Summer Collegiate : : Story
Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Prospect Lg. Prospect Reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Dallas Baptist
Official League Website
Prospect League top 30 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage

A year ago, DuBois County Bombers lefthander Sean Manaea emerged from relative obscurity to become the top prospect in the Prospect League. The Indiana State product went on to earn the same designation this summer in the higher-profile Cape Cod League and currently ranks as an early favorite to be the top pick overall in the 2013 baseball draft.

It’s safe to say that no pitcher—or player of any kind—from this year’s Prospect League talent pool has the magnitude to make the same meteoric rise to prominence.

West Virginia Miners righthander Jake Johansen, who succeeds Manaea as the league’s top prospect, was an afterthought 27th
-round pick in this year’s draft out of Dallas Baptist, and fellow 6-foot-6 righthander Nick Blount, the next arm on the accompanying list of leading Prospect League prospects, was passed over altogether.

For sure, offense dominated the Prospect League this season as the league collectively hit 465 home runs—compared with 260 a year ago, even with two less teams. That surge was consistent with the spike in home runs throughout the summer-college ranks that stemmed principally from a juiced-up baseball, but it did not mask the overriding sentiment that no pitcher in the current crop of prospects comes close to matching Manaea and his considerable upside.

Nonetheless, pitching stood out in the league on several counts this summer, and no less than six of the top eight prospects are pitchers.

West Virginia posted the best overall record in the league at 40-19 and went on to capture its first league title with three straight playoff wins. The Miners boasted easily the best pitching staff in the league with a 3.54 ERA (more than a half run better than their closest pursuer), while coincidentally tying for last in the league with 23 homers (53 less than Chillicothe’s league-leading total). They are also represented by four arms on the accompanying list, including Johansen at No. 1 and righthander Sam Lewis at No. 6.

Like Johansen, Lewis went undrafted in June as a little-known junior out of Indiana Wesleyan, but may have been the most-dominant arm in the league this summer. He spun two no-hitters during the regular season on his way to a league-best eight wins and outdid himself in Game One of the championship series by striking out 18 in a 4-2 win over DuBois County. Shortly thereafter, he signed a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Royals.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia.
No. of Teams in League: 12 (14 in 2010).
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): EAST/First Half—West Virginia Power (21-9); Second Half—West Virginia Power (19-10). WEST/First Half—DuBois County Bombers (20-9); Second Half—Terre Haute Rex (22-9).
Post-Season Champion: West Virginia Power.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 7 West Virginia Power, No. 28 Terre Haute Rex, No. 47 DuBois County Bombers..
No. 1 Prospect, 2011 (per PG CrossChecker): Sean Manaea, lhp, DuBois County Bombers (Indiana State; played in Cape Cod League in 2012).
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: Bruce Maxwell, 1b, Nashville Outlaws (Birmingham-Southern; A’s/2nd round).

Player of the Year:
Matt Tellor, 1b, Springfield Sliders.
Co-Top Prospects (as selected by league): Nick Blount, rhp, Terre Haute Rex; Matt Tellor, 1b, Springfield Sliders.

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Clay Prestridge, c, West Virginia Miners (.393).
Slugging Percentage: Matt Tellor, 1b, Springfield Sliders (.696).
On-Base Average: Justin Pearson, of, Richmond River Rats (.523).
Home Runs: Giancarlo Brugnoni, 1b, Chillicothe Paints (20).
RBIs: Matt Tellor, 1b, Springfield Sliders; Giancarlo Brugnoni, 1b, Chillicothe Paints (66).
Stolen Bases: Brad Strong, 3b, West Virginia Miners; Landon Curry, of, DuBois County Bombers (29).

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Sam Lewis, rhp, West Virginia Miners (8).
ERA: Alex Britt, rhp, DuBois County Bombers (1.85).
Saves: Adam Dian, rhp, Butler Blue Sox (13).
Strikeouts: Tommy Strunc, rhp, Terre Haute Rex (72).


Best Athlete:
Elliot Caldwell, of, Butler Blue Sox
Best Hitter: Eliot Caldwell, of, Butler Blue Sox
Best Power: Giancarlo Brugnoni, 1b, Chillicothe Paints
Fastest Base Runner: Justin Pearson, of, Richmond River Rats
Best Defensive Player: Radley Haddad, c, Slippery Rock Sliders
Best Velocity: Jake Johansen, rhp, West Virginia Miners
Best Breaking Ball: Sam Lewis, rhp, West Virginia Miners
Best Command: Kris Gardner, lhp, Hannibal Cavemen


1. JAKE JOHANSEN, rhp, West Virginia Miners (Dallas Baptist/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Johansen ranked among the elite college pitching prospects in the 2012 draft with his live arm and intimidating frame, and had designs on being taken in the first three rounds. But he priced himself out of that range with the supposed leverage he enjoyed as a draft-eligible sophomore, and tumbled all the way to the 27th round. Undeterred, he quickly moved on to play this summer with the Miners and used the time to transition from a reliever to starter. Johansen flashed excellent raw stuff last spring in his short role for Dallas Baptist with a fastball at 93-95 mph that touched 97-98 at times, and the makings of a dominant cutter-like slider in the mid- to high 80s. But he struggled to command both pitches while going 3-1, 5.48 with a save. In 46 innings, he walked 32 and struck out 40. He made excellent strides as primarily a starter for the Miners, going 5-2, 3.18 (51 IP, 19 BB/56 SO), and is expected to be utilized in that role in 2013 for Dallas Baptist. His velocity was a steady 92-94 on the summer (topping at 97 in a one-inning burst at the all-star game), and he maintained it well into the middle innings. But going forward, he’ll need to develop secondary pitches that have a greater differential from his fastball in order to thrive as a starter. He gets excellent bite and depth on his hard slider but has a way to go to master a true curve and/or changeup. More than anything, Johansen needs to continue to develop his pitchability and refine the command of all his pitches. But he has come a long way from his freshman season at Dallas Baptist, when he was red-shirted because he was simply not ready to pitch at the college level. Scouts have no major issues with Johansen’s mechanics or arm action, so it remains mostly a matter of simply waiting for him to grow into his coordination, develop consistency and learn the craft of pitching.

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