fastball reaches the mid-90s and bores in on righthanded hitters. He shows some feel for a changeup with the same action as his fastball. He throws a hard curveball and a power slider that sometimes blend together, but the makings of a plus breaking ball or two are there. Scouts like his aggressive approach, and his upside is huge if he can become more consistent.
4. Brian Johnson, lhp/1b, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Florida)
After helping Florida reach the CWS Finals in June, Johnson started his summer with Team USA, where he was the national team's top power hitter during his short stint. He hit .280 with two long balls in 50 at-bats for Y-D, continuing to flash mammoth power potential from the left side, while also posting a 19-4 strikeout-walk mark in 15 innings on the mound. Johnson is the top two-way talent for the 2012 draft, a player with legitimate professional potential with the bat and off the mound. Scouts are divided about where he fits best, although three scouting directors who spent extensive time in the Cape all said they liked him a bit better as a pitcher.
Johnson has a workhorse build at 6-foot-4, 227 pounds, and his delivery is clean and easy. At his best, he pitches with a solid-average fastball that touches 94, but he was just 87-90 this summer at the end of a long season. He has advanced feel for his entire three-pitch repertoire, which also includes a solid-average breaking ball with good depth and a quality changeup. At the plate, Johnson has good balance and can punish mistakes up in the zone, and some scouts think he has a good feel for hitting, but others aren't sold on his ability to make adjustments.
Though he's a good athlete, he's a below-average runner who will be tied to first base as a position player, but his plus to plus-plus power potential should carry him regardless.
5. John Simms, rhp, Falmouth (So., Rice)
Simms was an elite recruit who lived up to his billing as a freshman for Rice, posting a 3.32 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 62 innings. He was virtually unhittable as Falmouth's closer, allowing just five hits in 19 innings while posting a 0.00 ERA, a 29-6 K-BB mark and eight saves. He has the repertoire, command and physical 6-foot-3 build to start, but his fearless, aggressive approach also made him a great fit at the back of the bullpen. Simms does have the makings of a solid changeup, but he mostly relied on his lively sinker and sharp high-70s slider in relief this summer.
"He's 90-92 with a good breaking ball, and he commands that breaking ball," Falmouth coach Jeff Trundy said. "He can throw it for a strike or also can throw it out of the zone if it's 0-and-2, or elevate it a bit more if it's 1-2. And obviously the fastball has good life to it, but the ability to command the breaking ball really impressed me."
6. Victor Roache, of, Cotuit (Jr., Georgia Southern)
An unrefined Michigan prep product, Roache had an up-and-down freshman year at Georgia Southern, then exploded for 30 home runs with the less-potent BBCOR bats as a sophomore—the most homers by a Division I player since 2003. He got off to a torrid start in the Cape, hitting .397/.529/.667 with five homers and just 13 strikeouts through his first 25 games, but he struggled mightily in his final 18 games, hitting .183 with one homer and 31 strikeouts. During his funk, Roache saw a steady diet of breaking balls, which he struggled to recognize and repeatedly chased out of the zone.
But scouts who saw Roache in the first half of the summer came away satisfied with his improving approach and dazzled by his well above-average raw power from the right side. The muscular 6-foot-1, 225-pounder has a quick, compact swing, though some scouts questioned his looseness. He split time between DH and the corner outfield spots for Cotuit, which was loaded with athletes in the outfield, but his fringe-average speed and average arm should make him an adequate defender. Roache comes with some risk, but his plate approach has already come a long way since he arrived in college, and if it continues to improve he could blossom into a dangerous big league slugger down the road.
7. Colin Moran, 3b, Bourne (So., North Carolina)
The younger brother of former UNC All-America lefthander Brian Moran and the nephew of UNC great B.J. Surhoff, Moran exceeded modest expectations to win Baseball America Freshman of the Year honors this spring.
Moran's best tool is his bat, which projects as a plus tool. He has a patient approach—he drew 57 walks while striking out just 51 times over the spring and summer—and plenty of strength and leverage in his swing, though scouts would like to see him calm down his exaggerated load a bit. He's still growing into his gangly 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame, and he lacks foot quickness at third base, where he'll have to work to become an average defender. But he's a hard worker who is receptive to instruction, and his bat should carry him.
