2018 South Florida Collegiate League Top Prospects
Postseason Recap: It was a hard fought season in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League, with many teams showing a case for the title. However, a dominant performance from the West Boca Snappers took home the SFCBL by a count of two games to none over the Palm Beach Diamond Ducks.
Francisco Urbaez (Florida Atlantic University) was brilliant in the championship series. The third baseman went 3-8 over the two games with a pair of runs and RBIs. His performance ultimately netted him the championship series MVP award. Snapper arm Colton Tyson (Southeastern University) was sensational in their 4-2 Game 1 win, while the bats—led by Urbaez—carried the the team to the 9-7 championship clincher.
1. Keegan Collett, RHP, Palm Beach Xtreme (Jr., Florida Gulf Coast)
Collett is a scout's dream, combining excellent size and arm action to produce a heavy fastball. Coming from a three-quarter arm slot, Collett fires a fastball in the 90-93 mph range, but can run it up to 95 mph. His arm action creates natural run on the ball, which dives in to righthanded batters. In his motion, he has a slight hitch as he loads before driving through towards the plate. This may cause trouble with command at times, but also can cause hitters to struggle with timing. He compliments his heater with a breaking ball that flashes above-average bite and moves in a slightly off-center, 12-to-6 action. He was primarily used out of the bullpen this summer, but in his one start he went seven innings and allowed one hit and one earned run. While he struggles with control at times, the 18.43 strikeouts per nine innings this summer is hard to miss. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Collett has plenty of potential and will be on the draft radar next spring.
2. Ryan Watson, RHP, Pompano Beach Clippers (Jr., Auburn)
At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Watson uses his large frame to his advantage. The Auburn junior uses a fairly calm delivery to run his fastball in the low 90s with average control. As he matures as a pitcher, Watson may be able to add some velocity to his already solid fastball. He is described as a sinker-baller by the people who have seen him, as his ball has heavy arm-side run. Watson shows two breaking balls—a get-me-over curveball with traditional shape and a wipeout slider that’s more of an out-pitch. He also shows a changeup, but it is not as developed as the other two offerings, though it has solid depth to the arm side and compliments his fastball well.
3. Bryce Hulett, 1B, Boca Raton Blazers (So., State College of Florida)
Hulett flashed some of the most impressive tools in the SFCBL this summer. Most notably, his pitch selection and approach at the plate. Hulett worked the count and showed impressive barrel control en route to 42 hits in 34 games. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was an even 13-to-13, showcasing how disciplined he is at the dish. Using a pure lefthanded swing, Hulett peppered the ball all over the field, spraying the ball from gap to gap. He has fast hands, which should help him develop power as he grows into his 6-foot-2 frame. Hulett is at first base right now, but is athletic enough to move into the outfield.
4. Matheu Nelson, C, Delray Beach Lightning (Fr., Florida State)
Nelson is a raw talent at this point, but his potential has scouts' attention. Ranked No. 259 on the 2018 BA 500, Nelson is a true catcher, displaying almost all of the needed intangibles and skills to play the position well. He has above-average arm strength that toes the line on plus, along with fantastic blocking skill. His arm strength is praised to the point that scouts believe he will be able to throw out runners from his knees in the future. For now, he is a gap-type hitter with a compact swing, which allows him to spray the ball around the field. At his size (6-foot, 195 pounds) Nelson should be able to develop into a fringe-average power threat as he matures and develops a stronger feel for hitting. He has shown the ability to rake fastballs but currently struggles against offspeed pitches. With his discipline and athletic ability, he should be able to work out these kinks moving forward.
5. Vincent Martinez, C, Boca Raton Blazers (Fr., Stanford)
Martinez is a raw prospect right now, but he’ll be a freshman at Stanford next spring and showed massive potential during his time with Boca Raton. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound catcher hit .290 over 20 games, showing solid barrel control and a fluid, compact swing. Given his size and actions at the plate, Martinez projects to have average to above-average power as he develops. Defensively, Martinez is already ahead of the curve. He shows good actions and receives the ball well. He has a fringe-average arm right now, but should be able to add strength to that as he matures. His athleticism is one of his better attributes, as he showed ability to adjust and improve at the plate all summer. He has a chance to burst onto the scene at Stanford next spring.
