September 8, 2011
Now that the Summer Leagues have wrapped up, we’ve compiled top prospect lists from 20 leagues. The following are the No. 1 prospects in each league, while clicking on the league name will take subscribers to the complete prospects list for the league.
No. 1. Aaron Judge, of, Anchorage Glacier Pilots (So., Fresno State)
Judge was the most imposing figure in Alaska this summer, standing at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, and he earned the nickname Dave Winfield Jr. from opposing coaches for his size and exceptional athleticism. With the Pilots, Judge flashed four current above-average tools, including impressive bat control. He hit .290.434/.410 in 100 at-bats while walking (21) more than he struck out (19). Judge peppered the right-center-field gap, hitting anything on the outer half of the plate with authority. It was the same approach that helped him lead all Fresno State regulars with a .358 average as a true freshman this spring. Judge’s most surprising tool may be his speed. Although he doesn’t carry an ideal build for a basestealer, his exceptionally long strides made him 7-for-7 in stolen base opportunities, and he routinely turned in home-to-first times near 4.1 seconds from the right side. His above-average speed also played in the outfield, where he graded as a plus defender with intriguing arm strength and carry, although he was rarely challenged by runners. A 31st-round draft pick out of high school in 2010, he has flashed low-90s velocity off the mound in the past, but has exclusively been a hitter at the college level. His significant power potential remains largely untapped, as he didn’t homer all summer. Judge stands off the plate in an attempt to aid his extension, but he hit for little pull power this summer and frequently inside-outs the ball. Most coaches and scouts agree his power will come as he matures, as it came out in batting practice, and he hits his fair share of doubles.
ATLANTIC COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1. Brandon Kuter, rhp, Westhampton (Jr., George Mason)
Kuter pitched sparingly at George Mason as a freshman, then posted a 6.49 ERA in 26 innings of relief this spring, but he turned a corner this summer in the ACBL, leading the circuit with 10 saves and posting a 0.40 ERA in 21 appearances. He also got the save in the league championship game. Kuter struck out 36 in 22 innings thanks to an overpowering two-pitch attack. The athletic 6-foot-7, 220-pounder has a very loose arm action, and he easily generates 92-94 mph heat, peaking at 96 in the league’s all-star game. He also flashes a plus slider, giving him a swing-and-miss secondary offering.
CAL RIPKEN LEAGUE
No. 1. K.J. Hockaday, 3b/of, Youse’s Orioles (Fr., Maryland)
Hockaday passes the scout’s eye test: He looks like a player as soon as he walks off the team bus. He’s a solid 6-foot-3, 210-pound righthanded hitter who should be physical enough to profile at third base or a corner outfield spot. Playing fresh out of high school in a college wood-bat league, Hockaday started slowly. His last 11 games (including one in the playoffs) showed why the Orioles drafted him in the 14th round this June. In that stretch, he hit .353 with a .421 on-base percentage against college pitchers. Hockaday has strong wrists and will hit pitches on the outer half to the right-center gap and to right. He’s a slightly below-average runner but not a base clogger. On defense, his reflexes are quick enough to play third base at the next level. He has average arm strength and throws from a quirky, low three-quarters slot.
CALIFORNIA COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1. Austin Kubitza, rhp, Santa Barbara (So., Rice)
After going 6-5, 2.34 with 102 strikeouts in 100 innings to earn freshman All-America honors this spring, Kubitza shouldered a lighter workload for Santa Barbara this summer, splitting time between starting and relieving and going 3-1, 3.46 with a 51-16 K-BB mark in 39 innings. The younger brother of former Texas State third baseman and current Braves farmhand Kyle Kubitza, Austin has a lean, ultra-projectable 6-foot-5, 190-pound frame. He pitches downhill with a 91-94 mph fastball that has incredible run and sink, and he can carve up both halves of the plate. Like his two-seamer, Kubitza’s mid-80s slider disappears late on hitters, resulting in plenty of swings and misses. Rice wanted Kubitza to work on developing his four-seamer this summer to help him bust lefthanded hitters on the inner half, and it remains a work in progress. Like all young pitchers, he can get into trouble when he leaves the ball up. He has the makings of a changeup but seldom used it this summer. With some more polish and added strength, Kubitza has a good chance to climb into the first round of the 2013 draft and has front-half-of-the-rotation big league potential.
