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Summer Collegiate : : Story
Jayhawk Lg. prospect reports
Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Official League Website

League Strength: **

Jayhawk League top 20 prospects (list)

The Haysville Heat commanded most of the headlines among Jayhawk League clubs in 2011, but was hard pressed to stir up much interest in its players from scouts.

Despite winning a league title for the second straight season since the club relocated from Lake Havasu, Ariz., and advancing farther in the annual National Baseball Congress World Series in nearby Wichita than any Jayhawk club (fourth place), the Heat failed to place a single player in the top 10 on the accompanying list of the league’s best prospects. Every other Jayhawk League team had at least one player.

The Heat was shut out, even as righthander Zeb Sneed recorded the best velocity in the league this summer by touching 97 mph, righthander Dexter Spitsnogle posted a 0.00 ERA in league play and didn’t allow a single earned run on the season, and lefthander Andrew Collazo topped the league with 47 strikeouts. All three players were acknowledged in the group from 11-20.

As has been its custom since winning the NBC World Series title in 2007 with an older, more experienced club, the Heat fielded a veteran-laden roster. Collazo dominated the Jayhawk League this summer coming off his senior year at Oklahoma, but has exhausted his college eligibility after finding no takers in the draft in June or during the summer as a free agent. Spitsnogle has never been drafted and returned to Nebraska this fall as a fifth-year college senior. Sneed has largely avoided the scrutiny of scouts, as well, not so much because he plays for a small college in remote Idaho but because he has had great difficulty to date controlling his big fastball.

The list of the Jayhawk League’s better prospects is dotted with rising college sophomores and juniors, mostly from mainstream baseball colleges. That may bode well for the future of most players on the list below, but a veteran-laden Haysville club clearly proved once again that experience counts for something and continued its domination of the Jayhawk League.

In the end, it was a bittersweet 2011 season for the Heat as Dick “Chief” Twyman, the team’s owner and general manager since its inception in 1993, died suddenly in January, stemming from complications related to cancer. But Twyman, whose team went 612-119 in 18 seasons under his direction, was honored in August with induction into the NBC Hall of Fame. Twyman’s son Rick, who has been instrumental in the team’s success through the years as its field manager, took over direction of the team following his father’s passing and steered it to its latest triumph.

FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
1976.
States Represented in League: Kansas.
No. of Teams in League: 6.
Regular-Season Champion: Haysville Heat.
Post-Season Champion: NONE. Derby Twins, Hays Larks, Haysville Heat and Liberal Bee Jays all represented league in National Baseball Congress World Series, Wichita, Kan.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 31 Haysville Heat; No. 47 Liberal Bee Jays.
No. 1 Prospect, 2010 (per PG CrossChecker): Charlie Lowell, lhp, El Dorado Broncos (Wichita State; drafted by Marlins/6th round).
First 2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft: Charlie Lowell, lhp, El Dorado Broncos (Wichita State; drafted by Marlins/6th round).

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Ryan Gebhart, of, El Dorado Broncos (.382).
Home Runs: Aaron Cornell, of, Hays Larks; Jonathan Ryan, of, Hays Larks (7).
RBIs: Will Hagel, 1b, Dodge City A’s (30).

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Wins:
Several tied at 4.
ERA: Dexter Spitsnogle, rhp, Haysville Heat (0.00).
Strikeouts: Anthony Collazo, lhp, Haysville Heat (47).

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Micah Green, of, Liberal Bee Jays.
Best Hitter: Aaron Cornell, of, Hays Larks.
Best Power: Jon Ryan, of, Hays Larks.
Fastest Base Runner: Riley Good, of, Liberal Bee Jays.
Best Defensive Player: Andrew Perez, ss, Derby Twins.
Best Velocity: Zeb Sneed, rhp, Haysville Heat.
Best Breaking Ball: Cale Elam, rhp, Liberal Bee Jays.
Best Command: Josh Smith, lhp, Liberal Bee Jays.

TOP 20 PROSPECTS

1. AARON CORNELL, of, Hays Larks (Oklahoma State/SO in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Cornell caused little buzz among scouts as a freshman on a talent-laden junior-college team at Eastern Oklahoma State, but clearly stepped to the forefront this summer by hitting .336-7-26 in Jayhawk League games, while tying for the league lead in homers. Overall, he hit .346-7-33 for the Larks. While he displayed much better pop for Hays than he did in the spring at Eastern Oklahoma, where he hit .389 but homered just twice, it was his combination of speed, arm strength and all-around hitting ability more than his power surge that propelled him prominently onto the prospect landscape. At a lean, but wiry strong 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, Cornell will hardly be mistaken for a true power hitter, and his power stems mostly from a solid approach to hitting as much as anything, though he had a knack for turning around some of the better fastballs in the league. A lot of the balls he drove for doubles (17) in the spring simply had more carry and left the park in the summer. He was also capable of working deep counts, though often struggled with breaking pitches. Cornell’s best tool is his raw speed, and it is an asset at the plate, on the bases and in center field. He stole 16 bases without being caught in the spring, and swiped 10 more in the summer, though his base-stealing pace slowed as he got worn down. He excels defensively with his ability to get good jumps and run balls down in the alleys. His arm strength is also an asset. Cornell’s breakthrough summer landed him a late scholarship opportunity to Oklahoma State and he is expected to take over in center field for the Cowboys in 2012.


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