Summer Collegiate : : Story
Monday, October 15, 2012

Futures League Prospect Reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Futures League
Official League Website
Futures League top 20 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage

The Futures League took a leap of faith in 2011, when it began operating with four clubs in the backyard of the Cape Cod and New England Collegiate Leagues, two of the more established summer-college leagues in the country.

If there were doubts then about the future of the Futures League, those concerns all but dissipated in 2012 when the league expanded its ranks to nine clubs and the talent throughout the league improved exponentially. In fact, there wasn’t a summer league anywhere that showed as much improvement from one year to the next in all phases, with the possible exception of the New York-based Perfect Game Collegiate League, also in its second year.

The Futures League took root essentially because of the reluctance of the NECBL to bring on Nashua, N.H., and Martha’s Vineyard, located off the southern coast of Cape Cod, as expansion franchises, and the league boldly enticed two existing NECBL franchises, Old Orchard Beach and North Shore, to join the ranks in 2012. In addition, Pittsfield and Brockton switched allegiances from the independent Can-Am League.

Though the new league mandates that at least half of each teams’ rosters be filled with players with New England connections, that was not an apparent hindrance in the strides that were made this summer in attracting viable talent, and two of the league’s best talents were Massachusetts high-school stars Chris Shaw and Rhett Wiseman, rated the state’s two best prep prospects for the 2012 draft. In all, 11 of the 20 players on the accompanying list attended high school or college in New England.

Nashua won the league’s initial title in 2011, and its dominance this season was even more pronounced as the Silver Knights posted a 39-13 record in league play and swept convincingly through the league’s expanded four-team playoffs. Though the Knights made a conscious effort to expand their recruiting reach, almost every key member of this year’s championship team had New England roots.

FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
2011.
States Represented in League: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire.
No. of Teams in League: 9 (4 in 2011).
Regular-Season Champion: Nashua Silver Knights (39-13).
Post-Season Champion: Nashua Silver Knights.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 26 Nashua Silver Knights.
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: None selected.

Most Valuable Player:
Kevin Stenhouse, 1b/of, Seacoast Mavericks.
Most Outstanding Pitcher: Tyler Dierke, rhp, Torrington Titans.
Top Prospect (as selected by league): Chris Shaw, 1b, Nashua Silver Knights.

BATTING LEADERS

Batting Average:
Kevin Stenhouse, 1b/of, Seacoast Mavericks (.393).
Slugging Percentage: Conor Bierfeldt, of, Torrington Titans (.618).
On-Base Average: Kevin Stenhouse, 1b/of, Seacoast Mavericks (.495).
Home Runs: Jon Minucci, of, Nashua Silver Knights (13).
RBIs: Chris Shaw, 1b, Nashua Silver Knights (44).
Stolen Bases: Tad Gold, of, Martha’s Vineyard Sharks; Jordan Serena, if, Torrington Titans (27).

PITCHING LEADERS

Wins:
Tyler Dierke, rhp, Torrington Titans; Mike Bradstreet, rhp, Martha’s Vineyard Sharks (7).
ERA: Tyler Dierke, rhp, Torrington Titans (0.61).
Saves: Cody Rocha, lhp, Nashua Silver Knights (9).
Strikeouts: Mike Bradstreet, rhp, Martha’s Vineyard Sharks (59).

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Rhett Wiseman, of, Brockton Rocs
Best Hitter: Kevin Stenhouse, 1b/of, Seacoast Mavericks
Best Power: Chris Shaw, 1b, Nashua Silver Knights
Fastest Base Runner: Saige Jenco, of, Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide
Best Defensive Player: Rhett Wiseman, of, Brockton Rox
Best Velocity: Tyler Bashlor, rhp, Torrington Titans
Best Breaking Ball: Crayton Bare, lhp, North Shore Navigators
Best Command: Alex Palioca, rhp, Torrington Titans

TOP 20 PROSPECTS

1. COREY STUMP, lhp, North Shore Navigators (Florida/SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Though North Shore was technically an expansion franchise in the Futures League in 2012, the Navigators were an established team in the New England Collegiate League for years and simply tapped into their recruiting network to land a player of Stump’s stature. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound lefthander pitched sparingly as a freshman on a talent-laden Florida team, working just four innings in six relief appearances, and was obviously rusty when he debuted for the Navigators. His arm angle was inconsistent and his control wandered initially, but by the end of the season Stump had established a better release point and better mechanics generally, and went an acceptable 3-0, 2.20, while walking six and striking out 26 in 33 innings. He split time equally between the rotation and bullpen, while working mostly with just two pitches, a two-seam fastball at 88-91 mph with good movement, and a slider that had effective sweeping action against lefthanded hitters and cutting action on righthanders. Stump still needs to learn how to pitch and not be just a thrower, but that transition should come with experience. With his size and raw arm strength, he should also throw harder down the road, especially with physical maturity and continued tweaking of his mechanics. His opportunity to settle into a starting role at Florida, possibly as early as 2013, will hinge on his ability to develop his changeup, giving him an effective third pitch.

