2011 PG Collegiate Top 10 Prospects
: After dropping the opening game of the best-of-three PGCBL championship series, the Newark Pilots swept a doubleheader against the Amsterdam Mohawks to capture the league's inaugural title. Newark needed 11 innings to win the doubleheader opener, 4-3, on a solo homer by Sean Osterman (St. John Fisher, N.Y.). Greg Schworm (Finger Lakes, N.Y., CC) went 3-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the Pilots to a 7-4 win in the finale.
1. Josh Anderson, 3b, Glen Falls (So., Yavapai, Ariz., JC)
At a sturdy 6 feet and 220 pounds, Anderson is a physically mature corner infielder. According to league coaches, he also has the skill set and work ethic to live up to that profile. After hitting .364 with one home run and 33 RBIs as a freshman at Yavapai, Anderson came into his own this summer, hitting .368/.412/.676 with nine homers and 38 RBIs in 136 at-bats. The tool that jumps out most is his plus raw power. Anderson has the ability to hit balls out of the park to all fields, to go along with a discerning eye, quick hands, a short swing and a patient approach. He is not a great runner, but he has enough ability and athleticism to stick at third base. In addition to his good footwork, smooth mechanics and strong arm, Anderson earned plaudits for his baseball savvy, and one opposing coach called him the "smartest player in the league." Glen Falls coach John Mayotte said Anderson had an incredible attention to detail and a strong desire to improve, giving him a chance to make the most of his tools.
2. Luke Maile, c/1b, Amsterdam (Jr., Kentucky)
Stuck behind standout defensive catcher Michael Williams at Kentucky, Maile played plenty of first base this spring when he wasn't behind the plate, because his bat is too good to keep out of the lineup. A rock-solid 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Maile has power to spare. His swing is still a little too long, and he is still working on recognizing offspeed pitches better, but as one coach put it, "when he hits the ball, it's going somewhere hard, and it's going a long way." Defensively, Maile still needs work behind the plate. He has a strong arm and consistently produces solid 2.0- to 2.1-second pop times, but his footwork and release could be improved, and so could his blocking and receiving skills. He has the athleticism to stick behind the plate if he continues to work on his fundamentals, but if he can shorten his swing and improve his plate recognition, his bat will carry him at the next level.
3. Erick Gaylord, of, Watertown (Sr., Campbell)
It's not very often that a rising senior who hit just .177/.271/.306 in the spring is regarded as one of the better prospects in a summer college league. But then again, it's not very often that players get as hot as Gaylord did this summer. Gaylord just missed winning the league's triple crown this summer after hitting .360/.408/.621 in 161 at-bats with 10 home runs, 42 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases, including a game where he went 5-for-5 with four home runs. Although he is listed at just 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Gaylord is a toolsy player with great speed, good pop, and a cannon arm. He has a compact swing and really quick hands, but he still strikes out too often, as struggles to recognize offspeed stuff. Still, most coaches agreed he isn't just up there flailing and does have a sound approach at the plate. Defensively he has plenty of range, takes good routes in the outfield, and has a terrific arm in center field. Gaylord got just 62 at-bats ast season at Campbell, but after this summer, his all-around ability will be tough to leave off the field.
4. Tyler Kane, rhp, Mohawk Valley (So., Washington)
There were a number of pitchers in the league that produced eye-popping strikeout totals, but Kane's stat line stood out for another reason. In addition to striking out 33 batters in 28 innings, Kane walked only one hitter in his 13 appearances. His impeccable control helped him hold hitters to a .204 batting average and post a 1.93 ERA. After leading the Huskies in appearances as a freshman with 25, Kane made just three starts this summer, and his fastball-slider combination makes him a good fit in the bullpen at the next level. He will probably need to add some velocity to a fastball that sits 86-88 with some run, but at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Kane has a decent frame and could add strength and velocity down the road. Kane is confident throwing his offspeed stuff at any point in the count, and he usually throws it for strikes. He also earned praise from coaches for his competitiveness and his ability to go after hitters no matter the situation.
5. Kyle Ruchim, rhp/2b, Glen Falls (So., Northwestern)
In addition to being the Golden Eagles' everyday second baseman, Ruchim was nearly unhittable at the back end of the bullpen. Just 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, Ruchim's strong arm and plus slider helped him rack up 43 strikeouts in 22 innings. His fastball regularly touches 90 mph and his hard slider has late break that creates a lot of swings and misses. Glen Falls coach John Mayotte said he thought Ruchim probably could have been even better and more consistent on the mound if he hadn't also been dealing with the rigors of playing second base every day. Despite his small stature, Ruchim is not a max-effort guy—his delivery is free and easy and his mechanics are clean. But while some coaches thought his future was definitely as a reliever, there were plenty of believers in his ability to play second base as well. His average speed doesn't give him elite range, but he has a strong arm and is fundamentally sound in his footwork and fielding ability. At the plate, Ruchim is surprisingly disciplined for someone who has only played one season of college baseball, and he also packs a fair amount of pop for his size. His short, quick swing makes him a difficult player to strike out, and his advanced approach at the plate keeps him from getting fooled often.
