Summer League Top Prospects
We spotlight the most impressive summer stars
From Aug. 27-Sept. 1, we have unveiled the top 10 prospect lists for 18 different summer college leagues. Everyone can read the scouting report on each league's top prospect, and subscribers can read the scouting reports for the full Top 10s. Links are added as each league is posted.
ATLANTIC COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Nick Tropeano, rhp, Riverhead (So., Stony Brook)
Tropeano came on strong down the stretch as Stony Brook's No. 3 starter this spring and was downright dominant this summer in the ACBL, going 7-3, 1.61 with a 77-14 strikeout-walk ratio in 50 innings to win the league's pitching triple crown. Tropeano's bread and butter is his biting breaking ball, and he uses his changeup effectively as well. He could add velocity to his 87-88 mph fastball as he grows into his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame. Tropeano earns plaudits for his composed demeanor and focus on the mound.
No. 1 Kevin Jacob, rhp, Anchorage Bucs (Jr., Georgia Tech)
Jacob settled in as Georgia Tech's closer during the second half of last season and the success carried over to summer league play. With an unorthodox, over-the-top delivery, Jacob whips fastballs that sit in the mid-90s and top out at 98 mph. He also has an above-average breaking ball that helped him put up some video-game numbers as the Bucs' closer this summer. Over 24 appearances, the 6-foot-6, 223-pound righthander went 2-1, 0.34 with 12 saves, 45 strikeouts and four walks in 27 innings, an indication that he has made progress toward eliminating the command lapses that have plagued him in the past. He was about as dominating as you can get—opposing hitters batted just .101 against him (9-for-89).
CAL RIPKEN SR. COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Kevin Brady, rhp, Youse's Orioles (So., Clemson)
Brady ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Ripken League last year but made just four appearances as a freshman on Clemson's deep pitching staff this spring. He dazzled back in the Ripken League this summer, going 2-2, 1.53 with 38 strikeouts and five walks in 29 innings. Brady shows an average to plus fastball with some sink that he controls at 90-94 mph from a high three-quarters slot. Brady is deceptively strong and holds his fastball velocity beyond the sixth inning. His other pitches are works in progress: a 71-75 curve with below-average depth and an average 83-85 changeup. Brady is still working on commanding the zone with all three offerings, but he has significant upside.
CALIFORNIA COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Kevin Gelinas, lhp, Conejo (Jr., UC Santa Barbara)
Gelinas has been a prospect everywhere he goes, from Pepperdine to Central Arizona JC to the California Collegiate League. He ranked second on the league's prospect list last summer and gets the nod this year for his big body and power repertoire. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound southpaw pumps his fastball in the 90-94 mph range and struck out 54 in just 36 innings. He still needs to work on control (20 walks), but Gelinas profiles as a fast-moving lefthanded reliever in the Alan Embree mold at the pro level. He's transferring to UC Santa Barbara for his junior season.
CAPE COD LEAGUE
No. 1. Chris Sale, lhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Florida Gulf Coast)
Sale won the Cape's pitcher of the year award after tying for the league lead with four victories and topping the Cape with 57 strikeouts and 55 innings. He was also the East Division's MVP at the all-star game, where he required just six pitches to work a perfect inning. Sale has a lean 6-foot-6, 185-pound frame and comes at hitters from a low arm slot. His fastball sits at 90-93 mph, features good life and should continue to add velocity as he fills out. His changeup gives him an effective weapon against righthanders, while his breaking ball needs refinement.
CLARK GRIFFITH LEAGUE
No. 1 K.C. Hobson, 1b/of, Southern Maryland (SIGNED: Blue Jays)
Hobson, the son of former Red Sox third baseman and later manager Butch Hobson, would have been a valuable two-way player for Texas A&M but instead signed with the Blue Jays on Aug. 17 for a $500,000 bonus as a sixth-round pick. He played just 15 games in the Clark Griffith League before signing but tore the league apart, batting .431/.448/.708 in 65 at-bats. Thirteen of his 25 hits in regular-season play were for extra bases (eight doubles, five triples). Hobson shows above-average savvy as a hitter and makes pro-level adjustments during at-bats—he struck out just twice all summer against much older competition. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Hobson has below-average speed but runs well underway, which may allow him to play a corner outfield spot at the pro level.