"It doesn't seem like there's any panic in his approach; he must see the ball really well, because you don't see him jumping at pitches," a NL scouting director said. "He doesn't wow you with anything when you look at him. It's not like unbelievable bat speed or body speed, just a real solid baseball player who is advanced in terms of feel and approach. He just has a really good baseball rhythm, a natural rhythm to play."
8. Kyle Zimmer, rhp, Cotuit (Jr., San Francisco)
After throwing just five innings as a freshman in 2011, Zimmer blossomed into San Francisco's ace down the stretch in 2011, capped by a four-hit, 11-strikeout shutout against UCLA to beat Gerrit Cole in regionals. He followed up his spring with a solid Cape season, posting a 3.38 ERA and a 37-14 K-BB mark in 48 innings.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Zimmer is a power pitcher with a fastball that sits comfortably at 92-94 and touches 95. His curveball can be a hammer in the low 80s with sharp tilt, but sometimes he leaves it up in the zone when he should bury it. Still, it projects as a plus pitch when he learns to stay on top of it more consistently. He made progress with his changeup this summer, but it still has a ways to go.
"He had plenty of arm and had a hard curveball—a really good curveball," a second NL scouting director said. "He had a good sense what he was going, and was aggressive. The arm and delivery work—it's not an effort deal—and it looks like he'll be a starter. It was a pretty impressive package."
9. Ryan Eades, rhp, Bourne (So., Louisiana State)
Eades touched 94 mph as a 16-year-old to establish himself as a blue-chip prospect, but he was derailed by labrum surgery as a high school senior. He recovered nicely and finished up his freshman year at LSU in the weekend rotation. He returned to his dominant form in the Cape, going 3-0, 0.84 with 23 strikeouts and seven walks in 32 innings to win the league's top pitcher award. He started CCBL all-star game at Fenway Park and struck out one in an impressive 1-2-3 inning, running his fastball up to 95 mph and showing a sharp mid-70s curveball and a promising high-70s changeup. Scouts lauded his feel for his three-pitch repertoire, his fluid delivery and his loose 6-foot-3, 193-pound frame.
"He kept the ball down in the zone with good life, had a good breaking ball, and very good command," Trundy said. "He was one of the better starters in the league, without question."
10. Travis Jankowski, of, Bourne (Jr., Stony Brook)
After hitting .355 with 30 steals in 34 tries during his breakout sophomore year at Stony Brook, Jankowski exploded onto the prospect landscape this summer, hitting .329 with 15 steals and a league-best seven triples to win the Cape's MVP award.
"He was one of the best players in the Cape," the AL scouting director said. "He's a guy that jumped out. He took really good at-bats, had really good barrel control, the ability to stay behind the ball and drive the ball. He could run, had a little bit of pop and a good-looking body."
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Jankowski is a live athlete with plus speed that plays on the basepaths and in center field, where he has good instincts, excellent range and an average arm. His swing is a bit uphill, but he still showed a knack for squaring up a lot of hard line drives and sharp grounders. He made enough adjustments to hold his own against premium stuff, and he flashed a bit of pull power during batting practice, though he figures to have below-average power. He doesn't give away at-bats and could be a plus hitter down the road, particularly if he can flatten out his swing just a bit.
11. Richie Shaffer, 1b/3b, Chatham (Jr., Clemson)
Shaffer has blasted 20 home runs during his first two seasons at Clemson, and he continued to show off his plus righthanded power potential in the Cape, tying for second in the league with six homers and winning the home run derby at Fenway Park prior to the CCBL all-star game. Some scouts thought Shaffer was a better power-hitting prospect than Roache, saying Shaffer has the looser swing and better bat speed. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Shaffer's swing is long-levered, and he can be vulnerable on the inner half, but he came on strong this summer once he started driving the ball to the opposite field more often.
"He's a hard worker, and he's coachable," Chatham coach John Schiffner said. "The first part of the summer he really was spinning off the ball—I don't know if it was just because he wanted to show the power. The second half it really clicked for him. He's got a very good arm—you don't see it much at first base—and for a big kid he runs well. And he's got ungodly power."
