Summer Collegiate : : Story
Thursday, September 12, 2013

MINK League prospect reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Louisiana-Lafayette

Official League Website:
2013 Summer Collegiate Top Prospect coverage
MINK Collegiate Baseball League Top Prospect list (free)

If performance in the draft is the ultimate measuring stick by which the viability of select summer-college leagues are to be judged, then the MINK League had a better year in 2013 than in 2012.

Rising University of Texas junior Lukas Schiraldi was the only MINK League player from 2012 taken in this year’s draft (No. 1 prospect, Arkansas LHP Michael Gunn, wasn’t eligible), while five players who performed in the league at various stages this summer were also selected this past June.

But it’s not quite that simple to say 2013 was a better year for the Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-based league as Schiraldi, then a relatively-obscure righthander from Navarro (Texas) JC who pitched for the Nevada Griffons, has since emerged as a legitimate big-league prospect—especially after leading the Cape Cod League in ERA this summer. Though Schiraldi wasn’t chosen until the 35
th round by the Washington Nationals, he would have gone considerably higher if he hadn’t made his intentions known in advance that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father Calvin, a former Texas All-American and big-leaguer, and pitch for the Longhorns. Schiraldi is expected to be drafted in 2014 more in line with where his talent warrants, possibly as early as the second or third rounds.

Meanwhile, none of the five current-year MINK League players drafted in June has anywhere near the professional upside of the fireballing Schiraldi, and four of the five played only briefly this summer before leaving to sign pro contracts. Two of the draftees—Chillicothe first baseman Brandon Dulin (Royals/12
th round) and St. Joseph third baseman Grant Fink (Indians/23rd round)—didn’t stick around long enough to garner consideration on the accompanying list of the MINK League’s top prospects. Dulin departed after just 16 at-bats, Fink after 13.

St. Joseph shortstop Michael Schulze, ranked No. 3, got only 41 at-bats before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, while Ozark righthander Blake McKnight, ranked No. 14, made seven relief appearances prior to signing with the same club. Joplin outfielder Ryan Rippee, ranked No. 8 despite getting just 26 at-bats, was also drafted this year (Red Sox/31
st round), but elected not to sign.

The top two prospects in the league overall, Clarinda shortstop Blake Trahan and Chillicothe righhander Andrew Bramley both played as freshmen, and won’t otherwise be eligible for the draft until 2015.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska
No. of Teams in League: 8
Regular-Season Champions (best record overall): Clarinda A’s (28-14, 36-17 overall)
Post-Season Champion: Clarinda A’s
Teams, Perfect Game Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 29 Clarinda A’s
No. 1 Prospect, 2012 (per PG CrossChecker): Michael Gunn, lhp, Sedalia Bombers (Arkansas; played at Hyannis/Cape Cod this summer)
First 2012 Player Selected, 2013 Draft: Lukas Schiraldi, rhp, Nevada Griffons (Navarro, Texas, CC; Nationals/35th round; now attending University of Texas)

Player of the Year:
Michael Douglas, of, Nevada Griffons (Shippensburg, Pa.)
Most Outstanding Pitcher (tie): Jake Meloche, lhp, Clarinda A’s; Aaron Baker, rhp, St. Joseph Mustangs

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Paul Trenhaile, 1b, Chillicothe Mudcats (.424)
Slugging Percentage: Kris Koerper, 1b, St. Joseph Mustangs (.584)
On-Base Average: Paul Trenhaile, 1b, Chillicothe Mudcats (.508)
Home Runs: Michael Douglas, of, Nevada Griffons (6)
RBIs: Bud Britt, inf, Clarinda A’s (29)
Stolen Bases: Dom Francia, of, Clarinda A’s (31)

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Jake Meloche, lhp, Clarinda A’s (6)
ERA: Aaron Baker, rhp, St. Joseph Mustangs (1.10)
Saves: Cody Ponder, lhp, Clarinda A’s (5)
Strikeouts: Robert Greco, rhp, Sedalia Bombers (62)


Best Athlete:
Blake Trahan, ss, Clarinda A’s
Best Hitter: Matt Schulze, ss, St. Joseph Mustangs
Best Power: Kris Koerper, 1b, St. Joseph Mustangs
Fastest Base Runner: Trevor Jones, of, Chillicothe Mudcats
Best Defensive Player: Blake Trahan, ss, Clarinda A’s
Best Velocity: Andrew Bramley, rhp, Chillicothe Mudcats
Best Breaking Ball: Robert Greco, rhp, Sedalia Bombers
Best Command: Robert Greco, rhp, Sedalia Bombers


1. BLAKE TRAHAN, ss, Clarinda A’s (Louisiana-Lafayette/SO in 2014)
Trahan provided a taste of things to come in the spring at Louisiana-Lafayette, when he hit .319-4-30 and was successful on all 13 stolen-base attempts as one of the nation’s top freshmen shortstops. But he ended up becoming even a more-complete player on the summer at Clarinda than anyone imagined, and was a key figure as the A’s posted the best record in the MINK League and won both their playoff games. Not only did Trahan bat in the 3-hole all season for Clarinda, while hitting .315-2-31 and stealing 17 bases in 20 attempts overall, but he was a stalwart defensively with excellent hands and range, and displayed plenty of arm strength and quickness to allay any concerns he may not be able to handle shortstop in the long run. Trahan may not be a defender quite of the order of Ozzie Smith, who played shortstop spectacularly for the A’s back in the 1970s before undertaking a Hall of Fame career, but there was general agreement around the league that he was the elite player in all phases at his position. Scouts had differing opinions, though, whether the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Trahan (also listed at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds in some quarters, but maybe even closer to 6-feet and 200 pounds, according to others), may ever become big and physical enough for his raw power to evolve, but he often surprised teams during the summer with his ability to drive balls to all fields, and most scouts believe he has the raw strength and quickness in his hands for his power to develop in time. His speed on the bases and plate discipline (30 walks/27 strikeouts) are also areas of strengths. Perhaps more than his physical tools, the one area of Trahan’s game that impressed observers the most was his scrappy, all-out demeanor and willingness to play hard on every play, along with his savvy approach and ability to adjust on the fly to any game situation—all the qualities and intangibles that will convince scouts he’ll maximize every ounce of his ability.

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