Summer Collegiate : : Story
Friday, September 13, 2013

Jayhawk League prospect reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Iowa Western

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

The Jayhawk League and Wichita-based National Baseball Congress (and its signature event, the NBC World Series) have been closely aligned through the years, but rarely before have Jayhawk League clubs made as big an impact on the national tournament as this summer.

The Wellington Heat finished second in the 32-team event to the Seattle Studs, while the El Dorado Broncos came in third after first having to qualify via a 16-team play-in to championship week. And the performance of those clubs only underscores the dominant 2013 season otherwise enjoyed by the Hays Larks, who went wire-to-wire to win the Jayhawk League championship for the second straight year, only to falter at the end with a seventh-place finish in Wichita.

By most accounts, the talent in the Jayhawk League this season was a step below 2012, when Dodge City put little-known Mississippi junior college outfielder/shortstop Tim Anderson on the map, on his way to becoming a first-round pick in this year’s draft. By contrast, there was no one close to Anderson this summer, nor even a clear-cut choice as the league’s best prospect. The ultimate No. 1 prospect, El Dorado outfielder Tyler Ware, was eligible for this year’s draft but wasn't selected.

It remains unclear whether the admirable showing of the Jayhawk League at the NBC tournament this year—and in recent years—is a reflection of the strength of the league, or can be construed as a combination of the traditional “home-field advantage” that Jayhawk teams seem to have playing so close to home against the backdrop of an increasingly watered-down NBC field. A year ago, it may have been the former; this year, it may have been a little more of the latter.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Kansas
No. of Teams in League: 6
Regular-Season Champion: Hays Larks (22-10; 33-13 overall)
Post-Season Champion: NONE. El Dorado Broncos, Hays Larks, Liberal Bee Jays and Wellington Heat represented league in National Baseball Congress World Series, Wichita, Ks.
Teams, Perfect Game Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 30 Hays Larks; No. 37 Wellington Heat
No. 1 Prospect, 2012 (per PG CrossChecker): Austin Darby, of, Hays Larks (Nebraska; played for Santa Barbara Foresters/California Collegiate League in 2013)
First 2012 Player Selected, 2013 Draft: Tim Anderson, of/ss, Dodge City A’s (East Central Mississippi JC; drafted by Rays/1st round)

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Joe Williams, ss, Wellington Heat (.406)
Home Runs: Dylan Boston, 1b, Derby Twins (9)
RBI: Colin Garland, of, Hays Larks (29)

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

3 tied at 5
ERA: David Owen, rhp, Hays Larks (0.36)
Strikeouts: Chandler Hawkins, lhp, Hays Larks (57)


Best Athlete:
Tyler Ware, of/lhp, El Dorado Broncos
Best Hitter: Dylan Delso, c, Liberal Bee Jays
Best Power: Tyler Wade, of/lhp, El Dorado Broncos
Fastest Base Runner: Jake Placzek, ss, Hays Larks
Best Defensive Player: Jason McMurray, ss/2b, Derby Twins
Best Velocity: Dalton Viner, rhp, Hays Larks; Michael Silva, rhp, Derby Twins
Best Breaking Ball: Graylon Brown, rhp, Derby Twins
Best Command: David Owen, rhp, Hays Larks


1. TYLER WADE, of/lhp, El Dorado Broncos (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi/JR in 2014)
For all the obvious athletic ability in his lively 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame and intriguing upside as an everyday player, Ware has been slow to emerge as a prospect. He was a pitcher only as a freshman at Iowa Western Community College in 2011, and showed considerable promise in that role from the left side before undergoing labrum shoulder a year later, causing him to miss a season of development, but resulting in his being re-born as an outfielder. Even as Ware was red-shirted in 2012 while nursing his shoulder back to health and making the transition to an everyday role, his raw power potential was readily evident. No one on an Iowa Western team that won the Junior College World Series that year hit balls farther in batting practice. Though his power remained largely untapped last spring as a red-shirt sophomore in his first real live game action as a non-pitcher, he hit .354-1-32 and led Iowa Western with 16 doubles. His other tools came to the forefront, though, as he was clocked in 6.6 seconds in the 60, got good reads and jumps at his new position in center field and his throws were consistently clocked at 89-91 mph—not quite reflective of the arm strength he once had, but plenty good enough still to remain in center field defensively, and even right field. It wasn’t until this summer at El Dorado that Ware was finally able to utilize all the leverage in his big frame and unleash some of his raw power potential. He went deep six times, while hitting .317, though it remained apparent that he has work to do in refining his swing and approach. Ware even worked six innings on the mound for the Broncos, raising hopes that he might still be a factor as a pitcher at the college level and even assume a two-way role in 2014, when he’ll play at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

