League Top 20 Prospects

2011 New York-Penn League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
1. *Jeremy Hellickson, rhp (Devil Rays)
2. *Pedro Beato, rhp (Orioles)
3. Matt McBride, c (Indians)
4. Max Sapp, c (Astros)
5. Kris Johnson, lhp (Red Sox)
6. *Justin Masterson, rhp (Red Sox)
7. Jordan Parraz, of (Astros)
8. *Adam Ottavino, rhp (Cardinals)
9. *Scott Sizemore, ss/2b (Tigers)
10. *Joe Smith, rhp (Mets)
11. Tim Norton, rhp (Yankees)
12. *Mark Hamilton, 1b (Cardinals)
13. *Justin Maxwell, of (Nationals)
14. *Jason Berken, rhp (Orioles)
15. *George Kontos, rhp (Yankees)
16. Chris Vinyard, 1b (Orioles)
17. Mitch Hilligoss, ss/3b (Yankees)
18. Chris Salamida, lhp (Astros)
19. Wilmer Pino, 2b (Yankees)
20. *Neil Wagner, rhp (Indians)
* Has played in majors
With negotiations with most premium 2011 draftees dragging late into the summer, the short-season New York-Penn League lacked its usual college star power this summer. Instead, most of the circuit's top prospects were 2010 high school draftees or international players.

League champion Staten Island was the most prospect-laden team in the NY-P, placing five players on this list, led by No. 1 prospect Mason Williams. The Yankees surrounded a core of young high school products with solid 2011 college draftees such as slugger Zach Wilson and lefthander Matt Tracy, who picked up the win in the decisive game of the championship series against Auburn.

Frontline arms were scarce in the league this year, as just five pitchers ranked among its Top 20 Prospects. Beyond Williams, an easy choice as the league's top prospect, it was hard to find a slam-dunk blue-chipper in this year's NY-P class.

1. MASON WILLIAMS OF, STATEN ISLAND YANKEES
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 150. Drafted: HS—Winter Garden, Fla. '10 (4).
The Yankees signed Williams away from a commitment to South Carolina with a $1.45 million bonus before the 2010 signing deadline, and he played just five games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last summer. He spent most of this year as a 19-year-old facing older competition in the NY-P and made a splash, tying for the lead in triples (six) and steals (28) while ranking second in hitting (.349).

"He's been outstanding in really just about every phase of the game," Staten Island manager Tom Slater said. "He can really run, he's got great range. He's really bought into and worked hard in his pregame, reading balls off the bat. He's thin now, but he's not a slap guy—he's going to drive the ball and he's going to hit for average."

Williams stays through the ball well with a simple lefthanded swing. His quick hands generate surprising bat speed, and he could develop fringy to average power as he matures physically and continues to incorporate his lower half into his swing better. He has advanced pitch recognition and plate discipline for his age, though like most young hitters he's still learning to handle offspeed stuff.

Williams has plus to plus-plus speed that plays on the bases and in center field, though he's still refining his basestealing ability and his outfield routes. He has a solid-average arm and projects as a plus defender in center fielder.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
269 42 94 11 6 3 31 20 41 28 12 .349 .395 .468
 
2. GARIN CECCHINI 3B, LOWELL SPINNERS (RED SOX)
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Lake Charles, La. '10 (4).
Cecchini likely would have been a first-round pick in 2010 had he not torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that March. Signed for $1.31 million in the fourth round, he worked hard to come back from the injury and shined in the middle of Lowell's lineup until an errant pitch broke his right wrist and ended his season on July 23.

"For a young kid, he was their three-hole hitter, he used the whole field and he hurt us every time," Connecticut manager Andrew Graham said. "We'd try to jam him, and he'd pull it down the line. We'd go away, and he'd hit it down the opposite-field line."

Cecchini is particularly adept at going the other way. He has advanced plate discipline for his age and projects as solid-average to plus hitter who figures to grow into comparable power down the road. He has solid-average speed to go with sure hands and a strong, accurate arm at third base.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
114 21 34 12 1 3 23 17 19 12 2 .298 .398 .500
 
3. PARKER MARKEL RHP, HUDSON VALLEY RENEGADES (RAYS)
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Yavapai (Ariz.) JC '10 (39).
A reliever at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC, Markel impressed in a starting role at Hudson Valley, not allowing an earned run in his first 29 2/3 innings with the Renegades. Scouts harbored concerns about Markel's mechanics in the past, but he made some progress this year staying on a better line to home plate, which helped his arm speed. He generally worked at 92-96 mph with heavy sink and armside run on his fastball, reaching 98 early in games.

