Summer Collegiate : : Story
Thursday, September 01, 2011

Southern Lg. prospect reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Bethune-Cookman

Official League Website

League Strength: **

Southern Collegiate League top 10 prospects (list)

With an easy first-place finish in the Eastern Division in the bag, along with easily the most-talented team in the Southern Collegiate League, the Lake Norman Copperheads appeared primed to walk away with a second straight league title in 2011. But those hopes were dashed when the Copperheads lost a sudden-death divisional playoff to the expansion Pineville Pioneers.

The Pioneers then went on to win the league title by beating the Western Division champion Morganton Aggies in a best-of-3 final.

Lake Norman (29-14) not only dominated the regular season in the SCL, but dominates the accompanying list of the league’s 10 best prospects, which includes easily the two best talents in the eight-team circuit in outfielders Nolan Gaige, who hit .459 and topped the league by a wide margin in batting, and David Lee, who hit .363 and was the league’s top run producer. Long-time observers say that both players rank among the best prospects ever to play in the 13-year-old league.

FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
1999.
States Represented in League: North Carolina, South Carolina.
No. of Teams in League: 8.
Regular-Season Champions: East—Lake Norman Copperheads; West—Morganton Aggies.
Post-Season Champion: Pineville Pioneers.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: None.
No. 1 Prospect, 2010: Tyler Horan, of, Lake Norman Copperheads (Virginia Tech; played in New England Collegiate League in 2011).
First 2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft: Andrew Rash, of, Statesville Owls (Virginia Tech; Padres/36th round).

Most Valuable Player:
None selected.
Most Outstanding Pitcher: None selected.
Top Prospect (as selected by league): None selected.

BATTING LEADERS

Batting Average:
Nolan Gaige, of, Lake Norman Copperheads (.459).
Slugging Percentage: Luke Clements, of, Carolina Chaos (.663).
On-Base Average: Nolan Gaige, of, Lake Norman Copperheads (.557).
Home Runs: Garrett Furr, rhp, Morganton Aggies (5).
RBIs: David Lee, of, Lake Norman Copperheads (38).
Stolen Bases: Preston Troutman, of, Pineville Pioneers (18).

PITCHING LEADERS

Wins:
Vince Voorhees, lhp, Carolina Chaos (5).
ERA: Scott Elitzky, lhp, Morganton Aggies (1.53).
Saves: Braxton Lewis, rhp, Morganton Aggies (7).
Strikeouts: Derek Fulmer, lhp, Carolina Chaos (45).

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
David Lee, of, Lake Norman Copperheads.
Best Hitter: Nolan Gaige, of, Lake Norman Copperheads.
Best Power: David Lee, of, Lake Norman Copperheads.
Fastest Base Runner: Nolan Gaige, of, Lake Norman Copperheads.
Best Defensive Player: Tyler Tewell, c, Pineville Pioneers.
Best Velocity: Brock Hudgens, rhp, Statesville Owls.
Best Breaking Ball: Tyler Herb, rhp, Lake Norman Copperheads.
Best Command: Tyler Herb, rhp, Lake Norman Copperheads.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS

1. DAVID LEE, of, Lake Norman Copperheads (Bethune-Cookman/JR in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Lee is possibly the closest thing to a five-tool talent that the SCL has seen in its 13-year history. He has a chiseled 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame that is ready-made for the pro game, and all his tools play to varying degrees, though he has a long way to go in his overall development after playing sparingly for Bethune-Cookman as a sophomore. In 49 at-bats, he hit just .163-0-2 with 20 strikeouts. Given a chance to play every day this summer, Lee responded by topping the league with 38 RBIs, while hitting .363 with four homers. He has impressive raw power, and routinely took a big hack at anything thrown his way until there were two strikes on him. He then consciously shortened his swing and made a concerted effort to use the whole field. He also made good adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. While Lee significantly curbed his strikeouts pace from the spring, he’ll still need better pitch selection going forward. He spent most of the summer in right field for the Copperheads while the faster Gaige patrolled center, but Lee has the speed (6.68 in the 60) and defensive skills to play center down the road. He also has the superior arm of the two.

