2018 Ripken League Top 10 Prospects
POSTSEASON RECAP: The Baltimore Redbirds ended their 10th—and final—season in the Cal Ripken League with a bang, winning the league title against the Bethesda Big Train.
1. Anthony Servideo, SS, Baltimore Redbirds, (So., Mississippi)
Servideo plays both middle-infield positions. He began his college year at second base in the spring at Ole Miss, subbing at shortstop when starter Grae Kessinger was hurt. He was named to the Southeastern Conference all-freshman team at second base. For Ripken League games this summer, he moved to shortstop and was named to his division's all-star team. Servideo hit .389 in 39 games, showing above-average plate discipline with 37 walks versus 27 strikeouts in 110 at-bats. His 49 hits included six doubles, eight triples and five home runs. He has plus 60-yard speed (6.50-6.60), which should add to his extra-base hit totals as he gains strength. Defensively, he's quick to the ball, has soft hands and unloads accurately. He committed only five errors this summer for the Redbirds.
2. Saul Garza, C, Gaithersburg Giants, (So., Louisiana State)
Garza played at Howard JC in Big Spring, Texas before his summer season with the Giants and LSU commitment. At Howard, he batted .378 with 23 home runs among his 52 hits. With his 6-foot-3, 225-pound size he sets a big target for pitchers and has pop times in the 1.85-2.05 range. On offense he had difficulty adjusting to a wood bat, hitting .257 with seven doubles and five home runs. His primary focus at LSU will be on his defense and ability to handle the high-level pitching talent in the Southeastern Conference.
3. Alex Tappen, IF/OF, Baltimore Redbirds, (So., Virginia)
Tappen's first season ended after a combined 97 games with the Redbirds (43) and Virginia (54) in which he played both infield and outfield positions. Tappen puts bat on ball as he posted a .340 BA this summer with 51 hits in 169 at-bats. His hits included 19 doubles and three home runs with 27 RBIs while making steady contact with only 26 strikeouts, working pitchers for nine walks over the summer. His defense is solid and he'll work into a permanent position at some point as long as he continues to post good numbers on offense against high-level college competition.
4. Hunter Brown, RHP, Bethesda, (Jr., Wayne State)
Brown's top pitch is an 88-92 mph fastball thrown from a mid- to high three-quarter slot. His delivery is smooth and efficient with no wasted motion. He occasionally touched 93 mph. His offspeed is an 80-83 mph slider that breaks down to righthanded batters. He finished the summer with a 1.26 ERA in 13 games (all in relief) over 21.1 innings. He had 21 strikeouts with only seven walks, giving up 12 hits, which generated one earned run.
5. Jason Reynolds, RHP, Baltimore Dodgers, (Jr., Lehigh)
Reynolds was the Ripken League's strikeout leader with 44 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched. At a listed 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he's got a pro pitcher's body and works from a high three-quarter slot. His efficient mechanics generate extra drive toward the plate, helping movement on his 90-93 mph fastball, which he locates on either side of the plate. His offspeed is a 76-78 mph curveball thrown with 11-to-5 break and occasional sharp downer action. He finished the summer with a 2.85 ERA.
6. William Fleming, RHP, Baltimore Redbirds, (So., Wake Forest)
In six starts for the league co-champion Redbirds, Fleming gave up 22 hits and seven runs (four earned) with a 1.12 ERA. Before releasing a 90-93 mph fastball, he stands still on the mound, staring down at hitters who are looking up at his 6-foot-6, 205-pound frame. He has a mid-three-quarter delivery and tilts his body back slightly before coming forward with his release. He also throws his fastball at 90 mph with cutting action away from righthanded hitters. His offspeed is an 82-84 mph slider that breaks down in the zone. Fleming is poised in pressure situations and doesn't try to strikeout every hitter.
7. Carlos Lomeli, RHP, Bethesda, (So., St. Mary's)
Lomeli constantly moves his body with an almost twist-like delivery, making hitters adjust to each pitch. His fastball has average velocity at 88-92 mph, touching 93 mph at times and is thrown anywhere in the zone usually with mid-three-quarter action.He'll turn away from hitters and then come forward with his release. His fastball is most effective when it's down in the zone. Lomeli is more of a finesse pitcher than power pitcher, and he logged 37 strikeouts with only seven walks in 30.2 innings pitched for Bethesda. He allowed 22 hits, which led to six earned runs and a 1.76 ERA. His primary offspeed is a 76-79 mph changeup, which he throws on any count.
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8. Jahleel Sewer, OF, DC Greys, (Sr., Virginia State)
Sewer made the switch to the summer wood bat season with relative ease. Along with his .368 batting average for the Greys, his plate discipline was plus. He ended up with 29 walks versus 22 strikeouts and had 39 hits, including seven doubles, two triples and four home runs. He also stole 21 bases. Although not physically large by today's standards, he has very good bat speed and strong wrists, which leads to flashes of extra-base power. His defense in center field was aided by plus speed (6.60/60-yard), he gets good jumps on outfield fly balls and has an accurate throwing arm.
9. Mike YaSenka, RHP, Rockville, (Jr., Eastern Illinois)
YaSenka ended his second summer in Ripken play with a 3-1 record in five starts throwing an 88-93 mph four-seam fastball from a mid-three-quarter slot. His offspeed options are a 78-80 mph slider and 76-77 curveball with 11-to-5 break. He's also working to develop a two-seam fastball at 80-81 mph, breaking away to keep righties off-balance. YaSenka will be challenged to keep his offerings down in the zone and improve movement as he advances to the Division I level. He transfers to Eastern Illinois this fall after two years at Chesapeake College in Maryland.
10. Fox Semones, IF, Bethesda, (Jr., James Madison)
Semones's best tool is his plus speed (6.50/60-yard) and 3.30 first-to-second, helping him steal 15 bases in 32 games. He hit with a .283 BA and .458 OBP, scoring more runs (35) than he had hits (30). He walked 23 times. His adjustment to a wood bat on offense was positive, but he also racked up 29 strikeouts in 106 official at-bats in the process. He usually played second base and ended the summer with seven errors. His throwing arm and range are playable at either middle-infield position, but he sometimes over-extends his efforts on defense.