2. CHRIS SHAW, 1b, Nashua Silver Knights (Boston College/FR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Massachusetts prep product, drafted by Mets in 26th round in June; more than held his own against college competition by slugging 8 HRs, driving in league-high 44 runs; massive raw power in 6-4/235 frame, extremely short/smooth lefthanded swing, ball jumps off bat, but vulnerable to off-speed stuff, pitches on outer half of plate; light on feet, handles himself well around 1B bag.

3. TYLER BASHLOR, rhp/of, Torrington Titans (South Georgia JC/SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Used more extensively as OF in spring (.287-2-33, 15 SB)/summer (.264-1-7 in 53 AB), but obvious upside is on mound; has electric/effortless arm with 92-95 mph FB, may reach 97 one day, also has plus SL; worked just 8 IP in JC (1-0, 1.13, 3 SV), 6 IP for Titans (0-0, 0.00, 2 SV, 7 IP/13 SO); only 6-0/190, but thick frame/broad shoulders, reminds scouts of Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel.

4. RHETT WISEMAN, of, Brockton Rox (Vanderbilt/FR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: More prolific prospect than fellow Massachusetts prep player Chris Shaw (No. 2) in spring, but struggled at plate in summer ball, hit .224-3-16 (20 BB/33 SO), needs to stay inside ball better; possesses all five tools, just needs to learn to use them although already excels defensively in CF; 2011 PG All-American and 25th-round pick of Cubs in June, slipped because of college commitment to Vanderbilt.

5. JON MINUCCI, of, Nashua Silver Knights (Southern New Hampshire/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: New England small-college background masks impressive talent; very physical at 6-4/245, but surprisingly athletic in field, on bases, capable of running 60 in 6.6 seconds; would always put on show in BP with huge pull power, but rarely carried into games until this summer; finally learned to hit (.309-13-42), led league with 13 HRs, hit several bombs.

6. MICHAEL JOSEPH, rhp, Torrington Titans (SIGNED/Orioles, NDFA)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Unknown starter from D-III Middlebury (Vt.) College, capitalized on opportunity to throw bullpen session for scouts at league all-star game, signed shortly thereafter as free agent with Orioles; intriguing 6-7/215 frame, flashed 93-95 FB, makings of quality breaking ball while going 0-1, 3.28 with 3 SV (25 IP, 12 BB/22 SO) as reliever for Titans.

7. BRYAN LANGLOIS, of, Seacoast Mavericks (Pepperdine/SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Took over as starting RF for Pepperdine midway through R/S FR season, hit .310-1-12 (3 BB/26 SO in 84 AB), continued to hit on summer for Mavericks (.375-2-18, 5 BB/22 SO); hits for average with line-drive stroke, but limited power potential, lacks plate discipline/knowledge of strike zone; successful on all 16 SB attempts, but just average speed; adequate defender, good arm strength.

8. SAIGE JENCO, of, Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide (Virginia Tech/FR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Third prep talent to crack top 10; held his own offensively (.253-0-4) against more-experienced arms, handles bat well (10 BB/13 SO); fastest player in league, made things happen at plate, on bases (15-of-16 SB), in field with 6.4-6.5 speed; already has solid understanding of his skill set/limitations; should earn immediate playing time as Virginia Tech FR.

9. KEVIN STENHOUSE, 1b/of, Seacoast Mavericks (Rhode Island/SR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Third-generation Stenhouse family member to make mark on game (grandfather Dave, dad Mike both played in big leagues); had breakout summer, earned MVP honors after pedestrian 3-year career at URI (.303-1-14 as JR), led league in batting (.392), walks (32); pure hitter, power to all fields, good plate discipline; limited in field, projects as corner OF with average arm.

10. MILES LANDRY, rhp, North Shore Navigators (Baylor/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Power arm in 6-5/240 frame; limited opportunity in spring at Baylor (0-0, 4.26, 6 IP), made strides in summer working in relief for Navigators (5-3, 2.43, 30 IP, 17 BB/28); throws hard (88-92), but struggles to get ahead in count, keep ball low in strike zone, which limits success overall but dominant when on his game; splitter often best pitch, also has good depth on SL.

