State Report: Massachusetts

Boston College continues carrying the Bay State






See also: Baseball America's Complete 2010 Draft Map


THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Boston College continues to carry the banner for the Bay State, which has a pair of Top 200 talents for the second year in a row. In 2009, the Eagles produced the No. 4 overall pick in Tony Sanchez and a supplemental first-round pick in Mike Belfiore. This year, the top prospect in Massachusetts again plays for BC, but lefthander Pat Dean won't follow Sanchez and Belfiore as a first-round pick, projecting instead as a third-rounder.

Dean leads a solid contingent of BC draft prospects that also includes first baseman Mickey Wiswall, righties Kevin Moran and John Leonard, and outfielders Robbie Anston and John Spatola. The state's prep class is thin but does at least have an impact talent in lefthander Kevin Ziomek.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Pat Dean, lhp, Boston College (National Rank: 159)
2. Kevin Ziomek, lhp, Amherst Regional HS (National Rank: 178)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

3. Mickey Wiswall, 1b, Boston College
4. Ryan O'Rourke, lhp, Merrimack College
5. Kevin Moran, rhp, Boston College
6. John Leonard, rhp, Boston College
7. Robbie Anston, of, Boston College
8. Brian Maynard, of, Lynn English HS
9. Nathan LaPointe, c, St. John's HS, Shrewsbury
10. Alex Farkes, c, BB&N HS, Cambridge
11. John Spatola, of, Boston College
12. T.J. Jann, rhp, Westford Academy
13. Eddie Campbell, lhp, Bridgewater Raynham HS
14. Les Williams, rhp, Northeastern
15. Roberto Reyes, c, Lynn English HS

SCOUTING REPORTS

Pat Dean, lhp
Boston College

Like Virginia Tech's Jesse Hahn, Dean was a skinny, projectable Connecticut prepster in 2007, and like Hahn he blossomed in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Dean's fastball sat in the 84-88 mph range in high school, but he touched 93 mph and held his velocity deep into games as a sophomore at BC last spring. Dean has not been at his best this spring due to elbow inflammation, which caused him to miss a start in mid-March and another three weeks later. But MRIs and X-rays revealed no structural damage, and the Eagles eased him back into action. Through 67 innings, he was 5-1, 3.76 with 51 strikeouts and 10 walks, demonstrating his outstanding control. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Dean is a competitive lefthander with excellent feel for pitching, earning comparisons to Glen Perkins. He settled into the 88-91 mph range with his fastball this spring and has topped out at 92 on occasion. He has good command of a four-pitch mix, but his solid-average changeup is his best pitch. His slider and curveball both rate as fringe-average offerings. Dean's frame gives scouts pause, but his polish gives him a good chance to reach the big leagues as a back-end starter.

Kevin Ziomek, lhp
Amherst Regional HS

Ziomek established himself as the best prep prospect in New England at the Perfect Game/World Wood Bat Association Championship last fall in Jupiter, Fla., where he ran his fastball up to 93-94 mph. He has not shown that kind of velocity this spring, pitching mostly at 87-88 and topping out at 91-92 on occasion. Ziomek's 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame and loose arm suggest plenty of projection, and he has good feel for pitching, but scouts have reservations about his mechanics and funky arm action, which includes a hook and a wrap on the back side. He seldom throws his changeup in games, but it projects as an average or better offering. His slider is slurvy and inconsistent, and he tends to cast his slow curveball away from his body. The son of two lawyers, Ziomek is believed to be a tough sign away from his Vanderbilt commitment.

Eagles Lead The Way

After Pat Dean, Boston College has depth but lacks candidates to be drafted in the top five rounds. Mickey Wiswall's stock soared after his strong 2009 summer in the Cape Cod League, where he ranked as the No. 21 prospect. Major league scouting directors voted him onto Baseball America's Preseason All-America second team, but he struggled out of the gate and scouts began to sour on him. The lefthanded-hitting Wiswall is at his best when he's using the left-center-field gap as well as pulling the ball, but in the first half of the season he became too pull-happy, and he struggled to find his timing and rhythm. He made some adjustments midway through the season and was hitting .306/.394/.630 with 17 homers and 57 RBIs through 219 at-bats. The 6-foot, 212-pound Wiswall has a strong upper body that allows him to generate excellent bat speed, but he needs to incorporate his lower half into his swing more effectively. Some scouts say he flashes above-average raw power, but others believe he will hit for fringe-average power in pro ball, which calls his profile into question. Wiswall lacks first-step quickness and is a below-average defender at third base, where he played as a sophomore, but he's an adequate defender at first. If Wiswall's bat continues to develop, he can fill in at both corner infield spots and carve out an Eric Hinske kind of career in the big leagues. He projects as a seventh- to 10th-round pick.

