2011 Florida Collegiate Summer League Top 10
Sanford won nine of its last 13 games to climb into fourth place, earning a spot in the league playoffs despite a 16-22 record. The River Rats then beat Leesburg in a best-of-three semifinal series—including a two-run 11th-inning rally to stave off elimination in the second game—before beating defending champion Winter Park 7-5 to win the league title. The Diamond Dawgs couldn't hold a 4-0 lead as James Ramsay (South Florida) went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to earn postseason MVP honors.
1. Garrett Nuss, rhp, Orlando (Fr., Central Florida)
Nuss headed into his senior year at Mount Dora (Fla.) High as the No. 79 high school prospect in the country. He went 11-1, 0.68 to lead Mount Dora to the state finals for the first time in school history, then was drafted in the 32nd round by the Yankees. He followed up his spring with a strong summer in the FCSL, racking up 43 strikeouts in 35 innings of work. He has a loose, projectable 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and a quick arm. He can run his fastball into the low 90s, and he flashes a devastating curveball at times. When he throws his offspeed stuff for strikes, he can be dominant.
2. Ted Blackman, of, Winter Park (Jr., Coastal Carolina)
Blackman, a 6-foot, 190-pounder, won the league's MVP award and batting title, hitting .425 while also leading in walks (37), leading to an absurd .582 on-base percentage. He leads off and understands his role well, as he ranked second in the league with 28 stolen bases. A switch-hitter, Blackman has some pop, ranking second in the league in home runs (three) and doubles (10). After spending two seasons at St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC, he's transferring to Coastal Carolina.
3. Omar Cotto, of, Winter Park (So., Southern California)
Cotto ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Puerto Rico in 2010 and was a 12th-round pick of the Blue Jays that year. He didn't sign and had a difficult freshman season for Southern California, going 3-for-41 with 18 strikeouts. Cotto has 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale, with reports he's covered 60 yards in less than 6.3 seconds. Cotto's bat still needs a lot of work, as he batted just .163 this summer in 43 at-bats, but he stole 11 bases in 18 games and drew nine walks. He's a good defender in center field despite a weak throwing arm.
4. Ethan Bader, rhp, Leesburg (So., Armstrong Atlantic, Ga., State)
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Bader used his big league frame and electric stuff to dominate the FCSL. A starter in the spring for Lake Sumter (Fla.) JC, he worked mostly in relief this summer (starting twice, relieving eight times) and took to the role. He went 4-1, 0.29 in 31 innings, striking out 47 and walking just nine. Bader throws all of his pitches for strikes and gets lots of swings and misses with an 89-91 mph fastball that touches 92. Bader is transferring as a sophomore to Division II Armstrong Atlantic.
5. Todd Hankins, 2b, Winter Park (SIGNED: Indians)
Hankins started his college career at Georgia, earning 33 starts in 2010 and batting .320/.336/.393 with seven stolen bases. Hankins wound up transferring to Seminole State JC in Florida as a sophomore, and the 5-foot-11, 187-pounder had a big season, batting .393 with nine homers and 33 steals, all team highs. He was rewarded by getting drafted in the 15th round by the Indians, and he played seven games in the FCSL as a draft-and-follow before signing for $110,000. He went 14-for-35 in those seven games with six steals in nine tries. Hankins has solid strength and athletic ability to go with above-average speed, and he plays with energy. He hit .246/.318/.354 at short-season Mahoning Valley with 14 stolen bases through 65 games as a professional.
6. Anthony Caronia, ss, Orlando (Jr., Tampa)
Caronia, a 6-foot-1, 175-pounder, has transferred from Central Florida to State JC of Florida (formerly Manatee) to Division II Tampa to get more playing time. At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Caronia has solid infield tools, with an above-average arm and solid quickness, which played on the bases (21 steals) and also in occasional stints in center field. He may lack the footwork and hands to stay in the dirt, however. Caronia used a contact approach to rank fifth in the league in batting at .353, though he had just six extra-base hits.
7. Peter Miller, rhp, Winter Haven (So., Florida State)
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Miller, drafted out of high school in the 38th round by the Mets, is an excellent athlete with a great upside. He pitched and hit in limited playing time for Florida State (he was a shortstop at his 2-A private school) and focused on pitching this summer. League managers reported his fastball had average velocity around 90-91 mph, and he was confident in the pitch, working off it while showing a feel for using his offspeed stuff. He showed some rust, walking 21 in 31 innings, but also had 42 strikeouts while posting a 2.87 ERA.
8. James Ramsay, of, Sanford (So., South Florida)
Ramsay was the Hillsborough County player of the year as a sophomore in 2008, but a torn left ACL in his knee sidelined him in 2009. He came back to be the county's top senior in 2010 and was drafted by the Yankees (38th round). He remains somewhat raw, despite having started 46 games as a freshman for South Florida, where he hit .250/.308/.372. He was better this summer, hitting .326 and adding nine steals (in 15 attempts). Ramsay has good athletic ability that plays at the plate, where he repeats his swing, and defensively. Ramsay shows some ability in all five tools and needs to add some strength to become more consistent.
9. Mike Heller, rhp, Winter Haven (So., Miami-Dade JC)
Heller was a Top 200 talent out of high school who made just five appearances in two seasons at Florida. He had tendinitis as a freshman and was able to take a redshirt in 2011 as he got buried in the Gators' avalanche of talent. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Heller has good size and as much upside as anyone in the league. He showed a big league fastball that tops out at 94 mph and sat in the 90-92 mph range. Heller needed more work than he got this summer, pitching seven relief outings and giving up 16 baserunners in just eight innings. But his arm strength stood out in the league. He threw a solid curveball in high school and was athletic enough to play both ways, hitting .259 with just two extra-base hits as a hitter for the Loggerheads.
10. Kevin Gude, rhp, Winter Park (So., Polk State, Fla., JC)
Gude has height on his side at 6-foot-4 and is listed at just 151 pounds, so he has room to get stronger. He got more experience this summer after pitching just 18 innings as a reliever in the spring. He uses a fluid motion and has a whip-like arm action. His fastball sits at 90 mph, and he showed the ability to get swings and misses with his breaking ball. Gude had 25 strikeouts this spring, then another 16 in 16 innings this summer while posting a 3.86 ERA.