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2019 Coastal Plains League Top Prospects

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Lefthander Dustin Saenz (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M)

Postseason Recap: Morehead City, the defending champions, again claimed the Petit Cup and the Coastal Plains League title, defeating Macon in the championship series. The Marlins entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the East Division after topping the standings in both halves of the season. After splitting the first two games of the series, Morehead City claimed the title with a 6-2 victory in the decisive third game.

Righthander Leo Perez (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) started on the mound for the Marlins and kept them in the game until their hot offense took over. A dominant relief performance by Jack Myers (Butler) silenced a Macon comeback, as the Marlins took the 6-2 victory and championship title, asserting their reign as back to back champs of the CPL.

1. Dustin Saenz, LHP, Savannah Bananas (Junior, Texas A&M)

Saenz has been noted as the best starting pitcher in the CPL by numerous scouts and coaches. At 6-foot-1, 199 pounds, he saw most of his time on the mound this spring as a reliever for the Aggies (15 appearances, five starts), but he used this summer as an opportunity to become a candidate for a starting role in 2020. He has a high-spin, 88-92 mph fastball that sinks, and that extra movement makes the pitch even more effective. Saenz shows feel for a curveball with some deception. Occasionally, he also shows a changeup that has the potential to be an above-average offering. With this mix, he has the ability to go in and out to smoothly attack the zone. He went 4-0, 1.16 with 41 strikeouts and nine walks in 31 innings this summer. He’ll rejoin a stacked pitching staff at Texas A&M, but following a breakout summer should take on a bigger role this spring.

2. Jake Plastiak, 3B, Wilmington (Sophomore, Wabash Valley (Ill.) JC)

It’s been an eventful 15 months for Plastiak. Drafted in the 28th round by the Padres out of high school last June, he chose to instead uphold his commitment to Wichita State. He struggled with the Shockers and got just 43 at-bats. That didn’t hold him back from success with Wilmington this summer, and he earned a spot both on the CPL Select Team and in the all-star game after hitting .303/.383/.606 with seven home runs in 27 games. But once he decided to transfer to Wabash Valley JC in his home state of Illinois and that transfer became official, he could no longer play for the Wilmington coaching staff, which works for Division II schools. Still, Plastiak did more than enough in his time in the CPL to make his mark. Listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, the switch-hitter has a good feel to hit and flashes impressive power from both sides of the plate. He still needs some work to refine his defense, but his upside is significant.

3. Chris Crabtree, 1B, Holly Springs (Junior, Duke)

Physically, Crabtree looks like he could play at the next level today. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he is still able to show athleticism for his size, and it plays to his advantage at first base. Crabtree ranked third in the league in home runs (11), and he was selected for the CPL home run derby, CPL East Division all-star team and the CPL Select Team, which faced USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team earlier this summer. Crabtree is solid defensively at first base with a sure-handed glove and the ability to stretch and make agile plays. At the plate, Crabtree stifles the bat some and has limited swing mobility at times, but he makes up for it with his approach. His evident strength gives him raw power, and his bat speed allows him to use that power to all fields.

4. Leo Perez, RHP, Morehead City (Junior, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi)

At 6-foot-1, 228 pounds, Perez has a plus frame and the build to be a dominant force on the mound. After a solid sophomore season for the Islanders, he had a solid, breakout summer season and was selected as a CPL all-star and to the CPL Select Team. He was a reliever this summer and it fit his mentality well, as he comes right after batters. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph with a swing-and-miss quality. Perez has potential plus breaking ball that gives him great stuff to work with.

5. Kendall McGowan, OF, Forest City (Junior, Appalachian State)

McGowan continued to prove himself this summer in his second season for the Owls. He led the league in home runs with 13 and was selected both for the all-star game and the CPL Select Team. At the all-star workout, he ran a 6.74 in the 60-yard dash and took an impressive round of batting practice. He has been noted as the best breaking ball hitter in the CPL and has also proven to be a threat on the bases, stealing 14 bags. His assets with the bat include power to all fields and a consistent swing path that enable him to hit for average.

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6. Josh Hood, SS, Asheboro (Freshman, Pennsylvania)

Hood had a breakout spring and was named to the Freshman All-America team. He led the team in home runs and extra-base hits and continued his strong year offensively with Asheboro. He was selected to both the all-star game and the CPL Select Team. He is an athletic infielder with a strong arm who throws in the low 90s and could help him stay at shortstop. Listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Hood is an interesting hitter who covers velocity away quite well, but he often chases offspeed pitches out of the zone. He possesses raw power from the right side, and with more plate discipline he could develop into an average hitter.

7. Myles Christian, OF, High Point (Junior, Middle Tennessee State)

Christian stood out this summer for his all-around offensive ability. Listed at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, he has solid power from the left side. He has a sound approach at the plate and gets to his power consistently. At the all-star game, he showed off his tools, running a 6.93 in the 60-yard dash and taking good in-game swings, hitting two balls to deep left-center field. He also appeared in right field for the CPL Select Team, but has the potential to play in the infield, as well, and saw time at second base and shortstop this summer.

8. Cort Roedig, RHP, Macon (Sophomore, Georgia Tech)

Roedig saw minimal action this spring as a freshman at Georgia Tech but impressed this summer. He started for the CPL Select Team against Team USA and turned in a solid inning, striking out his college teammate Luke Waddell swinging. Listed at 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, his fastball sits in the low 90s and he commands it well. He has a sharp slider that has the potential to be an above-average pitch. He has an up-tempo delivery that adds deception and a high-spin rate on his fastball creates more swings and misses.

9. Logan Workman, RHP, High Point (Junior, Lee University)

Workman was the go-to arm this summer for the HiToms. At 6-foot-4, 198 pounds, the righthander went 6-1, 3.30 in 43.2 innings, struck out 67 batters and walked just 12. His fastball sits 89-93 mph with some run that gives the pitch swing-and-miss quality. There is some effort in delivery, but he makes up for it with good command to both sides of the plate and a three-pitch mix that is continuing to develop. His best secondary pitch is a hard, sharp slider that he commands well. His third pitch is a decent changeup that is effective when down in the zone.

10. Davis Palermo, RHP, Martinsville (Redshirt freshman, North Carolina)

Palmero redshirted this spring at North Carolina but didn’t show any signs of rust this summer. He went 3-3, 3.89 and held opposing batters to 27 hits in 41.2 innings for the Mustangs. He also caught scouts’ attention with a clean inning in the all-star game, and he was also named to the CPL Select Team. Listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, his fastball sits 88-92 mph. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, and his curveball shows promise but needs work. Palermo was a late-bloomer in high school, and if he can continue to make strides, he has some intriguing projectability.

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