Summer Collegiate : : Story
Monday, September 23, 2013

Prospect League prospect reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: San Diego

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

For the second year in a row, the West Virginia Miners won the Prospect League championship. And in a case of deja vu, the Miners won the title without benefit of their two best pitching prospects—and two of the most successful arms in the league.

Righthanders David Hess and Jaesung Hwang, ranked Nos. 2 and 4 respectively on the accompanying list of the Prospects League’s best overall prospects this summer, went 9-1, 1.01 with 10 walks and 92 strikeouts between them during the regular season, but both were unavailable for post-season play when their respective college coaches requested that they be shut down for the summer prior to the playoffs.

No matter, the Miners dipped into resources of a deep pitching staff, and won four straight playoff encounters on the strength of dominating pitching. They got 1-0 and 3-0 shutouts from unexpected sources in derailing Chillicothe in the semi-final round, and got another 1-0 whitewashing in the opening game of the championship round against Quincy. The string of shutouts ended a game later, but the Miners got a solid effort from reliever Brandon Koch, the team’s top reliever and best pitching prospect remaining on the Miners staff, in subduing Quincy 4-3 in 11 innings in Game Two of the best-of-three series. Koch was flawless over the final 5 1/3 innings.

A year ago, West Virginia was well on its way to posting the best record in the league at 40-19, largely on the strength of the league’s best pitching staff, when it lost the services of the league’s No. 1 prospect Jake Johansen, who was also called home ahead of schedule. But little known righthander Sam Lewis, author of two no-hitters during the 2012 season and the league strikeout leader, stuck around just long enough to strike out 18 in any Opening Game win in the final series that propelled the Miners to the title before abruptly signing a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Royals.

While West Virginia survived critical losses to its pitching staff the last two years, Danville wasn’t so fortunate. The Dans posted the best overall record in the Prospect League this season, largely on the strength of an outstanding pitching staff led by lefthander Troy Conyers, the league’s No. 1 prospect, but weren’t able to withstand his early departure and went quietly in the playoffs, losing two straight semi-final games to Quincy.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
No. of Teams in League: 11 (12 in 2012)
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): EAST—West Virginia Miners (38-22; 42-22 overall); WEST—Danville Dans (41-19, 41-21 overall)
Post-Season Champion: West Virginia Miners
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 15 West Virginia Miners, No. 19 Danville Dans
No. 1 Prospect, 2012 (per PG CrossChecker): Jake Johansen, rhp, West Virginia Miners (Dallas Baptist; Nationals/2nd round, 2013 draft)
First 2012 Player Selected, 2013 Draft: Jake Johansen, rhp, West Virginia Miners (Dallas Baptist; Nationals/2nd round)

Player of the Year:
Matt Calhoun, 1b, Slippery Rock Sliders (Harding, Ark.)
Top Prospect (as selected by league): Troy Conyers, lhp, Danville Dans (San Diego)

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Keao Aliviado, of, West Virginia Miners (.370)
Slugging Percentage: Thomas Richards, of, Quincy Gems (.557)
On-Base Average: Keao Aliviado, of, West Virginia Miners (.447)
Home Runs: Thomas Richards, of, Quincy Gems; Giancarlo Brugnoni, 1b, Chillicothe Paints (8)
RBI: Pat Kregeloh, 1b/3b, West Virginia Miners (43)
Stolen Bases: Taylor Schmidt, of, Butler Blue Sox (28)

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Three tied at 7
ERA: Jaesung Hwang, rhp, West Virginia Miners (0.36)
Saves: Andrew Marra, rhp, Chillicothe Paints (13)
Strikeouts: Josh Tols, lhp, Hannibal Cavemen (73)


Best Athlete:
Jack Quigley, rhp/of, Chillicothe Paints
Best Hitter: Keao Aliviado, of, West Virginia Miners
Best Power: Giancarlo Brugnono, 1b, Chillicothe Paints; Zach Ratcliff, 1b, Lorain County Ironmen
Fastest Base Runner: Taylor Schmidt, of, Butler Blue Sox
Best Defensive Player: Tyler Wampler, ss, Terre Haute Rex
Best Velocity: David Hess, rhp, West Virginia Miners
Best Breaking Ball: David Hess, rhp, West Virginia Miners
Best Command: Jaesung Hwang, rhp, West Virginia Miners


1. TROY CONYERS, lhp, Danville Dans (San Diego/SO in 2014)
Conyers was a dominant, two-way high school player in suburban San Diego for four years, and earned acclaim as the California prep player of the year as a senior by going 9-2, 1.07 with 131 strikeouts in 82 innings, while also stinging the ball at a .394-5-26 clip. Despite those credentials, Conyers was passed over in the 2012 draft and was also forced to wait his turn, for the most part, as a freshman at USD by working primarily in a set-up role. In 17 appearances, he went 3-2, 5.70. His first real opportunity to showcase his talent beyond the high school level came this summer in eight starts for Danville, where he passed with flying colors by posting a 5-1, 1.53 record with 18 walks and 60 strikeouts in 41 innings on his way to earning a nod as the league’s all-star lefthander and No. 1 prospect. He also managed to get in 22 at-bats, and hit .273-0-5. For a young lefthander with a strong, physically-mature 6-foot-5, 230-pound build, Conyers was ahead of the game with his ability to throw three pitches for strikes in almost any count, including a fastball at 89-91 mph. By adding strength to his big, physical frame, Conyers should only throw harder in time. For now, his most advanced pitch is probably his changeup because of his ability to throw it with the same arm speed and from the same arm slot as his fastball. His slider is his best breaking ball. Conyers gives the impression of airing out his stuff, but is also construed as being sneaky quick because of the deception he creates in his delivery. He hides the ball well and opens up late, making it difficult to pick up his pitches, especially for lefthanded hitters. But possibly the quality that stands out most about Conyers is his mature mound presence. He has an advanced feel for setting up hitters and adjusting to various sequences late in games.

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