2018 Cape Cod League Top Prospects 21-30
Wareham swept through the Cape Cod League playoffs to win its first championship since 2012, defeating Chatham in the finals.
The Gatemen went 6-0 in the playoffs, led by third baseman Austin Shenton (Florida International). He homered three times in six playoff games and was named MVP of the championship series.
The Cape’s strength was sluggers at corner positions. Andrew Vaughn, Spencer Torkelson and Matt Wallner were just a few of the league’s standouts who fit that profile. Pitching was down this summer, a reflection in part of the overall 2019 class. Still, the league figures to again produce several first-round picks for the 2019 draft.
To be eligible for this ranking, position players must have played 15 games or taken 50 plate appearances, and pitchers must have appeared in at least five games or thrown 15 innings.
21. Jesse Franklin, OF/1B, Brewster (So., Michigan)
Franklin was the headliner of Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class and was this spring a Freshman All-American. He carried his momentum into the summer with Brewster, where he hit .302/.396/.417.
Franklin has a good feel for hitting and makes adjustments well at the plate. He has above-average raw power that he can get to, but he needs to refine his swing to tap into it more consistently. Franklin was hampered by injuries over the last year—first surgery last summer to repair a torn labrum and then a hamstring injury. Those injuries mostly limited him to first base this year, but in the long run he’ll return to his natural position in the outfield, where he is a solid defender and may be able to stick in center field.
22. Blake Sabol, OF/C, Chatham (Jr., Southern California)
Sabol was one of the breakout stars of the Cape and hit .336/.430/.573 with nine home runs in 43 games between the regular season and the playoffs. During the regular season, he ranked second in OPS (1.018), third in home runs (seven) and fourth in batting average (.340).
Sabol is listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, looks the part and has an impressive tool set. He showed both above-average power and speed and made good use of them both offensively. The lefthanded hitter controlled the strike zone well, walking about as much as he struck out, though he this spring walked at a much lower rate. Sabol is still finding a defensive home, but he offers versatility. He split his time between left field and catching, as he has done for USC. As a catcher, he is still raw and will need to improve his receiving to stay behind the plate. Outfield is still relatively new to him and while his athleticism, average speed and arm play there, he’ll need to refine his game as he gets more experience.
23. Christian Koss, SS, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., UC Irvine)
Koss has established himself as one of the premier defensive shortstops in the country over the last two years. He this summer anchored the Y-D infield and earned an all-star game appearance.
Koss has a long, lean frame at a listed 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and can make all the plays at shortstop. He has good hands, offers good range and has an above-average arm. In contrast to the more famous shortstops in the class, there is little doubt that he can handle the position in pro ball. Koss does not grade out as well as a hitter, however. The righthanded hitter doesn’t have the cleanest swing and he has never produced much power. He this summer produced an adjusted OPS+ of 86 (where 100 is average) and a below-average OPS+ on the Cape in the summer before a player’s draft year is typically a red flag. But he fits the profile of players such as Nick Ahmed and Brandon Crawford who did so and went on to have productive big league careers.
24. Austin Bergner, RHP, Chatham (Jr., North Carolina)
Bergner ranked No. 11 on this list a year ago and again impressed on the Cape this summer. He built off a strong start in the College World Series and went 4-1, 1.25 with 36 strikeouts and 13 walks in 35 innings between the regular season and playoffs for Chatham.
Bergner, listed at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, has an impressive arsenal. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s with late life. Both his changeup and curveball show the potential to become solid offerings, and he mixes in his offspeed pitches effectively. Bergner has been prominent since high school but has long been dogged by questions about his chances to start. This summer provided more encouragement that he can be a starter, but he’ll need to show more consistency next spring than he did this year, when he was a draft-eligible sophomore.
25. Drew Mendoza, 3B, Chatham (Jr., Florida State)
Mendoza was the highest ranked position player on the 2017 BA 500 to get to campus and he’s hit well for Florida State, despite being hampered by injuries. He was this summer limited to DH duty by an arm injury and hit an uninspiring .232/.365/.348.