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
No. 1 Will Lamb, lhp/of, Peninsula (So., Clemson)
Lamb has a long way to go in all facets, but he has considerable upside as a pitcher and as an outfielder. He made six starts on the mound this summer, going 1-3, 6.23 but striking out 32 and walking 10 in 30 innings, and he also hit .236/.307/.362 with 26 steals. As a pitcher, he works with an 87-91 mph fastball that tops out at 92-93 and an improving slider. He's long and loose at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, and he figures to add velocity to his fastball and power to his bat as he matures physically. He has a good lefthanded swing and quick hands, and he flashes big pull power in batting practice, but he's still learning how to hit. He's a plus runner underway who has been clocked at 6.6 seconds in the 60-yard dash, and he has the athleticism and arm strength to play center or right field.
FLORIDA COLLEGIATE SUMMER LEAGUE
No. 1 Jabari Blash, of, DeLand (So., Miami-Dade CC)
Blash has tremendous raw talent, and he was drafted by the Rangers in the ninth round this June but did not sign. Blash has a great body at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds and has the potential to be a five-tool player. He has a strong enough arm to play right field and enough speed to play center. Blash hit .279/.400/.365 in 104 at-bats this summer but hit just one homer after blasting 10 in 102 at-bats this spring. He has plus raw power to go along with his plus speed and plus arm, but he has holes in his swing and is still learning the nuances of the game.
GREAT LAKES LEAGUE
No. 1 Kolbrin Vitek, 2b/rhp, Lake Erie (So., Ball State)
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Vitek hit everything he saw at the plate this summer, winning the league's first triple crown award in 23 years by hitting .400/.452/.741 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. He also stole 10 bases. Vitek is, at minimum, a four-tool player. At the plate, he works deep counts to get a good pitch to hit and flashes plus power to all fields. Vitek ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash at the league's all-star game on turf, but he plays with average speed in games. His strong arm translates well in the field, where he also has good range and hands. Though Vitek played second base for Lake Erie, he played third for Ball State and profiles more as a corner infielder. He also worked in the low-90s as a weekend starter this spring but sat out most of the summer with a fatigued shoulder.
No. 1 Wes Cunningham, 1b, El Dorado (Sr., Murray State)
Cunningham wasn't drafted this June even after hitting .380 and .411 the last two seasons for the Racers. Just 5-foot-11, he doesn't profile at first but ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash at a pro workout this summer and could move to the outfield. He showed gap power while hitting .402 this summer and uses the whole field well; his power would improve if he learned to pull the ball more. Cunningham helped lead the Broncos to the NBC World Series title, scoring the winning run in the championships against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.
No. 1 Mike Morin, rhp, Mac-N-Seitz (Fr., North Carolina)
Morin's 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame screams projection. He was drafted by the Royals in the 40th round in June, and after a few dominating outings a number of high-profile college programs started following Morin's starts in the MINK. Originally committed to Iowa Western CC, Morin signed with North Carolina midway through the summer after UNC pitching coach Scott Forbes watched him dominate for eight shutout innings with 13 strikeouts while only allowing one hit and one walk. Morin's fastball consistently sits in the 90-91 mph range and he occasionally touches 93. Morin has a very good curveball with sharp bite and he began to get a better feel for his changeup as the season progressed. Morin also flashes a slider, but his curveball is his main out pitch and he can throw it for strikes. Morin has a very natural delivery with good balance and a clean arm action.
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Devin Jones, rhp, Danbury(So., Mississippi State)
Jones broke his throwing hand early this spring as a freshman for Mississippi State and struggled in 23 innings upon his return, posting a 9.26 ERA, but he turned a corner in the NECBL this summer, going 3-1, 2.79 with 35 strikeouts and 18 walks in 29 innings. Opponents hit just .176 off him, an indication of the quality of his stuff, though he's still working on refining his command and control. Jones works in the 88-92 mph range with a good two-seam fastball and has a promising slider, though his changeup is a work in progress. He figures to add velocity as he continues filling out his lean 6-foot-2 frame—he arrived at MSU weighing 165 pounds but has already added 15 pounds.
