Summer Collegiate : : Story
Monday, September 09, 2013

Carolina-Virginia prospect reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Catawba

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

The Carolina-Virginia League began operating in 2005, and has been dominated throughout most of its existence by the Kernersville Bulldogs, who joined the league two years after its inception. The Bulldogs nailed down their fifth league championship this season—winning four straight playoff games on the heels of running away with another regular-season title.

Kernersville thrived, despite fielding a younger, more-inexperienced team than normal, and getting just six innings out of righthander Dallas Newton, the league’s top prospect who signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks early in the season. Corner infielder Brandon Burkes almost singlehandedly made up for any of the team’s shortcomings, including Newton’s early departure, though, by easily winning the league’s triple crown, while also earning MVP honors in both the regular season and playoffs.

Burkes’ emergence as a prospect is particularly noteworthy as he missed two seasons of baseball (and all sports) while in high school after breaking his neck in a football mishap as a sophomore that almost left him paralyzed. Not only did Burkes make huge strides at the plate this summer in his first extended opportunity to play baseball, but the former shortstop also appeared to find a home in the field at third base.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: North Carolina, Virginia
No. of Teams in League: 8
Regular-Season Champion: Kernersville Bulldogs (29-10, 36-15 overall)
Post-Season Champion: Kernersville Bulldogs

Most Valuable Player:
Brandon Burkes, 3b, Kernersville Bulldogs (Guilford Tech, N.C.)
Pitcher of the Year: Carter Brown, rhp, Roanoke Rails (Virginia Tech/graduate)


Batting Average:
Brandon Burkes, 3b, Kernersville Bulldogs (.408)
Home Runs: Brandon Burkes, 3b, Kernersville Bulldogs (9)
RBIs: Brandon Burkes, 3b, Kernersville Bulldogs (41)
Stolen Bases: Chris Mitko, of, Roanoke Rails (17)


Tyler Leguire, rhp, Winston-Salem Crushers (9)
ERA: Justin Morrison, rhp, Kernersville Bulldogs (1.15)
Saves: Steven Ball, rhp, Roanoke Rails (10)
Strikeouts: Tyler Leguire, rhp, Winston-Salem Crushers (102)


1. DALLAS NEWTON, rhp, Kernersville Bulldogs (SIGNED / Diamondbacks)
A 6-foot-5, 215-pound righthander from Greensboro, N.C., Newton was better known in high school as an athletic center fielder, though most scouts believed at the time that his greater upside was on the mound. He had designs on a college career at North Carolina, but failed to make the team’s 35-man roster out of fall practice in 2012 as a freshman, and ended up transferring to Pitt (N.C.) Community College, where he went 3-1, 1.56 last spring, working both as a starter and in relief. In just 35 innings, he struck out a staff best 50. Signed on to pitch during the summer for Kernersville, Newton worked in just three games for the Bulldogs (0-1, 6.00 in 6 IP) before signing with the Diamondbacks, who drafted him in June in the 32nd round. Newton definitely has the size and looks the part of a future major leaguer, and also has the makings of two future big-league pitches in a 90-93 mph fastball and low-80s slider with good late tilt, but has work to do in refining a changeup. In his brief time in Kernersville, he did a lot to eliminate extra pitches in his repertoire while also focusing on a consistent release, and cleaner mechanics overall should eventually lead to improved velocity and command of all his pitches. In his pro debut with the D-backs entry in the Rookie-level Arizona League, Newton went 1-6, 5.64 in 14 appearances (eight starts), while walking 16 and striking out 39 in 53 innings.

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