CAPE COD LEAGUE
No. 1 Deven Marrero, ss, Cotuit (Jr., Arizona State)
Marrero, who ranked seventh on this list a year ago, started his summer with Team USA (where he ranked as the No. 2 prospect behind Appel), then returned to Cotuit for 12 games, hitting .326 in 46 at-bats. His summer was cut short when he was hit by a pitch in the left hand and suffered a deep bruise.
Marrero is a “complete player,” as one scouting director called him, with at least average tools across the board and a grinder mentality. His simple swing, good hand-eye coordination, control of the strike zone and all-fields approach should make him a slightly above-average hitter, and he has a chance to grow into average power, though he’s more of a doubles hitter presently. Marrero’s slightly above-average speed plays up because of his excellent instincts on the basepaths. But he stands out most for his defense. He reads balls very well off the bat, and his smooth actions and plus arm will keep him at shortstop throughout his career, though his focus sometimes drifts, leading to errors.
“He’s the best defensive player I’ve ever seen at 19, 20 years of age,” Cotuit coach Mike Roberts said. “Walt Weiss was pretty darn good, but this young man—I’ve never seen anybody who could get his feet in the right position almost all the time. If for any reason he doesn’t get his feet in the right position, he has the ability to still get his hands in the right place, and understand the speed of the runner. I think he’s Omar Vizquel at 20.”
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE
No. 1. Jake Cave, 1b/lhp, Peninsula (SIGNED: Yankees)
Cave and Peninsula teammate Deshorn Lake were the first high school seniors to make their way into the Coastal Plain League. Cave had the better season, is the better prospect at this stage and wound up signing with the Yankees for $800,000, the second-highest bonus in New York’s draft class. Some scouts liked Cave better out of high school as a pitcher, and he threw 12 innings this summer, striking out 14 but walking nine while touching 94 mph. However, the former Louisiana State signee was drafted for his bat, and his .326/.423/.442 line impressed no matter how young he is. He ranked 11th in batting in the CPL thanks to his athleticism, bat speed and solid approach. Cave struck out a fair amount (28 percent of his at-bats), but he isn’t afraid to go deep in counts and has the bat speed to catch up to good fastballs. He runs well enough to play an outfield corner and has the arm strength for right field. Cave has room to fill out his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, and doing so would help his plus raw power translate into more home runs.
FLORIDA COLLEGIATE SUMMER LEAGUE
No. 1. Garrett Nuss, rhp, Orlando (Fr., Central Florida)
Nuss headed into his senior year at Mount Dora (Fla.) High as the No. 79 high school prospect in the country. He went 11-1, 0.68 to lead Mount Dora to the state finals for the first time in school history, then was drafted in the 32nd round by the Yankees. He followed up his spring with a strong summer in the FCSL, racking up 43 strikeouts in 35 innings of work. He has a loose, projectable 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and a quick arm. He can run his fastball into the low 90s, and he flashes a devastating curveball at times. When he throws his offspeed stuff for strikes, he can be dominant.
No 1. Eric Perrault, lhp, Nashua (Jr., Keene, N.H., State)
Working as a setup man for Red Sox 39th-round pick Corey Vogt at Division III Keene State, Perrault threw 26 innings this spring, posting a 5.13 ERA and a 35-13 strikeout-walk mark. But once Perrault came to Nashua this summer, he was stretched out and groomed for a starting role. As the summer progressed Perrault got stronger, and he finished with a 1.57 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 46 innings to capture Futures League pitcher of the year honors. A lanky 6-foot-4, 180-pound lefthander, Perrault looks the part of a pro pitcher. In front of scouts from 14 major league organizations on scout day, Perrault sat at 88-92 with some arm-side run on his fastball while flashing a mid-70s curveball and low-80s changeup that he is able to locate at times. The only knock on Perrault, as with most young pitchers, is that he must refine his command if he wants to succeed at the next level.