6. Jorge Iza, SS, Pompano Beach Clippers (Jr., New Orleans)
Iza took the SFCBL by storm this summer, hitting .330 with 12 stolen bases. His approach at the plate was above-average, as he consistently worked the count, resulting in a 13-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Hard contact is not an issue for Iza, as his barrel control and smooth swing allowed him to spray the ball across the diamond. His frame is a bit thin right now (5-foot-11, 180 pounds), but he projects to hit for power once he fills out. Iza is an excellent athlete, and scouts believe his footwork and arm strength could allow him to play shortstop at the next level. He was considered one of the smoothest fielders in the league this summer, with soft hands and plus range. Overall, Iza's game is filled with tools, and with the potential to play shortstop, scouts will make sure to watch him closely in the spring.
7. Matt Sellers, RHP, Boca Raton Blazers (Jr., Nova Southeastern)
While Sellers may seem undersized at 6-foot, he makes up for it with electric arm action. Sellers works from a three-quarter arm slot and unleashes a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but he can run up near 96 mph. In 25 innings this summer, he posted a 1.42 ERA with 25 strikeouts. He projects as a reliever long-term, given his high-energy delivery. In addition to his fastball, Sellers brings a slider in the low 80s, which is a true out-pitch for him. The slider flashes above-average action, and as he throws it more consistently the control should improve. Sellers is raw, and he has room to bulk up into a sturdier frame. He has plenty of potential given his arm speed and the ability to command his fastball.
Denzel Clarke's Success A Credit To Continued Development
The 21-year-old outfielder at Cal State Northridge has been an incredibly fast-rising draft prospect ahead of this July’s selection process, and he’s looking forward to seeing just how much more he has in the tank.
8. Emmanuel Fernandez, LHP, Ft. Lauderdale Royals (RS-Fr., Santa Fe (Fla.) JC)
A big-bodied lefthander from Florida, Fernandez is an interesting prospect who at times struggled mightily with control. However, he made huge strides in repeating his delivery as the summer progressed. He throws from a high, three-quarter arm slot with slight arm-side run on a fastball that sits in the upper 80s to low 90s, although he can put a little extra on his fastball, if needed. He is able to work at that 89-91 mph range for long period of time, using his size and a low-effort delivery. He compliments his fastball with a breaking ball in the mid-70s that can occasionally show solid depth. Fernandez will be playing at Santa Fe (N.M.) JC this spring after transferring from Mississippi, making him a 2019 prospect.
9. Matt Mackey, C/1B/OF, Florida Pokers (Jr., Eastern Illinois)
Mackey had an absolute monster summer for the Florida Pokers, swinging one of the hottest bats in the league. En route to winning offensive player of the year, Mackey bashed a league-leading nine home runs to go along with a .371 average and 36 RBIs. Mackey is praised for his ability to play multiple positions, enabling coaches a slew of ways to fit his bat into the lineup. His natural position is catcher, however, and because of his size and serviceable performance behind the plate, he may end up as a backstop moving forward. He’s also athletic and a pure hitter, so he should be able to pave a road for himself with a number of skills to lean on.
10. Justin Lara, OF, Florida Pokers (Sr., Keiser (Fla.))
Lara is a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, but the numbers he put up this summer don’t lie. He’s a switch-hitting centerfield that walked 31 times compared to just 14 strikeouts, while also stealing 24 bases and hitting .373 with 38 hits in 33 games. He has a very controlled swing, allowing him to put the ball in play and utilize his best asset, which is his speed. Power is unlikely given his size and swing, but extra-base hits should be routine given his speed. In the field, Lara is developing extremely well. He has shown an above average arm to go along with solid routes to the ball. Given his speed and arm strength, Lara has potential to be a talented defensive player.