Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cal Ripken League Prospect Rankings & Awards

by John Vittas

Having watched and announced over 30 Ripken League games this summer, I have compiled this list of the 60 most impressive players in the league. The criteria combines both performance and raw ability.

Bubba Derby was the best pitcher in the league start to finish.
1. RHP Bubba Derby (Bethesda Big Train - San Diego State)
2. C Ian Rice (Baltimore Redbirds - Chipola)
3. 1B / LHP Sean Keselica (Baltimore Redbirds - Virginia Tech)
Sean Keselica  proved to be a top-notch 2-way player for the Redbirds. The Virginia Tech Hokie batted .314 with 29 extra-base hits and posted a 1.94 ERA on the mound, where many believe his pro future lies.

4. SS Will Kengor (Rockville Express - Slippery Rock)
5. 3B KJ Hockaday (Youse's Orioles - Maryland)
6. LHP Ronnie Glenn (Alexandria Aces - UPenn)
7. OF Collin Shaw (Gaithersburg Giants - Texas)
8. LHP Brandon Hinkle (Baltimore Redbirds - Delaware)
9. RHP Tyler Badamo (So. Maryland Nationals - Dowling)
10. 2B / RHP Josh Ingham (Gaithersburg Giants - Central Connecticut State)
Josh Ingham led the Gaithersburg Giants into the postseason in the team's first season in the league. Ingham batted .405 in the second half and posted 15 shutout innings as the team's closer.  
11. RHP Denis Mikush (Vienna River Dogs - UMBC)
12. LHP Tayler Stiles (Silver Spring/Takoma Park T-Bolts - Maryland)
13. 1B Brandon Grove (Gaithersburg Giants - CCBC Catonsville)
14. RHP Tyler Fries (Alexandria Aces - Wilmington)
15. LHP Nate Abel (Vienna River Dogs - Virginia)
16. LHP Michael Taylor (Youse's Orioles - Marshall)
17. RHP John Austin-Shepard (So. Maryland Nationals - Tusculum)
18. 3B Jake Taylor (Silver Spring/Takoma Park T-Bolts - Montgomery College)
19. OF Cody Acker (Silver Spring/Takoma Park T-Bolts - VCU)
20. SS Rhyne Willard (Bethesda Big Train - Tallahassee CC)
21. LHP Zach Morris (Bethesda Big Train - Maryland)
22. RHP Jerrod Leinhauser (Herndon Braves - Florida Tech)
23. RHP Michael Austin (Presttman Cardinals - Bethune-Cookman)
24. CF Chris Kashangaki (Gaithersburg Giants - Coppin State)
25. RHP Kyle Colgain (Gaithersburg Giants - Denison)
26. RHP Justin Hepner (Bethesda Big Train - San Diego State)
27. OF/1B Shaun Wood (Vienna River Dogs - West Virginia)
28. RHP Danny Mooney (Bethesda Big Train - Davidson)
29. RHP Tanner Love (Herndon Braves - George Mason)
30. LHP Kit Scheetz (Bethesda Big Train - Virginia Tech)
31. OF Greg Olenski (DC Grays - Delaware)
32. SS Kevin Baron (Gaithersburg Giants - LaSalle)
33. 3B Tom Woodruff (Herndon Braves - Virginia)
Terps utility man LaMonte Wade finished
top-5 in the CRCBL in OPS as one of the
youngest players in the league.
34. 1B/OF LaMonte Wade (Baltimore Redbirds - Maryland)
35. LHP Michael Boyle (Bethesda Big Train - Radford)
36. RHP Connor Hibbs (Gaithersburg Giants - Delaware)
37. RHP Nick Stephens (Herndon Braves - Lehigh)
38. LHP Joseph Vanderplas (Vienna River Dogs - UMBC)
39. RHP Brock Larson (Bethesda Big Train - San Francisco)
40. INF Ryan Mincher (Alexandria Aces - UPenn)
41. OF Jordon Glover (Presstman Cardinals - Harford CC)
42. 1B Ryan Ripken (Youse's Orioles - Indian River State)
43. 3B Ty France (Bethesda Big Train - San Diego State)
44. RHP Ryan Meisinger (So. Maryland Nationals - Radford)
45. LHP Joshua Baker (Rockville Express - Jacksonville)
46. SS Sergio Leon (Youse's Orioles - Marshall)
47. INF Ryan Metzler (So. Maryland Nationals - SC Aiken)
48. RHP Jack Fischer (Baltimore Redbirds - Wake Forest)
49. SS Will Young (Herndon Braves - Georgia Tech)
50. LHP Henry Sisson (DC Grays - North Carolina)
51. RHP Brandon Casas (Baltimore Redbirds - Maryland)
52. LHP Michael Byrne (Rockville Express - Cornell)
53. RHP Brian O'Neill (Alexandria Aces - Washington & Jefferson)
54. RHP Joe Patton (Gaithersburg Giants - Towson)
55. LHP Colin Milon (Alexandria Aces - George Washington)
56. LHP Ryan Deckert (Vienna River Dogs - Tallahassee CC)
57. CF David Del Grande (Bethesda Big Train - Sacramento State)
58. RHP Bryan McHale (So. Maryland Nationals - Immaculatta)
59. LHP Matt Denny (Baltimore Redbirds - Ole Miss)
60. OF Jay Knight (Gaithersburg Giants - Mount St. Mary's)

