2007 Central Illinois Collegiate League Top 10 Prospects

Postseason recap: Dubois had the best record in the four-team Central Illinois Collegiate League at just 25-23, then won the league’s postseason tournament to sweep to an undisputed championship. Bombers outfielder Brandon Knox (Creighton) was the postseason MVP by going 5-for-7 and scoring four runs in the two games.

1. A.J. Griffin, rhp, Danville (So., San Diego)

Griffin’s excellent command of his low-90s fastball and three plus secondary pitches makes him one of the CICL’s top performers (4-2, 2.61, 43 strikeouts in 31 innings), in addition to being the top prospect. Opposing hitters batted just .147 against him. The big righthander had the best changeup and sharpest slider in the league. Griffin is a power pitcher who could close long-term, as he did for San Diego in the spring (11 saves). His power curveball has good depth and deception but at times lacks command.

2. Ricky Bowen, rhp, Danville (So., Mississippi State)

With a loose arm and a fastball that sits in the low to mid-90s, Bowen overpowered CICL hitters all summer long, posting a league-best 54 strikeouts in just 37 innings. Bowen’s ability to locate his fastball on each corner of the plate and heavy velocity made him the best flamethrower in the league. At times, Bowen kept hitters off balance with his sharp slider with good depth, and he showed some feel for a changeup. If he can develop a solid third pitch with good command, Bowen should be able to start after working as a reliever at Mississippi State in the spring.

3. Bradley Goldsmith, of, Dubois County (Sr., St. Edward’s, Texas)

For the second straight year Goldsmith was one of the best players with the best tools in the league. The small-framed, 5-foot-10 outfielder brings four plus tools to the table every game. Managers and scouts who saw Goldsmith play say the only tool he doesn’t have is a power bat. Goldsmith’s passion for the game and effort was unparalleled. The league’s best basestealer (28) ranked third in the league in batting. At the plate, Goldsmith has a great approach to hitting and good hands. Of the top 30 hitters in the league, Goldsmith was the hardest hitter to strike out (just 16 in 192 at-bats). In the outfield, Goldsmith possesses a plus arm with good carry, and his speed gives him the range to run down balls in the alleys.

4. David Brown, rhp, Danville (So., Long Beach State)

Brown had some the nastiest stuff in the league, but had to leave the team halfway through the season due to an injury. Prior to getting hurt, Brown had gone 0-0, 1.69 with 29 strikeouts in 21 innings for the Dans. Brown’s low three-quarters delivery generates 87-89 mph heat. Righthanded hitters had trouble picking up the ball from Brown’s delivery and hit a mere .205 against him. Brown also commands a good slider with some depth and showed good feel for a changeup. The 6-foot, 180-pounder is transferring from Sierra (Calif.) JC to Long Beach State next year.

5. Connor Powers, 3b, Dupage County (So., Mississippi State)

Powers followed up his solid spring at Mississippi State (.306, 8 homers) with a powerful summer in the CICL, hitting .304/.405/.510 with five home runs, second-best in the league. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Powers has a smooth swing one manager compared to that of Brewers rookie Ryan Braun. His biggest strength is his bat, but he still has a long way to go defensively at third base. Powers has a strong arm with good carry but his glove was sporadic at times.

6. James Meador, of/rhp, Danville (So., San Diego)

Like Goldsmith, Meador is another four-tool type player who only lacks power (he had one extra-base hit in 65 at-bats this spring for San Diego). He has average tools complemented by a blue-collar style of play that gets the most out of his ability. Meador could develop more into a power hitter due to his already strong, athletic, 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. Meador has good arm strength in the outfield that also plays on the mound, where his fastball sits in the upper 80s. He flashed an above-average slider with plus command.

7. Ryan Schimpf, of/2b, Danville (So., Louisiana State)

Schimpf is smaller-framed, versatile player who at times showed good bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate, though his performance tailed off late in the season. He still tied for the league lead in walks and has fringe-average speed. With a bit more quickness, the lefthanded hitter would fit the profile of a No. 2 hitter. Schimpf is projected to be a second baseman at the next level with his average arm. He showed great maturity despite being one of the youngest players in the CICL and impressed coaches around the league with his great work ethic.

8. Tyson Blaser, c, Quincy (So., Iowa)

Tyson was the best catching prospect in the CICL this summer. Using a plus arm, clean footwork and quick exchange, he registered a 1.9-second pop time to second base and was the toughest backstop to steal on, as he threw out 44 percent of opposing basestealers. Blaser showed great field leadership skills and showed that he can handle pitchers well. At the plate, Blaser hit .276 with little power, and his offense lags behind his defense.

9. Cole Tyrell, ss, Dupage (So., Dayton)

Despite making 20 errors this summer, league managers around the league said Tyrell had the best tools of any of the shortstop in the league. Tyrell’s soft hands and plus infield arm stood out. He played in all but one game this summer and led the league with a .467 on-base percentage (thanks in part to 21 HBPs). Tyrell showed his speed on the basepaths as he stole 22 bases for the Dragons. At the plate, Tyrell showed that he can hit a good fastball but still needs development on hitting breaking balls, and his power is mostly to the gaps.

10. Ryan Duffy, c/1b, Dupage County (So., Mississippi State)

Duffy was the top lefthanded-hitting power prospect in the CICL. With a big, strong body, Duffy generates above-average bat speed and plus power, and he won the CICL home run derby. Duffy handles the inner half of the plate well, but still needs to show that he can drive the ball the other way. In the field, Duffy doesn’t really have a primary position yet as he played catcher and first base throughout the summer. Behind the plate, Duffy threw out just 17 percent of basestealers and led the league with 13 passed balls.