2006 Texas Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects

1. Randy Boone, rhp, Coppell (Texas)

entering the season in contention for a rotation spot with the
Longhorns, an elbow injury limited Boone’s junior season to just 41
innings, mostly in relief. However, Boone assuaged any long-term
concerns with his TCL performance, going 6-0, 1.09. Beyond the
statistics, Boone wowed opposing coaches and scouts with a mid-80s
slider that is already considered major league quality. Boone’s
fastball sat in the 92-94 mph range all summer, and in one complete
game he hit 94 mph in the ninth inning, showing endurance he never had
in three years with Texas. Boone will have to make further strides with
his changeup in the fall.

2. Aaron Luna, 2b/of, Euless (Rice)

2,000-yard running back on the Texas high school scene, Luna’s body
seems more designed for pigskin than cowhide. As a result of his
muscular 5-foot-10 frame, Luna showed the most power projection in the
league, following his 16 home runs as a freshman in the spring. He
combines his home run potential with a very sound approach at the
plate, batting a robust .299 this summer. But Luna lacks defensive
polish. Rice tried him at third base in the spring, with lackluster
results, and Luna failed to impress at second in the summer. Scouts
believe the athletic slugger will end up in left field, a demanding
offensive position he should be able to handle.

3. Brian Friday, ss, Duncanville (Rice)

didn’t take long for Friday to turn heads at Rice, where he quickly
pushed the accomplished Josh Rodriguez to third base and led the Owls
in hitting. In the summer, Friday continued to impress, even while
hitting just .190. His best skills are in the field, where Friday’s
athleticism produces fantastic range, and he boasts a strong arm. On
the bases Friday combines plus speed–among the best in the
league–with excellent baseball insticts. At the plate, Friday uses a
short, quick swing to make consistent contact. Scouts’ most significant
concern comes from Friday’s lack of power, and he’ll need to get
stronger as he develops.

4. Seth Garrison, rhp, Duncanville (Texas Christian)

high-profile recruit for Arizona State, Garrison had an emergency
appendectomy during the Sun Devils’ 2005 College World Series run.
Garrison spent a year in community college, but the righthander will
move to Texas Christian next season. A former two-way standout,
Garrison draws praise for his athletic ability on the mound. His best
pitch is a low-80s power curveball with 12-to-6 downward movement,
which ranked as the league’s best breaking ball. He used it to strike
out 75 batters, second-most in the league. The problem is that Garrison
has fallen in love with the pitch, throwing it too often. Coaches say
that once Garrison learns to trust his good, low-90s fastball more
often, his game will take a large step forward.

5. Jess Todd, rhp, Coppell (Arkansas)

two successful years in junior college, Todd will make the jump to
Division I ball in the spring with Arkansas after spending his first
two seasons at Navarro (Texas) JC. Todd led the TCL in strikeouts with
85 in 61 innings, relying primarily on his hard, mid-80s slider that
tops out at 87 mph as his strikeout pitch. The slider has a tendency to
go flat at top velocity, but when Todd gets proper depth, coaches call
the pitch unhittable. His fastball also has made strides, as he now
works in the low 90s, touching 93 at times. The righthander has made
strides with a changeup, but the pitch lags behind his two plus
offerings. Reported to have spurned the Tigers’ $150,000 bonus offer as
a free agent this summer, Todd should compete with Alaska League
prospect Duke Welker for the No. 3 spot in a loaded Arkansas weekend
rotation behind Nick Schmidt and Shaun Siebert.

6. Jeff Nutt, c, Coppell (Arkansas)

teammate at Navarro JC, Nutt will also make the jump to Arkansas in the
spring. Labeled by some as the best hitter in the league, Nutt’s flat
bat drew rave reviews from coaches around the league. Armed with a
sound approach that makes him difficult to strike out, Nutt has the
ability to make consistent, hard contact to all fields, with power.
Behind the plate is a different story, as few believe Nutt will survive
much longer as a catcher. While he offers the arm for the position,
Nutt has footwork described as “irreparable,” leading to a likely
future move to first base. Coaches do believe the slugger will hit
enough for the position move.

7. Kirkland Rivers, lhp/cf, Mineral Wells (Texas A&M)

is best known for his speed in center field, and few in the league saw
him on the mound, where he likely profiles best. The southpaw is now 16
months removed from Tommy John surgery, and coaches were reluctant to
pitch him often in the summer, as he made just six appearances spanning
nine innings. The reins should come off in College Station next spring,
where Rivers figures to become a focal point of the Aggies’ bullpen.
Deception is the key with Rivers, as his strange delivery forces
batters to wait longer on his pitches, thrown from a low three-quarters
angle. His fastball is a weapon by itself, thrown hard for a lefty in
the low 90s. Rivers’ curveball has been kept under wraps since surgery,
but the pitch has good late bite at its best. Thus far, Rivers has had
no trouble retiring lefthanded hitters, and his advancement against
righthanders in the spring will determine his pro potential.

8. Matt Willard, ss, Euless (Arkansas)

terms of defensive tools, Willard was among the best position players
in the league. He has a rocket for an infield arm, capable of making
throws from anywhere on the field. And thanks to fantastic speed and
instincts, Willard has both great range and good baserunning skills.
While Willard excels in those areas, his offensive game needs
improvement. Willard shows little in the power department, even with
metal, and he must shorten his swing and make more consistent contact
to hit for higher average. He showed progress in that area this summer,
leading Euless and ranking third in the league with a .336 batting
average. While Willard could be considered a project, his athleticism
promises to keep scouts interested.

9. Justin Garcia, rhp, Graham (New Orleans)

lacks the projection of other players on this list, but no pitcher in
the Texas Collegiate League had a better feel for pitching. Garcia is
undersized at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, but he has good command of his
high-80s fastball that touches 91, and he uses the pitch to set hitters
up. His best pitch is a good slider that Garcia can throw both for
strikes and for strikeouts, depending on the situation. In addition,
the righthander has a solid change that he made strides with during the
summer. Armed with an intelligent three-pitch attack, Garcia was among
the league’s most consistent starters.

10. Wade Mackey, rhp, Mineral Wells (Baylor)

son of missionary parents, Mackey spent the early years of his life in
Africa. As a result, the righthander had a late start to baseball and
is still quite raw off the mound. However, the coaches at Baylor
allowed Mackey to walk on when they saw the projectablity in his
6-foot-3, 225-pound frame. Mackey currently throws four pitches for
strikes, starting with an 88-91 mph fastball that touches 93. Against
righthanded batters he uses a good slider as an out pitch, saving his
curveball and change for lefthanders. Mackey will lose his redshirt
this season, and if he duplicates his summer consistency, he could wind
up in Baylor’s weekend rotation quickly.