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Summer Collegiate : : Story
West Coast Lg. prospect reports
Allan Simpson        
Published: Tuesday, October 01, 2013


Official League Website: 
www.wccbl.com
2013 Summer Collegiate Top Prospect coverage
West Coast League Top Prospect list (free)


No summer college league pushes the bar with the utilization of high-school talent more aggressively than the West Coast League, where almost 30 such players suited up this summer. That includes six rising college freshmen on the accompanying reports of the league’s top 25 prospects.

In terms of high-end prep talent, however, this year’s crop didn’t come close to measuring up to a banner group in 2012. The top three prospects a year ago, and six of the first 10, were high-school players, while the best any of the league’s youngest players could do this summer was crack the list at No. 6—Medford righthander Chad Hockin, an incoming first-year player at Cal State Fullerton. Moreover, only one, Wenatchee outfielder Brett Stephens, a UCLA recruit, made either of the WCL’s end-of-season first- or second-team all-star squads.

Graduating high school seniors are a demographic being tapped into in increasing numbers over the last several years with summer-college leagues popping up at an escalating rate around the country, and stretching the demand for talent in the process. The WCL has been the most resourceful in giving high school players an opportunity to test their talent against college-age players before actually playing a game at the college level. Most of the players this year were from California high schools.

The Corvallis Knights got good mileage out of a couple of high school players on their roster, but it was their veterans that keyed the team to an explosive 32-5 finishing kick that netted them their seventh consecutive division title and third championship in the league’s nine-year existence. The Knights finished the season with 14 straight wins, including four in the playoffs.

Predictably, Corvallis met the Wenatchee Apple Sox in the best-of-3 championship series. Those teams have met in the final eight times in nine years, with the Apple Sox winning on five occasions. This year, the Knights prevailed on the strength of dominating pitching performances by the Grand Canyon (Ariz.) duo of lefthander Andrew Naderer and righthander Jorge Perez. Naderer, ranked No. 11 below, worked into the ninth inning of a 3-1 win over Wenatchee in the opener, while Perez, ranked No. 2, pitched a complete-game, two-hitter for a 1-0 win in the deciding contest.


FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
2005
States Represented in League: British Columbia, Oregon, Washington
No. of Teams in League: 11 (9 in 2012)
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): North—Walla Walla Sweets (31-22, 36-24 overall); West—Corvallis Knights (37-17, 46-17 overall)
Post-Season Champion: Corvallis Knights
Teams, Perfect Game Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 3 Corvallis Knights; No. 41 Walla Walla Sweets; No. 50 Wenatchee AppleSox
No. 1 Prospect, 2012 (per PG CrossChecker): Hunter Virant, lhp, Walla Walls Sweets (UCLA; did not play this summer)
First 2012 Player Selected, 2013 Draft: Taylor Williams, rhp, Cowlitz Black Bears (Kent State/Brewers, 4th round)

Most Valuable Player:
Alex Calbick, 3b, Bellingham Bells (Maine)
Most Outstanding Pitcher: Nick Sabo, lhp, Klamath Falls Gems (Long Beach State)

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Alex Calbick, 3b, Bellingham Bells (.384)
Slugging Percentage: Cody Hough, of, Klamath Falls Gems (.556)
On-Base Average: Kyle Knigge, of, Cowlitz Black Bears (.486)
Home Runs: Cody Hough, of, Klamath Falls Gems (8)
RBI: Derek Dixon, 1b, Bend Elks (37)
Stolen Bases: Grant Melker, of, Corvallis Knights (26)

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Wins:
Nick Sabo, lhp, Klamath Falls Gems (6)
ERA: Elliott Surrey, lhp, Corvallis Knights (1.27)
Saves: Sean Luke-Brija, rhp, Walla Walla Sweets (13)
Strikeouts: Nick Sabo, lhp, Klamath Falls Gems (56)

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Blake Drake, of, Corvallis Knights
Best Hitter: Connor Spencer, 1b, Wenatchee Apple Sox
Best Power: Kevin Davidson, 1b, Medford Rogues
Fastest Base Runner: Blake Drake, of, Corvallis Knights
Best Defensive Player: Blake Drake, of, Corvallis Knights
Best Velocity: Cody Poteet, rhp, Walla Walla Sweets; Dylan Hecht, rhp, Corvallis Knights
Best Breaking Ball: Cody Poteet, rhp, Walla Walla Sweets
Best Command: Nick Sabo, lhp, Klamath Falls Gems


TOP 25 PROSPECTS

1. CODY POTEET, rhp, Walla Walla Sweets (UCLA/SO in 2014)
Not only did Poteet and lefthander Hunter Virant, two of the nation’s top prep recruits a year ago, end up playing for national champion UCLA as freshmen, but they have the distinction of being recognized as the top prospect in the West Coast League one year apart, both while pitching for Walla Walla after both participated in the 2011 PG All-American Classic. Virant garnered that honor in 2012, prior to enrolling at UCLA, while Poteet earned the nod this summer after posting a 3-2, 3.78 record in six starts for the Sweets, along with 13 walks and 27 strikeouts in 38 innings. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound righthander got a late start for Walla Walla because of UCLA’s extended run in the College World Series, but quickly made an impression with his electric arm and the best raw stuff in the WCL. He routinely pumped his fastball at 90-93 mph, and regularly topped out at 94-95, but his best pitch was his power slider, a hard, firm 83-84 mph offering. He also worked in a curve and change, both around 80 mph. Poteet has a smooth, dynamic downhill delivery and gets good extension from a high three-quarters slot. He also has an advanced mound presence and solid pitchability when on his game. After going 4-6, 4.84 in 29 appearances with the Bruins as a freshman, while working mostly as a non-conference starter and weekend reliever, Poteet should easily move into the team’s weekend rotation as a sophomore—probably alongside Virant, whose 2013 season was limited to three innings because of injury.


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