GREAT LAKES LEAGUE
No. 1. Dusty Isaacs, rhp, Hamilton (So., Georgia Tech)
Isaacs spurned the Cape Cod League to return home to southern Ohio after his freshman year and showcased the talent that made him the Pirates’ 50th-round draft pick in 2010. Isaacs’ best game of the summer came on July 8, when he struck out 16 batters in 8 2/3 innings. He typically throws his fastball in the upper 80s, but he touched the low 90s in the all-star game, when he struck out all three batters he faced. Isaacs has what one league manager called a “difference-making slider” and showed the ability to throw it and his changeup for strikes. In 44 innings for Hamilton, he struck out 50 batters and walked 22. Isaacs was a starter for Hamilton, a role he will likely hold at Georgia Tech next spring after spending his freshman year in the bullpen.
HAWAII COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1. Trey Teakell, rhp, Kauai (R-Fr., Texas Christian)
Without a lot of innings available thanks to a loaded and veteran Horned Frogs pitching staff, Teakell redshirted his first year in Fort Worth. But if his summer performance is any indication, Teakell is poised to do big things on the mound for TCU in 2012. At 6-foot-5 and just 165 pounds, Teakell has a rail-thin but projectable body. Already armed with a fastball that touched 92 this summer, Teakell has the potential to add velocity as he continues to fill out his frame. Teakell’s mechanics are clean and his delivery is easy and effortless. In addition to his fastball, Teakell throws a 12-to-6 curveball and a changeup for strikes and was confident throwing his offspeed stuff at any point in the count. He even developed a split-finger while working in the bullpen this summer, and by the end of season, Kauai coach Steve Gewecke said the pitch had legitimate swing-and-miss potential. His advanced stuff helped him earn the league’s pitcher of the year award after he finished 3-2, 0.91 with 46 strikeouts in 59 innings. He still has a lot of maturing to do—physically and mentally—and he still needs to add polish and get some more experience under his belt, but his future is bright.
No. 1. Josh Smith, lhp, Liberal (Sr., Wichita State)
Smith was often overlooked this spring, pitching in the shadows of fellow Shocker southpaws Charlie Lowell and Brian Flynn—the top two prospects in the Jayhawk League a year ago—but he might be the best pitcher of the bunch. Although Smith lacks the velocity and stuff of his former teammates, he has above-average command and keeps hitters off balance. He made 15 starts for Wichita State this spring and was 7-4, 3.00 with the fewest walks allowed per nine innings of the trio. Smith will never be a strikeout pitcher, although he did rack up 39 in 38 innings this summer, as he works in the upper 80s and occasionally touches 90-91 mph with a two-seamer that has good run. That said, he has lanky size at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds and could add more velocity as he continues to fill out. He mixes in an excellent changeup and solid slider and can throw any pitch in any count for a strike. A 26th-round draft pick of the Brewers this year, Smith did not sign and will return for his senior year, during which he should be Wichita State’s Friday night starter.
No. 1. Nick Petree, rhp, Sedalia (So., Missouri State)
After taking a redshirt year to recover from Tommy John surgery, Petree flourished in his freshman season this spring, going 9-2, 2.81 in 96 innings, while limiting opponents to a .236 average. His success translated to the MINK League, where he compiled a microscopic 0.27 ERA and struck out 33 batters in 26 innings. His two-seam fastball generally sits at 87-90 mph, but he locates it well and gets plenty of movement. He complements his fastball with three other solid offerings: a cutter, slider and changeup. He commands both sides of the plate with all of his pitches and can throw any of them for strikes in any count. Petree turned 21 in July, so he will be a draft-eligible sophomore following the 2012 season.