2. DYLAN DELSO, c, Liberal Bee Jays (Texas Christian/SO in 2014)
Offensive-oriented, switch-hitting catcher who red-shirted at Arizona State in 2012, hit .394-7-53 for Cowley County (Kan.) CC last spring as R/S FR, .403-2-17 on summer for Bee Jays, before abruptly leaving team at midway point; will move to TCU in 2014 and challenge for starting job behind plate; has obvious pull-side power, especially from left side; other big tool is arm, but has work to do on receiving skills, toning up footwork.

3. DALTON VINER, rhp, Hays Larks (San Jacinto, Texas, JC/SO in 2014)
Best power arm in Jayhawk League; fastball clocked up to 94-95, led to 6-3/220 Viner being drafted by Marlins in June in 31st round; worked 16 IP on summer for Hays, and left Larks twice—once to contemplate signing, other time to address family health concern; struggles to throw consistent strikes with fastball as mechanics can wander, but also overpowering at times, struck out 26 while walked 15; actually has better command of breaking stuff; went 2-2, 4.78 as reliever at Eastern Oklahoma State JC in spring, has transferred to San Jac as SO.

4. GRAYLON BROWN, rhp, Derby Twins (Angelo State, Texas/SO in 2014)
Smallish 5-9 frame masks impressive athleticism, easy delivery, ability to throw FB consistently at 90-93, highly-competitive approach; went 1-1, 2.63 with 30 IP in 24 IP for Twins, was overpowering at times as league’s all-star closer; has lively arm, ball jumps out of hand, also can pound zone with big, hammer curve, dabbles with slider/change; all-state QB at Texas HS, red-shirted as FR at D-II Angelo State, went 2-0, 4.05 (33 IP, 17 BB/26 SO) in 2013.

5. AARON CORNELL, of, Hays Larks (Oklahoma State/SR in 2014)
Third-year player at Hays; was No. 1 on this list in 2011 after MVP season for Larks (.346-7-33), struggled to regain old form in 2012 after playing sparingly in spring at Oklahoma State, but a major force again for Larks this summer (.357-5-26); has developed better mental approach to game with experience, takes things in stride easier; speed in CF, on bases still his best tool, arm also plays; dead-pull approach at the plate, will flash raw power.

6. AARON SIPLE, of, Wellington Heat (New Mexico/JR in 2014)
Smaller frame (6-0/170) inhibits power potential, but solid performer in all other phases of game; combines smooth lefthanded swing, excellent plate discipline, savvy leadoff approach, raw speed to consistently put balls into play; hit .342-0-9 with 25 SB on spring at GateWay (Ariz.) JC, .295-0-18 on summer for Wellington; also has sound CF skills, adequate arm strength for position; should take over as CF for D-I New Mexico in spring.

7. JASON McMURRAY, ss/2b, Derby Twins (Iowa Western CC/SO in 2014)
Starting SS for much of FR season at Notre Dame in 2012, was red-shirted last spring, has since transferred back home to Iowa Western CC for SO season; very athletic player, runs well, capable of making spectacular play in field like no other infielder in Jayhawk League, but also prone to mishandling routine plays; has some juice in bat, hit .299-2-21 on summer for Derby; needs to work on shortening swing to reduce strikeouts.

