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Tournaments | Story | 10/20/2014

2011 Jupiter College Standouts

Patrick Ebert     
Photo: Perfect Game

2014 WWBA World Championship Pool Previews
 
The amount of impact talent that takes the field on an annual basis at the WWBA World Championship is something you need to see for yourself to believe. While most of the top players typically are drafted and sign straight out of high school, it's no surprise that the top college prospects that emerge several years later also showed what they were made of on the fields at the Roger Dean Complex in Jupiter, Fla. during their prep careers.

Look no further than Buster Posey, the National League Rookie of the Year for the World Champion San Francisco Giants in 2010, as well as the league's MVP in 2012, when the Giants once again won the World Series. Posey played for the East Cobb Astros in both 2003 (when the EC Astros claimed the championship) and 2004 before beginning his Golden Spikes college career at Florida State.

Fellow Golden Spikes Award winners David Price, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Mike Zunino and Kris Bryant also have the WWBA World Championship on their high school resumes, as do Gerrit Cole and Mark Appel, the No. 1 picks in the 2011 and 2013 drafts.


The 2015 draft class from the college ranks will be no different, as several players projected to go in the early rounds of next June's draft have playing experience in Jupiter.

Because of that, as part of an exercise we conduct each and every year leading up to the WWBA World Championship, we have assembled a team of current D-I stars that attended the event in past years. Most of the players listed below did so three years ago in 2011, as they played their final year in high school.



Zack Collins
South Florida Elite Squad, 2012
Catcher

Chris Chinea, Louisiana State
Red Sox Scout Team/Elite Squad, 2011;  Chicago White Sox Scout Team/Florida Legends, 2009-10

Although he was used sparingly as a freshman, Chinea figures to receive significantly more playing time for the Tigers in 2015 after an impressive showing on the Cape this past summer. All of the tools are there for him to emerge as high pick for the 2016 draft thanks to his bat speed, which allows him to catch up with the best of fastballs, a very strong arm and good lateral quickness. Identified as a top prospect early in his high school career, Chinea made his first stop in Jupiter as a sophomore and was a rare three-time participant.

It was hard not to take 2012 PG All-American Chris Okey (Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler 2011-12; Central FL PG Royal, 2010) at this spot, a versatile overall athlete that can effect the game in a variety of ways. Okey also attended Jupiter three straight years.


First Base


Zack Collins, Miami
South Florida Elite Squad, 2012; Red Sox Scout Team/Elite Squad, 2011

A long-time fixture in the middle of the South Florida Elite Squad's lineup, Collins was named a PG All-American in high school thanks to his prodigious power, with a knack for putting up big offensive performances at some of the biggest national events. After he slid to the 27th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, Collins opted to honor his commitment to the University of Miami, where he made an immediate impact, hitting .298-11-54 on his way to being named a Perfect Game Freshman All-American. Collins saw significant time behind the dish while in high school, although his bat and eye-opening power potential were always his best tools.


Alex Bregman
FTB Mizuno/Cardinals Scout Team, 2011
Second Base

Alex Bregman, Louisiana State
FTB Mizuno/Cardinals Scout Team 2011

Bregman, also a former PG All-American, was named PG's collegiate Freshman of the Year after his dynamic 2013 season at LSU. One of the best pure hitters in the high school class of 2012, Bregman played alongside current minor league stars David Dahl, Jesse Winker and Albert Almora for the always powerful FTB program in Jupiter. This is the second year in a row that Bregman has been named to this team, getting the nod at third base a year ago.


Third Base

Travis Maezes, Michigan
Central FL PG Royal, 2010-11

On a list otherwise occupied mostly by players that hail from Sun Belt states, Maezes, a native of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a welcome addition to this list. One of the top pure hitters from the college ranks available for the 2015 draft, Maezes hit .302 as a college sophomore with 25 extra-base hits, and is a versatile overall athlete that could play a variety of different positions on the field. He has the potential to develop more over-the-fence power as he continues to add strength, and displays a keen eye at the plate.


Shortstop

Richie Martin, Florida
Chet Lemon's Juice, 2009-11

Chris Shaw
Baseball U, 2011
A three-time participant of the WWBA World Championship, playing all three years with Chet Lemon's Juice, Martin enjoyed a taste of the championship as the Juice were named co-champs in 2010, along with the Dirtbags. Martin's an exciting overall athlete, and his game really blossomed on the Cape this summer which could help propel him to being a premium pick in next year's draft. He runs well, has a strong arm and hits the ball hard from gap to gap.

Alabama shortstop Mikey White (Royals Baseball Club, 2011), who has enjoyed productive back-to-back seasons for the Crimson Tide, would provide valuable depth up the middle of the infield coming off of the bench.


