2017 Hamptons Collegiate League Top Prospects

Kyle Martin (Photo by Vincent Dusovic)

Hamptons Collegiate League Top Prospects
Kyle Martin, rhp, Riverhead (So., Fordham)
Nick Bottari, if, Westhampton (R-Jr., Southeastern)
George Bell, of, Riverhead (So., Connors State (Okla.) JC)
Shane McDonald, lhp, Long Island (R-Sr., Southern New Hampshire)
Justin Lebek, of, Sag Harbor (Jr., Davidson)
Freddy Sabido, 1b/of, Riverhead (R-So., Wagner)
Jacob Stracner, of, Shelter Island (Jr., McNeese State)
Matt Hansen, if, Westhampton (Sr., Toledo)
Nick Robinson, rhp, Shelter Island (So., Rhode Island)
Tanner Propst, lhp, North Fork (R-Fr., Louisiana Tech)

SEE ALSO: Summer College League Top Prospects

Postseason Recap: In their first season in the Hamptons Collegiate League, the Long Island Road Warriors simply would not be denied a championship. The Road Warriors went a perfect 4-0 in the postseason and swept the first two games of a three-game championship set against defending HCBL champion Westhampton. Long Island won Game 1, 11-8, in thrilling fashion, coming back from an 8-2 deficit. A grand slam by Jordan Folgers (Siena) in the ninth sealed the comeback. Folgers followed up the grand slam with a three-run shot in Game 2 to lead the Road Warriors to a 5-3 win and an HCBL title.

1. Kyle Martin, rhp, Riverhead (So., Fordham)

Martin was virtually unhittable in the spring for the Rams, and his dominance continued into the summer season with Riverhead, where he posted a 1.54 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 23.1 innings out of the bullpen. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound rising sophomore relied on a fastball that sat 88-92 mph most of the season, with occasional dips into the mid 90s. Out of a low 3/4 arm slot, his heater really moves, and he paired it with an average to plus slider and an adequate changeup that he developed this summer. It remains to be seen whether Martin will be stretched out at Fordham. He still needs some polish but has the work ethic and mindset to start or close games. Martin finished his summer with Brewster of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

2. Nick Bottari, if, Westhampton (R-Jr., Southeastern)

Bottari mashed from day one in the Hamptons, recording a gaudy .454 batting average en route to capturing most valuable player honors in the league. He showed the ability to hit for both average and power, slashing .454/.556/.866 and finishing two RBI shy of the triple crown despite playing in only two-thirds of his team’s games. Bottari, who will attend Southeastern this fall after stops at Miami and Hofstra, is very disciplined and doesn’t expand the zone, driving the ball to all fields. In addition, he is an above-average defensive first baseman.

3. George Bell, of, Riverhead (So., Connors State (Okla.) JC)

The son of the 1987 American League MVP, Bell may very well have his dad’s bat, as well as some of the best tools in the Hamptons League this summer. He exhibited great power to either gap as well as consistency for Riverhead, serving as a rock in the middle of the Tomcat order and batting .323/.392/.459. Bell also homered and doubled in the all-star game to earn MVP honors. Also in Bell’s repertoire is plus speed (6.6 60-yard dash) and, according to his coach, “an absolute cannon” from the outfield. He is still raw but will develop even further when he improves his hitting approach.

4. Shane McDonald, lhp, Long Island (R-Sr., Southern New Hampshire)

McDonald led Long Island to the 2017 HCBL title and then headed north to Brewster, where he gave up just one run over 6.1 innings in two appearances en route to a Cape title. According to LI summer coach and 12-year big leaguer Neal Heaton, fellow lefthander McDonald has “three pro pitches”—a fastball with movement clocked at 88-91, a late-breaking slider and a plus changeup. He is a tough, intense competitor, but at times needs to better harness his energy. McDonald also needs to improve his pickoff move.

5. Justin Lebek, of, Sag Harbor (Jr., Davidson)

Even though Davidson’s run to the super regionals forced Lebek to miss a quarter of the season, he still managed to tie for the league lead in home runs, with. He uses good leverage on his swing and quiet, quick hands to drive the ball to all fields. Lebek will become an even bigger threat with more consistent barrel contact. He slashed .302/.426/.656 this summer. Defensively, he exhibits good lateral range and a strong, accurate arm.

6. Freddy Sabido, 1b/of, Riverhead (R-So., Wagner)

Long and lean, Sabido took the Tomcats a long way in the 2017 summer, leading the team in batting average (.386/.430/.622), doubles (16) and home runs (4). At 6-foot-7, 190 pounds, he will fill out, but he already has legitimate strength and power. Sabido covers the entire plate extremely well and has a good two-strike approach, making him a very difficult out; he struck out just 13 times in 127 at-bats. Defensively, Sabido has the speed to play the outfield but projects more as a first baseman at the next level, although he needs to improve in that area.

7. Jacob Stracner, of, Shelter Island (Jr., McNeese State)

Stracner turned heads in the Hamptons thanks to his array of plus tools. He was arguably the league’s best defensive outfielder, showing tremendous range and wheels and a plus arm and accuracy. He profiles more as a corner outfielder at the next level. Offensively, Stracner has the ability to drive the ball to all fields (.306/.377/.471), finishing third in the league in RBI. Better pitch selection and more consistent barrel contact will lead to more opportunities on the basepaths, where he swiped 15 bags this summer thanks to 6.8 60-yard speed.

8. Matt Hansen, if, Westhampton (Sr., Toledo)

Hansen was a rock in the middle of the infield and the lineup for Westhampton. At the plate, he used a quick, fluid lefty swing to lead the HCBL in RBI with 40—in just 37 games—and 20 of his 47 hits went for extra bases thanks to an athletic lower half and the ability to hit to all fields, including plus pull-side power. He can, however, be gotten out when expanding the zone. Defensively, Hansen has a strong arm at shortstop, great instincts and quick hands.

9. Nick Robinson, rhp, Shelter Island (So., Rhode Island)

Robinson turned in an excellent summer for Shelter Island, holding the opposition to three earned runs or less in all six starts. His arsenal features a 87-89 mile per hour fastball that tops out at 91, as well as a developing slider and changeup that keep hitters off balance. Robinson has outstanding command, filling up the zone and moving the ball to both sides of the plate; he walked just six batters in 42.1 innings this summer. He has a highly projectable frame at 6-5, 200 pounds, with more velocity in his arm. Robinson’s brother, Alex, pitches for high Class A Fort Myers in the Twins system.

10. Tanner Propst, lhp, North Fork (R-Fr., Louisiana Tech)

Propst had some of the nastiest stuff in the league, featuring a high-80s fastball that crept into the low 90s. The Bulldogs redshirt freshman also boasts a sharp slider that is tough to lay off for righty or lefty hitters. He throws both pitches down and with run. The 5-foot-11 southpaw overcame command issues in the spring and early summer (29 strikeouts to 11 walks in 19.1 innings), serving as North Fork’s go-to arm out of the ‘pen down the stretch, including in closing games. With more experience at Louisiana Tech, it is expected he will further develop his changeup and better field his position.

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