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.

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