Summer Collegiate : : Story
Friday, October 12, 2012

N.Y. League Prospect Reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: NYCBL
Official League Website
New York Collegiate Baseball League top 20 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage

The New York Collegiate League continues to try and re-invent itself in the wake of the mass exodus of eight of its more-prominent teams to the younger, more-ambitious Perfect Game Collegiate League over the last two years.

New franchises have come on board to boost the NYCBL membership back up to 12 teams (14 in 2011), but the talent level overall in the league has taken a significant hit. The intake of players from prominent NCAA Division I teams has become practically non-existent, which the accompanying list of the league’s Top 20 prospects graphically spells out.

In the past, NYCBL by-laws prohibited the use of high-school graduates, but a relaxing of those rules that coincided with the league’s loss of several of its marquee teams has seen a mild infiltration of prep talent, and the No. 1 prospect in each of the last two years has been a recently-drafted player from the New York high-school ranks.

A year ago, that player was Rochester high-school star Chris Bostick, who used a banner season against more-experienced competition in the NYCBL to sign a lucrative contract with the Oakland Athletics. This season, it was Pittsford outfielder Grant Heyman, an 11
th-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in June who made a brief, but impressive appearance for the Geneva Red Wings in the NYCBL and in the end elected to fulfill a college commitment to Miami.

Despite an impressive individual showing by Heyman in the league’s championship series, the Syracuse Jr. Chiefs defeated Geneva in two straight games to uphold their standing as the NYCBL’s dominant team during the regular season. But the Chiefs were a very-pedestrian club from a talent standpoint with only one player (shortstop Alex Sanchez, the league batting champion) cracking the league’s list of top prospects.

FAST FACTS

Year League Established: 1978.
States Represented in League: New York.
No. of Teams in League: 12 (14 in 2011).
Regular-Season Champion / best overall record: Syracuse Jr. Chiefs (28-12).
Post-Season Champion: Syracuse Jr. Chiefs.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 50 Syracuse Jr. Chiefs.
No. 1 Prospect, 2011 (per PG CrossChecker): Chris Bostick, 2b, Webster Yankees (SIGNED, Oakland A’s/2011).
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: Brady Wager, rhp, Oneonta Outlaws (Grand Canton; Orioles/9th round).

Player of the Year:
Jon Kemmer, of, Olean Oilers.
Pitcher of the Year: Steven Beckham, rhp, Niagara Power.

BATTING LEADERS

Batting Average: Alex Sanchez, ss, Syracuse Jr. Chiefs (.444).
Slugging Percentage: Jon Kemmer, of, Olean Oilers (.737).
On-Base Average: Jon Kemmer, of, Olean Oilers (.554).
Home Runs: Four tied at 9.
RBIs: Jon Kemmer, of, Olean Oilers (53).
Stolen Bases: Frank Salerno, 2b, Syracuse Jr. Chiefs (20).

PITCHING LEADERS

Wins:
Nicholas Boyd, rhp, Hornell Dodgers; Ethan Striz, rhp, Syracuse Jr. Chiefs (6).
ERA: Steven Beckham, rhp, Niagara Power (1.84).
Saves: Geoff Soja, rhp, Adirondack Trailblazers (8).
Strikeouts: Sean Williams, rhp, Syracuse Salt Cats; Miguel Navarro, rhp, Utica Brewers (66).

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete: Grant Heyman, of, Geneva Red Wings
Best Hitter: Jon Kemmer, of, Olean Oilers
Best Power: Grant Heyman, of, Geneva Red Wings
Fastest Base Runner: Leon Stimpson, of, Geneva Red Wings
Best Defensive Player: Brian Dixon, c, Olean Oilers
Best Velocity: Eric Eck, rhp, Hornell Dodgers
Best Breaking Ball: Eric Eck, rhp, Hornell Dodgers
Best Command: Miguel Navarro, rhp, Utica Brewers

TOP 20 PROSPECTS

1. GRANT HEYMAN, of, Geneva Red Wings (Miami/FR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Heyman was a high-school quarterback prospect of some renown and had little inclination in pursuing a baseball career (either at the pro or college level) as recently as last April, when the Major League Scouting Bureau quietly slapped a grade of 50 (solid major-league average on the bureau’s 20-80 scale) on his projected future baseball ability. Suddenly, big-league teams rushed to upstate New York to get a better handle on Heyman’s talent, and Heyman himself responded with renewed vigor to all the attention being showered on him. While most scouts believed there was a significant gap between his athleticism and developing baseball skills, enough teams expressed sufficient interest to warrant his becoming a premium draft in June, possibly as early as the third to fifth rounds. No team ultimately pulled the trigger on him until the Toronto Blue Jays tabbed him in the 11th round, and Heyman, after weighing his blossoming baseball options for a month, elected to join Geneva for the latter half of the NYCBL schedule. Though he played in just 22 games for the Red Wings (including four playoff contests), he went deep eight times while hitting .348 with 20 RBIs. It was an eye-opening accomplishment, considering Heyman had not played summer ball of any kind since age 13 and most doubting scouts had assessed that his immature overall hitting skills and approach would make him an obvious candidate to spend two years in Rookie ball if he were to sign out of high school. But Heyman adapted with relative ease to wood bats, which speaks to his athleticism and aptitude. He showed an advanced approach to hitting with impressive bat speed from the left side and the ability to drive balls to all fields. His other tools are at various stages of development, though his arm, in particular, has considerable promise. There are also indications he should settle into center field. Ultimately, Heyman elected to pass up an opportunity to sign with the Blue Jays in favor of playing baseball in college at Miami.


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