Monday, August 17, 2009

Postseason Prospect Rankings: Pitchers 40-31

Now that I have completed ranking all of the top position players, it is time to conclude the Cape Cod League Blog for 2009 with the Top 40 professional pitching prospects. Because I reported extensively on nearly all of the pitchers on the upcoming lists, most of these postseason reports will include a lot of information previously included on the blog. For the sake of suspense and excitement, I will unveil my Top 40 pitchers over the course of the next four days. Here are pitchers 40-31, based on professional potential, not just performance this summer.

40. Tyler Thornburg, Brewster/Charleston Southern. Throws R. 5'11" 176. Atlanta, Ga.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 0-0, 2.60 ERA, 18 K's, 17.1 IP, 8 Saves

Thornburg was Brewster's hard-throwing closer who impressed some scouts with big velocity despite his small frame, but who looked like a one-pitch pitcher in some outings. If his body holds up and he can command his secondary pitches more consistently, he could be a very good pro, but those are two big question marks with him.

Here is what I blogged about Thornburg on July 23: "Brewster right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg from Charleston Southern was also interesting to watch. I caught Thornburg throw during the first week of the season, but hadn't seen him since then before Wednesday night. Thornburg is undersized at 5'11" 176, and he throws with big-time effort. He gets good extension and has a hitch in his motion before he throws straight over the top. I hesitate to make this comparison, as his mechanics are not as exaggerated and his stuff is not as good, but Thornburg evokes a faint comparison to Tim Lincecum. But Thornburg's command is not as good, he doesn't throw as hard and his curveball doesn't break as much. Still, Thornburg's fastball sat in the 93-94 mph range, and his 77 mph curveball had very good overhand break. He also showed a decent changeup with some tailing action in on right-handed hitters. Thornburg impressed me more than he did the last time I saw him when his curveball wasn't working for him, but with his command he is kind of an adventure every time out."

39. Mike Gipson, Harwich/Florida Atlantic. Throws R. 6'1" 195. West Palm Beach, Fla.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 2-4, 3.89 ERA, 50 K's, 31 IP

Gipson was one of Harwich's more consistent starters and finished third in the league in strikeouts. He was never overpowering but pitched well all summer. His secondary stuff is what earned him a spot on this list, with the hopes that he will someday learn how to keep his fastball down.

Here is what I blogged about him on August 5: "Gipson, a righthander from Florida Atlantic, had decent stuff but he threw an incredibly straight fastball and got hit pretty well by Brewster. Gipson is average height with a solid build at 6'1" 195. He throws with big effort and falls forward when he releases and falls way off the mound toward first. He threw a very good curveball with big downward break, and once every few times he threw it, it had devastating 12/6 movement. Gipson also threw a deceptive changeup with good tailing action in on righties. But hitters sat on his fastball and took advantage of it."

38. Blake Monar, Wareham/Indiana. Throws L. 6'2" 198. Rockport, Ind.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 2-3, 3.02 ERA, 37 K's, 47.2 IP

Monar was actually the fourth or fifth starter on a stacked Wareham pitching staff depending on what point of the season it was, but he had very dependable stuff and gets the most out of the talent he has. He could go in the first few rounds next June and then it will be a matter of seeing how high he can go throwing in just the mid 80's.

Here is what I blogged about him on July 13: "Wareham left-handed starter Blake Monar from Indiana University pitched 7.1 strong innings, and the soon-to-be draft-eligible sophomore could go fairly high in next year's draft. Monar is average height for a pitcher with an athletic build at 6'2" 198. He throws easily and with good arm action, though he does fall off the mound toward third base. Monar's fastball sits in the 84-86 mph range but has good tailing action and he is able to spot it on both sides of the plate. His best pitch is a 73-74 mph curveball that is really a great pitch when he throws it well. Monar was leaving it up early in his start Sunday but once he settled in his hook got him a lot of outs. He also threw a good hard slider with two-plane break and began to work in a decent changeup later in his outing. Despite his limited velocity, Monar looked very impressive."

37. Jason Zylstra, Falmouth/Jacksonville State. Throws R. 6'4" 220. Sylacauga, Ala.

I only caught one brief glimpse of Zylstra toward the end of the summer, so this ranking is based mostly on what I have heard about him from other people. Zylstra was taken in the 36th round of the draft by Minnesota this June, but as far as I know he still hasn't signed and likely will return to school. Expect him to go a lot higher next year.

Here is what I blogged about Zylstra on July 30: "I only caught a brief glimpse of Falmouth right-handed reliever Jason Zylstra from Jacksonville State and only saw him throw fastballs. Zylstra is tall with an average build and room to fill out at 6'4" 220. He gets good extension and throws with good, loose arm action. His fastball sat in the 91-93 mph range and had good sinking action."

36. David Goforth, Brewster/Ole Miss. Throws R. 5'11" 185. Philadelphia, Miss.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 0-1, 5.27 ERA, 19 K's, 13.2 IP

Goforth is similar to fellow Brewster reliever Thornburg in that he is an undersized flame thrower with limited command and secondary stuff. Goforth will have the same durability and command question marks in pro ball that will follow Thornburg. And while Thornburg had a better summer, Goforth reaches his peak velocity more consistently and is not quite as small.

