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2018 New England Collegiate Baseball League Top 10 Prospects

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Tim Tawa (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Postseason Recap: For the second straight season, the Valley Blue Sox won the New England Collegiate League title, sweeping the Ocean State Waves in two games. That concluded a perfect 4-0 postseason for the Blue Sox, who went undefeated in last summer’s playoffs, as well.

1. Tim Tawa, OF, Newport Gulls, (So., Stanford)

An all-Pac 12 team member as a freshman in 2018, Tawa hit .296/.347/.498 with seven home runs at Stanford. With the Newport Gulls of the NECBL, he hit .336 with seven home runs and 12 stolen bases. He was named to the league's south all-star team. One NECBL coach likened his 6-foot, 180-pound build to that of Boston’s Mookie Betts, with a smaller frame but good speed in the outfield. He has more juice in his righthanded bat than his size shows, and has a quick short swing. He has the tools to be a strong leadoff hitter but could find himself moving further down the lineup if his power continues to grow.

2. Jared Shuster, LHP, New Bedford, (So., Wake Forest)

Coming off of a season in which he pitched out of the bullpen and as a starter for Wake Forest, Shuster spent his summer with his hometown New Bedford team and posted a 2.75 ERA in nine starts. He sat 91-93 mph on the radar gun with heavy arm-side run. He has a slider that he can mix in and throw in any count and is competitive on the mound. Listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Shuster has a high ceiling and showed that in the NECBL, striking out 62 batters in 49 innings.

3. Cameron Junker, RHP, Plymouth, (Jr., Notre Dame)

As a sophomore with Notre Dame this spring, Junker made made nine starts and posted a 7.18 ERA. He turned down an invitation to the Cape Cod League to pitch for Plymouth, where coach Greg Zackrison offered him a starting role. He rewarded the Pilgrims by posting a 2.33 ERA in seven starts and struck out 46 and walked just 16. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound righthander was 91-93 mph with his fastball and had a good changeup that worked well against lefties. He showed smooth arm action, as well as an above-average slider.

4. Jack Weisenberger, RHP, Sanford, (Jr., Michigan)

As a sophomore with the Wolverines, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Weisenberger posted a 3.58 ERA out of the bullpen and struck out 27 batters in 27.2 innings. He came out of the bullpen for Sanford too, where he posted a 4.86 ERA and struck out 29 hitters. He flashed a power arm, with a heavy fastball running from 93-96 mph. He also had a plus slider that ran in the low 80s. He struggled with walks at both Michigan and this summer in the NECBL.

5. Dalton Reed, 1B, Newport Gulls, (Jr., Kentucky)

In preparation of making the leap from junior college to Division I baseball, Reed crushed the ball with Newport, hitting .311 with 11 home runs. He also scored 28 runs and finished the summer with 30 RBIs. He spent most of his summer as a designated hitter due to a throwing arm injury, but he has a soft glove and quick hands at first base. He has the power to drive the ball and is an above-average hitter, and when pitched away, he can hit the ball to the opposite field. He struggled with offspeed pitches and struck out 44 times in 37 games due to average plate recognition. But when he slumped in the summer, he put in the extra work to hit his way out of it, according to his coach Mike Coombs.

6. Nick Mondak, LHP, Ocean State, (So., St. John’s)

In 14 innings for the Waves, Mondak posted a 1.92 ERA, struck out 11 and walked just four batters in his first real taste of college baseball since Tommy John surgery. He has a good frame at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and an easy delivery to boot. He sits 88-92 mph with his fastball and has a good feel for his secondary pitches. He was labeled as a strong competitor and will have the opportunity to see more action this spring for St. John’s.

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7. John Rizer, OF, Sanford, (Sr., Texas Christian)

A transfer from Blinn (Texas) JC, Rizer played at Texas Christian as a junior this past spring and hit .231/.344/.400 in 41 games. With Sanford, he hit .305, smacked seven home runs and was a northern division all-star. Rizer showed the abilities of a five-tool player with Sanford and flashed quick bat speed. He has power to all fields and above-average speed. He has above-average defensive instincts and can hit the ball hard.

8. Kody Hoese, 3B, Newport, (Jr., Tulane)

Hoese started 58 games at the hot corner for Tulane as a sophomore in 2018 and hit .291/.368/.435 with 13 doubles. He carried that power to Newport and hit .283 with seven home runs and 11 doubles, en route to an all-star selection. He showed a strong arm at third and showed the ability to play short in a pinch at the next level. He flashed plenty of power but chased too many pitches. He’ll likely return to Tulane as a No. 2 or No. 3 hitter with refined power. He was drafted in the 35th round by the Royals in 2018 and will likely see his stock rise after a strong summer in the NECBL.

9. Eddie McCabe, SS, Danbury, (So., Georgetown)

McCabe hit .297/.381/.411 as a freshman at Georgetown, and he carried the strong hitting into the NECBL, hitting .368 with Danbury. One coach considered him as the sleeper in the league and said he thinks McCabe will be Cape Cod-bound next summer and likely will be one of the mid-major breakout stars in college baseball next spring. He’s a true shortstop and produced 11 extra-base hits (three home runs) from his 6-foot, 180 pound frame.

10. Griff McGarry, RHP, Keene, (So., Virginia) 

As a freshman with the Cavaliers in 2018, McGarry pitched 17.2 innings, struck out 22 and posted an 8.15 ERA. WIth Keene, he started and pitched in relief, posting a 3.22 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthander mixed a low-90s fastball with a sharp slider and a changeup, and he showed command of all three pitches. His fastball, which reached as high as 95 mph, has swing-and-miss ability, and his slider was “unhittable” when it was on.

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