2. NOLAN GAIGE, of, Lake Norman Copperheads (Albany/JR in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Fastest player in SCL (6.5 in 60, 3.9 down line from left side), and used speed efficiently in all phases; got a lot of leg hits/bunt hits as leadoff man on his way to a league-best .459 average, topped league with 40 runs; also flashed good pop and went deep in league all-star game; solid CF range, but arm better suited for LF.

3. BROCK HUDGENS, rhp, Statesville Owls (Charlotte/SO in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Flashed the most electric arm in league with FB that touched 93-94 mph; also had hard SL, but secondary stuff needs work; made strides with his consistency on summer with 3-1, 3.04 record and 11 BB/32 SO in 27 IP, mostly as starter, had limited success in relief as FR at Charlotte (0-0, 7.90, 2 SV, 14 IP, 10 BB/17 SO).

4. TYLER HERB, rhp, Lake Norman Copperheads (Coastal Carolina/SO in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Further ahead than No. 3 Hudgens as a pitcher, but doesn’t throw as hard; FB typically peaked at 92 mph, but had excellent sinking action; has better secondary stuff with a solid SL, CH still coming; projectable frame at 6-2/175; went 1-2, 3.00 in four starts after working only in relief for Coastal Carolina in spring (0-0, 4.13, 17 G).

5. TYLER TEWELL, c, Pineville Pioneers (Appalachian State/JR in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Slowed by injury much of summer, but best defender in league; has durable, athletic frame with powerful arm behind plate, handles pitchers well; aggressive lefthanded hitter, uses the whole field, flashes occasional pop, though swing can get a little long; hit .308-0-7 in limited action on summer, .258-2-16 at Appalachian State.

6. BRETT ARMOUR, c, Lake Norman Copperheads (Wake Forest/JR in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: An athletic catcher capable of running the 60 in 6.8 seconds; has quick, mobile feet behind dish, good receiving/blocking skills, excellent exchange and strong/accurate arm with 1.85-1.9 pop times; hit .185-2-12 in spring as No. 1 catcher for Wake, but has quick bat and improved numbers on summer to .296-1-21, still has holes in his swing.

7. GARRETT FURR, of, Morganton Aggies (Catawba, N.C./JR in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Provided power in the middle of the order for Aggies, topping league with 5 HR; can hit ball out to any part of park, but has holes in swing with pronounced uphill plane, led to a lot of swing/misses; also runs well (6.8 in 60), successful on all 12 steal attempts, adequate arm for LF, but struggled getting reads on balls.

8. MARK RHINE, 2b/ss, Lake Norman Copperheads (Wake Forest/JR in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Never got untracked in spring at Wake after getting hit in hand by pitch early in season, hit just .170-0-7 in 100 AB; bat came on during summer (.280-0-12), can hit for average, but limited power; is athletic enough to play anywhere in infield, has good hands, arm strength for left side, 6.7 speed in 60; profiles as 2B at next level.

9. JOHN TUTTLE, rhp, Morganton Aggies (Catawba, N.C./SO in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Tuttle won six games as a weekend starter for Division II Catawba, and was effective in the same role for Morganton (3-1, 1.96, 37 IP/37 SO) with a FB at 87-91 that had good arm-side run/sink; his secondary stuff, a SL and CH, are just average; pitched impressively in one late-season outing for Asheboro of the Coastal Plain League.

10. ALEX TOMASOVICH, ss, Pineville Pioneers (Charleston Southern/SO in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Was steady at the plate (.298-1-16), in the field at shortstop for league-champion Pioneers; flashed power to all fields, and may end up at third base as he gets bigger/stronger; average defender with smooth, quick hands, decent actions, must develop lateral quickness, greater arm strength to remain on left side.

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