Top Connecticut 2019 MLB Draft Prospects
State List Talent Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
(Stars are listed on a 1 to 5 scale relative to what the state typically produces, with 1 being the weakest)
A three-year reliever with UConn, Wallace has improved each year with the Huskies and is having a career-best campaign in 2019. Through his first 35 innings of work, Wallace posted a 0.77 ERA with 53 strikeouts (13.6 per nine) and just eight walks (2.1 per nine). His dominance comes thanks to a plus fastball in the mid-90s that touches 97 mph, a sharp slider that could be a plus offering and more advanced control than the typical college reliever. Strictly a reliever profile, Wallace’s upside in the draft is limited, but he had a terrific summer in the Cape Cod League last year, striking out 25 batters and walking five in 13.2 innings. He could be a quick-mover through a pro system.
As a sophomore in 2018, Feole became the first Connecticut pitcher to tally 120 strikeouts in a season since 1979. He then joined USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team over the summer, when he was superb. With Team USA, Feole struck out nine batters over 11 innings and held opponents to a .097 batting average, ranking as the team’s 13th-best prospect. A shoulder strain delayed the start of his 2019 season, but Feole has been solid this spring, posting a 3.49 ERA with 72 strikeouts (9.7 per nine) and 39 walks (5.2 per nine) in 67 innings. The 6-foot-1, 194-pound lefthander has an unorthodox, funky delivery that has a lot of moving parts. He throws from a high, three-quarter slot, which affects the consistency of his breaking ball. A pronounced lock out and head whack in his finish also prevent him from consistently repeating out in front. He may never be a great strike-thrower for those reasons—and his track record in college would back that up—but he does throw with good deception that allows his stuff to play up when he manages to find the zone. Feole’s fastball has reached 93 mph at times, but the pitch has been mostly in the 86-90 mph range this spring following his injury. He has a high-spin, 12-to-6 curveball with good depth in the mid-70s, which is a plus pitch when it’s on. Feole has also shown a plus changeup, although he rarely used the pitch with Connecticut.
Similar to a few other Northeast prep outfielders—like Chris Newell and Trejyn Fletcher—Zmarzlak is a high-upside, tooled-up hitter that comes with some rawness in his game. Currently listed at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, Zmarzlak is extremely physical and is a monster in the weight room, having added around 20 pounds over the offseason. With that comes huge raw power, which some scouts grade as plus-plus, and when he connects he hits the ball hard and far. With such a tall frame, Zmarzlak still has room to add even more weight and strength. While he has plenty of juice, it’s a power-over-hit profile, and there are swing-and-miss concerns with the Maryland commit. He’s a fastball hitter now and will need to learn how to attack secondaries. At his best, he is an above-average or plus runner, though scouts haven’t seen those times consistently this spring after dealing with a dislocated foot, and those grades could back up as he continues to fill out.
A physical righthanded hitter, Knight has received plenty of attention this spring thanks to an impressive and impactful bat. A 6-foot, 205-pound catcher and infielder, Knight showed power potential last summer on the showcase circuit, regularly homering in batting practice at multiple big events. Scouts are split on his true hitting ability, but those highest on him believe he’s one of the better hitters in the region. Defensively, Knight has no obvious home. He’s played a number of positions, including third base and catcher, and he has the arm strength and athleticism to potentially make either work. There are some scouts who think he’ll wind up needing to move to first base, however. Committed to Duke, Knight could make it to campus, where scouts might wind up having a better idea of his overall profile in three years, but there’s enough interest from teams that he could get drafted on Day 2.
An on-base machine for Connecticut for three years, Prato has shown good bat-to-ball skills since his freshman season and has hit above .300 each year in the American Athletic Conference. In 2019 though, Prato took his walk rate to another level, posting a .309/.433/.406 line with 37 walks and 22 strikeouts. Prato has well below-average power at 5-foot-10, 186-pounds. He’s a plus runner with solid hands in the infield and a high baseball IQ, but is unlikely to stick at shortstop at the next level.
A mid-week starter for Fairfield as a freshman, Pope transitioned to the weekend rotation and had a breakout sophomore season, posting a 2.98 ERA over eight starts with 48 strikeouts to 17 walks in 48 innings. Pope has continued that success this spring through his first 12 starts of the season, posting a 2.94 ERA over 67 innings with a career-best strikeout rate. A 6-foot-3, 210-pound righthander, Pope doesn’t have much projection remaining, but throws a fastball in the upper 80s and low 90s with an average curveball. His fastball was a tick better last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he threw 27 innings and allowed nearly 10 hits per nine innings, but still struck out 35 batters in 27 innings.
An undersized, 6-foot, 160-pound lefthanded hitting shortstop, Cotier showed impressive bat-to-ball skills at a number of big summer showcases last year, and also has a strong defensive foundation with solid hands and good body control. He has fringe-average arm strength, but that could tick up as he adds strength, though if not he could fit nicely at second base. Cotier is the stereotypical undersized middle infielder without huge tools, but a polished game who could perform for three years at Virginia and radically improve his draft stock out of college. Cotier currently has well below-average power.