Mendoza, listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, has standout physical tools. He has a smooth lefthanded swing and plus raw power. He’s a patient hitter but he also swings and misses a lot, leading to some questions about whether he’ll ever get to his power consistently. He moves well and has good hands but after not playing the field all summer he still needs to prove he can stay on the left side of the infield. Scouts are still waiting for Mendoza to put everything together, and he has immense upside if he can do so.
26. David Hamilton, SS, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Texas)
Hamilton is a two-year starter for Texas and this spring took over as the Longhorns’ leadoff hitter. He arrived at Y-D after Texas’ run to the College World Series but never really got locked in at the plate.
Hamilton is a well above-average runner and his game is built around that speed. The lefthanded hitter does a good job of putting the bat on the ball and using his speed to create base hits. Listed at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, he likely won’t ever hit for much power, but his speed helps him generate doubles and triples when he puts the ball in the gap. Hamilton is primarily a shortstop, but also saw action at second base on the Cape. His hands and speed work well up the middle. His speed and defense figure to push him up draft boards next spring if he continues to improve at the plate.
Bubble Watch: LSU, North Carolina Bolster Hosting Cases
As conference tournaments continue, we look at NCAA Tournament bubble winners and losers from Friday.
27. Cameron Cannon, 3B/2B, Falmouth (Jr., Arizona)
Cannon broke out as a sophomore at Arizona this spring, hitting .321/.427/.549 with eight home runs. He carried that momentum into the summer and opened eyes with his play for Falmouth.
Cannon earns praise for his all-around game. The righthanded hitter has a good approach and produces a lot of hard, line-drive contact. His power mostly plays as doubles pop now, and he consistently hits balls in the gaps. Cannon primarily played third base for Falmouth and impressed at the hot corner. He has a plus arm and good hands. He has mostly played second base for Arizona and there is some feeling that he could also handle shortstop, at least as a utility player. A good spring could see him next June push into the top few rounds of the draft.
28. Kenyon Yovan, RHP/1B, Orleans (Jr., Oregon)
Yovan has been a prominent two-way player for Oregon the last two years and he did double-duty on the Cape. He also played for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, primarily serving as a pitcher, making for a busy summer for the 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander.
Yovan stands out most on the mound. He has a quality three-pitch mix and pitches with good control. His fastball sat in the low 90s as a starter and has touched higher in short stints out of the bullpen. His changeup is his best secondary pitch and he also works in a slider. Yovan is an all-or-nothing hitter but has big raw power. Yovan’s performance on the Cape wasn’t exemplary, as he went 1-3, 6.45 with 15 strikeouts and four walks in 15.1 innings and hit .192/.276/.462 with two home runs. But his raw tools are impressive and give him a chance to be an impact player in pro ball.
29. Hunter Gaddis, RHP, Chatham (Jr., Georgia State)
Gaddis has stood out the last two years at Georgia State and made the most of his brief time on the Cape. He went 3-1, 2.00 with 13 strikeouts and four walks in 18 innings and showed off an impressive arsenal.
Gaddis is listed at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds and combines that imposing size with a powerful arm. He ran his fastball up to 95 mph and sat in the low 90s. His hard slider is his best secondary offering and his changeup shows promise. He has solid control and comes right after hitters.
30. Tanner Morris, SS, Harwich (So., Virginia)
Morris had a solid spring as a freshman at Virginia, handling everyday duties at shortstop and batting .298/.397/.374. He this summer excelled with Harwich, earning all-star honors and hitting .331/.404/.449.
Morris has a good feel at the plate and is at his best when he uses the whole field to hit. He mostly has doubles power now, but as he grows into his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, he may develop average pop. Morris had an impressive summer at the plate, but questions persist about his defense. His hands are good enough for the infield, but he lacks the range for shortstop, making a move to second or third base likely. Morris is also very old for his class and will be a draft-eligible sophomore as he turns 21 next month.