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1. Tom Murphy, c, Holyoke (Jr., Buffalo)
Murphy earned Mid-American Conference Player of the Year honors despite the Bulls’ 3-22 conference record, after hitting .384/.446/.626 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs as a sophomore. His spring put him on scouts’ radar screens, but his summer ensured they will flock to Buffalo next year, as one talent evaluator said Murphy could go in the top three rounds of the draft. Two swings of the bat in a showcase against Team USA and Louisiana State flame-throwing righty Kevin Gausman at Fenway Park opened eyes: Murphy ripped Gausman’s first-pitch fastball about 400 feet foul off the Coca-Cola sign down the left-field line, then he stayed back on Gausman’s sharp slider and launched it over the Green Monster for an estimated 450 feet, showing off his compact stroke and plus raw power. A few days later, Murphy signed to play a five-game series with Team USA against Team Japan. When he returned to Holyoke, Murphy continued raking to the tune of .291/.364/.575. An athletic 6-foot-1, 210-pound backstop, Murphy ran a 6.75-second 60-yard dash at the NECBL all-star game. He is a good receiver with a solid-average arm, routinely turning out 1.9-second pop times, though his throwing needs refinement as the ball sails on him at times. Scouts and managers alike raved about Murphy’s work ethic, and Holyoke general manager Kirk Fredriksson, who recruited Strasburg in 2007, called Murphy the league’s best catching prospect during his 15 years.
NEW YORK COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1. Mike Johnson, lhp, Utica (SIGNED: Angels)
Johnson was picked in the 46th round by the Angels after his first year with Hillsborough (Fla.) CC and spent the summer improving his stock. Johnson signed a deadline deal with the Angels for $140,000, the biggest bonus doled out in the final seven rounds of the draft. With Utica, Johnson struck out 55 batters in 52 innings while going 9-1, 2.21. He sits in the low 90s and touched 95 mph this summer. He developed a cutter during the summer, which one manager called a devastating pitch. Johnson also mixes in an overhand curveball and changeup. At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Johnson still has room to get stronger as he begins his professional career.
No. 1. Nolan Sanburn, rhp, Battle Creek (So., Arkansas)
The Tigers drafted Sanburn as an outfielder in the 34th round of the 2010 draft out of Kokomo (Ind.) High, but it’s clear that his future is on the mound. Sanburn pitched well as Arkansas’ closer as a freshman and took things up a notch this summer. He can overpower hitters with a fastball that sits in the 91-94 mph range and gets as high as 98. Sanburn was used as a starter this summer to help develop his slider and changeup, and both showed improvement during his 19 innings of work, in which he struck out 24 and walked nine while going 0-1, 2.33. The slider showed flashes of being an above-average pitch in the 81-85 mph range. Sanburn repeats his athletic delivery well and shows a lot of confidence on the mound. Sanburn, a draft-eligible sophomore this year, is slated to remain in the Razorbacks’ bullpen this spring, but should get a shot to start in pro ball.
No. 1. Stephen Bruno, ss, Terre Haute (Jr., Virginia)
After missing the majority of the spring due to a serious hamstring injury, Bruno showed no ill effects this summer. Despite joining the Rex with only a third of the season remaining, Bruno quickly established himself as the top position player in the Prospect League. Bruno possesses surprising pop for a player of his stature (5-foot-9), and in just 66 at-bats with the Rex, he clubbed six homers to tie for eighth in the league. His compact swing helps produce plenty of hard contact, and his .394 batting average would have led the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Coaches noted Bruno squared up whatever he saw—fastballs and breaking balls alike. His defense also earned plaudits from coaches, who were impressed by his smooth, fluid movements at shortstop and strong arm. Bruno has a quality all-around tools package at an up-the-middle position.
