Summer Collegiate : : Story
Monday, October 22, 2012

Texas Lg. Prospect Reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Texas League
Official League Website
Texas Collegiate League top 25 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage

No summer league of substance has undergone as much upheaval through the years as the Texas Collegiate League, which began operations in 2004 with eight clubs closely situated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. None of the Original Eight remained active in 2012 (or at least has operated without interruption) as the TCL has done a complete makeover with five franchises now scattered throughout Texas and two playing in Louisiana.

Even the Coppell Copperheads, who won four championships in the league’s first eight years, finally bit the dust this season, though the McKinney Marshalls, one of the originals, was resurrected at the last minute after sitting on the sidelines in 2011 (and 2009). In all, 21 franchises have been members of the TCL, which has operated with as few as four and as many as nine teams in any one season.

While the league has seen its share of instability through the years, it has rarely had a problem producing a steady flow of quality talent, thanks in large measure to its close proximity to the strong college and junior-college programs in Texas. Sixteen of the 25 players on the accompanying list of the league’s top prospects have connections to in-state colleges or high schools, including seven players from Texas A&M alone.

The East Texas Pump Jacks have been members of the TCL since 2008 and finally won their first league title this season after posting the best record in the league the last two seasons, and tying for first in 2010. The Pump Jacks were in first place all but five days this summer, but struggled down the stretch and into the playoffs before rallying in the third and deciding game of the league’s championship series to beat the Victoria Generals 7-4.

Appropriately, righthander Jason Jester, whose 19 saves during the regular season were not only a league record but 13 saves more than his closest pursuer, closed out the final contest in style by striking out the side. He ranked fourth on the list of the TCL’s top prospects a year ago and rose to No. 1 this season, even as he missed the 2012 season at Texas A&M after being declared academically ineligible. Though somewhat undersized at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Jester dominated with a fastball that was consistently in the mid-90s, peaking at 97 mph.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Texas, Louisiana.
No. of Teams in League: 7 (6 in 2011).
Regular-Season Champion: First Half—East Texas Pump Jacks (26-7); Second Half—Brazos Valley Bombers (22-8); Overall—East Texas Pump Jacks (41-22).
Post-Season Champion: East Texas Pump Jacks.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 11 East Texas Pumpjacks; No. 31 Brazos Valley Bombers; No. 40 Victoria Generals.
No. 1 Prospect, 2011 (per PG CrossChecker): Tyler Collins, of, Coppell Copperheads (SIGNED/Detroit Tigers, 2011 draft).
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: Roman Madrid, rhp, Victoria Generals (Central Florida/Padres, 7th round).

Most Valuable Player:
Martin Aquino, of, Woodland Strykers.
Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Kubat, lhp, East Texas Pump Jacks.


Batting Average:
Michael Aquino, 1b/of, Woodlands Strykers (.327).
Slugging Percentage: Michael Aquino, 1b/of, Woodlands Strykers (.588).
On-Base Average: Jude Vidrine, of, Victoria Generals (.459).
Home Runs: Michael Aquino, 1b/of, Woodlands Strykers (10).
RBIs: Brennyn Smith, 3b, Brazos Valley Bombers (42).
Stolen Bases: Krey Bratsen, of, McKinney Marshalls (37).


Jordan Pacheco, rhp, Victoria Generals; Kyle Kubat, lhp, Victoria Generals (7).
ERA: Kelby Langston, rhp, Acadiana Cane Cutters (1.32).
Saves: Jason Jester, rhp, East Texas Pump Jacks (20).
Strikeouts: Jordan Pacheco, rhp, Victoria Generals (59).


Best Athlete:
Krey Bratsen, of, McKinney Marshalls
Best Hitter: Rudy Flores, 1b/3b, Victoria Generals
Best Power: Brandon Wood, of, Brazos Valley Bombers
Fastest Base Runner: Krey Bratsen, of, McKinney Marshalls
Best Defensive Player: Logan Davis, ss, East Texas Pump Jacks
Best Velocity: Jason Jester, rhp, East Texas Pump Jacks
Best Breaking Ball: Tyler Hale, rhp, McKinney Marshalls
Best Command: Kyle Kubat, lhp, East Texas Pump Jacks


1. JASON JESTER, rhp, East Texas Pump Jacks (Texas A&M/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Jester had an all-star season in his first go-around at East Texas in 2011, posting a 1.84 ERA with nine saves, along with 44 strikeouts and just seven walks in 34 innings. But that was just an appetizer to his spectacular 2012 season with the Pump Jacks. Despite missing his junior season at Texas A&M after being declared academically ineligible, Jester reported to East Texas in excellent shape and was more dominant than ever this summer. He did not allow an earned run in 25 appearances during the regular season, before finally being nicked for two meaningless earned runs in Game Two of the league championship series. In 32 innings overall, he went 1-1, 0.58, allowed 14 hits, walked three and struck out 45. In the process, he shattered the league record for saves, blowing past the old mark of 13 before settling at 19. He added a 20th save in post-season play. Despite a modest-sized 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame, Jester has a powerful lower half, sound mechanics and an electric arm, and routinely ran his fastball into the mid-90s, peaking at 97, with explosive life. His breaking ball, a sharp high-70s/low-80s slurve, was a second dominant pitch, and even his changeup was an effective weapon in limited use, especially against lefthanded hitters. Jester threw all his pitches consistently for strikes, and impressed scouts with his feel for pitching and competitive edge. Jester, who spent his first two college seasons as a starter at Tyler (Texas) JC, was originally targeted to be Texas A&M’s closer last spring and should ease into that role in 2013.

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