Scouting Reports: New York

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While there is no million-dollar player in New York this year like high school righthander Dellin Betances a year ago, there is decent depth in both the college and high school ranks. The class is ripe with college senior arms, from Army’s Nick Hill to Le Moyne’s Bobby Blevins to SUNY Cortland’s Jimmy Dougher. But there are really just two legitimate impact talents: prep righty Brian Dupra and Manhattan first baseman Matt Rizzotti, who offers big-time power potential in a draft starving for it. But Rizzotti comes with his share of caveats, like most of the players in this class.

National Top 200

Brian Dupra
, rhp, Greece Athena HS, Rochester,
2. Matt Rizzotti, 1b,
3. Nick Hill, lhp,

Other Prospects Of

4. Cory Riordan, rhp, Fordham
5. Greg Holle, rhp/of, Christian Brothers Academy, Albany, N.Y.
6. Nick Derba, c, Manhattan
7. Bobby Blevins, rhp, Le Moyne
8. Jesse Darcy, rhp, Manhattan
9. Alexander Beaulieu, rhp, Albany
10. Tom Koehler, rhp, Stony Brook
11. Tom Hill, c, Albany
12. Brian Pellegrini, 1b, St. Bonaventure
13. Matt Arburr, 1b/3b, Pace
14. Sean Lucas, lhp, Beacon HS, New York
15. Jimmy Dougher, rhp, SUNY Cortland
16. Hugh Henry, rhp, Mount Vernon (N.Y.) HS
17. Javier Martinez, rhp, Fordham
18. Scott Diamond, lhp, Binghamton
19. Zach Groh, rhp, Binghamton
20. Andy Parrino, ss, Le Moyne
21. Gary Novakowski, rhp, Stony Brook
22. Casey Walsh, rhp, Albany
23. Dan Maycock, of, SUNY Cortland
24. Mike Zaccardo, c, SUNY Cortland
25. Peter Gilardo, c, Dominican (N.Y.) College
26. Jonathan Candelier, c, Dewitt Clinton HS, Bronx
27. Paul Karmas, of, St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows, N.Y.
28. Jorge Navarette, lhp, New Utrecht HS, Brooklyn
29. Joe Eichhorn, rhp, New York Tech
30. T.J. Thomas, 1b, St. Dominic HS, Oyster Bay, N.Y.
31. Josh Santerre, lhp, Manhattan


1. Brian Dupra, rhp
(National rank:

Greece Athena HS, Rochester, N.Y. Class:
B-T: R-R.
Ht.: 6-3.
Wt.: 193.
The consensus top prep prospect in the state of
New York, Dupra’s stock has climbed with his velocity this spring. With
a projectable 6-foot-3 frame and a live arm, Dupra is a good competitor
who figured to add velocity to a fastball that was 88-92 mph earlier
this spring. One knock on Dupra has been that he gets underneath his
slider so the pitch is flat, and his curveball isn’t any better. But he
came on later in the season, sitting in the low 90s with his fastball
and running it up to 95, and flashing a breaking ball with potential.
His changeup remains unrefined, and he has a tendency to work away from
hitters, seldom challenging them inside. There is some effort to
Dupra’s delivery, including a violent head jerk, and scouts worry about
his durability. Signability is also a huge question mark, as Dupra is
committed to Notre

2. Matt Rizzotti, 1b
(National rank:

Manhattan. Class:
B-T: L-L.
Ht.: 6-6.
Wt.: 230.
Rizzotti burst onto the prospect landscape as a
freshman at Manhattan, batting .416/.530/.694 with nine homers and 57
RBIs. He tantalized scouts with his huge raw power in batting practice
in the New England Collegiate League that summer and again in the Cape
Cod League in 2006, but he was inconsistent in game action. Rizzotti
struggled out of the gate in 2007, when the weather seemed to hinder
his timing and rhythm. But he got hot in the second half and finished
the regular season with a career-high 11 homers. Rizzotti flashes 70
power (on the 20-80 scouting scale) and can hit balls out of the park
from foul pole to foul pole, but he hasn’t proven he can hit quality
pitching with any consistency. He has a patient approach, but some
scouts would like to see him be more aggressive. He also swings and
misses a lot and is vulnerable to fastballs inside. Rizzotti lacks
athleticism and mobility and is just an adequate defender at

3. Nick Hill, lhp
(National rank:

Army. Class:
B-T: L-L.
Ht.: 6-1.
Wt.: 185.
Hill struck out 13 over 8 2/3 innings in a
Patriot League tournament win over Navy ace Mitch Harris, putting an
exclamation point on a standout four-year college career that saw him
go 33-12, 2.20 with 336 strikeouts and 85 walks in 328 innings. The Red
Sox drafted him as a junior just to honor him, even though U.S.
Military Academy rules prevented him from signing. He has received
permission to put off his active duty to pursue his professional
baseball career this year. One of the fiercest competitors in the
nation, Hill has thrived this year even though his fastball sat around
87 mph with riding life, not approaching the low 90s he touched last
summer for USA Baseball’s college national team. He locates to both
sides of the plate with all his pitches, including a fringe-average,
slurvy curveball and a slightly above-average changeup. Hill could
climb into the fourth round as a money-saving senior

