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Summer Collegiate : : Story
Atlantic League Prospect Reports
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Official League Website
Atlantic Collegiate League top 25 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage

The Atlantic Collegiate League has been a study in contrasts the last two years. Divided into three divisions along geographic lines, the 17-team ACBL has been dominated on the field by the Kaiser and Wolff Divisions, but the Hamptons Division is acknowledged to have the superior talent and that is borne out again in the way it monopolizes the list of the league’s top 25 prospects.

The accompanying list features 19 players from the seven Hamptons Division teams, up from 17 a year ago. In all, the top nine prospects spent the summer playing on the exclusive Hamptons region of Long Island.

Yet the Wolff Division’s North New Jersey Eagles walked away with the league title, beating the New York Atlantics of the Kaiser Division 3-2 in the championship game. That came on the heels of the Staten Island Tide, also of the Kaiser Division, posting the league’s best regular-season record at 27-10. A combined Kaiser-Wolff team also beat the Hamptons, 2-0, in the league all-star game.

A year ago, the results were essentially the same, though the tables reversed. The Kaiser Division, comprised of four teams in the New York City area, boasted the league champ in the Tide, while the Wolff Division’s Jersey Pilots (24-10) had the best record. The Wolff Division is composed of six teams based in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

North New Jersey was somewhat of an unexpected champion this season as it went just 19-20 during the regular season and narrowly qualified for the playoffs for the first time in their four-year history as a third-place team in the Wolff Division. But the Eagles got hot at the right time and won six of eight post-season games. Along the way, they beat the talent-laden Southampton Breakers of the Hamptons Division 4-3 in the semi-finals, dispatching the league’s No. 1 prospect, lefthander Paul Paez, in the process.

Led by Paez, Southampton is represented by six players on the accompanying list, including four of the top five. North New Jersey contributed just one player, righthander Patrick Butler, who didn’t win a game for the Eagles.

FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
1967.
States Represented in League: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.
No. of Teams in League: 17 (12 in 2011).
Regular-Season Champions: Hamptons—Shelter Island Bucks (23-17); Kaiser—Staten Island Tide (27-10); Wolff—Trenton Generals (27-11).
Post-Season Champion: North New Jersey Eagles.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: None.
No. 1 Prospect, 2011 (per PG CrossChecker): Brandon Kuter, rhp, Westhampton Aviators (George Mason; Rangers/29th round, 2012 draft).
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: Lee Sosa, rhp, Lehigh Valley Catz (Binghamton; Athletics/26th round).

Most Valuable Players:
Joe Solomeno, c, Center Moriches BattleCats; Thomas Roulis, ss, Shelter Island Bucks.
Most Outstanding Pitcher: Paul Paez, lhp, Southampton Breakers.
Top Prospect (as selected by league): Paul Paez, lhp, Southampton Breakers.

BATTING LEADERS

Batting Average:
Joe Solomeno, c, Center Moriches BattleCats (.421).
Slugging Percentage: Gabby Molina, c, Staten Island Tide (.726).
On-Base Average: Daniel Kerr, 1b/of, North Fork Ospreys (.547).
Home Runs: Josh Mason, ss, Riverhead Tomcats (12).
RBIs: Joe Solomeno, c, Center Moriches BattleCats (53).
Stolen Bases: Thomas Roulis, ss, Shelter Island Bucks; Scott Kelly, if, Trenton Generals (24).

PITCHING LEADERS

Wins:
Rich Anastasi, lhp, North New Jersey Eagles; Paul Paez, lhp, Southampton Breakers (7).
ERA: Danny Goldstein, rhp, Westhampton Aviators (0.25).
Saves: Kevin Becker-Menditto, rhp, Trenton Generals (11).
Strikeouts: Paul Paez, lhp, Southampton Breakers (82).

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Trevor Simms, rhp/of, Shelter Island Bucks
Best Hitter: Esteban Gomez, 1b, Westhampton Aviators
Best Power: Brenton Allen, of, Southampton Breakers.
Fastest Base Runner: Trevor Simms, rhp/of, Shelter Island Bucks
Best Defensive Player: Robb Scott, ss, Southampton Breakers
Best Velocity: Conor Krauss, rhp, Lehigh Valley Catz
Best Breaking Ball: Paul Paez, lhp, Southampton Breakers
Best Command: Paul Paez, lhp, Southampton Breakers

TOP 25 PROSPECTS

1. PAUL PAEZ, lhp, Southampton Breakers (Rio Hondo, Calif., JC/red-shirt SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: At 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, Paez does not have the preferred physical stature of a typical elite-level pitching prospect. He also sat on the sidelines last spring at California’s Rio Hondo (Calif.) JC, preferring not to use up a year of college eligibility while getting his grades in order at a junior college. Despite those two apparent strikes against him, Paez dominated the ACBL during the 2012 season like no pitcher in recent years. Working both as a starter and reliever for the Breakers, he went 7-2, 1.65 with a league-high 82 strikeouts. In 60 innings, he allowed just 35 hits. Paez, who added another win in the playoffs, may have been even more dominant than the numbers he posted as he consistently threw four pitches (a 91-92 mp fastball, cutter/slider, curve and change) with command to both sides of the plate. He was able to alternately overpower or finesse hitters with equal ability with his advanced feel for pitching, and his pickoff move was often lethal. A freshman All-American in 2011 at the University of San Diego, Paez transferred midway through last fall to Rio Hondo, where he practiced with the team the balance of the fall but elected to sit out the 2012 season. He threw simulated games and bullpens to keep himself in game shape through the spring, and the New York Mets showed no hesitation in drafting him as early as the 18th round in June. Rather than sign immediately with the Mets, Paez opted to pitch on the Hamptons, which are coincidentally located in the Mets backyard. He fanned 13 in five innings in his first outing of the summer and continued to pitch brilliantly for Southampton, but was never able to entice the Mets to come off their initial bonus offer. Back at Rio Hondo this fall, Paez has resumed fall practice at the JC level and may end up pitching for Rio Hondo in the spring as a red-shirt sophomore, though the possibility exists that he will land back at the four-year college level in time for the 2013 season as his services are heavily in demand.


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