Shaffer split time between third and first for the Anglers, but his feet don't work great at the hot corner, and he fits best at first, despite his plus arm. He'll need to work on his concentration and footwork defensively.
12. Stephen Piscotty, 3b/1b/of, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Stanford)
Many Pacific-10 Conference coaches thought Piscotty was the best hitter in their league this spring, when he batted .364/.423/.471 and helped lead Stanford to super regionals. He hit .349 in 106 at-bats this summer to win the Cape League batting title on the final day of the season, edging Dane Phillips by percentage points.
"He's very consistent—I compare him to (former Cape Leaguer and current big leaguer) Garrett Atkins," Y-D coach Scott Pickler said. "He hit in the middle of the order all year, and he only will get better when he puts on his man strength. I thought he was one of the more consistent hitters in the league—he handled the change, handled the breaking ball, handled the fastball on both sides of the plate. Right now it's a gap-to-gap approach, but I think there will be some power in there if he uses his legs a little more."
Piscotty stung hard line drives to all fields in all four of his at-bats in the Cape League all-star game, a performance that typified his all-fields approach and showcased his smooth righthanded swing. Scouts expect him to develop average or slightly better power as he grows into his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. He played both corner infield spots and in the outfield for Y-D, and scouts are divided about his ability to stick at third base down the road, but the consensus is that his actions and range are good enough to at least give him a shot there. He has a strong arm and even flashed 93-94 mph gas in five relief appearances for Y-D.
13. Brandon Thomas, of, Wareham (Jr., Georgia Tech)
Thomas ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Florida Collegiate Summer League in 2010, then ably handled a full-time role for Georgia Tech this spring, hitting .307 with 19 steals in 205 at-bats. He held his own in the Cape as well, hitting .273/.345/.386 in 132 at-bats, though he struck out 33 times and drew just 10 walks. He got off to a hot start for Wareham, then cooled off in the second half and had his summer cut short by a mild hamstring pull. Thomas' performance still has never quite matched his considerable ability.
"He can do it all," Wareham coach Cooper Farris said. "He's a switch-hitter with power from both sides, and he runs really well. He plays the outfield well too—his angles are really good."
Perhaps the best all-around athlete in the Cape League, the 6-foot-3, 202-pound Thomas has plus-plus speed and intriguing bat speed from both sides of the plate. One scout called Thomas "an emotional player" who seems to get frustrated easily, and several scouts expressed some concern about his ability to make consistent contact, but he has the raw ability to be an average hitter with average power down the road. He has a chance to be a plus center fielder with a playable arm.
14. Jason Monda, of, Brewster (So., Washington State)
One of the few five-tool talents in the league, Monda is still just scratching the surface of his ability. "He's a young colt, a long-bodied player and hitter with some length in his swing that he'll have to shorten up—that'll take a little time," the second NL scouting director said. "But his hands work well at the plate and he has a decent feel for contact. There's upside here, but he hasn't reached where he'll eventually get."
At 6-foot-4, 197 pounds, Monda currently has below-average lefthanded power, but he could develop average power as he fills out. Though he needs to improve his plate discipline (he drew just eight walks and struck out 30 times this summer) and improve against lefthanded breaking balls, he did show a knack for making hard contact, ranking fifth in the league with a .333 average. Monda has long, gliding strides and above-average speed that plays in the outfield, where he has good instincts and a propensity for making circus catches. He has a slightly above-average arm with good carry, backspin and accuracy, and he has the tool set to handle any outfield position.
15. Konner Wade, rhp, Wareham (So., Arizona)
Wade started his freshman year in Arizona's bullpen but ended it in the weekend rotation, finishing the spring 3-0, 3.21. He moved back to the bullpen for Wareham and carved up Cape League hitters, posting a 1.33 ERA and a 23-6 K-BB mark in 20 innings. He also earned East MVP honors at the league all-star game after working a scoreless inning.
"I think he's got a real feel to pitch," the second NL scouting director said. "I like the body, I like the way the arm works. I think the body will get a little stronger—I like him as he is, but I think there's more coming. There's not much you have to do with him; just let him do his thing and get a little stronger."
