2018 Northwoods League Top 10 Prospects
The Duluth Huskies and the Fond du Lac Dock Spider played a spectacular championship series, but it was the Dock Spiders that emerged victorious.
The final game of the series went back and forth, before the Spiders pulled away for good in the bottom of the seventh inning. Alex Henwood and Cole Zabowski each recorded multiple hits for the Dock Spiders.
1. Joe Boyle, RHP, Kalamazoo Growlers, (So., Notre Dame)
At 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, Boyle has the perfect frame for a starting pitcher to develop. Better yet, he's able to run his fastball up to the triple digits. He's a bit raw at this point, but he has potential as a power arm. He struggled with control for a majority of the summer, but his velocity is impossible to ignore.
2. Shane Mcguire, C/1B, La Crosse Loggers, (Fr., San Diego)
McGuire was brilliant at the plate this summer. He shredded NWL pitching for a .337 average with four home runs and 46 RBI. He also added 16 steals. McGuire had one of, if not the best plate approach, and discipline in the league this year. His walk-to-strikeout ratio of 41-to-26 is astounding, and he showed an above-average hit tool to cap it off. He bats lefthanded, and throws right—even logging some time on the mound. He is the brother of Blue Jays prospect Reese McGuire, so baseball is in his blood. Watch for McGuire’s name this upcoming season.
3. Mike Rothenberg, C, La Crosse Loggers, (So., Duke)
The heir to the Duke catching throne, Rothenberg showed this summer that he’s more than capable. The switch-hitting catcher tore up the Northwoods League to the tune of a .326 average, with five home runs this summer. Better yet, he played solid defense behind the plate. He struggled a bit with plate discipline but made up for it with impressive barrel control and use of the whole field. His 6-foot-3, 215-pound size gives him a good chance to stick behind the dish. He will be a household name as his hit tool continues to rise.
4. Justin Slaten, RHP, (So., New Mexico)
With his 6-foot-4, 200-pound size, Slaten is a guy scouts drool over. He has a live arm and uses his body well in his delivery. He sat in the low 90s this summer and showed above-average feel for his breaking ball. He also complements it with a changeup in the mid- to low-80s. He gets some decent run on his fastball from time to time, as well. Slaten is intriguing as he continues to get a feel for pitching at this level.
5. Bobby Seymour, 1B, St. Cloud Rox (So. Wake Forest)
Seymour possesses a true hit tool, and he flashed it at times this summer. His 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame causes issues finding him a true position, but teams will find a way to get his bat into the lineup. Though he had an inconsistent freshman spring for Wake Forest, the thick-bodied, powerful lefthanded hitter projects as an intimidating middle-of-the-order presence in the ACC, although he is likely limited to first base at the next level.
6. Christian Robinson, OF, Rochester Honkers, (So., Stanford)
At 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, Robinson looks more like a linebacker than an outfielder, but his sweet swing will tell you otherwise. A powerful outfielder, Robinson flashed his strength and ability this summer. He used his long lefthanded cut to bash 10 home runs, while also driving in 25. He drew some red flags from scouts with his 53 strikeouts compared to just 15 walks, but his power still separated him at times.
7. Jake Randa, OF, Madison Mallards, (So., Northwest Florida State)
Randa showed more tools than Handy Manny this summer in the Northwoods League, providing excellent play in both the field and at the plate. He belted nine home runs, stole six bases, but his most impressive feat was his mature plate approach. Randa walked 37 times, compared to 40 strikeouts. His ability to go deep into at-bats and see his pitch allowed him to be one of the premier run producers in the Northwoods this summer.
8. Zach Deloach, OF, Wisconsin Woodchucks, (Fr., Texas A&M)
Deloach put on a show this summer, tearing up the NWL to the tune of .323/.409/.495 with five home runs, 38 RBI and 10 steals. His plate approach was above average, making it no surprise he walked 25 times. Deloach uses his fluid lefthanded cut to spray the ball across the field consistently. He gets good reads in the outfield and has the arm to make some tough throws to keep runners from tagging. Deloach is a special talent.
9. Baron Radcliff, OF, Kalamazoo Growlers, (So. Georgia Tech)
Talk about a pro-ready body. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Radcliff is a sight to behold. He had his ups and downs this spring at Georgia Tech, which wasn't unusual as he was debating between football and baseball for a majority of his high school career, never fulling committing to baseball. Now, he is devoted to the sport and his talent is blossoming. He boasts incredible raw power to go along with an above-average arm. Radcliffe also runs well for his size and is steadily improving in the outfield. His issue is plate discipline and swinging at pitches well out of the zone—he struck out 49 times compared to just 14 walks this summer—but with time, he should be able to right those issues and develop into a run producer.
10. Jaren Shelby, OF, Wisconsin Woodchucks (So., Kentucky)
From a lineage of elite baseball talent, Shelby is the next in line to show off his skills. The toolsy outfielder showed improvements in his barrel control this summer, consistently hitting the ball hard the opposite way. His hard-hit rate is also on the rise, giving him a chance to use his speed on the basepaths. Shelby is following in his brothers’ footsteps at Kentucky this next season, and he will be a name to watch next spring.