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Ruder Tops MINK League's Best

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Jacob Ruder Jacob Ruder struck out 27 batters and walked just eight[/caption] SEE ALSO: Summer College League Top Prospects Postseason Recap: The Sedalia Bombers, the MINK League’s winningest team throughout the regular season, rolled to the title, outlasting the Ozark Generals during the best-of-three championship series. Sedalia put together an impressive 29-13 record during the regular season and put up gaudy offensive numbers during the playoffs. In Game One of the championship series, Sedalia put up 10 runs on 11 hits in a shutout of Ozark. Bombers starter Evan Dodd (Arkansas-Fort Smith) allowed just one hit over six innings and the Sedalia bullpen finished the game’s final three innings without allowing another hit. The Generals captured Game Two of the series, scoring 10 runs of its own in a 10-4 victory over Sedalia. But in the decisive Game Three, Sedalia rode a 16-hit effort, including three from both Robert Cummins (Midland (Neb.)) and Ryan Mantle (Missouri State), to an 8-1 series-clinching win. 1. Jacob Ruder, rhp, Branson (So., Kansas State/Cowley County (Kan.) CC) Ruder looks the part at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds. Over 21 innings for Branson this summer, Ruder fashioned only a 4.71 ERA but struck out an impressive 27 hitters compared to just eight walks. Described by MINK League coaches as one of the more polished pitchers in the league, Ruder has developed a comfort level with his large frame. Ruder sits 88-92 mph with his fastball and has shown vast improvements with his breaking ball, according to a scout familiar with the league, since graduating high school, when he was a 37th-round selection by the Royals. Ruder has transferred to Cowley County (Kan.) CC.
2. Jack Burk, rhp, Nevada (So., Louisiana-Lafayette) Burk showed off some of the league’s best stuff this summer, striking out 28 batters in 25 innings while walking just four. At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Burk still has room to grow into his frame and was described as the pitcher in the MINK League with the most upside. Burk’s fastball sits 88-91 mph and is complimented by what coaches called a “true swing-and-miss breaking ball.” He features an easy motion with clean arm action and has the ability to repeat his mechanics well. Burk has yet to pitch at Louisiana-Lafayette after being named an all-state player in Louisiana coming out of high school.
3. Evan McDonald, ss, St. Joseph (Sr., Georgia Southern) A highly athletic middle infielder, McDonald features a steady set of tools across the board. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound rising senior hit .425 this summer for St. Joseph and earned MVP honors during the league’s all-star game. McDonald earned plaudits as being steady and reliable, but he lacks a standout tool. A scout familiar with the league said McDonald could move around the field in pro ball and has the ability to play second base, third base and left field. McDonald played in 57 games, all at shortstop, during his junior year at Georgia Southern and batted .284.
4. Justin Murphy, rhp, Sedalia (Sr., Southeast Missouri State) MINK League coaches saw Murphy as the most complete pitcher in the league. A 6-foot, 175-pound righthander, Murphy sits 86-88 mph with his fastball and throws three pitches for strikes, with a plus changeup. In eight starts this summer, Murphy was 6-1, 1.83. He struck out 52 batters in 59 innings and walked just 11. Without a large frame or high-end velocity, Murphy relies on moving the ball throughout the zone and has gained a reputation for eating innings.
5. Blake Weiman, lhp, Chillicothe (Jr., Kansas) Despite spending his first two seasons at Kansas as a starter, Weiman recorded just one start this summer and appeared out of the bullpen in four other games. A big 6-foot-4 lefthander with an upper 80s to 90 mph fastball, Weiman nonetheless made an impression in the limited innings he did pitch. In 15 innings for Chillicothe, Weiman struck out 17 batters and walked just three. Weiman will need to improve his breaking ball to produce more favorable strikeout numbers at Kansas after striking out just 44 batters in 60 innings during 2016.
6. Kainalu Pitoy, of, Nevada (Jr., Northwestern Oklahoma State) Pitoy was described by coaches as being one of the most athletic players in the MINK League this summer. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, Pitoy is a bit undersized and will have to continue showing power from both sides of the plate to gain some attention. Pitoy covers ground well in the outfield and could play all three outfield positions at the pro level, if given the chance. For Nevada this summer, Pitoy hit .323 with 4 home runs and 10 doubles in 158 at bats. Scouts described Pitoy as a solid player with a 55 to 60 power tool. He will have to continue showing a strong arm and good foot speed in the outfield moving forward.
7. Nick Banman, 3b, Chillicothe (Jr., Pittsburgh) Banman is a big, strong lefthanded hitting corner infielder who showed off impressive power en route to winning the MINK League home run derby this summer. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Banman plays third base currently but would likely have to move to first base at the next level with his limited speed and range. During the summer, Banman hit .235 with one home run and 19 RBIs. He was described by league coaches as one of the more raw players in the league, with an inconsistent ability to make solid contact, but as he continues to grow, Banman could develop into solid prospect.
8. Louis Mele, 3b/1b, St. Joseph (So., NYIT) Mele put up impressive offensive numbers this summer for St. Joseph, finishing second on the team with 47 hits en route to a .364 average. Mele struck out just 22 times in 129 at bats. A 6-foot-1 corner infielder, Mele featured one of the best swings in the league this summer and showed off some power. Coaches in the league described Mele as a player who could grow into a legitimate power bat over the next year or two.
9. Michael Lydon-Lorson, rhp, St. Joseph (Sr., Rockhurst (Mo.)) Lydon-Lorson is a big, durable starter who provided St. Joseph with a quality start in five of his six starts this summer. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Lydon-Lorson is a force on the mound and featured a fastball at 89-90 mph with a solid curveball. Lydon-Lorson was described by coaches as the only guy in the league that gets better as the game goes. In 43 innings, he struck out 34 batters and walked only 7. He will need to continue putting up consistent numbers during his senior season at Rockhurst to garner the attention of scouts.
10. Justin Holt, of, Sedalia (Sr., Nicholls State)

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Holt was a described by a scout as the fastest players in the MINK League this summer, grading his run tool at 65. The foot speed alone is enough to give Holt a second look in the eyes of many scouts, as he should be able to play center field at the next level if given the chance, but his bat will have to improve during his senior year at Nicholls State. Holt hit .278 for Sedalia this summer with 23 RBIs and recorded eight stolen bases.

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