Righthander John Leonard missed most of the first half of the season with weakness in his shoulder, though MRIs revealed no structural damage. He showed a 93 mph fastball with life in indoor workouts in January, but he worked at 87-90 mph and topped out at 91 after returning to action in mid-April. Through six starts, he was 2-2, 6.04 with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks in 28 innings. Leonard throws strikes but has below-average command—he throws too many breaking balls over the fat part of the zone. Last year, Leonard flashed a solid-average curveball, but it has been loose and slurvy this spring, and he has leaned more on his fringy slider. His changeup is just a show pitch at this point.

Righty Kevin Moran started the spring in BC's rotation while Leonard was out, and when he got off to a rough start he was sent to the bullpen, where he showed signs of turning the corner. Moran has huge arm strength; he flashed 93-95 mph heat and a plus slider on scout day last fall and in the Cape League last summer, and he has topped out around 93 this spring. But he's still a thrower more than a pitcher, and he lacks command and control, as evidenced by his line: 7-5, 8.55 with 28 strikeouts and 38 walks in 46 innings. Moran is almost too intense for his own good and must improve his mound presence. In the Cape, scouts reported seeing him yell at hitters in the batter's box. Moran dabbles with a curveball and has some feel for a changeup, but both pitches are inconsistent. He has an athletic 6-foot-4, 209-pound frame and some upside, but he's a work in progress.

Outfielders Robbie Anston and John Spatola should be quality senior signs. Anston makes the most of his average speed on the basepaths and in center field, where he is a slightly above-average defender with a below-average arm. He has a blue-collar approach and is a tough out at the plate, though scouts don't care for his set-up, which involves the barrel of his bat pointing at the pitcher when he starts his swing. He lacks power and could be overmatched by better pitching, however. Spatola has had a fine season in the middle of BC's order, hitting 14 home runs and stealing 12 bases, but he lacks a carrying tool for a corner outfielder. He has bat speed, but scouts question whether his approach will play at the next level. He crouches down in his stance with his weight on his back foot and his front leg at an awkward angle, and he cheats to hit good fastballs.

A popular sleeper in Massachusetts is lefthander Ryan O'Rourke, who went 5-2, 1.25 with 93 strikeouts and 14 walks in 79 innings as a senior for Division II Merrimack College. O'Rourke played baseball, football and hockey his first two years at Merrimack before cutting a tendon on his left thumb and missing all of 2009. He brings an aggressive football/hockey mentality to the mound, where he attacks hitters with an 87-91 mph fastball and touches 93 in short stints. His best secondary pitch is a 77-78 mph slurve that can be average at times, and he mixes in a below-average curveball in the low 70s. He rarely throws a changeup. O'Rourke has a strong, physical 6-foot-3, 215-pound build. His delivery has some effort and some stiffness, but it also gives him deception. He figures to be drafted between the 10th and 15th round.

The Bay State high school crop drops off quickly after Ziomek, but a few players could blossom after a few years in college. Outfielder Brian Maynard is a bit undersized at 5-foot-11, but he's a good athlete with average or better speed, an average arm and some looseness in his swing. Maynard is raw, and he's likely to hone his tools at D-II College of St. Rose (N.Y.).

One scout described Boston College signee Nathan LaPointe as "a freak athlete who's really raw behind the plate." He has excellent arm strength, but it does not yet play in games because he needs to smooth out his transfer and throwing mechanics. His bat is a work in progress. Another ACC recruit, Virginia Tech signee Eddie Campbell, has a long arm action but throws a heavy high-80s fastball and flashes a tight breaking ball. He's a bit undersized at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, but he could make an impact for the Hokies.

Catcher Alex Farkes and righthander T.J. Jann are likely both headed to Penn State, and both are talented enough to develop into draft prospects in the Big 10 Conference. Farkes, who also played football in high school, comes from athletic stock: His brother Zak played shortstop for Harvard and spent five seasons in the Red Sox system; brother Josh played baseball for Connecticut; and brother Adam is a quarterback at Maine. Alex Farkes converted from shortstop to catcher last year, and he took to the position immediately. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has a strong arm and a quick release, but his receiving took a step back in the spring, and his overall game needs refinement. He also has some power potential.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Jann is second on Westford Academy's all-time scoring list in basketball, and he has a chance to play corner infield and pitch for Penn State. His future looks brightest on the mound, where he is aggressive with a mid- to upper-80s fastball and has feel for a breaking ball. Jann is plenty projectable but is also raw.