Breakout Under-The-Radar 2022 Summer Ball Prospects

Image credit: Bend catcher Beau Sylvester (Photo courtesy of the West Coast League)

Last week, we released our rankings of the top prospects with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and in the Cape Cod League. Those two entities annually account for the vast majority of the top prospects playing summer ball, but there are still good players to be found in leagues across the country.

Here, we spotlight 10 players who spent the summer playing somewhere other than with Team USA or on the Cape and raised their profile. None of these players were household names in 2022, but all 10 have the ability to next spring affect college baseball in a significant way.

Kristian Campbell, SS, Georgia Tech (Duluth, Northwoods): Campbell redshirted this spring at Georgia Tech but impressed this summer in the Northwoods League. He hit .356/.469/.463 with 31 stolen bases in 58 games. He has premium speed that plays both at shortstop and on the bases, calling to mind what Chandler Simpson did this spring for the Yellow Jackets. With Simpson now in pro ball, Campbell has an opening to push his way into the lineup next spring as a redshirt freshman.

Eddie King Jr., OF, Louisville (Alton, Prospect): King was sidelined this spring by injuries but was able to get back on the diamond this summer in the Prospect League. He hit .310/.440/.632 with 15 home runs and 31 stolen bases in 49 games for the River Dragons and was named MVP. The righthanded hitter has long stood out for his speed but showed more power this summer. If he’s able to carry that over into next spring—his redshirt freshman season—he could make a big impact in the Louisville lineup. The Cardinals are replacing two of their regular outfielders and King’s development would be a welcome addition.

George Klassen, RHP, Minnesota (Lakeshore, Northwoods): Klassen has stood out for his powerful right arm since high school and this summer was no different. He regularly ran his fastball to 100 mph and above, making him the summer’s hardest thrower. He pairs it with a hard slider and can overpower hitters, piling up 42 strikeouts in 28.2 innings. For all his raw stuff, however, Klassen still needs further refinement. The junior had a 1.60 WHIP and a 5.34 ERA. Still, if Klassen can harness all that power, his upside is substantial.

Colton Ledbetter, OF, Mississippi State (Newport, New England): Ledbetter this summer was named MVP of the New England Collegiate League after hitting .365/.464/.654 with 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 44 games. He has a quick lefthanded swing, a strong frame at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, a disciplined approach at the plate—he walked as much as he struck out this spring and summer—and an intriguing combination of power and speed. Ledbetter will be a junior this year at Mississippi State after transferring from Samford, where he hit .318/.407/.801 with 16 home runs.

Sean Matson, RHP, Harvard (Vermont, Futures): Matson overwhelmed hitters this summer in the Futures League, going 5-2, 1.61 with 68 strikeouts and five walks in 44.2 innings. He led the league in strikeouts and was named both pitcher of the year and most outstanding pitcher at the all-star game. His fastball gets into the low 90s and he mixes in a breaking ball and changeup. The sophomore is a good athlete with a strong frame at a listed 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.

Joichiro Oyama, 2B, UC Irvine (Wenatchee, West Coast): Oyama reached base in 56 of 57 games this summer and broke the WCL single-season records for runs (64) and stolen bases (42). He hit .339/.449/.433 and was named co-MVP. Oyama is undersized at a listed 5-foot-6, 170 pounds and he’s never going to hit for much power. But his speed, bat-to-ball skills and hard-nosed style of play make him a difficult matchup and a strong leadoff hitter. He’s transferring to UC Irvine this year as a junior after starting his college career at Merced (Calif.) JC and will add a new dimension to the Anteaters’ lineup this spring.

Dalton Pence, LHP, North Carolina (Forest City, Coastal Plain): Pence was out this spring as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, but he was able to get back on the mound this summer in the Coastal Plain League. He went 5-0, 0.88 with 35 strikeouts and nine walks on 41 pitches. He started the all-star game and was named pitcher of the year. He has an easy delivery, and his fastball works around 90 mph. His changeup is his best offering, and he also mixes in a breaking ball. UNC has several key pitchers to replace on staff next season and Pence’s summer performance could have the redshirt freshman primed to step into a role next spring.

Xavier Rivas, LHP, Mississippi (Wisconsin, Northwoods): Rivas starred this spring at Division II Indianapolis and carried that momentum into the summer in the Northwoods League, where he struck out 41 batters in 24 innings. Listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, he has a good pitcher’s build and attacks hitters primarily with a fastball-slider combination. His fastball reaches 94 mph and sat around 90 this summer, while his slider can be a swing-and-miss pitch. He’s transferring to Ole Miss as a junior and figures to make an impact with the Rebels.

Jared Sundstrom, OF, UC Santa Barbara (Healdsburg, California): Sundstrom hit .298/.422/.629 with 15 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 45 games this summer, leading the California Collegiate League in home runs. Listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Sundstrom has a powerful righthanded bat and walked as often as he struck out (27 times) this summer. He’ll take that exciting offensive profile—combining power, speed and bat control—to UC Santa Barbara this year as a junior, transferring from Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC. He profiles as a right fielder.

Beau Sylvester, C, Oklahoma State (Bend, West Coast): The WCL has a strong tradition of exciting incoming freshmen playing in the league, such as Travis Bazzana, who a year ago won the batting title before his freshman year at Oregon State. This year’s star freshman was Sylvester, a native of Hawaii who hit .355/.471/.613 with eight home runs in 33 games for Bend. Sylvester’s prospect status rose throughout the spring, and he was the No. 152-ranked draft prospect. He went unpicked and changed his college commitment from Washington to Oklahoma State following Lindsey Megg’s retirement as Huskies coach. Following his big summer as an 18-year-old against college competition, Sylvester looks to be more than ready to make an impact in Stillwater. He has big raw power and a strong arm behind the plate.

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