Experienced College Righties Abound

New York’s college class lacks impact talent but has decent depth, particularly on the mound. Righthander Cory Riordan
leads the way. He impressed scouts last summer in the Cape Cod League,
where he went 3-1, 2.70, but he has been inconsistent this spring, as
he was a year ago at Fordham. The word “enigma” often comes up when
scouts talk about Riordan, who is capable of dominating–he became the
first Fordham pitcher to strike out 100 batters in a season since
1939–but has also put together some very bad outings. With a loose arm
and a smooth delivery, Riordan works with a four-pitch mix. His 89-92
mph fastball has late movement, and he commands it well. His soft
curveball is below-average, but he has relied more heavily upon an
84-86 mph slider with late bite that could be a slightly above-average
pitch, and he has feel for a changeup. Despite his stuff, Riordan
struggles to put hitters away when he’s ahead in the count. Makeup is
also a concern. One scout called Riordan a “low-energy, low-enthusiasm
guy” whose poor body language turned him off, while another called him

Riordan’s Fordham teammate Javier Martinez
is the brother of former Boston College pitcher Joseph Martinez, now in
high Class A with the Giants. Javier has always possessed a good arm
and decent stuff, including an 87-91 mph fastball that has touched 93
in the past, an average changeup and a passable breaking ball.
Unfortunately, he still hasn’t learned how to command any of his
pitches. He walked 64 in 94 innings this season, giving him 219 walks
in 296 innings over his four-year career.

A couple of other senior righthanders had better seasons. Le Moyne’s Bobby Blevins
has been a consistent weekend starter for four years, but this might be
his best season yet–he’s gone 9-2, 2.77 with 99 strikeouts in 104
innings. Blevins pitches in the 88-91 mph range and mixes in a good
slider, but his best attribute is his competitiveness and toughness. He
pitched all of 2006 with a torn labrum in his left hip and still went
10-2, 2.57. Blevins has excellent command and the ability to throw four
types of fastballs–a four-seamer, a two-seamer, a cutter and one from
a sidearm delivery Manhattan’s Jesse Darcy
went 9-3, 2.19 this spring with less impressive pure stuff than some of
the pitchers ranked ahead of him. Darcy has touched 90-92 mph on scout
day, but he pitches in the mid- to upper 80s. He shows a fringe-average
knuckle curveball, a changeup that rates a tick below-average and an
occasional hard slider. He mixes locations and speeds well, but his
ceiling isn’t high.

Stony Brook righty Tom Koehler
has a stronger arm than Blevins or Darcy, but his numbers are not
impressive (5-8, 4.98, 87 strikeouts and 39 walks in 85 innings).
Koehler works consistently in the low 90s and touches 94 regularly, and
his low-80s slider and high-70s splitter both have promise. Walks
aren’t a major problem, but he needs to command his stuff better in the
zone. Koehler is 6-foot-3 but has a big lower half and lacks
projection. His teammate, Gary Novakowski,
is a fastball/slider guy with less arm strength but better command and
some projection. Novakowski is a lean 6-foot-4 with an easy arm action
and a high-80s fastball. Righthander Alexander Beaulieu
is a big-bodied closer who saved 10 games for Albany this spring. He
runs his fastball up to 92 mph and shows a hammer curveball at times.

After Nick Hill, the best southpaw in the state is Binghamton’s Scott Diamond,
the No. 7 prospect in the Coastal Plain League last summer. Diamond’s
three-pitch mix features an 85-88 mph fastball, a curveball that has
depth at times, and a changeup with occasional armside run and sink.
His cutter (appropriately called the “Diamond cutter”) was effective
against wood bats last summer but not so good against metal, so he
seldom threw it this spring. Diamond still has some mechanical
adjustments to make in his delivery, and there is some projection left
in his 6-foot-3 frame. Fellow Bearcat Zach Groh,
a redshirt junior, was among the nation’s ERA leaders a year ago
(1.85), and he went 7-1, 3.28 this spring. He has an outstanding slider
that he can throw in any count, and he commands a changeup and
curveball as well. He also has good command of his fastball, but it’s
short on velocity for a righthander (85-88 mph).