Though he thrived as Wareham's closer with 12 saves, Wade has the smooth arm action, projectable 6-foot-3, 177-pound build and polished three-pitch repertoire to succeed as a starter. He is aggressive with an 89-93 mph fastball with some boring action at times, and he mixes in a solid 81-84 slider and a high-70s changeup with some diving action.
16. J.T. Chargois, rhp, Brewster (Jr., Rice)
After Chargois showed premium arm strength in the fall and early spring, Rice expected him to be its starting first baseman and a key bullpen arm in 2011. He wound up starting all 63 games and hitting .299, but made just seven appearances off the mound, posting a 13.50 ERA. So Brewster expected to use him primarily as a hitter, but early in the summer the Whitecaps were short on arms, so they asked Chargois to throw a bullpen.
"I said, 'Are you kidding me? He's got to pitch,' " Whitecaps coach Tom Myers said. "We put him in a setup role for a week and a half, and he dominated. Then we moved him into the closer role and never looked back. He's got that aggressive mentality—he attacked."
Chargois allowed only one run all summer (0.43 ERA), striking out 20 and walking four in 21 innings while racking up seven saves. He went after hitters with a sinking fastball in the 92-96 range and a plus power curveball that ranged from 78-83. During his longest outing—a five-inning stint in a 15-inning game against Harwich—he even started mixing in a serviceable changeup the second time through the order. His delivery has some violence, and he profiles as a reliever all the way, but he has filthy, back-of-the-bullpen stuff.
17. Andrew Heaney, lhp, Falmouth (Jr., Oklahoma State)
Heaney showed advanced feel for pitching and good command this summer, prompting one coach to predict that he will be the first player from this list to reach the big leagues. He went 4-3, 3.38 with 46 strikeouts and 14 walks in 45 innings for Falmouth, and he ably held down a starter's workload. Durabilty is the primary concern with Heaney; he needs to add strength to his wiry 6-foot-2, 174-pound frame to prove to scouts that he can hold up pitching every five days over the course of a pro season. Still, scouts regard him as a safe college lefty with solid stuff and good competitiveness. Heaney works mostly in the 88-90 range and bumps 91-92 from a three-quarters arm slot, and he often employs a lower slot against lefties, giving them fits.
"He's like the kid who just came in from playground—he'll drop down, change arm angles, throw breaking balls from different speeds," Trundy said. "It's like he's pitching at a Wiffle ball game. He's fun to watch."
Because Heaney varies his delivery, he has a tendency to run into one bumpy inning per start, but he has the stuff to get himself out of trouble. He effectively mixes a sharp, quick curveball, a decent cutter and a good changeup with tumbling action down in the zone. He's a hard worker and a selfless teammate.
18. Bobby Wahl, rhp, Cotuit (So., Mississippi)
A blue-chip recruit out of a Virginia high school, Wahl posted a 4.80 ERA in a relief role as a freshman this spring, then dominated out of Cotuit's bullpen this summer, going 1-1, 1.23 with six saves and a 38-11 K-BB mark in 22 innings. He pounded 93-95 mph fastballs during a quick inning of work in the Cape League all-star game, and he topped out at 97 this summer. He also flashes a promising power curveball at 80-82 with tight rotation, though he needs to improve his command of the pitch.
"It's a big fastball. It's a downer curveball. It's a good body," the first NL scouting director said. "He's not a touch-and-feel guy. But he's got two power pitches, and he wants to throw them both hard."
Wahl has a fierce closer's mentality, and his power two-pitch repertoire seems well suited for the back of the bullpen. He has a durable starter's build at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, but he'll need to refine his feel for pitching and develop a reliable third pitch in order to succeed as a starter in pro ball.
19. Josh Conway, rhp, Bourne (Jr., Coastal Carolina)
The athletic Conway made 18 starts for the Chanticleers at third base and in the outfield this spring, when injuries left them shorthanded. But even while juggling the added responsibility, he put up a strong sophomore season on the mound, going 8-2, 2.69 as the Saturday starter. He followed that up with a strong Cape season, going 2-0, 1.88 with a 28-10 K-BB mark in 29 innings.