PERFECT GAME COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1. Josh Anderson, 3b, Glen Falls (So., Yavapai, Ariz., JC)
At a sturdy 6 feet and 220 pounds, Anderson is a physically mature corner infielder. According to league coaches, he also has the skill set and work ethic to back it up. After hitting .364/.407/.506 with one home run and 33 RBIs as a freshman at Yavapai, Anderson came into his own this summer, hitting .368/.412/.676 with nine homers and 38 RBIs in 136 at-bats. The tool that jumps out most is his plus raw power. Anderson has the ability to hit balls out of the park to all fields, to go along with a discerning eye, quick hands, a short swing and a patient approach. But Anderson is far from an offense-only prospect. He is not a great runner, which will likely mean he will need to play a corner position in the infield or the outfield, but he has enough ability and athleticism to stick at third base. In addition to his good footwork, smooth mechanics and strong arm, Anderson is always trying to stay one step ahead. One opposing coach called him the “smartest player in the league” and said that when he was coaching third base, Anderson was always talking, trying to read the batter and think about where the ball might go. Glen Falls coach John Mayotte said Anderson had an incredible attention to detail and a strong desire to improve, giving him a chance to make the most of his tools.
TEXAS COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
No. 1. Tyler Collins, of, Coppell Copperheads (SIGNED: Tigers)
Collins was the 2011 NJCAA Division I national player of the year after hitting .488/.561/.949 with 19 homers at Howard (Texas) JC. He played in 35 games this summer with Coppell, hitting .310/.357/.510 with two triples, four doubles and six steals. Collins stands just 5-foot-11 but has good strength in his 205-pound frame. He’s a lefthanded hitter with plenty of bat speed, a knack for making solid contact and a good all-fields approach. He has a chance to hit for average as well as power. Collins has solid speed and good defensive instincts in left field, but his arm is fringy at best. He was the highest-drafted player in the TCL this year, as the Tigers signed him out of a commitment to Texas Christian with a $210,000 bonus. Collins hit .324/.369/.544 through 136 at-bats between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and the short-season New York-Penn League after signing.
No. 1 Mac Williamson, of, Harrisonburg (Jr., Wake Forest)
Williamson arrived at Wake Forest as a two-way player who was more highly regarded on the mound, but shoulder surgery short-circuited his pitching career. He re-emerged as a power hitter in the middle of Wake’s lineup, slugging 12 homers this spring and getting drafted in the 46th round by the Red Sox as a redshirt sophomore. At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Williamson is a Josh Hamilton-sized outfielder with above-average power potential from the right side. He ranked among Valley’s top three in the old-school and modern triple crown, batting .381/.469/.706 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs. Primarily a pull hitter, he stands in a square, upright position, holding his hands shoulder high, which enables him to extend his arms and drop the bat head. He’s strong enough to be fooled on a given pitch and still hit the ball hard. One key to his summer success was an improved walk-strikeout ratio (15-21 BB-K) over his college season (25-56 BB-K), indicating more patience and better pitch recognition. Williamson has below-average speed up the line and runs better underway. He has an average arm and playable range for a corner outfield spot.
WEST COAST LEAGUE
No. 1 Jace Fry, lhp, Corvallis (Fr., Oregon State)
Fry turned down the Athletics in the ninth round out of Southridge High in Beaverton, Ore., and will headline a banner class for Oregon State. While not overly physical at 6 feet and 175 pounds, Fry turned a corner this summer, showing an above-average fastball and a good four-pitch mix. Fry’s fastball was sometimes in the 88-92 mph range and sometimes in the 92-94 mph range, topping out at 96. Throwing from a lower three-quarters arm slot, Fry’s best secondary offering is his slider, and he also mixes in a solid curveball and a changeup. Fry goes right after hitters, showing the feel for pitching, makeup and competitiveness scouts covet. He’s young for his class, having just turned 18 this July, and should improve his draft status three years from now.