2012 NYCBL Top 10 Prospects
After running away with the New York Collegiate Baseball League's best record (28-12) in the regular season, the Syracuse Junior Chiefs used a three-run ninth in Game Two of the NYCBL finals to complete a series sweep of the Niagara Power and bring the trophy back to the Salt City for the first time since 1978.
1. Eric Eck, rhp, Hornell (Jr., Wofford)
After racking up seven saves and striking out 60 batters in 44 innings while coming out of the bullpen for Wofford, Eck continued to miss bats this summer. Standing in at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, Eck's projectable frame, smooth delivery, and loose arm action tantalized scouts this summer. A number of scouts also praised Eck's mound presence, poise, and makeup. Eck's fastball sat at 90-91 mph and topped out at 93 during the summer, but he could end up throwing even harder as he continues to fill out. Eck will have to refine his feel for his breaking ball and changeup, as most coaches felt his secondary offerings remain works in progress. Nevertheless, Eck managed to tally 43 strikeouts in 30 innings in the NCYBL, and he joined the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod League after Hornell was eliminated from the playoffs.
2. Grant Heyman, of/1b, Geneva Red Wings (Fr., Miami)
The Blue Jays drafted Heyman in the 11th round in June, but he did not sign and will attend Miami next year. Despite being one of the youngest players in the NCYBL, he flourished with the wood bats. Although Heyman missed nearly the entire month of June, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound outfielder immediately showcased his raw power upon being inserted into the lineup, hitting eight home runs in just 66 at-bats. He also impressed coaches with an advanced approach, as the 18-year-old hit .348 with 13 walks and 14 strikeouts. "He has a balanced base," said one opposing manager. "He stays strong on his backside and does not over-extend himself. If I had to pick one position player from our league, Heyman would be the guy."
3. Jon Leroux, c/1b, Geneva Red Wings (SIGNED: Mets)
Leroux hit .347/.416/.647 as a junior for Northeastern this spring, getting drafted in the 32nd round by the Mets. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound catcher reported to Geneva, where he played in five games for the Red Wings before signing with the Mets. Despite his extremely brief NYCBL stint, Leroux managed to hit two home runs and impress opposing managers with his power potential. "He was just a step above the rest of the league," said one manager. "If he had stayed for the entire summer he would've hit .400 and led the league in homers and RBIs." Leroux is currently splitting time between first base and DH while at Rookie-level Kingsport.
4. Jon Kemmer, of/lhp, Olean (Sr., Clarion, Pa.)
Kemmer intrigued NYCBL managers as both a hitter and a pitcher. While the 6-foot-2 lefthander ran his fastball up to 90 mph in 10 games as a reliever, many felt that Kemmer's lack of offspeed offerings restricted his future as a pitcher. Fortunately, coaches praised his outfield defense, power and approach at the plate. After hitting .385/.526/681 for Division II Clarion in the spring, Kemmer proved his spring performance was no mirage, hitting .441/.554/.737 with a league-best nine home runs this summer. While he's not an exceptional runner, Kemmer utilized his instincts to play a quality center field and steal 18 bases. "He will be a corner outfielder down the road," said one opposing manager. "He may end up being a tweener because he won't be able to handle center field, but he could end up being a 20-30th-round option for teams next year."
5. Dan Fiorito, ss/3b, Syracuse (Sr., Manhattanville, N.Y.)
Ranked as the NYCBL's No. 9 prospect following a strong summer in 2011, Fiorito continued to impress in 2012. Fiorito, like Kemmer, has a chance to be a senior sign out of a small college in the Northeast. While he plays shortstop at Manhattanville and spent a good deal of time there this summer, Fiorito may profile better as a third baseman. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound infielder has a very strong arm, solid range, and good speed for his size. At the plate, Fiorito flashed some power, hitting .328/.458/.552 with seven home runs. NYCBL managers loved his short swing, ability to manage the strike zone (28 walks and just 12 strikeouts) and disciplined approach.
6. Marcus Crescentini, rhp, Utica (So., Indian River, Fla., State JC)
As a freshman at Indian River, Crescentini went 2-1, 4.75 and struck out 37 batters in 36 innings of work. Crescentini struck out 10 in 10 innings while pitching for Utica this summer, but reports on the righthander were mixed. Coaches who caught Crescentini on a bad day said he threw in the 85-88 mph range, while other coaches stated that he sat between 90-92, occasionally hitting 94. However, the coaches agreed that the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder needs to fine-tune a below-average slider and decent changeup in order to take the next step developmentally.
7. Leon Stimpson, of, Geneva Red Wings (Sr., Alvernia, Pa.)
Regarded as the best athlete in the league, Stimpson carries his 6-foot, 200-pound frame very well, as the Philadelphia native ran a 6.43-second 60-yard dash at the scout showcase. He also features a strong arm, with one scout labeling it as a plus tool. While speed, athleticism, and arm strength are currently Stimpson's most valuable attributes, he also made some significant and necessary strides at the plate. After hitting just .254/.321/.310 for Division III Alvernia, Stimpson hit .364/.435/.491 with four home runs this summer.
8. Cody Walker, c, Geneva Twins (So., Chattahoochee Valley, Ga., CC,)
A relative unknown entering the summer, Walker impressed coaches with his defensive capabilities behind the plate. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound catcher consistently recorded 1.95-second pop times in game action and was able to completely shut down opposing teams' running games. Furthermore, league managers praised the Columbus, Ga., native for his receiving skills and game calling. His bat remains a work in progress, as Walker hit just .247 in 73 at-bats this summer, but a handful of league managers believed that he could end up being a late-round draft pick strictly for his defense.
9. Adam Taylor, of, Niagara (Sr., North Greenville, S.C.)
Despite only playing baseball seriously for five years and hitting .266/.343/.409 this spring for Division II North Greenville (S.C.), Taylor displayed his raw talent this summer. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder hit .339/.373/.495 with four home runs in 171 at-bats. An NYCBL Western Division all-star, Taylor has above-average speed and stole 17 bases. Some league managers think that if Taylor is able to improve upon his plate discipline, he will have a shot at the next level.
10. Eric Baker, of, Adirondack, (Sr., Rogers State, Okla.)
Baker, a rising senior at NAIA Rogers State, is 24 years old, as he originally started at Connors State (Okla.) in 2007 but took a two-year hiatus from baseball after suffering an injury. Despite his advanced age for such a league, managers and scouts insisted that Baker belonged on any league prospect list. Standing at 5-foot-10 and weighing 175 pounds, Baker is not physically imposing, but he ran a 6.56-second 60-yard dash, and coaches raved about the center fielder's ability to cover the gaps. He swiped 10 bases, displayed a solid approach and flashed some power, hitting .375/.450/.684 with 10 homers, 22 walks and 24 strikeouts in 144 at-bats.