Like with Heaney, durability is a concern with the wiry 6-foot-1, 175-pound Conway, but he has a quick arm and a fairly easy delivery for his size. He attacks the strike zone with an 88-93 mph fastball with average life, and his 84-86 slider rates as a solid-average to plus pitch. He also mixes in a solid-average 83-84 changeup with sink and fade. He has a starter's repertoire and command—the only question is whether he will have a starter's durability.
20. Buck Farmer, rhp, Chatham (Jr., Georgia Tech)
Farmer had a breakout sophomore year in Georgia Tech's weekend rotation, going 11-3, 2.82 with 106 strikeouts and 31 walks in 108 innings. He made just four starts in the Cape, going 2-1, 5.57 with a 17-4 K-BB mark in 21 innings, and league coaches got the sense he did not really want to be there. They also said Farmer needed to show a better ability to buckle down when he started getting into trouble.
But Farmer's physical 6-foot-3, 221-pound frame and quality four-pitch mix are still appealing. He worked in the 90-92 range and topped out at 94 with his fastball, and he showed advanced feel for his changeup. He also mixes in two distinct breaking balls in his slider and curveball, and he can throw all four pitches for strikes, though his command within the zone wasn't great this summer. He projects as a workhorse starter in pro ball.
21. Carter Capps, rhp, Harwich (SIGNED: Mariners)
The top prospect in Division II baseball this spring, Capps went 12-0, 1.59 with 110 strikeouts and 13 walks in 96 innings over two seasons at Mount Olive (N.C.), causing the Mariners to draft the eligible sophomore in the supplemental third round and sign him at the end of the summer for a $500,000 bonus. He showed overpowering stuff this summer for Harwich, going 3-1, 0.39 with 24 strikeouts and one walk in 23 innings of relief. He showed the most velocity of any pitcher at the CCBL all-star game, working at 94-97 mph and striking out the side in his inning of work. He used his 80-82 slider to get two of those strikeouts; the pitch has some tight break at times, but he tends to get around it at other times, causing it to flatten out. Scouts think it could be an average pitch with a delivery tweak, and they love his huge 6-foot-5, 220-pound build and power arm. He'll need to develop a slider to have a chance to start in pro ball.
"He was disgusting how good he was," Schiffner said. "He would just reach back—somebody said he hit 100 a couple of times. His body is unbelievable—he's got a set of shoulders on him that are scary. His breaking ball needed a lot of work, but when you throw 95-100, who cares?"
22. Kyle Hansen, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., St. John's)
The younger brother of former St. John's All-American and first-round pick Craig Hansen, Kyle won eight games during each of his first two years at St. John's, entrenching himself as the staff ace. After throwing 108 innings this spring, Hansen worked mostly in relief for Y-D, posting a 3.63 ERA, four saves and a 28-9 K-BB mark in 22 innings.
Fastball command was occasionally an issue for Hansen at St. John's, but he located it well for Y-D. At 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, Hansen pitches downhill with a plus fastball that sat in the 93-95 range in relief, and it featured some arm-side run. He also mixes in an average power slurve at 81-83, and he has some feel for a changeup, though he seldom used it out of the bullpen.
"His delivery has some funk that gives him deception—it's a lot of arms and legs coming at you," Pickler said. "He's around the zone and has a feel for pitching. He's a kid that wanted the ball all the time."
23. Jack Armstrong, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (SIGNED: Astros)
Armstrong has flashed big-time stuff twice before in the Cape League, ranking sixth on this list after his freshman year in 2009 and 23rd last year. A back injury limited him to 17 innings of relief this spring at Vandy, and he went 1-1, 4.60 with 14 strikeouts and five walks over 16 innings this summer, mostly in a starting role. He signed with the Astros at the end of the summer for a $750,000 bonus as a third-round pick.
Armstrong has a huge, athletic body at 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, and he also has big league bloodlines (he is the son of former big league pitcher Jack Armstrong). Command has been an issue for him throughout his college career, but he did a good job pounding the zone this summer with a 93-95 mph fastball that topped out at 96-97. He also flashed a power breaking ball and a changeup that both have a chance to be solid-average to plus offerings with some refinement.