NEW YORK COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Braden Kapteyn, rhp/1b, Amsterdam(So., Kentucky)
Kapteyn overpowered the NYCBL this summer, going 4-1, 2.47 with 72 strikeouts and 25 walks in 42 innings, almost exclusively in a starting role after working mostly in relief for Kentucky this spring. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Kapteyn has good sink on his 90-94 mph fastball and has made great strides with his slider, which projects as an average or slightly better pitch. Kapteyn was drafted as a position player in the 39th round in 2008, and he does have legitimate raw power. He hit .319/.387/.458 with four homers this summer, but his pro future is likely on the mound.
No. 1 Rob Brantly, c, La Crosse(So., UC Riverside)
Widely regarded as one of the top recruits in Southern California last year, Brantly had a solid freshman season at UCR (hitting .316/.344/.454) before exploding in the NWL. He led the league in batting (.346), ranked third in on-base percentage (.411) and second in slugging (.516), while compiling six homers and 34 RBIs. He showed off his mature offensive approach and ability to make consistent contact by drawing 21 walks and striking out just 11 times, the fewest of any NWL qualifier. Brantly's smooth lefthanded swing creates good backspin, and he projects to add more power as he fills out his wiry 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame. Behind the plate, he's a decent receiver and blocker with some arm strength, though his defense lags a bit behind his bat.
No. 1 Mikie Mahtook, of, Danville (So., Louisiana State)
Mahtook played in just six games for Danville, but the freshman hero of LSU's 2009 national championship run made quite an impression. A freakish athlete who gained renown as a football quarterback in high school, Mahtook has true five-tool potential. He's built like a rock (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) and has yet to truly tap into his above-average raw power, though he did hit seven home runs in 196 at-bats for LSU as a freshman. Mahtook is also an above-average runner with a strong arm who projects as an above-average defender in center field. Mahtook is still raw in most aspects of his game, but the tools and potential are there. Mahtook has a reputation as a hard worker, and he already has developed quickly since abandoning football to focus solely on baseball.
TEXAS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1 Nathan Karns, rhp, Coppell (SIGNED: Nationals)
A hard-throwing righty with a good pitcher's build at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, Karns never quite harnessed his power repertoire in his freshman year at North Carolina State or his two seasons at Texas Tech. He turned a corner this summer, going 4-0, 1.20 with 47 strikeouts and 17 walks for the league champions. Karns delivers a low-90s fastball—which has been clocked up to 96 mph as recently as last summer in the Cape Cod League—and a hard, late-breaking curveball from a three-quarters arm slot. But if he is to cure his command struggles for good, he will need to smooth out a few mechanical kinks in his delivery. Karns signed with the Nationals as a 12th-rounder right before the Aug. 17 deadline for $225,000.
No. 1 Daniel Bowman, of, Luray (So., Coastal Carolina)
Bowman offers a complete package of tools to go along with a physical 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame. His strength was on display throughout the spring when he batted .333/.382/.590 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs as a freshman for the Chanticleers. And he inflicted similar damage to Valley League pitchers this summer, hitting .298/.354/.489 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs for the Wranglers and winning the Mid-Atlantic Classic home run derby. Although scouts say he has 60 raw power, there is some length in his lefthanded swing and he remains vulnerable against high fastballs. Bowman possesses a solid-average arm from the outfield and has above-average speed, making right field a likely destination for him in pro ball. He also exhibits good instincts for the game, which make an already impressive collection of tools play up.
WEST COAST LEAGUE
No. 1 Andrew Susac, c, Corvallis (Fr., Oregon State)
As one of the youngest players in the league, Susac showed the tools that made him one of Baseball America's Top 200 prospects heading into this year's draft. Signability questions caused him to slip until the 16th round on draft day, when the Phillies took a chance on him, but he'll head back to Corvallis in the fall and will suit up for Oregon State. The reports on him this summer lined up with what was said about him in the spring. He's a great defender who is still trying to figure it out offensively. Susac has good athletic ability behind the plate, received and handled his pitching staff well and showed off above-average arm strength. He was over-aggressive at the plate and hit .202/.288/.317 in 104 at-bats, but he has a strong, 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame and hit two home runs this summer. If he can improve his timing, he could develop into a good home run hitter.