Valley League Top 10 Prospects

1. Yonder Alonso, 1b, Luray (Miami)

Back spasms slowed him toward the end of the summer, but Alonso still managed to hit eight home runs and slug .556 in 99 at-bats for the Wranglers after leading Miami with 10 homers as a freshman this spring. A disciplined lefthanded hitter who can wait on an offspeed pitch or turn on a fastball, Alonso’s best tool is his above-average power. He’s also a solid defensive first baseman, with soft hands and surprisingly good mobility.

2. Blake Tekotte, of, Woodstock (Miami)

Tekotte, who hit .354 in 82 at-bats for Woodstock, owns an intriguing all-around package of speed, power potential and defense. He makes consistent, hard contact with gap power and enough bat speed to hit occasional home runs. Tekotte plays a shallow center field but has no trouble tracking down balls over his head thanks to his plus speed and excellent instincts. He also has an above-average arm and is an intelligent baserunner.

3. Paul Burnside, rhp, Winchester (Auburn)

Burnside did not take long to make a name for himself in the Valley, striking out 14 in a perfect game in his first start of the summer. Burnside, the son of former major league lefthander Sheldon Burnside, logged 25 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run during one stretch in the Southeastern Conference in his freshman year this spring. Burnside has a projectable 6-foot-4, 207-pound frame and a lively 89-93 mph fastball. He has ditched his curveball in favor of a promising slider, and he flashes an improving changeup.

4. Tyler Kuhn, ss, Luray (West Virginia)

Kuhn was named the Valley League MVP after leading Luray to its first championship and leading the league in batting (.374), slugging (.570), runs (34) and triples (5). A second baseman his first two seasons at West Virginia, Kuhn moved to shortstop this summer, where the Mountaineers plan to play him in 2007. He showed adequate range and arm strength for the position, but he probably still profiles better at second. Kuhn is a scrappy, hard-working player who can keep fouling off pitches at the plate until he gets one he can drive. Kuhn is a line-to-line hitter with some pop and slightly above-average speed.

5. Brandon Dickson, rhp, New Market (Tusculum, Tenn., College)

The Valley League’s saves leader (13) and wins leader (five in relief), Dickson simply overwhelms hitters with gas. He showed good command of a low-to-mid-90s fastball while mixing in occasional cutters as a change of pace. Dickson has clean mechanics and a confident demeanor on the mound. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder signed with the Cardinals after the Valley season and made six appearances in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, going 1-0, 7.11.

6. Jamie McOwen, of, Luray (Florida International)

McOwen led the Valley with 17 doubles, an indicator of his smooth, lefthanded, line-drive swing, perfectly tailored to driving doubles into the gaps. The first thing managers said about McOwen is that he is a tough out, thanks to his bulldog mentality and ability to make solid contact. He also has developing power, above-average speed and a strong outfield arm to go along with good defensive instincts. He is a smart ballplayer with an excellent work ethic.

7. Josh Dew, rhp/3b, Harrisonburg (Troy)

After pounding 17 home runs and going 5-1, 2.98 in 48 relief innings for the Trojans this spring, Dew wasn't drafted, then struggled mightily at the plate for Harrisonburg thanks to an injury to his non-throwing elbow. Nevertheless, he still showed impressive stuff in limited bullpen innings. He throws a 92-94 mph fastball, but his best pitch is an above-average mid-80s slider. Dew does need to work on his mechanics, as his back arm tends to drag a bit and he opens up his front shoulder.

8. Adam White, of, Waynesboro (West Virginia)

A balky hamstring held White out of the VBL playoffs, but he had already established himself as the fastest player in the league. White uses his well-above-average speed to cover lots of ground in center field, and his arm is fringe-average, but he’s got to improve his release. White also needs to learn how to use his speed more effectively on the basepaths, where he’s still learning how to read pitchers. A switch-hitter, White turns plenty of ground balls into infield hits, and he is a good bunter.

9. Jordan Karnofsky, 1b/of, Front Royal (California)

Karnofsky redshirted at Cal in 2005 after having surgery on his right shoulder, but he returned to play 25 games this spring, batting .283/.377./457. With a sturdy 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame, his plus raw power is his best tool, and he showed it off this summer, slugging .483 (fourth-best in the league). Karnofsky is aggressive early in the count but needs to work on his approach with two strikes, and while he showed an ability to hit to the opposite field in batting practice, it has not translated as well into games. He has decent agility for his size and can play a corner outfield spot or first base.

10. Clint Robinson, 1b, Harrisonburg (Troy)

Robinson did not have a standout summer, hitting .254/.352/.440 with six homers in 134 at-bats, but when he connected, he hit the ball a long way. A 6-foot-5, 225-pound specimen, Robinson has big-time raw power but tends to struggle against quality curveballs and needs to learn to harness his power by pulling the ball more. He is a decent defensive first baseman who also probably has enough arm strength for right field.