State Report: Mid-Atlantic

Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., West Virginia




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Although the Mid-Atlantic region isn't quite up to par in 2009, that's hardly an indictment of the traditionally thin region because 2008 was so good. Four players from the region were in last year's Top 200 Prospects, and the top player, lefthander Danny Hultzen, is having a standout freshman season at Virginia.

There are signability questions again this year but overall the talent doesn't even come close to challenging what was offered last year. The Mid-Atlantic has had at least one player in the top 200 since 1999.


NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

None

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

1. Branden Kline, rhp, Johnson HS, Frederick, Md.
2. Eric Buckland, rhp, Caravel Academy, Bear, Del.
3. Scott Swinson, rhp, Maryland
4. Josh Squatrito, rhp, Towson
5. A.J. Casario, of, Maryland
6. Pat Lehman, rhp, George Washington
7. Chad Jenkins, lhp, Cecil (Md.) JC
8. Mike Flacco, 3b, Catonsville (Md.) CC
9. Tim Adleman, rhp, Georgetown
10. Tobias Streich, c, West Virginia
11. Nate Lape, of, Marshall
12. Jason Stifler, c, Towson
13. Anthony Howard, of, Quince Orchard HS, North Potomac, Md.
14. Alex Meyer, lhp, Georgetown
15. Jimmy Saris, rhp, Georgetown
16. Gary Helmich, 2b/ss, Towson
17. Matt Frazer, 1b, Nitro (W.Va.) HS
18. Brandon King, rhp, Martinsburg (W.Va.) HS

SCOUTING REPORTS

2009 Is Not 2008

Righthander Branden Kline could be the second straight top prospect from the Mid-Atlantic to head to Virginia, following lefthander Danny Hultzen. He has a good pitcher's body at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds with room for projection. His fastball is 88-93 mph now and he shows a feel for a breaking ball. He also shows more polish that most high school pitchers. Teams have asked if Kline would sign out of the first five rounds, but he has shown little interest in forgoing college.

A prep righthander from Delaware, Eric Buckland stands out in person and on paper. He's 6-foot-6, 210 pounds and had an impressive junior season that put him on the map. His velocity didn't excite anybody this season, however, and some scouts were told not to bother making the trip to see him. He's committed to Delaware.

The college crop has some interesting players, though no one with tremendous upside. One scout called Maryland righthander Scott Swinson a poor man's Mike Leake, referring to the smallish Arizona State righthander who led the nation in wins this year and is a possible first-round pick. Swinson, at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, ranges from 86-91 mph with his fastball and typically sits 88-89, and he has a good changeup. He has plus command, as well as a great feel for pitching and  strong competitiveness, helping his stuff play up. He learned a lot from Terrapins pitching coach Jim Farr after transferring from George Washington after his freshman season. He didn't have great numbers for a 27-27 Maryland squad, finishing 4-7, 5.54.

A.J. Casario batted .319/.409/.522 with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases as Maryland's right fielder, and he has intriguing tools. He's a lefthanded hitter with an athletic frame. He's an average to slightly above-average runner, with an average arm. He is capable of playing all three outfield spots but profiles best in center. The bat is his big question. He flashes raw power and could hit for average if he cleans things up. He has a violent swing and doesn't have great pitch recognition, so he swings and misses a lot. The Dodgers drafted him in the 27th round in 2006 out of high school in New Jersey, where he was an all-state player who batted .561 with 10 home runs as a senior.

Mike Flacco is the brother of Joe Flacco, the former Delaware quarterback who was a standout rookie for the Baltimore Ravens last season. The younger Flacco has an athletic frame at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and batted .372/.431/.798 with nine home runs for Catonsville this season. He has some juice in his bat and projects as a corner infielder, though he'll probably end up at first. Working against him are a history of injuries and the fact that he's a 22-year-old freshman.

Lefthander Chad Jenkins—no relation to the Kennesaw State prospect of the same name—has a pro body at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, but he hasn't been consistent enough to generate any serious scouting buzz. He put up good numbers for Cecil JC this spring—going 8-2, 2.79 in 74 innings with 89 strikeouts and 33 walks—after spending two years at Coastal Carolina (including a redshirt year). He has been 88-90 mph this season but has trouble maintaining his velocity, flashing upper-80s stuff one inning and 84-86 mph the next. Command is also an issue for Jenkins. A Delaware native who was drafted in the 44th round by the Nationals out of high school in 2006, he is committed to the University of Delaware.

West Virginia catcher Tobias Streich is the top player in that state based on his raw power and arm strength, but he's a below-average receiver and not everyone thinks his bat will play as a pro. He hit .322/.366/.488 with six home runs and 16 doubles for the Mountaineers this season.

Towson shortstop Nick Natoli is a defensive standout who was on follow lists coming into the spring, but a torn ACL put him on the shelf and allowed Gary Helmick to draw some interest. Filling in for Natoli, Helmich batted .430/.511/.785 with 17 home runs, and scouts like the way he plays the game. He plays hard and is scrappy, and while he has good speed and could be a good defensive second baseman, he doesn't have any standout tools.