Outfield

Christin Stewart, Tennessee
Team Elite, 2011
Nick Banks, Texas A&M
Houston Banditos, 2012
Chris Shaw, Boston College
Baseball U 2011


All three outfield starters are lefthanded hitters, each built from a different mold. Banks, a former PG All-American, is the most dynamic athlete of the three with near five-tool potential and a sweet lefthanded swing. Stewart is a converted catcher that likely will call left field his home for the rest of his career, a point that won't matter given how well his offensive upside projects. Shaw is the masher of the trio, a big and sturdy slugger that exhibits a keen eye at the plate and an intimidating presence in the batter's box.

D.J. Stewart (World of Baseball, 2010), Ryan Boldt (Reds Midwest Scout Team, 2011; Ohio Warhawks, 2012), Rhett Wiseman (Syracuse Sports Zone Chiefs, 2011), Joe McCarthy (Baseball U, 2011) and Steven Duggar (Upstate Mavericks, 2009-11) could easily be mentioned in the same breath as all three starters. Interestingly enough, all five players also bat lefthanded.


Riley Ferrell
Houston Heat, 2011
Utility

Blake Hickman, Iowa
Midland Redskins/Royals Scout Team 2011

The second player from the Big Ten to be named to the starting squad, Hickman arrived at Iowa as a primary catcher, although his arm strength was well known about in high school, as many had suggested that his future may be brighter taking the mound given how special his raw arm strength was, and still is. Hickman has finally taken to that, and easily dials his fastball up to the mid-90s with one of the loosest and quick arms in the college game. He could still don the tools of ignorance in a pinch to help round out this roster and earn his keep as the team's utility player.

Much of the same can be said about Spencer Trayner (Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler, 2012; FTB Mizuno/Cardinals Scout Team, 2011; Royals Baseball Club, 2010), who also would provide valuable depth, mostly coming out of the bullpen, thanks to his live arm.


Starting Pitchers

Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt
Orlando Scorpions, 2011; Midland Redskins/Royals Scout Team, 2010; MVP Baseball, 2009
Walker Buehler, Vanderbilt
Marucci Elite, 2010
Kyle Funkhouser, Louisville
Cangelosi Baseball, 2011; Bo Jackson Midwest, 2010

Nathan Kirby, Virginia
Canes Baseball, 2011

All four starters listed above found themselves pitching in Omaha at the 2014 College World Series, with Fulmer and Buehler doing so for the champion Vanderbilt Commodores and Kirby for the runner-up Virginia Cavaliers. Buehler and Kirby faced one another in the first game of the championship series.

Ryan Burr
Midland Redskins/Royals Scout Team, 2011
Fulmer has the most dynamic stuff of this group, with a fastball that peaks in the mid- to upper-90s to go along with a hammer breaking ball. Buehler and Funkhouser have both seen a nice spike in velocity since their high school days, when they usually peaked around 92 mph. Kirby, the sole lefthander of the group, has a good sense for changing speeds and varying the eye level of opposing hitters, and can still dial his fastball up to the 93-94 range when he needs to.

If you like ridiculous overall numbers you'll enjoy learning that this quartet collectively went 41-9 with a 2.15 ERA last spring.

Marcus Brakeman was named the Most Valuable Pitcher at the 2011 WWBA World Championship for the event champion Marucci Elite team. Michael Matuella, who is considered by many to be one of the favorites to go with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, was listed as one of the starters for the South Florida PG Kelly Green team in 2011 but he never took the field.

Jacob Lemoine (Texas Sun Devils, 2011), Justin Garza (ABD Bulldogs, 2011), Trey Killian (Texas Scout Team Yankees, 2011), Mitchell Traver (Houston Heat, 2010-11), A.J. Puk (Florida/Evoshield Canes, 2012; Reds Midwest Scout Team, 2011), Kyle Serrano (Royals Scout Team, 2012) and Connor Jones (Virginia/EvoShield Canes, 2012) are just a handful of more college hurlers to serve as proof of the incredible depth of pitching talent to be found on an annual basis on the fields of the WWBA World Championship.


Closer

Riley Ferrell, Texas Christian
Houston Heat, 2010-11

Texas Christian is expected to move Ferrell to their weekend rotation next spring, but his pro upside may be better in a short relief role where he lives in the mid- to upper-90s with his fastball and mixes in a nasty mid-80s slider. While his stuff didn't approach those velocity numbers while in high school, he always pitched like he had superior stuff, with a fearless, aggressive approach and overall demeanor on the mound.

Ryan Burr (Midland Redskins/Royals Scout Team, 2010-11; Colorado Slammers, 2009) has excelled two summers in a row serving as the College National Team's stopper, and would create an excellent late-inning tandem paired with Ferrell.

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