11. DONNIE HISSA, rhp, Seacoast Mavericks (Notre Dame/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Struggled working in relief for Irish in spring (1-1, 5.27, 27 IP, 12 BB/31 SO), but flourished in second season with Mavericks as starter (4-0, 1.62, 50 IP, 17 BB/35 SO); huge frame at 6-7/240, often struggles repeating delivery/developing consistent command of 89-91 FB that will peak at 93-94, SL; keeps hitter off balance, needs to develop more trust in a CH.

12. JOHN SHEEHAN, rhp, Brockton Rox (William & Mary/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Selected league’s top reliever after posting 6-1, 1.41 record with 3 SV (32 IP, 9 BB/43 SO), retired 30 in row in one stretch; success came on heels of limited action last 2 years at William & Mary (0-0, 5.79, 5 IP in 2012) while on rebound from TJ surgery; FB at 90-93, but dominant pitch was nasty Vulcan-like CH; developed a SL as third pitch over summer, may end up as starter in spring.

13. ERIC JENSEN, ss, Martha’s Vineyard Sharks (Wheaton, Mass./JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: First of 3 players on list from Massachusetts’ Wheaton College, runner-up team in NCAA D-III World Series; earned all-star honors at SS on summer with .327-1-23 season, 13 SB; hits for average, has good hand-eye coordination, runs well; adequate defender at SS, but has room to grow into 6-2 frame/add power, may end up at 3B at next level if power evolves.

14. RYAN MUNO, 3b, North Shore Navigators (San Diego State/SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Hit in heart of order for San Diego State as FR (.308-4-19), continued success with bat during summer (.292-3-26); quick/aggressive bat is best tool, hits for average/power, has good balance/quiet approach/sound mechanics, can drive balls to all fields; solid defender at 3B with average range, footwork, arm strength; speed a non-factor.

15. ALEX PALIOCA, rhp, Torrington Titans (Wheaton, Mass/SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Average size (6-2, 180), average stuff (FB in high-80s), but has enjoyed considerable success in spring (9-1, 1.88, 77 IP, 19 BB/44 SO) and summer (5-2, 1.07, 59 IP, 14 BB/57 SO) with excellent command of 3 pitches, steady downhill tilt/running action on FB; keeps everything down, rarely makes mistake; has plus splitter/SL, could be special if can add 2-4 mph to FB.

16. SEAN RYAN, of, Brockton Rox (Wheaton, Mass./JR in 2013)
SCOUTING REPORT: Leading hitter/base stealer (.384-3-37, 30 SB) on Wheaton team that advanced to D-III title game; also second in Futures League in batting (.356-0-25, 19-of-19 SB); very tough out, hits to all fields; keeps bat in zone a long time, little movement in crisp/clean swing, though little power; can play all 3 OF positions with plus speed, but arm considered just average.

17. CRAYTON BARE, lhp, North Shore Navigators (Baylor/SR in 2013)
SCOUTING REPORT: One of most-established college arms in league; went 2-0, 1.25 with 2 SV (22 IP, 7 BB/23 SO) as JR for Baylor; split time between starter/relief role for Navigators (3-0, 2.73, 30 IP, 16 BB/39 SO); FB only 85-87, but gets excellent movement; dominant pitch is 12-6 CU, but needs to throw more strikes/get ahead in count more consistently so can use breaking stuff more effectively.

18. VITO PERNA, rhp/3b, Brockton Rox (Southeastern Louisiana/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING REPORT: Significant 2-way talent at JC/summer-league levels, will play dual role for Southeastern Louisiana in 2013; went 10-1, 2.03 on mound, hit .358-7-52 in spring for Jones County (Miss.) JC, combined for 1-3, 3.10 (41 IP, 14 BB/46 SO) and .320-3-23 on summer; upside as pitcher with FB up to 94 during school season, plus CH; velo dipped to 90-91 in summer due to taxing workload.

19. RYAN PLOURDE, c, Torrington Titans (Fairfield/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING REPORT: Top catching prospect in league; offensive-oriented approach to game, hit .328-6-35 as SO at Fairfield, .311-4-29, tied for league lead with 15 2B in all-star season during summer; pronounced inside-out swing, can drive balls to all fields with good carry; has ideal frame (6-0, 195), strong legs to catch over long season, adequate defender with 2.0 pop time.

20. CONOR BIERFELDT, of, Torrington Titans (Western Connecticut State/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING REPORT: Scouts initially suspect of success at D-III Western Connecticut State (.430-10-50, .833 slugging), but repeated offensive prowess during summer by hitting .329-9-39, led league in slugging (.618); same physical profile/mannerisms/swing as Reds OF Ryan Ludwick; can put a charge in balls, though vulnerable to hard sinkers; runs 6.9 in 60, profiles as corner OF.
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