The Big Train and Redbirds again put out the most widespread talent, while the Giants and Aces rolled out surprisingly loaded rosters in 2013 as well.
While the Ripken League is a second tier summer league at best, I'd bet on at least 15 of these players getting signed or drafted within the next 2-3 years.

We'll round things off with some superlatives:

MVP: C Ian Rice (Baltimore Redbirds - Chipola)
          Nominees: Jack Fischer, LaMonte Wade, RJ Dennard

Cy Young: RHP Bubba Derby (Bethesda Big Train - San Diego State)
          Nominees: Michael Taylor, Robin Mowatt, Danny Mooney

Best Average Hitter: 3B KJ Hockaday (Youse's Orioles - Maryland)
          Nominees: Will Kengor, Ryan Metzler, Ryan Mincher, Josh Ingham

Best Power Hitter: C Ian Rice (Baltimore Redbirds - Chipola)
          Nominees: Nick Collins, Brandon Grove, Jordan Taylor, Greg Olenski

Best "Pitcher": RHP Robin Mowatt (Gaithersburg Giants - Catholic)
           Nominees: Colin Milon, Jesse Frawley, Michael Boyle, Nick Stephens

Best Fastball: RHP Bubba Derby (Bethesda Big Train - San Diego State)
          Nominees: Brandon Hinkle, Danny Mooney, Josh Baker

Best Changeup: Tyler Badamo (So. Maryland Nationals - Dowling)
           Nominees: Michael Taylor, Michael Boyle, Nick Stephens

Best Curveball: LHP Ronnie Glenn (Alexandria Aces - UPenn)
           Nominees: Brandon Hinkle, Kyle Colgain, Bryan McHale

Best Slider: RHP Nick Riley (Gaithersburg Giants - Mount St. Mary's)
Best Power Slider: RHP Denis Mikush (Vienna River Dogs - UMBC)
           Nominees: Michael Austin, Sean Keselica

Most Undervalued Hitter: C RJ Dennard (Baltimore Redbirds - Armstrong Atlantic State)
           Nominees: Aaron Scoville, Ryan Mincher, Nick Collins

Most Undervalued Pitcher: RHP Tyler Badamo (So. Maryland Nationals - Dowling)
           Nominees: Denis Mikush, John Austin-Shepard, Nate Abel, Connor Hibbs

Most Speed: CF Chris Kashangaki (Gaithersburg Giants - Coppin State)
           Nominees: Collin Shaw, Brandon Angus, Jay Knight, Mike Alexander

Chris Kashangaki's speed made him the league leader in stolen bases and possibly the CRCBL's best defensive outfielder.

Gold Gloves:
C: Cody Walker (DC Grays - Mississippi State)
1B: Judson Sherrill (DC Grays - Alabama Huntsville)
2B: Pat Fitzgerald (Baltimore Redbirds - Towson)
SS: Kevin Baron (Gaithersburg Giants - LaSalle)
3B: Bobby Rice (Vienna River Dogs - Tallahassee CC)
OF: Collin Shaw (Gaithersburg Giants - Texas)
OF: Chris Kashangaki (Gaithersburg Giants - Coppin State)
OF: Cody Acker (Silver Spring/Takoma Park T-Bolts - VCU)

Honorable Mention: INF Kevin LaChance (Rockville Express - UMBC), OF Alex Pastorius (Baltimore Redbirds - Coll. of Charleston), C Ian Rice (Baltimore Redbirds - Chipola)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Amateur Scouting Report - Ripken League All Stars

by John Vittas

Wednesday marked the eighth Cal Ripken League All Star Game, as the best college talent the league had to offer met at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Maryland.

Here's the scouting reports on the league's best players:


1. Nik Nowottnick (RHP - Towson)
At 6-foot-4, Nowottnick features a Big League fastball which never dips below 91 mph. He hit 93 on the gun and was flat out overpowering. He also showed a decent changeup at 82-84. He'll need to develop more reliable off-speed pitches to get college hitters out more consistently, as he posted an ERA around 5 as Towson's top reliever this year. Results wise, the good news is his summer numbers, where he's given up only 26 hits in over 34 innings. He always seems to throw strikes, he just needs an out pitch.

2. Ronnie Glenn (LHP - U Penn)
Glenn has a dramatic but fluid motion and gets on top of the ball well despite a three-quarters arm arm slot. He has a nasty 12-6 curve that touches 80 miles per hour, with a fastball that has been clocked at 90. He also throws a good two-seamer in the mid-80s and is equally as effective from the stretch.

