Carlos Cortes Showed He Belonged In Florida Collegiate Summer League

Florida Collegiate League Top Prospects
Carlos Cortes, 2b/3b, Sanford (Fr., South Carolina)
Cody Beckman, lhp, Sanford (R-Jr., North Carolina State)
Brant Blaylock, of, Sanford (R-Fr., Mississippi State)
Joe Dudek, 1b, DeLand (Signed: Royals)
Garrett Wolforth, c, Sanford (So., Dallas Baptist)
Jordan Gubelman, rhp, Sanford (So., State JC of Florida)
Clay Simmons, ss/3b, Leesburg (R-Jr., Columbia State, Tenn., JC)
Reed Hayes, of/rhp, Sanford (R-Jr., Vanderbilt)
Codi Heuer, rhp, Altamonte Springs (So., Wichita State)
Jacob Billingsley, rhp, Sanford (R-Jr., Mississippi State)

SEE ALSO: Summer College League Top Prospects

Postseason Recap: The Altamonte Springs Boom claimed their first Florida Collegiate Summer League championship, upsetting the top-seeded Sanford River Rats, 5-4, in the title game played at Tropicana Field. The Boom first had to survive a tightly contested best-of-three semifinal series against DeLand before advancing to face Sanford in the final. The Boom and River Rats were tied 3-3 through seven innings before Altamonte Springs took the lead for good in the eighth when Seth Johnson (Grand Valley State, Mich.) scored on a wild pitch. The Boom got an insurance run in the top of the ninth, which proved vital when Sanford scored once and had the bases loaded in the bottom half. But the Boom escaped, as Jason Bahr (Central Florida) fanned Sanford’s Sergio Lopez (Hillsborough, Fla., JC) to end the game in thrilling fashion.

1. Carlos Cortes, 2b/3b, Sanford (Fr., South Carolina)

Cortes ranked as the No. 128 overall prospect for this year’s draft but passed on signing as a 20th-round pick of the Mets, choosing to honor his commitment to South Carolina where he should be an immediate contributor. He only played 12 games for Sanford but more than held his own against older competition as a rising freshman, hitting .426/.500/.638. Cortes has a balanced swing that produces consistent hard contact to all fields. His best position is the batter’s box though, as scouts have little certainty about where he’ll ultimately land defensively. He played mostly second and third base this summer—he’s also tried catching and playing in the outfield in the past—with second base figuring to be his best bet for the future, as he has below-average speed and a fringy throwing arm.

2. Cody Beckman, lhp, Sanford (R-Jr., North Carolina State)

Beckman was generally regarded as the best lefthanded arm in the league this summer, despite an unassuming 4.61 ERA in 25.1 innings. He pitches off a power fastball that sits in the low 90s, touching 93 mph. His curveball gives him a put away pitch, as he racked up 31 strikeouts for Sanford after having 23 in 19.1 innings for North Carolina State. His changeup is developing, a key step if he’s going to have a shot as a starter. He’s been used strictly as a reliever by the Wolfpack but made five starts for Sanford. The Mets took him in the 25th round this past June, but he chose to return to N.C. State as a fourth-year junior for 2017.

3. Brant Blaylock, of, Sanford (R-Fr., Mississippi State)

Blaylock redshirted this spring for Mississippi State but should get a chance to contribute in 2017 after the Bulldogs lost four position players to the draft. Blaylock handled himself well in his first game action of the year, hitting .323/.400/.427 in 27 games for Sanford. With a strong physique at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Blaylock has a solid combination of power and speed. He clocked at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash and has a good enough arm to play anywhere in the outfield. He shows a mature eye at the plate (12 walks) at his best and is growing into his power.

4. Joe Dudek, 1b, DeLand (Signed: Royals)

Dudek played two seasons at North Carolina before sitting out 2016 as he transferred to Kentucky. He’ll never actually suit up for the Wildcats though, as he signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Royals in late July after hitting .351/.465/.553 in a 34-game stint with DeLand. One of his hallmarks from his time at UNC, Dudek stood out as probably the most disciplined hitter in the league, drawing 22 walks versus 18 strikeouts. When he does cut the bat loose, balls jumped off his bat with little effort—his four homers were tied for fourth in the league. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, he provides a big target at first base and also spent time in right field.

