Official League Website
Far West League top 20 prospects (list)
Far West League may have been a brand-new summer college league in
2011, but several of its member clubs were hardly new.
like the Arcata-based Humboldt Crabs and San Jose-based Fontanetti’s
A’s have been fixtures in northern California baseball circles for
years. For perspective, the Crabs recently completed their 67th season, while Fontanetti’s has been around since 1965.
booming interest in summer baseball around the country in recent
years spurred on the Crabs and Fontanetti’s to get behind the
formation of a new 10-team league based in northern California that
included most of the better established summer programs in the area,
and the Far West League was born.
the Humboldt Crabs won the first league championship, though they had
to come all the way back through the loser’s bracket of the
league’s six-team post-season double-elimination tournament to
secure the title after dropping their first game, 1-0. The Crabs beat
the first-year Neptune Beach Pearl 5-1 in the final.
Crabs also showed their dominance by grabbing the first two spots on
the accompanying list of the league’s top prospects with ace
righthander Aaron West, a University of Washington product, securing
the No. 1 spot after a dominating season.
League Established: 2011.
Represented in League: California,
of Teams in League: 10.
Champion (best overall record):
Champion: Humboldt Crabs.
PG Crosschecker Summer 50/Final Ranking:
No. 20 Humboldt Crabs.
Valuable Player: None selected.
Outstanding Pitcher: None selected.
Prospect (as selected by league):
Athlete: Ivory Thomas, of, Humboldt
Hitter: Kevin Taylor, 3b, Nevada
Power: Spencer Branigan, 1b, Atwater
Base Runner: Ivory Thomas, of,
Defensive Player: Adam Young, ss,
Redding Colt .45s.
Velocity: Aaron West, rhp, Humboldt
Breaking Ball: Aaron West, rhp,
Command: Gene Escat, rhp, Humboldt
AARON WEST, rhp, Humboldt Crabs (Washington/JR in 2012)
after he went 1-8, 5.18 as a junior at Washington, a year after
coming off Tommy John surgery, West was expected to be selected in
the top 10 rounds of the 2011 draft. Not only did that not happen,
but he was unexpectedly passed over altogether. That oversight became
all the more glaring during the summer when the 6-foot-1, 195-pound
West fashioned possibly the most dominant season for any pitcher in
the nation’s summer college ranks. He went 7-0, 0.17 with 11 walks
and 83 strikeouts in 54 innings for the Humboldt Crabs. In a
non-league, seven-inning outing against the Menlo Park Legends, West
spun a two-hit shutout while striking out 18. He punctuated his
spectacular season in his final outing by authoring another shutout,
while walking one and striking out 12, as the Crabs beat the Atwater
Aviators 2-0 in the Far West League post-season tournament on their
way to four wins in 24 hours and a league title. West dominated with
a fastball that was consistently at 92-93 mph and peaked at 95. His
slider was often in the mid-80s with good bite, but he struggled to
always command that pitch. West also earned high marks for his
confident, composed approach on the mound and also for one of the
best pickoff moves in the college ranks for a righthander. His career
was temporarily put on hold March 11, 2010, when he injured his elbow
after going 0-1, 9.00 in four starts for Washington. He subsequently
underwent Tommy John surgery, missed the balance of the 2010 season
and was awarded a medical red-shirt. Given the success that he
enjoyed this summer, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be overlooked in
the draft again in 2012 as a red-shirt junior.
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