8. MICHAEL SILVA, rhp, Derby Twins (Loyola Marymount/SO in 2014)
Has explosive fastball at 90-93 mph, may have been most-dominant pitch in league on rare occasions when he threw it for strikes; was go-to arm early in season for Derby, but saw time on mound less frequently when mechanics strayed, leading to control issues; went 0-1, 7.36 for Twins with 18 SO in 11 IP; went 0-2, 5.73, 11 IP, 9 BB/8 SO in spring at Loyola Marymount; good upside with potential for 3-pitch mix if he can put pieces together.

9. JAKE PLACZEK, ss, Hays Larks (Nebraska/SO in 2014)
Most offensive-oriented SS in league; hit .330-2-18, was successful on 26 of 27 steal attempts; has good pop in smallish 5-10/175 frame, makes solid contact, runs extremely well, but got worn down late in summer after playing sparingly at Nebraska as FR; differing opinions among scouts on his value at SS, some like range and arm strength, others believe he may be a better fit at 3B in long run.

10. CHANDLER HAWKINS, lhp, Hays Larks (Arkansas State/JR in 2014)
No. 1 starter for league’s best club; went 5-2, 2.73 with 57 SO in 54 IP, tied for league lead in wins, was tops in strikeouts; not overpowering with FB generally at 88-90, though flashed plus velocity; also has effective slider/change, developed excellent command of all pitches in second half; very effective when in zone, generates a lot of ground-ball outs; settled nicely into starting role on summer after being used in variety of roles as SO at Arkansas State.

11. SCOTT HOFFMAN, rhp, Wellington Heat (South Mountain, Ariz., CC/SO in 2014)
Highly-regarded 6-4/230 pitching prospect before injuring elbow early in 2012 season, has been shelved better part of last two years at South Mountain after TJ surgery, but finally got chance to air out big arm late in 2013 JC season, on summer for Wellington; FB reached low-90s in controlled outings in JC, sat mid-to-high 80s for Heat and flashed decent breaking ball/changeup; went 1-3, 6.35 (28 IP, 26 SO) for Wellington; drafted by Yankees in 2011 out of Arizona HS, in June by Pirates.

12. TYLER PEITZMEIER, lhp, Liberal Bee Jays (Cal State Fullerton/JR in 2014)
Very effective arm for Cal State Fullerton in spring, going 3-0, 0.57 in 32 IP, mainly as lefthanded specialist; got to Liberal late, left early with tender elbow, made only five brief relief appearances for Bee Jays, but very effective (0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 0 BB/8 SO), saved four games; FB typically at 87-90, but looks faster as hides ball well, gets good life on pitch, also will throw three other pitches for strikes, has excellent composure for short role.

13. DAVID OWEN, rhp, Hays Larks (Arkansas State/SO in 2014)
Arkansas State pitching mate Chandler Hawkins was dominant starter in league for Hays, leading league in wins/SO, while Owen even more imposing in closer role for club, leading league with 0.36 ERA; while going 2-1 with 5 SV (25 IP, 7 BB/28 SO), summer performance was a major upgrade on 2-2, 7.23 FR season; not overpowering with FB at 89-92, but throws strikes from low three-quarters slot, gets ground-ball outs with arm-side run, also got bad swings on plus slider.

14. JUSTIN BETHARD, rhp, Liberal Bee Jays (Texas Tech/SO in 2014)
Not overpowering with 87-90 mph fastball, but has ability to pound pitch consistently low in strike zone and mix it effectively with slider/change combo, giving fastball the appearance of being sneaky fast; was not in prime shape at start of Jayhawk season after going 0-1, 4.60 in 15 relief appearances in spring for Texas Tech, but quickly rounded into form with hard work, had dominant summer as starter for Bee Jays, going 3-0, 1.40 with 16 BB/50 SO in 51 IP.

15. JEREMY McGOWAN, rhp, El Dorado Broncos (Troy/JR in 2014)
Worked only 18 IP as R/S SO at Troy, began season in Broncos bullpen, but got progressively better during summer, emerged as team’s No. 1 starter, went 4-1, 2.68 overall (37 IP, 12 BB/27 SO), was dominant in two starts in NBC World Series (2-0, 0.81); has solid 3-pitch mix with fastball/slider/change, locates all pitches well; FB typically in high-80s; though has impressive size at 6-3/225, could eventually throw harder with mechanical adjustments.
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