State Reports: New York




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
New York has a chance to produce a pair of top-three-rounds picks in pitchers Scott Barnes and Bobby Lanigan, but there are no other surefire picks for the first 10 rounds in the state. There is at least a little depth among college pitchers in the state, but the class is sparse in position players, and the high school crop is downright barren.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Scott Barnes, lhp, St. John's (National Rank: 128)
2. Bobby Lanigan, rhp, Adelphi (National Rank: 129)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

3. Tom Koehler, rhp, Stony Brook
4. Eric Beaulac, rhp, Le Moyne
5. Jared Yecker, rhp, St. John's
6. Jeff Dennis, lhp, Binghamton
7. Jean Carlos Rodriguez, c, George Washington HS, Bronx
8. Justin Gutsie, rhp, St. John's
9. Tom Davis, rhp, Fordham
10. George Brown, lhp, St. John's
12. Philip Pohl, c, Cooperstown Central HS
13. Colin Lynch, rhp, St. John's
14. Drew Clothier, lhp, Army
15. Chris Anninos, of, St. John's
16. Fernando Frias, of, George Washington HS, New York
17. Michael Zaccardo, c, Cortland State
18. Jack Cawley, c, Pace
19. Phil St. Amant, c/rhp, Le Moyne
20. Joseph Panik, ss, John Jay HS, Hopewell Junction
21. Stephen Crawford, 3b, Le Moyne
22. Tim Alberts, of, Niagara
23. Craig Chaput, rhp, Siena
24. Rich Goulian, ss, Fordham
25. Carlos George, ss, James Monroe HS, Bronx
26. David Fischer, rhp, Burnt Hills-Balston Lake HS, Burnt Hills
27. John Eichhorn, rhp, New York Tech
28. Gary Novakowski, rhp, Stony Brook
29. Eric Johnson, rhp, New York Tech
30. Shane Wolf, lhp, Ithaca
31. Charley Thurber, of, Elmira Free Academy
32. Joe Testa, lhp, Wagner
33. Eddie Medina, rhp, Moore HS, Staten Island
34. Brian Witkowski, of, Stony Brook
35. Eric Reese, 2b, Fordham
36. Sean Nolin, lhp, Seaford HS

SCOUTING REPORTS

1. Scott Barnes, lhp, St. John's (National Rank: 128)

Barnes has had an inconsistent spring, but he pitched better down the stretch after making mechanical adjustments. He was out of sync early in the season with his delivery, causing his arm to drag and limiting his extension, and he threw across his body to compensate. He worked in the mid-80s with his fastball and struggled to command his secondary stuff. But his alignment and tempo have improved in the second half, and his fastball has climbed into the 90-92 mph range with good sink. His delivery still has a head jerk, but scouts think his quirkiness adds to his deception. He shows an average slider with good tilt and good feel for a changeup, and he uses a slow curveball as a show pitch. Barnes stands out most for his competitiveness and his aggressiveness, but opinion on him is widely mixed. He could be drafted anywhere from the third to the 10th round.

2. Bobby Lanigan, rhp, Adelphi (National Rank: 129)

Plenty of scouts in the Northeast prefer Lanigan to Scott Barnes, even though Lanigan is a Division II righthander from a wood-bat conference and Barnes is a Big East lefty. That's a testament to Lanigan's prototypical 6-foot-5 pitcher's frame and quality fastball/slider repertoire, which helped him go 4-4, 1.94 with 87 strikeouts and 16 walks in 79 innings this spring. He's not a great athlete, but he's physical and durable with has a loose arm and an easy delivery. At his best, Lanigan holds the low-90s velocity on his solid-average fastball and touches 93, but a dead arm down the stretch caused him to drop into the 87-89 range. During the course of a game, Lanigan will show plenty of above-average sliders in the 82-86 range, but he'll also leave below-average sliders up in the zone; the pitch grades out as average overall but projects as plus. His changeup has good arm speed, but he seldom used it in college. Lanigan should be drafted in the top five rounds and projects as potential back-of-the-rotation starter

Big-Bodied College Pitchers Lead Thin Crop

After Barnes and Lanigan, four physical college pitchers in the Empire State could be drafted in the top 15 rounds, and one or two could sneak into the top 10. Leading the pack is Stony Brook righthander Tom Koehler, who has improved his stock as a senior by getting his body into much better shape. Koehler has always had good stuff and ran his fastball up to 94 as a junior, but scouts shied away from him because of his weight, and he went undrafted. He worked hard to firm up his body in the offseason and lost 35-40 pounds, and he anchored Stony Brook's America East-championship pitching staff this spring, going 6-5, 4.15 with 111 strikeouts and 45 walks in 93 innings. He works in the 92-94 range with a sinking, average to plus fastball, and he pitches off it well. His slider is a plus pitch at times, and he mixes in a promising changeup with some tumble. He'll flash a good overhand curveball, but other times he'll throw a flat one. His arm action has some funk, with a wrap in the back that affects his command, but with a 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame, he has a chance to be a workhorse if he can keep his body in shape.