Markel's fastball has so much life that he sometimes struggles to command it, and he also needs to repeat his delivery more consistently. His 82-86 mph slider is a plus pitch at times but he seldom used it in his pro debut, relying more on a changeup with sink and fade.

"He would cut his changeup at times so it would move like his slider," Hudson Valley manager Jared Sandberg said. "He'll throw it to righties and lefties, he repeats it well, and it works off the same plane as his fastball. He definitely does have the ability to spin a slider, but the changeup was a better pitch, so he's got more confidence in it."
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13 13 3 4 0 3.14 57 42 26 20 3 23 44 .207
 
4. MAIKEL FRANCO 3B, WILLIAMSPORT CROSSCUTTERS (PHILLIES)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Signed: Domican Republic '10.
Franco impressed the Phillies so much that he earned an August promotion to low Class A Lakewood. When that proved to be too much too soon, he was sent back to Williamsport, where he continued to show he could hold his own against older competition.

Franco flashes above-average raw power and the ability to drive the ball to his pull side, but he's still working to unlock his offensive potential. He gets pull-happy and has a tendency to take big hacks, and the Phillies would like him to tone down his approach with two strikes. His plate discipline is a work in progress, but he has bat speed, hand-eye coordination and youth on his side.

His defense was ahead of his bat when he signed and continues to shine. Franco has good actions, a plus arm and solid range at third base despite his well below-average speed.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
202 19 58 17 1 2 38 25 30 0 0 .287 .367 .411
 
5. JOSE URENA RHP, JAMESTOWN JAMMERS (MARLINS)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 172. Signed: Dominican Republic '08.
After signing the lanky Urena for $52,000, the Marlins developed him in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League for two years. He jumped to the NY-P in his U.S. debut this summer and established himself as one of the organization's top prospects.

Urena has long arms and a loose, projectable frame. He already flashes premium velocity, sitting easily at 92-93 mph and touching 97.

Like most young pitchers, Urena needs to improve his fastball command and refine his secondary stuff. His curveball has a chance to be a plus pitch, he flashes an average slider and his changeup is improving. He has a good mound presence and a decent feel for pitching for his age.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
15 15 4 7 0 4.33 73 74 38 35 4 29 48 .264
 
6. CITO CULVER SS, STATEN ISLAND YANKEES
Age: 19. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Rochester, N.Y. '10 (1).
A surprise first-rounder in 2010, Culver struggled in a brief taste of the NY-P late in his 2010 debut. He adjusted to the league in 2011, holding his own despite playing most of the summer as an 18-year-old. He stood out most with his defense, showing smooth actions, average range and a well above-average arm at shortstop.

"This kid's instincts are unbelievable," Slater said. "Positioning—he just always seems to be in the right place. He'll make the exceptional play, whether going (to his right) in the hole and making the jump throw, or going behind second base and making the spin throw. It's uncanny."

A switch-hitter who's stronger and more advanced from the right side, Culver batted .324 against lefties and .224 against righties. He has a chance to develop average power but his swing has some length and doesn't incorporate his lower half enough. He's a below-average runner.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
276 40 69 14 2 2 33 30 57 10 0 .250 .323 .337
 
7. TONY WOLTERS SS, MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS (INDIANS)
Age: 19. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 165. Drafted: HS—Vista, Calif. '10 (3).
Wolters, who signed for $1.35 million as a third-round pick in 2010, starred as one of the younger players in the NY-P this summer. He's a patient contact hitter with a middle-away approach, and while he won't ever be a power hitter, he should have solid pop to the gaps. An average runner with a quick first step on the bases, he led the league with 50 runs.

Wolters has sure hands, smooth actions and good instincts defensively, though he sometimes waits for balls to come to him instead of making the aggressive play. He has a chance to stick at shortstop, though his future is more likely at second base, where his range would fit better.

