Hawaii Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects
: The Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League culminated its sixth season with the Waikiki Surfers beating the Kauai Menehunes, 6-3, in the championship game at Hans L'Orange Park on Aug. 4. The league played at three different venues: Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park (where the Korea Baseball Organization's Hanwha Eagles have held spring training; the 2009 runner-up Korean World Baseball Classic squad trained there, too), Mililani High School's field and Hans L'Orange Park (Hawaii Winter Baseball used this site).
1. Joc Pederson, of, Waimea (SIGNED: Dodgers)
Pederson's father Stu starred at Southern California before reaching the big leagues as a Dodgers outfielder in 1985. Joc passed up a chance to follow his father at USC so he could follow his father's pro footsteps. He signed with the Dodgers for a $600,000 bonus as an 11th-round pick after his strong summer against largely older competition in Hawaii, where he hit .319/.417/.440 with six steals. Pederson's best tool is his slightly above-average speed, which leads to above-average range in the outfield. He has average or better tools across the board, including average raw power. He also could be an average hitter if he can refine his approach at the plate, and he made progress toward that end this summer. A former football standout in high school, Pederson carries that hard-nosed mentality over to the baseball diamond, where his upside is significant.
2. Kai'ana Eldredge, c/ss, Oahu (Fr., Kansas)
Eldredge also has baseball bloodlines. His father David "Boy" Eldredge coached the Paddlers and is the head coach at Southern Utah. His grandfather was a football and baseball coach at Honolulu's famed Punahou High—President Barack Obama's alma mater—which Eldredge attended as a senior while living with his uncle (and former Punahou baseball coach) Pal Eldredge. The Reds drafted Kai'ana Eldredge as a catcher but he didn't sign. He's a versatile, smooth athlete at 6 feet, 200 pounds who showed solid hitting ability this summer, batting .335/.432/.410. He's also an average runner with arm strength, having touched 90 mph in the past off the mound.
3. Jimmy Roberts, ss, Kamuela (Fr., Southern California)
The Giants drafted Roberts in the 42nd round out of Archbishop Mitty (Cupertino, Calif.), where he was named the West Catholic Athletic League's MVP. Roberts evokes comparisons to former Trojans infielder Gabe Alvarez, who will coach as an assistant at USC this year. Roberts hit .279/.358/.352 this summer and has good hands that work at the plate and in the field, where he also features an above-average arm and good athletic ability. USC expects him to pitch as well if he doesn't step right in as a starter at shortstop. He lacks present power at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and uses more of a contact-oriented approach at the plate. Coaches routinely describe him as hard-nosed, and he should become more of a factor offensively as he matures physically.
4. Ridge Carpenter, of, Kauai (Sr., Cal State Northridge)
Drafted by the Red Sox in the 32nd round in 2007 out of Honolulu Kalani High (alma mater of ex-big leaguers Lenn Sakata and Shane Komine), Carpenter played at Hartnell (Calif.) JC before transferring to Cal State Northridge. His best tool is his above-average speed, which he used to steal 20 bases in the spring and a league-high 30 in 31 attempts this summer. Carpenter wasn't drafted as a junior due to his inconsistent swing, and he struck out 56 times in the spring. He cut his strikeout rate from 28 percent this spring to 23 percent in the summer while hitting .274/.401/.432, with league-bests in triples (six) and runs (36). A solid defender in center field, Carpenter will have to make more consistent contact to improve his draft stock.
5. Daniel Rockett, of, Waikiki (So., Texas-San Antonio)
Starting as a freshman for the Roadrunners, Rockett hit .227/.340/.356 with six stolen bases. The younger brother of Tigers farmhand Michael, Daniel has a similar wiry frame at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. He started tapping into his potential as he was named the league's MVP and won the HCBL batting title at .345. He led the league in slugging (.534) and was second in on-base percentage (.458). He was 13 of 15 in steals and has solid hitting and running tools. Alii's coach Carl Fraticelli, a former minor leaguer who played at Loyola Marymount, singled him out for his "great baseball instincts."
6. Paul Snieder, 1b/rhp, Kauai (Jr., Northwestern)
Yet another Punahou alumnus (2007), Snieder came off an all-Big Ten Conference season as a two-way player for Northwestern. He batted .353/.440/.540 with 15 doubles and seven home runs while also serving as the team's closer, going 2-3, 1.79 with 12 saves and a team-high 25 appearances, all in relief. He showed some fatigue in the HCBL, hitting just .237/.382/.338 with 10 doubles. Snieder has some power from the left side of the plate but may have more upside on the mound. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder showed a high-80s fastball and solid slider while registering six saves and striking out 22 in 16 innings.
7. Jonathan Meyer, rhp, Oahu (So., Clemson)
Meyer showed up to Hawaii late after helping Clemson reach the College World Series, but that didn't stop him from earning league pitcher of the year honors. He also started the league's all-star game. Meyer went 4-1, 1.22 and racked up 40 strikeouts in 37 innings, walking 11. It was important for him to get innings as a starter after working in the Tigers' bullpen in the spring. He commanded his slider, which can be an out pitch at times, but needs to work on his sinking two-seam fastball's command.
8. Ben McQuown, of, Waikiki (So., Lower Columbia Basin JC)
Another Hawaii product McQuown hit .336/.414/.400 in his first season in junior college and stole 10 of 11 after redshirting his true freshman year out of Waianae High. He is known more for his athleticism (he was a prep running back in football) and plus speed and stole 29 of 31 bases successfully this summer while hitting .322/.465/.438. He's not physical at 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, but he's strong for his size and takes advantage of his speed. "He puts the ball in play well," said Paniolos' coach Mark Hirayama. "He puts the ball in play well and has lots of outfield range."
9. Robert Rogers, rhp, Hawaii (So., Binghamton)
A redshirt sophomore for 2011, Rogers had a pretty down year at Binghamton his first season, when he went 1-2, 7.16. But he found it in Hawaii, going 3-0, 1.25 while striking out 29 in 25 innings, splitting time as a starter and reliever. Coaches describe Robers as a sinker-slider pitcher with a mid-80s fastball that stays down and a solid breaking ball. "(He) moves the ball around with a great ability to run the ball in on righthanded hitters,"Aliis coach Carl Fraticelli said.
10. Tyler Kuresa, 1b, Oahu (Fr., Oregon)
Kuresa didn't sign after being drafted in the 11th round by the Twins in June after a standout season at Oakmont High in Roseville, Calif. He was the fourth high school senior to make the top 10 list. He had a modest performance at .267/.329/.293, but he has size on his side at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, and he has raw lefthanded power. Kuresa's swing is fairly smooth, and he has some physical projection left. His other tools grade out as below-average, so his bat will be his meal ticket.