24. Adam Brett Walker, of/1b, Hyannis (Jr., Jacksonville)
Walker, the son of a former Minnesota Vikings running back of the same name, ranked as the top prospect in the Great Lakes League a year ago, and he captured second-team All-America honors this spring after hitting .409/.486/.682 with 13 homers, 75 RBIs and 14 steals. But Walker struggled against premier pitching this summer, hitting just .216/.269/.336 with four homers and a ghastly 8-56 BB-K mark in 134 at-bats. Walker is a physical specimen at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, and scouting directors agreed that he had as much raw power as any player in the Cape, rating it as a 70 or 80 tool on the 20-80 scouting scale.
"When he figures it out—if he does—it's going to be really special," Hyannis coach Chad Gassman said. "He'll put on a show in BP, and it barely looks like he's swinging. He's like a three-tool guy; the hit tool's got to come, and the arm is fringy, but he can run really well for his size, and he can defend it at first or in right field."
Scouts agree that Walker is athletic enough to handle an outfield spot, and if he hits enough to unlock his massive righthanded power potential, he could be an impact big leaguer. He struggled against better fastballs from the waist up this summer, and he simply could not lay off breaking balls out of the zone.
25. Austin Wilson, of, Harwich (So., Stanford)
Wilson was widely regarded as a first-round talent out of Harvard-Westlake High in Los Angeles, but his rock-solid commitment to Stanford caused him to slip to the 12th round. He put together a decent freshman year, hitting .311/.348/.423 with five homers, but he was overmatched in the Cape, hitting .204/.272/.301 with one homer and a 6-27 BB-K mark in 93 at-bats.
Wilson, like Walker, is built like an Adonis (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) and has 70 to 80 raw power. And like Walker, he struggled against fastballs up in the zone and frequently chased breaking balls down out of the zone. He actually made progress late in the summer shortening his swing and making more contact against breaking balls. In order to unlock his gargantuan power, Wilson needs to do a better job getting his hands extended, because he tends to push the ball now. Wilson has a second premium tool in his plus-plus arm, and he is an average runner with a chance to be a solid right fielder.
26. James Ramsey, of, Yarmouth-Dennis (Sr., Florida State)
Cape League coaches were just about unanimous in their glowing affection for Ramsey, a confident, aggressive, player with infectious energy. Ramsey's father, Craig, was captain of Florida State's 1980 College World Series team, and James earned third-team All-America honors as a junior this spring, hitting .364/.442/.580 with 10 homers, 67 RBIs and 11 steals. He continued to do it all this summer, hitting .313/.448/.571 with six homers, a 28-25 BB-K mark and seven steals. He also earned all-star game MVP honors after homering into the right-field bullpen at Fenway Park.
"He plays really hard. It's not false intensity—that's the way he approaches the game, and the way he approaches life," Pickler said. "He hit the farthest ball I've seen in 10 years here, a ball that cleared the treetops in right-center. He doesn't get cheated at the plate, but for a guy that takes a big swing, he puts the barrel to the ball. He has a knack—he has that hitting gene."
At 6 feet, 195 pounds, Ramsey is not built like a power hitter, but he does have some pop in his compact lefthanded swing, and he can drive the ball to all fields. An solid-average runner, Ramsey handled center field ably for Y-D and owns an average arm, but he profiles better in a corner outfield spot, which means he'll really have to hit. He has a chance to be a solid-average hitter with fringe-average power, and his cheap five-tool package gives him at least a chance to be an everyday player, though some scouts are more comfortable projecting him as a fourth outfielder. A 22nd-round pick by the Twins this June, he turned down a significant six-figure bonus offer to return to FSU for his senior year.
27. Jeremy Baltz, of, Falmouth (Jr., St. John's)
Baltz garnered first-team All-America honors as a freshman, when he hit .396/.479/.771 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs to lead St. John's to a regional final. His power production dropped off with the new bats this spring, but he still drove in 60 runs, and he proved that he could handle wood bats against top competition this summer, batting .321/.434/.457 for Falmouth. He also showed a disciplined approach, drawing 25 walks and striking out just 23 times in 140 at-bats.