"He had a very nice year for us," Mahoning Valley manager David Wallace said. "He was very consistent at the top of our lineup, then out in the field I thought he played really well. Combining his arm strength with arm accuracy is probably what stood out the most."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
267 50 78 10 3 1 20 30 49 19 4 .292 .385 .363
 
8. TYLER AUSTIN 3B, STATEN ISLAND YANKEES
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Conyers, Ga. '10 (13).
After signing for $130,000 as a 13th-round pick last summer, Austin broke his wrist in his second pro game. In his first extended taste of pro ball, he began 2011 by hitting .390 in the Gulf Coast League before anchoring the middle of Staten Island's lineup in the second half. He capped his year by batting .429 in the playoffs.

An intelligent hitter, Austin has solid plate discipline and handles offspeed pitches well for a teenager. He has above-average raw power and is capable of hitting balls out of the park to all fields.

Drafted as a catcher, Austin has transitioned to third base, where his instincts and footwork are improving and his plus arm is an asset. He's still working on becoming a more aggressive defender. He's a solid runner with good instincts.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
96 16 31 10 1 3 14 10 23 7 0 .323 .402 .542
 
9. NICK KINGHAM RHP, STATE COLLEGE SPIKES (PIRATES)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 220. Drafted: HS—Las Vegas '10 (4).
Kingham made a three-inning cameo in the Gulf Coast League in his 2010 debut, but his first significant pro action came this summer in tne NY-P. He thrived, with his 2.15 ERA ranking third in the league and first among teenagers.

Kingham is still filling out his tall, lanky frame. His body and smooth arm action both suggest he has plenty of projectability remaining and he already flashes plus velocity, working around 90-93 mph and topping out at 95. He pitches with a downhill angle that makes it tough for hitters to see the ball and square it up.

His changeup has been Kingham's No. 2 pitch since high school, and he continued to make great strides with it this summer. It has a chance to be a plus offering. He's working on tightening his curveball and it made progress as well.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
15 15 6 2 0 2.15 71 63 18 17 5 15 47 .238
 
10. PARKER BRIDWELL RHP, ABERDEEN IRONBIRDS (ORIOLES)
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Hereford, Texas '10 (9).
A three-sport star in high school, the athletic Bridwell who drew interest from college football programs as a quarterback. He passed up a commitment to Texas Tech to sign for $625,000 as a ninth-round pick last year. He started 2011 in low Class A and was hit hard, so the Orioles sent him back to Aberdeen to build some confidence.

Bridwell has a live arm and the makings of three average or better pitches. His bread and butter is a heavy sinker that ranges from 87-95 mph, sitting mostly at 89-92. He throws a quick, late power breaking ball that looks like his fastball and then breaks across the zone with depth when it's on.

Bridwell significantly improved his feel for his changeup this summer, and it projects as an average pitch in time. He's still learning to repeat his delivery, maintain his balance and understand what pitches to throw in different situations. His command and overall feel for pitching are progressing nicely, and he has plenty of time to fine-tune his craft.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12 11 2 5 0 4.53 54 56 32 27 2 22 57 .271
 
11. ALEX DICKERSON 1B, STATE COLLEGE SPIKES (PIRATES)
Age: 21. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 235. Drafted: Indiana '11 (3).
One of the best hitters in college baseball during his three years at Indiana, Dickerson won the Big Ten Conference triple crown as a sophomore in 2010 and made an easy transition to pro ball this summer. A natural hitter with an advanced approach and a smooth stroke, he impressed with his abilty to handle offspeed stuff and lefthanded pitchers. He generates serious leverage and above-average raw power, allowing him to drive the ball out to all fields.

Dickerson played mostly left field for the Hoosiers before moving to first base as a pro. A below-average runner, he lacked the desired range for the outfield. While he'll never be a standout defender at first base, the Pirates think he can be an adequate defender in time.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
150 25 47 16 1 3 19 16 28 0 0 .313 .393 .493
 
12. AARON WESTLAKE 1B, CONNECTICUT TIGERS
Age: 22. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 235. Drafted: Vanderbilt '11 (3).
The physically mature Westlake hit .349 with 14 homers to earn second-team All-America honors as a fourth-year junior this spring, helping Vanderbilt make its first-ever College World Series appearance. His pro debut was quieter, and he missed some time late in the season with a concussion, but his offensive potential is undeniable.

