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Summer Collegiate : : Story
Prospect Lg. prospect reports
Allan Simpson        
Published: Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Official League Website

League Strength: ***

Prospect League top 35 prospects (list)

The Quincy Gems already owned the Prospects League’s best record three weeks into the 2011 season, when an unexpected gift fell into their laps. That’s when power-hitting first baseman Chris Serritella joined the team.

Serritella, a 31st
-round pick of the Kansas City Royals in this year’s draft, had missed the entire 2011 college season at Southern Illinois after sustaining a broken wrist just prior to the start of the campaign, and was unimpressive in a brief stint as a temporary player in the Cape Cod League to begin the summer.

But the powerful lefthanded hitter took the Prospect League by storm. He went on an immediate long-ball tear for the Gems and never stopped hitting.

Serritella topped the Prospect League in both homers (14) and RBIs (60), despite playing in just 39 of Quincy’s 56 regular-season games. Teaming with third baseman Bryan Lippincott (.345-10-57) in the middle of the Gems lineup, Serritella led Quincy (38-18 overall) to both half-season division titles in the West Division and the team went on to capture its second title in the league’s three-year history by quickly dispatching both its opponents in the playoffs. Serritella and Lippincott finished 1-2 in the league in homers and RBIs, while the Gems, as a team, topped the league in batting (.307) and home runs (39).

Another late-arriving player who missed almost all of the 2011 college season because of injury, Terre Haute shortstop Stephen Bruno (Virginia), also stood out among the top position-player prospects in the league, and actually made a stronger impression on scouts than even Serritella did.

Though he played in just 19 games for the Rex, Bruno hit .394 with six homers, and stood out defensively. Bruno badly injured a hamstring on the second weekend of the college season, and not only missed the balance of the college schedule but the first two-thirds of the Prospect League season. He was initially scheduled to spend the summer in the Cape Cod League.

While Quincy dominated the league from start to finish, the Gems featured only three players who were deemed worthy of making the accompanying list of the league’s top prospects—Serritella, Lippincott and all-star righthander T.J. Kendzora, the team’s ace who went 7-0. Like most of the other arms on the Quincy staff, Kendzora didn’t light up many radar guns with a fastball that peaked out only in the high-80s.

The most-dominant pitching staff in the league was at Danville. The Dans went only 25-29 overall, yet had four arms that are ranked in the league’s top 11 prospects. All four are rising-sophomore righthanders at their respective colleges, and each featured an impressive combination of raw stuff and pitchability. When the quartet was together on the same staff before injuries struck, the Dans were nearly invincible at 13-2.

Danville typically dominated the prospect rankings in the Central Illinois Collegiate League, the forerunner to the Prospect League, and routinely did so by tapping into the best young talent at four major baseball colleges—Louisiana State, Mississippi State, Pepperdine and San Diego. Appropriately, the Dans’ talented pitching staff featured one player each from those schools, led by USD’s Michael Wagner, ranked No. 3.

The two best pitching prospects in the league overall, meanwhile, were a pair of somewhat unheralded lefthanders, Terre Haute’s 6-foot-5 Sean Manaea, a local product from Indiana State whose fastball was consistently in the 92-93 mph range, with the promise for more as he matures, and Dubois County lefthander Clayton Schulz, who was signed by Kansas City late in the season as a non-drafted free agent.

By almost any measure, Schulz qualified as the league’s best human-interest story of the summer. Though he went undrafted in June out of North Florida, Schulz earned a pro contract with the Royals because of the impressive way he pitched this summer for the Bombers on his way to being selected the league’s all-star lefthander. But no accomplishment in Schulz’ career may ever top his recovery from a scary shark attack last summer off the Florida coast which resulted in 400 stitches in his left foot that almost derailed his promising baseball career.

FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
2009.
States Represented in League: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia.
No. of Teams in League: 14 (15 in 2010).
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): Quincy Gems.
Post-Season Champion: Quincy Gems.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 4 Quincy Gems, No. 33 Terre Haute Rex.
No. 1 Prospect, 2010 (per PG CrossChecker): Navery Moore, rhp, Nashville Outlaws (Vanderbilt; Braves/14th round).
First 2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft: Chris Marlowe, rhp, West Virginia Power (Oklahoma State; Blue Jays/5th round).

Player of the Year:
Chris Serritella, 1b, Quincy Gems.
Pitcher of the Year: Clayton Schulz, lhp, Chillicothe Paints.
Top Prospect (as selected by league): Chris Serritella, 1b, Quincy Gems.

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Trent Moses, 3b, DeKalb County Liners (.388).
Slugging Percentage: Chris Serritella, 1b, Quincy Gems (.705).
On-Base Average: Trent Moses, 3b, DeKalb County Liners (.487).
Home Runs: Chris Serritella, 1b, Quincy Gems (14).
RBIs: Chris Serritella, 1b, Quincy Gems (60).
Stolen Bases: Danny Poma, of, Dubois County Bombers (38).

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Wins:
Zak Treece, rhp, Quincy Gems (8).
ERA: Josh Janway, rhp, Quincy Gems (1.36).
Saves: Chase Byerly, rhp, Slippery Rock Sliders (16).
Strikeouts: Conor Fisk, rhp, Terre Haute Rex (71).

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Steve Anderson, of, Chillicothe Paints.
Best Hitter: Trent Moses, 3b, DeKalb County Liners.
Best Power: Chris Serritella, 1b, Quincy Gems.
Fastest Base Runner: Sam Alvis, of/lhp, Lorain County Ironmen.
Best Defensive Player: Stephen Bruno, ss, Terre Haute Rex.
Best Velocity: Joey Church, rhp, West Virginia Miners; Mark Sappington, rhp, Hannibal Cavemen.
Best Breaking Ball: Shae Simmons, rhp, Nashville Outlaws.
Best Command: Casey Webber, lhp, Chillicothe Paints.

TOP 35 PROSPECTS

1. SEAN MANAEA, lhp, Dubois County Bombers (Indiana State/SO in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Manaea opened the eyes of scouts at the Prospect League all-star game when he recorded the best velocity at the event, flashing 93 mph. Of equal significance, he got good running action on his fastball and worked with a clean, easy delivery, a pretense to his throwing even harder as he fills out his long, lean frame and refines his mechanics. Manaea got only better as the Prospect League season progressed as he allowed just one hit in eight innings in his start that preceded the all-star game, and struck out 27 in 16 innings in his three starts after the contest. That was in contrast to his first outing of the summer, when he allowed 10 hits and four walks, while striking out only one, all while failing to even get out of the fourth inning. Overall, Manaea went 2-3, 2.89 with 27 walks and 59 strikeouts in 53 innings. As a freshman at Indiana State, he went 5-5, 4.32 and walked 48 in 83 innings, though showed his considerable potential by striking out a team-high 82. Manaea obviously has a ways to go to refine his raw stuff, which includes a solid changeup and merely an average slider, but is tough to square up because of the deception he creates in his funky, though otherwise clean delivery. He didn’t yield a single home run all season. More than anything, Manaea just needs to learn to become a more complete pitcher as he progresses, and that will happen by becoming more efficient with his secondary pitches. If he can accomplish that over the next two years, while adding another 2-3 mph to his fastball, Manaea will be squarely in line to be a first-round draft pick in 2013.


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