"You'd go in and he was playing left field, and he doesn't really stand out because he's a big guy, and you think he'll be a below-average athlete," the AL scouting director said. "But he's actually a pretty good player. He has a pretty short swing, he was able to barrel the ball up a lot, he manipulated the bat head pretty well and drove the ball the other way."
One CCBL coach compared Baltz to Pat Burrell—another physical corner bat who lacks standout athleticism. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Baltz is a below-average runner and just an adequate defender in left field with a slightly below-average arm, but his bat should carry him. He has the ability to recognize breaking balls and lay off pitches out of the zone, and he can drive the ball to all fields. He might not have lightning-quick bat speed, but his flat swing stays through the zone a long time, and he projects as a solid-average hitter with solid-average to plus power.
28. Dylan Floro, rhp, Hyannis (Jr., Cal State Fullerton)
After working in a swing role as a freshman, Floro settled into a moment-of-truth role on Cal State Fullerton's deep pitching staff this spring, but he excelled as a starter for Hyannis, going 4-1, 2.48 with 27 strikeouts and 13 walks in 29 innings. Fullerton's new coaching staff summoned him home in mid-July to keep his workload in check, but he impressed in his seven outings with the Harbor Hawks.
"He's the real deal," Gassman said. "He's 89-92 with unbelievable arm-side run and good sink on his ball. It seems like all his pitches are dipping and diving. It's real smooth and easy—it doesn't look like he's doing much out there. He's just an absolute bulldog competitor; great makeup."
Floro's fastball has so much movement that sometimes it runs right out of the strike zone, but he can take some movement off it when he needs to make sure it's a strike. He has deception in his slingy three-quarters arm action, and hitters struggle to square him up. He owns a pair of quality secondary pitches in a 79-82 slurve and an 80-82 changeup with good fade, but one scout said Floro sometimes relies too heavily on his breaking ball.
29. Dane Phillips, c/1b/of, Chatham (Jr., Arkansas)
After two solid seasons at Oklahoma State, Phillips broke out in the Cape, hitting .349/.446/.527 with four homers, 34 RBIs and a 25-28 BB-K mark in 129 at-bats. He transferred to Arkansas this summer, and if he doesn't get a waiver from the NCAA he'll have to sit out the 2012 season, casting a cloud over his draft stock.
Phillips did improve his stock this summer, showing one of the better lefthanded swings in the league. He controls the strike zone well, has advanced pitch recognition and the ability to handle lefthanded pitching with aplomb. He has average or slightly better power potential to the pull side but can also drive the ball the opposite way. His bat should be good enough to give him a chance at a corner position. Most scouts think Phillips is too rigid and lacks the footwork to stay behind the plate, but he did make progress as a catcher over the course of the summer.
"He just got better as a receiver," Schiffner said. "When he first got there, he was a boxer—it wasn't pretty. But he did improve immeasurably with us. His arm strength is fine; he just needs to catch more and more. He needs to focus on his defense, but he's frighteningly good as a hitter."
30. Andrew Toles, of, Brewster (So., Tennessee)
An unsigned fourth-round pick by the Marlins out of high school, Toles followed up a quiet freshman year with a solid summer in the Cape, hitting .302 with 14 stolen bases. Though he's undersized at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Toles showed some strength in his lefthanded swing in high school, but he adopted more of a contact-oriented approach this summer, producing just seven extra-base hits in 149 at-bats. For much of the summer, he tried to hook the ball early in counts, helping explain his lackluster 10-31 BB-K mark, but when he made an effort to employ a middle-away approach, he was a considerably tougher out. He'll never be a power hitter, but he needs to do a better job driving the ball into the gaps, and he's strong enough to do it with some mechanical tweaks.
Toles' best tool is his speed, which rates as a 65 on the 20-80 scale. He has short, quick strides and very good range in center field. He uses his lower half well when he throws, resulting in solid-average or slightly better arm strength. If he can refine his approach, Toles profiles as a speedy lefthanded table setter and plus defensive center fielder in the Michael Bourn mold.