5. Garrett Wolforth, c, Sanford (So., Dallas Baptist)

The No. 2 prospect on this list a year ago, Wolforth returned for a second go-around in the FCSL, hitting .279/.289/.349 after joining Sanford in mid-July. An unsigned 33rd-round pick out of high school, Wolforth split time behind the plate as a freshman at Dallas Baptist, batting .259 with one homer in 32 games. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound catcher can hit from both sides of the plate, showing an intelligent, all-fields approach. He should have more power as he develops physically but hasn’t shown it in games yet, as he hit only one homer for DBU and none for Sanford. Defensively, he has above-average arm strength with potential for more, and he’s an adept blocker and receiver for his age.

6. Jordan Gubelman, rhp, Sanford (So., State JC of Florida)

Gubelman spent his freshman season at North Carolina, but the Sarasota (Fla.) High product will transfer closer to home for 2017, heading to the State JC of Florida. He enjoyed a solid showing for Sanford, going 3-0, 3.02 with 44 strikeouts and just 30 hits allowed in 41.2 innings. One of the hardest throwers in the league, Gubelman’s fastball sits 90-92 mph and touched 94. His secondary pitches need work, though he showed some potential with his changeup. But he does have another thing going for him in his solid pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds.

7. Clay Simmons, ss/3b, Leesburg (R-Jr., Columbia State, Tenn., JC)

Another returnee from last year’s FCSL top 10—he was No. 9—Simmons spent the spring at Columbia State (Tenn.) JC after transferring from South Florida. The unsigned 11th-round pick in the 2013 draft has a pro body (6-foot, 200 pounds) and a strong arm at shortstop—he was also a quarterback in high school. He runs well, and scouts in the past have seen him as a potential center fielder if things don’t work out at shortstop. He’s growing into his righthanded power, hitting .293/.359/.443 with four homers for Leesburg, but his pitch recognition needs more work after he fanned 46 times in 43 games this summer while drawing just 13 walks.

8. Reed Hayes, of/rhp, Sanford (R-Jr., Vanderbilt)

Hayes heads to Vanderbilt coming off a season in which he hit .387 with 14 homers for Walters State (Tenn.) CC and .271/.367/.412 in the FCSL. Standing 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Hayes has a nice power stroke from the right side. He also had more walks than strikeouts in the spring for Walters State and nearly matched that in the FCSL, with a 12-14 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 22 games. He’s a capable defender with a strong arm in the outfield, which carries over to the mound. He was actually drafted as a pitcher by the Royals in the 28th round in 2015. Hayes sits in the low 90s with his fastball and has touched 96 mph. His secondary stuff needs work, but he could contribute on either side of the ball at Vanderbilt.

9. Codi Heuer, rhp, Altamonte Springs (So., Wichita State)

Heuer bounced back from a rough spring at Wichita State, where he had a 9.12 ERA, to dominate out of the bullpen for Altamonte Springs, posting a 2.53 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. The rising sophomore stands tall on the mound at 6-foot-4 and has plenty of room to fill out. He pumps his fastball up to 94 mph and could add to that with more muscle on his 185-pound frame. His slider needs to be more consistent but looked solid at times. Improving his changeup would also go a long way towards improving his chances to start. Perhaps the best news to come out of his summer was his improved control—he walked 18 in 24.2 innings for Wichita but just six in the FCSL.

10. Jacob Billingsley, rhp, Sanford (R-Jr., Mississippi State)

Billingsley had a long wait to get on the mound, redshirting as a freshman at Mississippi State in 2014 and then also missing the entire 2015 season after having surgery to remove bone chips from his shoulder. He finally returned to pitching this year, making 12 relief appearances with MSU and going 2-2, 2.70 in 30 innings for Sanford. Billingsley’s a dogged competitor on the mound. His fastball sits 90-92 mph and can touch 94, and he can mix in a moving two-seamer and a quality slider, which serves as his out pitch. He made seven starts among his 11 appearances this summer but does need to develop another offspeed pitch and hone his control if he’s going to work in that role at higher levels—he walked 20 in his 30 innings this summer.

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