2011 ACBL Top 10 Prospects

Postseason Recap: The Staten Island Tide went 21-14 to win the Kaiser Division, then went on to beat the Hampton Division champion Westhampton Aviators to claim the ACBL title. Staten Island broke open a 2-1 game with five runs in the seventh inning of the final game, following up four consecutive walks with two-run singles by Tony Negrin (La Salle) and Eddie Brown (Wagner).

1. Brandon Kuter, rhp, Westhampton (Jr., George Mason)

Kuter pitched sparingly at George Mason as a freshman, then posted a 6.49 ERA in 26 innings of relief this spring, but he turned a corner this summer in the ACBL, leading the circuit with 10 saves and posting a 0.40 ERA in 21 appearances. He struck out 36 in 22 innings thanks to an overpowering two-pitch attack. The athletic 6-foot-7, 220-pounder has a very loose arm action, and he easily generates 92-94 mph heat, peaking at 96 in the league's all-star game. He also flashes a plus slider, giving him a swing-and-miss secondary offering.

2. Charlie Curl, 2b/ss/of, Sag Harbor (So., Texas A&M)

A classic hard-nosed gamer, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Curl played 59 games as a freshman at Texas A&M, starting 30 of them and hitting .276/.336/.336. He arrived in the ACBL late after the Aggies reached the College World Series, but he hit .295 in 24 games for the Whalers. He impressed league coaches with his aggressive style of play and advanced baseball instincts. He's also a good athlete who runs the 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds. Curl has good range, smooth actions and a decent arm, but he fits better at second base than at shortstop. He has surprising strength in his compact frame, but his righthanded swing is more geared toward hitting line drives than home runs.

3. Kevin McCarthy, rhp, Sag Harbor (So., Marist)

After posting a 6.00 in 18 innings as a freshman this spring, McCarthy blossomed in the ACBL, ranking second in the league with a 1.38 ERA and allowing just 29 hits in 46 innings. He struck out 34 and issued just 12 walks. McCarthy has a loose, smooth arm action and a projectable 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. A dogged competitor, he pounds the strike zone with a solid three-pitch mix. His fastball sits consistently at 89-91 mph, and he could add velocity as he gets stronger. His changeup rates as his No. 2 pitch, but he needs to use it more often. He also has a decent curveball.

4. Jordan Patterson, 1b/lhp, Westhampton (So., South Alabama)

South Alabama recruited Patterson as a two-way player but expected he'd make more of an impact on the mound. He did not wind up pitching as a freshman, instead starting 57 games and hitting .284/.391/.403 with four homers and 32 RBIs. He followed that up by hitting .263 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 32 games this summer. A good athlete for a 6-foot-4, 200-pound corner infielder, Patterson also stole 17 bases in 21 attempts this summer. He has good power in his lefthanded swing, and he hits the ball to all fields. He needs to do a better job controlling the strike zone, but he takes his share of walks and hit-by-pitches. He's a standout defender at first base with good footwork around the bag and a strong arm. He also threw 11 innings off the mound this summer, posting a 5.56 ERA and striking out 16. He showed a mid-80s fastball but could add velocity as he matures.

5. Lou Trivino, rhp, Quakertown (So., Slippery Rock, Pa.)

The lanky 6-foot-5, 220-pound Trivino stands out most for his projection, but he also has decent feel for pitching for a Pennsylvania prep product who played three sports in high school. He went 4-1, 2.53 with 57 strikeouts in 53 innings as a freshman for Division II Slippery Rock, then recorded 50 strikeouts in 45 innings this summer, posting a 2.20 ERA and throwing a no-hitter. Trivino figures to add velocity to his fringe-average fastball as he fills out his big frame. He has made progress with his breaking ball and changeup, and he'll throw either one as an out pitch with two strikes. Trivino does need to fine-tune his repertoire and cut down his walk rate (he issued 29 free passes this summer).

6. Matt Carroll, 1b, North Fork (So., San Jose State)

Carroll was limited to 27 at-bats as a freshman this spring, but he made the most of regular playing time this summer, hitting .320 with five homers and 29 RBIs for North Fork. He has provocative power potential in his 6-foot-6, 235-pound frame, and his swing is surprisingly short for someone his size, generating good bat speed. He's far from a finished product at the plate, but he did show the ability to use all fields effectively. He also is fairly nimble around the bag at first base. Carroll was the co-MVP of the all-star game after going 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

7. Kevin Heller, of, Westhampton (Sr., Amherst, Mass.)

Heller had a sensational summer, leading the ACBL in homers (11), runs (31) and slugging (.645) while hitting .319 and stealing 16 bases to capture the league's MVP award. He has a strong 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame and plenty of bat speed, leading to good power to all fields. Also a defensive back for the Amherst football team, Heller is a good athlete who runs the 60-yard dash in 6.8 seconds. He has good range in the outfield and a strong arm. He also plays the game hard.

8. Stuart Turner, c, Southampton (So., LSU-Eunice JC)

Turner stands out most for his physical 6-foot-2, 220-pound build and his defensive skills behind the plate. He blocks and receives very well, and his strong arm regularly produces pop times between 1.9 and 2.0 seconds. In four innings behind the plate at the ACBL all-star game, Turner threw out two basestealers. He's a smart player with good instincts, and he's a quality baserunner despite fringy speed. He hit just .214 this summer, but he has some feel for hitting and should improve with experience. His defense will have to carry him, though.

9. Mike Ahmed, if/rhp, Westhampton (So., Holy Cross)

The younger brother of former Connecticut and Westhampton shortstop Nick Ahmed (a second-round pick by the Braves this June), Mike started 32 games as a freshman this spring, hitting .265/.365/.418, and also made six relief appearances off the mound, posting a 9.35 ERA. An injury limited him to third base duties until July in the ACBL, and he threw just two innings off the mound, but he impressed in those limited looks with an 89-91 mph fastball and a swing-and-miss slider. He hit just .240 in 75 at-bats for Westhampton, and he'll need to make continued strides offensively to be an everyday player in pro ball. He's an average runner with decent instincts and a strong arm on the left side of the infield.

10. Matt Soren, rhp, New York (Jr., Delaware)

Soren has struck out more than a batter per inning over his first two college seasons at Delaware, but he's also issued 45 walks in 74 innings, and his spotty command has limited his effectiveness. This summer was more of the same: He went 0-2, 5.50 with 43 strikeouts but 17 walks in 34 innings. Soren has long arms and an intriguing pitcher's frame at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. He impressed in the all-star game by working in the 90-92 range with his fastball, and there could be more velocity to come. He also flashes a promising power breaking ball at 80-82, but he needs to sharpen the pitch.