"He's going to be a big-time prospect for us," Graham said. "He can hit it out of the ballpark to any part—to the opposite field or center field as well as right."

Westlake has a smooth lefthanded swing and solid control of the barrel for a power hitter. He generates easy home run power, but the Tigers would like him to be more aggressive going after fastballs in hitters' counts. A below-average runner but a decent athlete, he projects as an average defender at first base.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
106 14 28 4 1 2 15 10 23 1 0 .264 .328 .377
 
13. MATT SKOLE 3B, AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS (NATIONALS)
Age: 21. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 230. Drafted: Georgia Tech '11 (5).
Skole is more powerful but less athletic than his younger brother Jake, a Rangers first-round pick in 2010. Matt showed excellent patience at the plate, a good two-strike approach and impressive hand-eye coordination in his pro debut. The NY-P leader in doubles (23) and RBIs (48), he should hit for solid-average power once he learns to use his lower half better in his swing.

"A lot of guys try to hit home runs before they learn how to hit, but he's done a good job learning to hit first," Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said. "He rifled a few balls off the left-field wall this summer, and several doubles to left-center. He's at his best when he's staying through the middle, going gap-to-gap."

Skole is surprisingly agile for his size, with decent lateral range and the ability to make plays charging in or to his backhand. He still has to improve his footwork and make some mechanical tweaks to his throwing, but he has a chance to be an average defensive third baseman with a solid-average to plus arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
272 43 79 23 1 5 48 42 52 2 1 .290 .382 .438
 
14. ANGELO GUMBS 2B, STATEN ISLAND YANKEES
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Torrance, Calif. '10 (2).
Gumbs is an athletic, high-energy player with electric bat speed and a quality all-around toolset. Though he was an 18-year-old facing much older competition, he hit third for most of the summer and showed flashes of offensive potential. When he's locked in, he can wear out the right-center-field gap with hard line drives.

Other times, Gumbs gets out on his front foot and flares balls softly to right. He needs to simplify his setup to improve on pitches over the inner half, but his bat speed and raw strength should lead to power in time. He's also an above-average runner, though his basestealing technique needs refinement.

Gumbs played shortstop and outfield in high school before the Yankees converted  him to second base, where he needs to smooth out his infield actions and improve his range and agility around the bag. He has arm strength, but he tends to drop to a low-three-quarters arm slot. Some scouts think his arm is better suited to the outfield, where he throws from a higher angle and with more accuracy.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
197 32 52 11 4 3 29 20 57 11 7 .264 .332 .406
 
15. GLYNN DAVIS OF, ABERDEEN IRONBIRDS (ORIOLES)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 170. Signed: CC of Baltimore County-Catonsville (Md.) '10 (NDFA).
Davis went undrafted after his sophomore year of junior college ball in 2010, but he signed with the Orioles as a free agent after hitting .432 in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League, where he ranked as the No. 1 prospect. He put together a decent pro debut at Aberdeen this summer before serving as a defensive substitute and pinch-runner for high Class A Frederick during the Carolina League playoffs.

Davis' calling card is his speed, which rates as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has a chance to beat out an infield hit almost any time he hits the ball on the ground, and he'll be even more dangerous when he learns to get out of the box with more consistent quickness. He's trying to develop a leadoff man's mentality—working the count, bunting and hitting the ball on the ground—and might even develop fringe-average power once he fills out his live, quick-twitch body.

His speed translates to above-average range in center field. Davis still is honing his defensive instincts, but his jumps, routes and angles continue to improve. His solid-average arm would play any outfield position.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
255 34 69 14 0 1 14 25 53 23 9 .271 .337 .337
 
16. BOBBY CROCKER OF, VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS (ATHLETICS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Cal Poly '11 (4).
Crocker had a solid but unspectacular three-year career at Cal Poly. Despite his chiseled physique, he never really tapped into his raw power potential, employing more of an inside-out approach. He continued to hit everything to center and right in his pro debut, and he'll need to learn to pull the ball in order to unlock his intriguing raw power.

Crocker has an upright approach and needs to do a better job getting his lower half engaged earlier in his swing. He has good hand-eye coordination and feel for the barrel, and he has a chance to continue hitting for average as he moves through pro ball.