Division III power SUNY Cortland has a few players with a chance to get
drafted as well. Like Diamond, senior righthander Jimmy Dougher
excelled in the CPL last summer, going 7-1, 0.79 with a 45-5
strikeout-walk ratio in 57 innings. He followed that up by going 8-2,
0.63 with a 74-7 K-BB ratio in 86 innings this spring. Control is
Dougher’s calling card, and he pitches from a good downhill plane
thanks to his 6-foot-7 frame and over-the-top arm slot. His delivery
isn’t fluid, but he keeps the ball down and doesn’t walk many. He
pitches in the 86-88 mph range, touching 90-91 occasionally, and his
12-to-6 curveball is a decent offering. His slider and changeup are
fringy at best. Dougher is a good athlete for his size, fields his
position well and he has a good pickoff move.

Catcher Mike Zaccardo
has decent pop to all fields, but his real strength is behind the
plate. Zaccardo has a plus arm and has become a solid receiver. A
former high school quarterback, he is a good athlete, but his body
draws comparisons to Mike Lavalliere and Kelly Stinnett. Six-foot-7
outfielder Dan Maycock is a
switch-hitter with raw power from both sides of the plate–he homered
from both sides in the same game earlier this year. He has average
speed but a well-below-average arm. Maycock’s swing still has
significant holes, but you can dream on his athleticism and size.

New York’s crop of college position players is led by Rizzotti and his Jaspers teammate, senior catcher Nick Derba.
One of the top catch-and-throw guys in the Northeast, Derba has a quick
release and adequate arm strength, yielding 1.8- to 1.9-second pop
times, though his accuracy could improve. He receives well and calls a
good game, but he needs to get better at blocking balls in the dirt.
Derba has a bit of pop, as evidenced by his 11 home runs this spring,
but he doesn’t profile to hit for power in pro ball. He typically puts
the barrel on the ball in hitter’s counts, but he struggles when he
falls behind.

Albany’s Tom Hill
is in a similar class–a solid but unspectacular catcher with a
passable bat. Hill has a stronger arm than Derba, and he’s more
athletic. At the plate, he has the ability to spray doubles to all
fields (he racked up 22 of them in 54 games this spring). Division II
Dominican catcher Peter Gilardo
has the strongest arm of the bunch, rating as a 70 on the 20-80
scouting scale. He’s also an adequate receiver with a good pro body and
a decent swing, but his hit tool lags behind and he has no power.

There are a couple of burly first basemen worth keeping an eye on. St. Bonaventure’s Brian Pellegrini
was described by one scout as a statistical giant (.391/.498/.833 with
17 home runs and 59 RBIs this spring), but he’s a giant in stature, too
(6-foot-1, 240 pounds). He was the Bonnies’ best pitcher as a freshman
and played with a torn labrum in 2006 that eventually ended his
pitching career. He has above-average raw power and an advanced
approach, with the ability to identify breaking balls and see plenty of
pitches. His body draws comparisons to Pete Incaviglia, but he’s sneaky
quick–he runs the 60-yard dash in 7.0 seconds.

Division II Pace’s Matt Arburr
is even bigger at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds. His 12 home runs this spring
accounted for more than half of his team’s total, as Pace plays in the
wood-bat Northeast-10 Conference. Like Pellegrini, Arburr has
above-average raw power, and he’ll run into some balls. But he strikes
out far too much and struggled in the New England Collegiate Baseball
League last summer.

Prep Class Offers Projectable Arms

The state’s high school class offers few polished arms, but there are some with upside. Righthander/outfielder Greg Holle
was held back early in the season after wrenching his back swinging a
weighted bat in the on-deck circle. He has run his fastball up to 93
mph and shown the ability to spin a breaking ball. A good basketball
player, Holle has a projectable frame and a loose arm, but there’s
effort in his delivery. Offensively, Holle has big-time raw power and
is a plus runner, but there are huge holes in his swing. Signability is
a major issue with the Texas Christian recruit.

Like many pitchers in the Northeast this year, lefthander Sean Lucas
struggled early when the weather was particularly bad. His velocity was
down in the low to mid-80s and he struggled to command his curveball.
Lucas first drew attention at a Perfect Game showcase in Jupiter last
fall, when he bumped 90-91 mph and showed an average curve. He’s
athletic and projectable, but his mechanics and stuff remain raw. No
team is likely to buy Lucas out of his commitment to Virginia.

Righthander Hugh Henry
has also run his fastball up to 90-91 mph but usually pitches in the
mid-80s, and he also projects to add velocity as he adds strength to
his lean frame. He flashes a promising hard slider and has a fairly
clean arm action, and he stands to improve his stock with three years
at Pittsburgh.

There are few noteworthy high school bats in New York. Catcher Jonathan Candelier is a good defender with a strong arm, but his bat has not progressed at the same pace. Outfielder Paul Karmas
is in the same boat–he’s a good athlete with a physical frame and a
strong outfield arm, but he needs to improve offensively over the next
three years at St. John’s. First baseman T.J. Thomas has some strength and bat potential but lacks athleticism and polish.