Le Moyne righthander Eric Beaulac ranked as the top prospect in the New York Collegiate League last summer but saw his stock drop early this spring as his command and stuff were erratic. He was much better down the stretch, striking out nine in a no-hitter May 10 against Rider and finishing at 9-2, 2.83 with 113 strikeouts and 43 walks in 92 innings. Beaulac's 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame helps him get plenty of sink on his average fastball, which topped out at 93-94 down the stretch. He pitches in the 90-92 range early in games but drops into the high 80s after the fifth or sixth inning, leading some scouts to believe he'll be a reliever in pro ball. He also has failed to develop his changeup, though his slider is back to being an average pitch, and sometimes plus. Beaulac's delivery has some effort and he needs to add strength to his thin frame, but he's a good athlete and fields his position well.

Projectable 6-foot-6 lefthanders are hard to find, so Binghamton's Jeff Dennis should be drafted in the top 15 rounds despite fringy stuff. Dennis didn't miss a ton of bats for the Bearcats this spring, going 4-5, 3.97 with 62 strikeouts and 27 walks in 82 innings. He has some deception and pitches from a good downhill angle, but his fastball sat in the mid-80s most of the spring after reaching 89 in the fall. His curveball and changeup are works in progress. Dennis has an awkward delivery, but scouts are intrigued by his loose arm and good pitcher's frame.

St. John's had a deep pitching staff after Barnes, and several of the Red Storm's arms should be drafted after the 10th round. Righthander Jared Yecker has a prototype 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame and a good sinker that tops out at 92. He was hampered by a nasty blister problem for much of the spring and finished 4-2, 2.92 with 43 strikeouts and 28 walks in 53 innings. Yecker lacks an out pitch, but his changeup has potential and he's beginning to throw his curveball with more depth. His fastball command is also improving. Most scouts believe Yecker still has projection, though they're divided on whether he'll start in pro ball.

The rest of the St. John's arms come with caveats. Lefthander George Brown went 9-0, 2.73 with a 58-9 K-BB ratio in 86 innings this spring, but he gets results with his competitiveness and command more than his stuff. Brown works between 82-88 mph with his fastball and has an above-average changeup with excellent fading action. His curveball is fringy at best but is effective against lefthanded hitters.

Righty Justin Gutsie ran his fastball up to 94-95 last summer in the New England Collegiate League, where he ranked as the No. 4 prospect. He was inconsistent this spring, pitching up in the zone and showing little feel for pitching, and the Johnnies used him as a middle reliever, which made him hard for scouts to see. His fastball generally topped out at 91 this spring without much life. Every once in a while he flashes an excellent slider, but he cannot command it with any consistency. He has far more upside than Brown, but he's a major project.

Righthander Colin Lynch has had an excellent career as St. John's closer, saving 24 games the last two years thanks largely to his competitiveness and feel for pitching. He pounds the zone with an 89-92 mph fastball and works in a slider with hard tilt, a 12-to-6 curveball and an occasional changeup. He's generously listed at 5-foot-11 and doesn't have good enough stuff to set him apart as an undersized righthander. He'll likely be back for his senior year, and St. John's should be thankful for that.

Senior outfielder Chris Anninos also should be drafted out of St. John's. He hit just .281 this spring but led the Johnnies with 12 homers while also stealing 12 bases in 15 tries. Anninos is an average runner with some pop and a strong outfield arm, but his hit tool lags behind.

The rest of the college crop features a few late-round senior signs and little else. Fordham righthander Tom Davis capped his solid four-year career by going 9-2, 1.90 as a senior this spring. He competes with a fringe-average fastball that sometimes reaches 92, a decent slider in the low 80s and a good changeup in the 76-81 range. He's the only other college player in the Empire State with a chance to go in the top 15 rounds.

A trio of senior catchers will get a chance in pro ball. Cortland State's Michael Zaccardo is a solid hitter for average with some arm strength but little power. Pace's Jack Cawley is a similar offensive player with a strong arm behind the plate and plenty of athleticism—he's an above-average runner. Le Moyne's Phil St. Amant has occasional power and plenty of arm strength, and his best chance in pro ball might be on the mound. He made six appearances this spring and has been up to 91-92 in the past.

New York's high school crop is its weakest in years. The best of the lot is catcher Jean Carlos Rodriguez, who could sneak into the top 10 rounds. Rodriguez has raw power and a plus arm behind the plate, but he's unrefined as a hitter. He has a tall approach that doesn't incorporate his legs well. He is a promising receiver but has plenty of work to do defensively. Another high school catcher, Cooperstown's Philip Pohl, has average catch-and-throw skills and a little bit of power, but he's likely headed to Clemson.

Two quality high school athletes from New York City missed this spring with eligibility issues. Outfielder Fernando Frias has plenty of raw power but a raw approach, though he could hit home runs by the bushel in junior college. Shortstop Carlos George isn't as physical and lacks offensive skills, but he's a slick defender with a strong arm.