While Crocker has plus speed, he lacks the first-step quickness for center field. He played right field for Vermont but his fringe-average arm is better suited for left field, so he needs to hit. He's a hard worker who plays the game with energy.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
118 19 38 5 0 3 15 8 22 6 1 .322 .367 .441
 
17. JAKE LOWERY C/1B, MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS (INDIANS)
Age: 21. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 200. Drafted: James Madison '11 (4).
After hitting nine homers over his first two college seasons, Lowery exploded as a junior this spring, hitting .359/.442/.797 with 24 homers and NCAA Division I bests in runs (80), RBIs (91) and total bases (200). In his pro debut, he tied Skole for the NY-P lead with 23 doubles and led with 30 extra-base hits.

Lowery has a mature, patient approach at the plate and the ability to drive balls with authority from line to line. He was pitched around often this summer and started chasing more pitches out of the zone in the second half, when he hit just .219 with one homer in 64 at-bats. He has plenty of strength in his compact frame and could hit for average power.

Lowery's offense is ahead of his defense at this point. He needs to refine his receiving and especially his blocking, but he has a chance to be an adequate catcher in time. He has plus arm strength with excellent carry and accuracy on his throws, helping him throw out 43 percent of basestealers this spring and 35 percent this summer.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
253 43 62 23 1 6 43 54 56 3 2 .245 .377 .415
 
18. DANNY MUNO SS, BROOKLYN CYCLONES (METS)
Age: 22. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 175. Drafted: Fresno State '11 (8).
A consummate winner, Muno was the starting shortstop and offensive catalyst for Fresno State's 2008 national championship team as a freshman. He played third base as a senior this spring but moved back to short in the NY-P, which he led in batting (.355), on-base percentage (.466) and doubles (23). Not all scouts are sold on his bat, though he manages the strike zone very well, grinds out at-bats and has bat speed from both sides of the plate.

"He has some of the best knowledge of the strike zone I've ever seen from a young kid," Brooklyn manager Rich Donnelly said. "His bat is going to play and his OBP is ridiculous. He's been a winner his whole life. He's a tough kid and I just like him."

Muno lacks the range to be an everyday shortstop in the big leagues, but he has good infield actions and instincts to go along with a solid arm. He has a chance to be a regular at second base or a versatile utilityman who can fill in all over the infield. He has slightly above-average speed and good baserunning instincts.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
220 45 78 23 3 2 24 43 39 9 4 .355 .466 .514
 
19. BRANDEN PINDER RHP, STATEN ISLAND YANKEES
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210. Drafted: Long Beach State '11 (16).
After pitching mostly at 88-91 mph and posting a 5.29 ERA as a starter at Long Beach State this spring, Pinder was downright overpowering as Staten Island's closer. He streamlined his repertoire in a relief role, attacking hitters with a lively 93-94 mph fastball that topped out at 96.

Pinder backed up his heater with an effective slider that is short and quick and times and has more sweep and tilt at others. He has a strong, durable build and gets good extension out front in his delivery, making his ball jump on hitters.

"The game was over when he came in," Donnelly said. "He has a big league arm and big league stuff. We saw him too much."
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
24 0 2 2 14 1.16 31 16 4 4 1 5 38 .152
 
20. AARON ALTHERR OF, WILLIAMSPORT CROSSCUTTERS (PHILLIES)
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Avondale, Ariz. '09 (9).
Altherr ranked 15th on this list a year ago, and after he struggled in his first taste of low Class A this spring, the Phillies sent him back to Williamsport. He actually performed better in his first tour through the NY-P, but his potential remains evident.

A quality athlete, Altherr still is figuring things out at the plate. He has a compact swing for his size, giving him a chance to hit for a respectable average, and projects to have plus power as he fills out. His plate discipline needs improvement, however, and he's in the process of learning to string together consistent at-bats.

Altherr has average to plus speed and solid arm strength. He played some center field for the Crosscutters but spent most of his time in left, where he fits best. His prospect status is built more around projection than production, but his smooth actions and feel for the game suggest he has a chance to unlock his potential.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
269 41 70 12 2 5 31 13 52 25 4 .260 .302 .375