Official League Website
West Coast League top 35 prospects (list)
West Coast League has made a rapid rise up the nation’s hierarchy
of summer college leagues in its seven-year existence, but the simple
fact of the matter is that it has essentially been the impact of two
teams that has engineered the league’s ascent.
Corvallis Knights and Wenatchee AppleSox have dominated the league
from the outset. Between them, they have won six of seven league
championships. Corvallis won its second title this year, while
Wenatchee won back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006, and again
in 2009-10. The Knights have won all five Western Division titles
since the league split into divisions in 2007, while the Apple Sox
have captured the last four Eastern Division crowns after a
second-place finish in the first year of division play.
club has ever come close to having a losing season. Corvallis is a
combined 216-96 (.692 winning percentage) over the league’s
seven-year existence while Wenatchee is a cumulative 204-107 (a .656
record). The Knights track record of success even dates back to
2005-06 when the franchise operated in the Portland suburb of Aloha,
Ore., and was known then as the Aloha Knights before it relocated
downstate to Corvallis, coincidentally the home of Oregon State,
which was in the midst of recording back-to-back College World Series
titles. The Knights play their home games at Goss Stadium, home of
located in the heart of Washington’s apple-growing country in the
central part of the state, has no tie-in to a major college. But it
has been coached throughout its tenure in the league by Ed Knaggs,
the head baseball coach at local Wenatchee High School. Knaggs just
concluded his 11th year with the AppleSox as he coached the team for four years before
the West Coast League was formed.
looked like it was headed for a third straight league title this
season as it burst out to a 25-5 start and climbed to No. 3
nationally in PG CrossChecker’s ranking of the nation’s top
summer league clubs. But the AppleSox faded in the second half to
finish at 39-15 overall, and were abruptly bounced in two straight
games in the WCL playoffs.
the time Wenatchee started to fade, Corvallis began to get hot and
went 22-5 down the stretch to go 37-17 overall. The Knights used that
momentum to win four of five playoffs games and capture their first
league title since 2008. Though the Knights dominated the league
during the regular season with a deep, talented pitching staff, they
blitzed upstart Walla Walla in the final, winning convincingly 11-4
Wenatchee faltered down the stretch, it still set a league record for
wins, topping the mark of 38 that Corvallis had set in 2009, although
the AppleSox achieved the feat in the league’s newly-expanded
54-game schedule. Had the AppleSox maintained their early pace, they
would have been in position to top their own league record for
highest winning percentage of .806, which they set while going 29-7
unexpectedly, Corvallis and Wenatchee dominate the accompanying list
of the league’s top 35 prospects, with 16 selections between them.
the second time in three years, the No. 1 prospect comes from
Corvallis and is a high-school player bound for Oregon State. This
year, that player is Oregon prep lefthander Jace Fry, a ninth-round
pick of the Oakland A’s in this year’s draft. Two years ago, it
was California prep catcher Andrew Susac, who was selected in the
second round in June by the San Francisco Giants after two seasons
with the Beavers.
high-school graduates were prominent throughout the WCL this season,
and Fry and Cowlitz shortstop Mitch Walding, the most-elite
prospects, ranked 1-2. Whereas Fry rejected an offer from the A’s
to fulfill his college commitment to Oregon State, Walding signed a
late-minute, $800,000 deal with the Philadelphia Phillies as that
team’s fifth-round selection, in the process bypassing a chance to
play in college at Oregon.
League Established: 2005.
Represented in League: British
Columbia, Oregon, Washington.
of Teams in League: 9.
Champion (best overall record):
Champion: Corvallis Knights.
PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking:
No. 6 Corvallis Knights, No. 11 Wenatchee AppleSox.
1 Prospect, 2010 (per PG CrossChecker): Stefan
Sabol, c/of, Cowlitz Black Bears (Oregon; played in Cape Cod League
2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft:
Jeff Ames, rhp, Wenatchee AppleSox (Lower Columbia, Wash., JC/Rays,
supplemental 1st round).
Valuable Player: Alex Stanford, 2b,
Walla Walla Sweets.
Outstanding Pitcher: Owen Jones,
rhp, Wenatchee AppleSox.
Prospect (as selected by league):
LEADERS (League games only)
Average: Payden Cawley Lamb, of,
Wenatchee AppleSox (.350).
Percentage: Adam Nelubowich, 3b,
Wenatchee AppleSox (.490).
Average: Ryan Barnes, of, Wenatchee
Runs: Adam Nelubowich, 3b, Wenatchee
Adam Nelubowich, 3b, Wenatchee AppleSox (36).
Bases: Justin Maffei, of, Bend Elks
LEADERS (League games only)
Owen Jones, rhp, Wenatchee AppleSox (7).
Ryan Richardson, rhp, Walla Walla Sweets (1.53).
Matt Cartwright, lhp, Kitsap Blue Jackets (10).
Owen Jones, rhp, Wenatchee AppleSox (78).
Athlete: Royce Bolinger, of, Bend
Hitter: Breland Almadova, of,
Power: Adam Nelubowich, 3b,
Base Runner: Breland Almadova, of,
Defensive Player: Mitch Walding, ss,
Cowlitz Black Bears.
Velocity: Nick Palewicz, rhp,
Breaking Ball: Jimmy Sherfy, rhp,
Command: Alex Phillips, lhp,
JACE FRY, lhp, Corvallis Knights (Oregon State/FR in 2012)
PROFILE: Fry surged to the top of
Oregon’s high-school crop for the 2011 draft with a breakout senior
year at Southridge High, going 10-0, 1.42 with 18 walks and 92
strikeouts in 59 innings. Had he been less committed to pursuing a
college career at Oregon State, he might have been tabbed as early as
the third or fourth rounds of this year’s draft, but slipped to
Oakland in the ninth round. Fry’s impressive spring season, along
with his unflappable nature gave OSU coaches the confidence that he
could hold his own in the West Coast League this summer. By placing
him at Corvallis, they could monitor his every step and Fry blossomed
in a faster, more competitive environment. His fastball was typically
in the 88-91 mph range as a high-school senior, but he jacked up the
velocity on the pitch to a steady 90-94 on the summer, while even
touching 95-96 early in the season. His slider was a second dominant
pitch, and he also worked in a curve and changeup, though his curve
was more of a get-me-over offering designed to give hitters a
different look while his change remains a work in progress. An
extremely confident young pitcher, Fry showed no hesitation in
challenging older hitters and posted an impressive 2-1, 1.41 record
on the summer with 15 walks and 33 strikeouts in 38 innings. Fry gets
good movement on his fastball and deception in his delivery from his
low three-quarters arm slot, and though he’s not overly physical in
his 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, his quick left arm, ability to command
three pitches and competitor demeanor more than make up for any
physical shortcoming. Oakland officials made a last-ditch effort to
sign Fry at the mid-August deadline, but his taste of success on the
Oregon State campus only strengthened his resolve to honor his
commitment to the Beavers.
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