3. Michael Austin (RHP - Bethune-Cookman)
Austin is the epitome of a starting pitcher. He works quickly and to all zones, using a four pitch mix to get there. His fastball is 85-87 but with some adjustments, he has the body to gain velocity. He also has a hard cutter at 83-85 which he uses up in the zone to get swings and misses. However, his breaking stuff might be the most impressive part. The Maryland native has a sweeper in the mid-70s that has as much movement as you can possibly put on a baseball. He can also snap off a serviceable curveball to keep hitters honest, being his only pitch with downward movement. He was a swingman at Bethune-Cookman, but he's proving he can start this summer, striking out more batters than total hits allowed.

4. Josh Kisamore (RHP - Florence-Darlington Tech)
The JUCO righty has a long way to go, but the stuff is there. Kisamore has an upper-80s fastball with a hard slider at 78. If he can gain more control, he could be a lights out D-1 college reliever.

5. Bobby Ruse (RHP - Maryland)
Ruse is as consistent and reliable as they come. He's been a reliever with the Terps, but has the stamina and control to start. His fastball consistently sits at 87, with a low-80s changeup that has some serious drop. Ruse also mixes in an average breaking ball, but is not able to do so repeatedly. Bobby's M.O. is throwing strikes, having only walked nine batters in 31 innings this summer. Because of this, his pitch count is usually minuscule. If he can develop a bigger breaking ball, there's nothing stopping him from being an innings eater in the ACC.

6. Tanner Love (RHP - George Mason)
If Love can get stronger, there's nothing stopping him from being a pro draft pick in two years. He's very projectable at just 19 years old and 165 pounds. His mechanics seem effortless and like Ruse, he pumps strikes. His fastball is only 86-87, but with three other solid pitches to work with, Love can be a legitimate starting pitcher at the next level if he continues to grow.

7. John Austin-Shephard (RHP - Tusculum)
Austin-Shephard won MVP of the game, pitching a scoreless ninth to earn the save. Most wold probably put him above the seventh best pitcher in the game, but to me his mechanics seemed awkward. He seems to fire to the plate in fits and starts, which can also disrupt the timing of hitters. The good part is that his fastball sat 88-90 and he showed a good breaking ball at 80 mph. as well.

8. Brandon Hinkle (LHP - Delaware)
For a small guy, Hinkle has some serious stuff. His fastball was 89-90 and he had as filthy a curveball as Ronnie Glenn. Glenn's size will make him the better prospect, but Hinkle's stuff-to-size ratio might be the best in the game.

Other Pitchers

Robin Mowatt (RHP - Catholic) - true pitcher, places all three pitches with ease, FB 83-85, changeup is his best pitch, also uses curve

Josh Baker (LHP - Jacksonville) - fastball at 87, also has slider

Jesse Frawley (LHP - Central Connecticut State) - relies on movement, FB 82-84, good sinker and slider as well, excellent command of all three pitches

Nick Riley (RHP - Mount St. Mary's) - deceptive side-armer, doesn't quite get to 80 but has more movement on his pitches than anyone; works with a 2-seamer and a Bugs Bunny slider that no one can put the bat on

Bryan McHale (RHP - Immaculatta) - 86 mph. fastball, good curveball, fluid motion

Joseph Vanderplas (LHP - UMBC) - FB 83-86, 68 mph. curve

Mitchell Leeds (RHP - Lafayette) - straight over-the-top delivery, 86-88 FB, 74 CB

Henry Sisson (LHP - North Carolina) - the Tarheel showed an 85 mph FB with a mid-70s slider , mixes speeds effectively

Denis Mikush (RHP - UMBC) - windy delivery, 88 mph. FB with very little command, swing and miss guy

Position Players That Showed Something

It can be difficult to accurately evaluate position players based on one game, but here are the position players that showed something in the All Star Game.

Will Kengor - jumps out physically as a 6-3 shortstop, smooth and wirey with everything he does, can be a legit pro prospect if he puts on weight, already has the numbers and tools to get drafted, showed lapses defensively

KJ Hockaday - makes contact with everything, patient hitter, went the other way nicely for a hit

Ian Rice - the only player to go 2-for-2, crushed a home run to the pull side and went oppo for a base hit

Cody Walker - hit both the fastball and slider well to both fields

Tom Woodruff - good defensive player, very athletic

Josh Ingham - experienced hitter, goes the other way with power, hits everything hard, doubles hitter

Will Young - extremely athletic, an infielder who played a smooth CF in the game and gunned out a runner at the plate

Collin Shaw - tremendous defender, excellent range and a good arm, line drive hitter from the left side, good speed

Cody Acker - extremely smooth and athletic, level swing, very young

David Del Grande - strong defender and consistent line-drive hitter, pop to the pull side

Trevor Freeman - good instincts, wreaked havoc on the basepaths