Breakout Under-The-Radar 2023 Summer Ball Prospects


Image credit: Tyler Cerny (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Summer ball seasons have wrapped up around the country and players have returned to campus, ready for fall ball. The brightest spotlights of the summer shine on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and the Cape Cod League, which annually account for the vast majority of the top prospects playing summer ball. But there are 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.

Tyler Cerny, SS, Indiana (Greenville, Appalachian)

Cerny had a standout freshman season, hitting .276/.348/.489 with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases to earn all-Big Ten freshman honors. He built on that success during the summer, hitting .336/.376/.558 to earn all-league honors. He finished the summer on an 11-game hitting streak and played solid defense at shortstop. After mostly playing second base in the spring, he looks ready to slide over to shortstop for the Hoosiers and fill the hole left by the graduation of Philip Glasser.

Brandon Compton, 1B, Arizona State (Duluth, Northwoods)

Compton came to Arizona State as a two-way player but was sidelined this spring as he recovered from an arm injury he suffered last year. He didn’t pitch this summer either, but emerged this summer as one of the most dangerous hitters in the Northwoods League. He hit .320/.423/.563 with 17 doubles and 13 home runs. Listed at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, he has a powerful lefthanded swing and showed off an ability to consistently drive the ball. He’s a patient hitter and does a good job of using the whole field. How much he pitches going forward remains to be seen, but his performance this summer showed he has the potential to step into the ASU lineup.

Aidan Espinoza, OF, UCLA (Walla Walla, West Coast)

Espinoza is an incoming freshman at UCLA and more than held his own during the summer in the West Coast League. He hit .331/.375/.442 as an 18-year-old and earned all-league honors. Espinoza isn’t the most high-profile member of a star-studded 2023 recruiting class for the Bruins, but his summer performance showed off what he’s capable of. He has a smooth lefthanded swing and an advanced feel for the game. The Bruins this spring will have a lot of options in the outfield and Espinoza can be in that mix if he continues to build on a strong summer.

Cal Fisher, SS, Florida State (Madison, Northwoods)

Fisher is an incoming freshman at Florida State. He suited up this summer for Madison, near his hometown of Deerfield, Wis. Despite playing the summer as an 18-year-old, he held his own with the Mallards, hitting .232/.297/.442 with seven home runs and earning all-star honors while playing shortstop every day. He ranked No. 154 on the top 500 draft prospects but went unpicked and will now head to Florida State. He brings an exciting tool set starting with his ability to barrel up balls and drive them to all fields. He’s a slick fielder whose hands, instincts and actions all play well in the middle of the infield. After a summer of playing against older competition in the Northwoods League, he’s ready to compete for a spot on the infield for the Seminoles.

Christian Foutch, RHP, Arkansas (Green Bay, Northwoods)

Foutch this spring didn’t pitch much for the Razorbacks and had command trouble when he did, as opponents recorded 14 hits and nine walks in 12.1 innings against him. But the Colorado native showed encouraging upside during the summer in Green Bay. He went 1-2, 4.68 with 53 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. His command still needs further refinement after he walked 21 batters and gave up 26 hits, but he has exciting stuff. His fastball can get up to 97 mph and typically sits around 93. He pairs it with a slider and is working to improve his changeup. Listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he has a strong frame to go with his powerful stuff. Arkansas will likely look to use Foutch out of the bullpen in 2024 and he could be a high-impact reliever.

Dylan Koontz, 1B, Campbell (Forest City, Coastal Plain)

Koontz this spring was sidelined by a broken hamate but was back in action this summer in the Coastal Plain League. He starred for the Owls, hitting .317/.461/.600 with 10 home runs. Koontz didn’t play much in 2022 as a freshman at Campbell (he went 6-for-36 in 21 games) but he could be primed for a bigger role in 2024 as a redshirt sophomore. The Camels have a few big holes to fill in their lineup, including at first base following the graduation of two-year starter Drake Pierson. If Koontz can carry his summer performance into the spring at Campbell, he could add another powerful bat to the mix.

Matt Ossenfort, 1B, Vanderbilt (Alexandria, Cal Ripken)

Ossenfort, an incoming freshman at Vanderbilt, immediately stands out for his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame. The lefthanded hitter had a big summer with Alexandria, hitting .376/.480/.693 with eight home runs, 21 walks and 22 strikeouts. He led the Cal Ripken Collegiate League in home runs and ranked second in batting and slugging. His powerful bat profiles well at first base and his control of the strike zone against older competition this summer was especially encouraging. The SEC is a different beast than the Ripken League but it at the very least lays a good foundation for Ossenfort at the outset of his career.

Myles Patton, LHP, Long Beach State (Healdsburg, California)

Patton had mixed results as a freshman at Beach and finished the season 3-4, 6.18 with 37 strikeouts and six walks in 39.1 innings. He was better over the summer, however, going 4-1, 1.23 with 45 strikeouts and nine walks in 29.1 innings. He finished the summer on a streak of 18 innings without allowing an earned run. Patton has the pedigree and stuff to make a jump in his second season of college baseball. He isn’t overpowering but throws a lot of strikes with a fastball that can get into the low 90s and mixes in a good curveball and changeup. He’s got a strong build at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and could be a weekend starter for the Dirtbags.

Zane Petty, RHP, Texas Tech (Santa Barbara, California)

Petty in 2022 was drafted in the 13th round by the Brewers but opted not to sign. He went 3-2, 5.68 with 32 strikeouts and 15 walks in 38 innings as a freshman at Texas Tech. He spent the summer with the Santa Barbara Foresters, helping them reach the championship game of the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita. He went 6-1, 2.77 with 49 strikeouts and 11 walks in 36 innings and was named the top pitcher of the NBC World Series. Petty, listed at 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, has a big arm and can run his fastball into the mid 90s in extended outings. He has a good breaking ball and can mix in a changeup as well. Petty made exciting progress in 2023 and this summer, especially in Wichita, where he struck out 14 in 13 scoreless innings and held opponents to five hits and two walks, gives him plenty of momentum heading into his sophomore year.

Logan Poteet, C, Vanderbilt (Sanford, New England)

Poteet did not play this spring for the Commodores but starred this summer with Sanford. He hit .347/.438/.455 and won the NECBL batting title and MVP award. He’s long stood out for his glove and strong arm behind the plate. This summer, however, he showed he also has some offensive upside. He didn’t hit for much power but the righthanded hitter did a good job of finding the barrel. Vanderbilt returns catchers Jack Bulger and Alan Espinal, but Poteet’s summer and defensive ability give him a chance to break through behind the plate for the Commodores in 2024.

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