Summer Collegiate : : Story
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

California Lg. Prospect Reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game
Official League Website
California Collegiate Baseball League top 30 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage

Just as the Cape Cod League is the most-decorated summer college league in the country, the California Collegiate League’s Santa Barbara Foresters are the nation’s most-celebrated summer club.

The Foresters only added to their laurels in 2012 by capturing their second straight National Baseball Congress World Series title, and fourth since 2006. They also finished fourth in Perfect Game’s ranking of the nation’s top 50 summer teams, keeping intact their record of finishing among the top seven clubs every year since the rankings were initiated in 2006.

No other summer team can come close to claiming such a distinction. In fact, the Foresters have finished in every position from 1 to 7 over that period, with their No. 1 ranking coming in 2008 to coincide with their second championship at the Wichita-based NBC tournament.

If anything, Santa Barbara’s stiffest competition of late has come from within its own league as the San Luis Obispo Blues have tied the Foresters atop the CCL standings in each of the last two years (24-12 in 2011, 20-10 in 2012), and won tie-breakers in both cases, based on head-to-head meetings. The Blues earned the nod this season by soundly beating the Foresters 5-1 in their six-game season series.

Alas, with national implications at stake, the Foresters surged to the forefront in both 2011 and 2012, winning national titles each year, while the Blues elected not to participate in the NBC World Series a year ago and fizzled this summer, winning just one of three games in the 32-team, double-elimination tournament, though were ravaged by late-season injuries.

Dominant pitching carried Santa Barbara to its latest triumph. The Foresters (40-16 overall) hit only .254 with 16 homers as a team, yet posted a 2.41 ERA over the course of the season, along with 530 strikeouts in 520 cumulative innings. Not surprisingly, they dominate the accompanying list of the CCL’s top 30 prospects with nine arms, and 15 players in all. San Luis Obispo claimed eight spots.

Though the CCL is essentially a one-team league as Santa Barbara has won or shared 19 championships in the league’s 20-year existence, the league can almost singlehandedly thank the Foresters and the wealth of Cape Cod League-equivalent talent they annually draw to Santa Barbara for its status as one of the nation’s most-relevant summer leagues.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: California, Nevada.
No. of Teams in League: 6 (7 in 2011).
Regular-Season Co-Champions (record): Santa Barbara Foresters; San Luis Obispo Blues (20-10).
Post-Season Champion: NONE. Santa Barbara Foresters advanced to National Baseball Congress World Series, Wichita, Kan. Won championship.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 4 Santa Barbara Foresters; No. 24 San Luis Obispo Blues.
No. 1 Prospect, 2011 (per PG CrossChecker): Austin Kubitza, rhp, Santa Barbara Foresters (Rice; pitched in Cape Cod League in 2012).
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: Blake Brown, of, Santa Barbara Foresters (Missouri; Braves/5th round).

Player of the Year:
Michael Martin, of, Team Vegas.
Pitcher of the Year: Dylan Munger, lhp, San Luis Obispo Blues.
Top Batting Prospect (as selected by league): Michael Martin, of, Team Vegas.
Top Pitching Prospect (as selected by league): Jason Hursh, rhp, Santa Barbara Foresters.

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Michael Martin, of, Team Vegas (.426).
Slugging Percentage: Marvin Campbell, of, Team Vegas (.670).
On-Base Average: Michael Martin, of, Team Vegas (.509).
Home Runs: Greg Zebrack, of, Los Angeles Brewers; Marvin Campbell, of, Team Vegas (5).
RBIs: Taylor Anderson, if, San Luis Obispo Blues (34).
Stolen Bases: Austin Grisham, of, San Luis Obispo Blues (24).

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Gandy Stubblefield, rhp, San Luis Obispo Blues (5).
ERA: T.J. McGreevey, rhp, Santa Barbara Foresters (0.75).
Saves: Hunter Lemke, rhp, Santa Barbara Foresters (12).
Strikeouts: Kory Delange, rhp, San Luis Obispo Blues (59).


Best Athlete:
Daniel Mengden, rhp/c, San Luis Obispo Blues
Best Hitter: Austin Davidson, 2b/3b, Santa Barbara Foresters
Best Power: Zach Fish, of, Santa Barbara Foresters
Fastest Base Runner: Johnny Sewald, of, Team Vegas
Best Defensive Player: Jacob Felts, c, Santa Barbara Foresters
Best Velocity: Jason Hursh, rhp, Santa Barbara Foresters
Best Breaking Ball: Parker Ray, rhp, San Luis Obispo Blues
Best Command: John Beck, rhp, Santa Barbara Foresters


1. JASON HURSH, rhp, Santa Barbara Foresters (Oklahoma State/SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: An unsigned sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2010 draft, Hursh was sailing along with a 3-0, 3.38 record and a fastball at 95-96 mph midway through last summer for the Foresters, when he incurred a slight tear in his elbow ligament. Not only did he miss the balance of the 2011 season, but subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery and sat out all of the 2012 campaign at Oklahoma State. That may end up becoming only a minor setback for the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Hursh in his bid to become a first-round pick in the 2013 draft as he quickly regained his superior velocity this summer, when he resumed pitching in the second half of the season. Working strictly in relief for the Foresters, his fastball was a steady 94-95 and peaked at 98—and even reached 103 on the scoreboard reading at the NBC World Series, though the radar gun used at the event is notoriously 3-5 mph faster than most other readings. In 12 innings overall (8 during the CCL season, 4 more in the NBC tournament), Hursh went 1-0, 0.77. He allowed four hits and five walks while striking out 15. Most importantly, he showed no lingering effects from his injury. With a fastball that was only 89-90 mph at the end of his freshman year at Oklahoma State, Hursh tinkered with his mechanics last summer with the express purpose to add velocity, and while he succeeded he hurt his arm in the process. This summer, his delivery was smooth, fluid and effortless from the start, he had good pace in his windup and the ball jumped out of his hand. He ended up becoming the most-polished arm on a dominant Santa Barbara staff. Even at its advanced speed, he consistently got explosive sink and arm-side run on his fastball. His secondary pitches needed work when he was felled a year ago, but his curve was firm to the glove and became a solid-average breaking ball this summer. His change remains a work in progress; as a feel pitch, it often takes time for TJ victims to get comfortable with again. In all probability, Hursh will be used as a starter next spring at Oklahoma State, and his ability to master a change may determine whether he will be used as a starter or closer down the road.

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