6. Ricky Claudio, of/rhp, Glen Falls (Jr., St. Thomas, Fla.)
Like his summer teammate Ruchim, Claudio offers intriguing potential as a pitcher and a position player. But physically, the teammates could not be more different. While Ruchim makes the most of his 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame, Claudio is a physical specimen. A strapping 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Claudio is oozes athleticism and upside. In the field, Claudio's future will probably be in right field because of his plus arm strength, but coaches said he did have the athleticism and speed to play center if needed. He still needs to work on taking better routes to the ball and work on his positioning, but with time he could become a solid defensive outfielder. At the plate, Claudio is a lefthanded bat with plenty of potential power. He still doesn't square the ball up as often as he should and there are holes in his swing that opposing coaches exploited this summer. As promising as he looks as an everyday player, he has just as much upside on the mound, where his strong arm helps him pump his fastball in the low 90s, and his slider has nasty drop when he has it working. He is still more of a thrower and needs to work on being smarter on the mound and locating his pitches. But his delivery is clean, and if he devoted himself to pitching full-time, his fastball and slider could be developed into consistent big league pitches. Claudio, who transferred to NAIA St. Thomas after a year at Santa Fe (Fla.) JC, was a 34th-round pick by the Twins out of high school.
7. Carson Beauchaine, rhp, Newark (Jr., Saginaw Valley, Mich., State)
Beauchaine posted a 2.21 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 61 innings for Division II Saginaw Valley State this spring, then built on that this summer, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 54 innings. Beauchaine is a solid 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds. He doesn't figure to add much velocity, but he already works at 90-91 mph, occasionally touching 92-93. He has an advanced repertoire and can throw all four of his pitches—fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup—for strikes. His fastball is still a little flat, and his changeup needs a lot of work, but his curveball is a true 12-to-6 downer, and his slider has some bite. His mechanics are smooth and his delivery is free and easy. Coaches also noticed that Beauchaine made smart adjustments as the summer wore on, learning to vary his speeds and mix his pitches better to keep hitters off balance.
8. Jude Vidrine, of, Amsterdam (So., Lamar)
After redshirting in 2010 with Lamar, Vidrine earned plenty of playing time this past spring, starting 36 games and finishing with a .222 average and two home runs. But this summer, Vidrine made great strides with the bat and catapulted himself into the prospect discussion thanks to his athleticism and all-around ability. At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Vidrine has good pop and finished the summer with eight home runs. He also has the ability to hit the ball to all fields and did an excellent job of shortening his swing and controlling his bat better, which led to a .348/.412/.582 slash line. In the outfield, Vidrine doesn't have any plus tools. He has average speed and good athleticism, which make him a competent outfielder, but his below-average arm strength will likely restrict him to left field, and he still needs to work on taking better routes to the ball. Vidrine has solid all-around tools, and he figures to improve with more experience.
9. Mark Leiter Jr., rhp, Amsterdam (Jr., New Jersey Tech)
There might be some pitchers with more projectable bodies and better raw stuff than Leiter, but there aren't many with better bloodlines. Leiter is the son of Mark Leiter, who played in the big leagues for 11 years, and the nephew of Al Leiter, an 18-year big league veteran and two-time all-star. With that background, it should be no surprise that Leiter is fundamentally sound, with polished mechanics and a free and easy delivery. However, Leiter is a 6-foot, 195-pound righthander who throws in the 87-89 mph range, making him tough to profile. He makes up for his lack of physical stature with his ability to throw four pitches for strikes, including a diving splitter and a 12-to-6 curveball that buckled plenty of knees this summer. He has good command of his pitches and excels at mixing speeds and painting the corners. He finished the summer with a 2.67 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 54 innings, and coaches raved about his mean streak and bulldog mentality on the mound. He has somewhat of a soft body, so he could add muscle and strength, but he probably won't add a lot of velocity, so he'll have to prove himself at every level in pro ball.
10. Willie Gabay, rhp, Mohawk Valley (So., Herkimer County, N.Y., CC)
Whereas Leiter Jr. made the list because of his advanced repertoire and polished approach, Gabay makes the list almost exclusively on raw ability. At just 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Gabay doesn't have a lot of present strength and needs to put on some weight if he wants to pitch at the next level. But he is also blessed with one of the strongest arms in the league, though he's still learning to harness his stuff. Gabay regularly pumps fastballs at 91-92 mph and topped out at 94 this summer. His fastball also has good run on it. The problem is he has no idea where his pitches are going. He finished the summer with an underwhelming 4.94 ERA in 27 innings, due in part to his 19 walks, which offset his 33 strikeouts. Most coaches felt when he slowed down and actually worked on locating his pitches rather than throwing as hard as he could, he was able to throw strikes regularly. He also will need to develop offspeed pitches, because right now his fastball is really his only usable offering.