Here is what I blogged about Goforth on July 5 (Note a hint of early-season hyperbole, but I mostly stand by it): "Right-handed reliever David Goforth from Ole Miss showed one of the best arms in the league pitching the eighth and ninth for Brewster. Goforth is a little small for a pitcher at an athletic 5'11" 185, and he throws with a lot of effort in his delivery. But Goforth's fastball repeatedly touched 95 mph, sitting in the 93-95 mph range for both of his two innings. His heater is straight, though, and his command comes and goes. His most impressive batter faced was when he broke Harwich's star right fielder Dan Grovatt's bat with a fastball in on Grovatt's hands. Goforth also showed an average 83 mph slider with sweeping break that he could throw for strikes and the occasional changeup. His consistent velocity alone makes him one of the better relievers in the league."

35. Tyler Burgoon, Y-D/Michigan. Throws R. 5'10" 165. Defiance, Ohio

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 1-1, 1.69 ERA, 34 K's, 21.1 IP

Here is yet another big-effort undersized reliever. Burgoon does not throw as hard as either Thornburg or Goforth, but his slider is very good and he was much more consistently effective this summer. Burgoon's 12 saves led the Cape League and he was pretty much automatic as the closer for the league's best team all summer long.

Here is what I blogged about Burgoon on July 25: "A reliever of interest was Y-D righthander Tyler Burgoon from the University of Michigan, who has put up tremendous numbers as Y-D's closer since I last saw him during the first week of the season. Burgoon hasn't allowed an earned run all season, and he entered Friday's game having given up just four hits in 17.1 innings pitched and striking out 27. He's doing it with only two pitches and a fastball that tops out at 91 mph. Burgoon is undersized at 5'10" 165 and he throws with big effort. His fastball sat in the 89-91 mph range and had good tailing action in on right-handed hitters. He threw a very good 81-82 mph slider with sharp two-plane break. It is pretty clear it is that slider that gets him a lot of his strikeouts. You can't argue with his results."

34. Matt Price, Harwich/Virginia Tech. Throws R. 6'2" 185. Marietta, Ga.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 2-2, 2.97 ERA, 34 K's, 36.1 IP

Price is a projectable righthander who threw both as a starter and out of the bullpen for Harwich this summer. His July birthday makes him just old enough to be a draft-eligible sophomore in next June's draft. Price will need a good spring season to earn a high draft selection, but I think he is a sleeper who might develop late in professional ball and become a pretty good pitcher.

Here is what I blogged about Price on July 5 after a relief appearance: "Right-handed reliever Matt Price from Virginia Tech also showed a good arm for Harwich, but he struggled with his command and an inconsistent release point. Price is thin with a projectable frame at 6'2" 185. He throws with good loose arm action but he throws across his body and as previously noted frequently changes his release point. Price's fastball sat in the 90-92 mph range Saturday and touched 93. He threw a 79 mph slider that was good when he threw it well, but he didn't throw it well each time He also showed a good changeup with nice downward movement."

33. Jorge Reyes, Orleans/Oregon State. Throws R. 6'2" 200. Warden, Wash.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 1-2, 1.06 ERA, 40 K's, 34 IP

I have been waffling about Reyes since the middle of last summer, and this ranking reflects that. He is much lower than where I would have placed him last year, but probably a little higher than where I had him right after I saw him this year. Reyes is really just inconsistent, and if he puts everything together he can be a dominant pitcher. He ended up putting up really good numbers for Orleans this summer. Reyes was taken by San Diego in the 17th-round this year but has yet to sign. This ranking suggests he will be taken higher next year and will realize his potential in professional ball.

Here is what I blogged about Reyes on July 14: Orleans right-handed Game 2 starter Jorge Reyes from Oregon State, the Padres' 17th-round pick last month, was one of my top-rated Cape League starters when he pitched for Falmouth last year, and while he was decent Monday I can't really remember what made me think he was so special in 2008. Reyes is average height for a pitcher with a thin, athletic build at 6'2" 200. He is a quick worker who throws easily with smooth arm action. When Reyes spots his 89-91 mph fastball he is really effective, but his command comes and goes from one inning to the next. He also threw an average 83-85 mph slider that had tight break but which didn't really move all that much.

32. Aaron Meade, Harwich/Missouri State. Throws L. 6'3" 185. Kansas City, Mo.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 3-1, 1.91 ERA, 47 K's, 42.1 IP

Meade was a very effective starter for Harwich all summer and was among the league leaders in many major categories. Meade was selected in the 28th round by the Yankees in June's draft, but has not signed and will likely be taken a lot higher in 2010. Professional teams will always give solid lefties who can throw strikes and mix in three quality pitches a long look.

Here is what I blogged about Meade on July 16: "Meade also looked very good in Game 1, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings pitched and striking out nine. Meade is above-average height with a thin, athletic build at 6'3" 185. He throws easily with good arm action, though he doesn't always follow through and he can tend to allow his pitches to drift up in the strike zone. Meade's fastball sat in the 88-90 mph range with good arm-side run. He threw an average, running 80 mph slider, and his best pitch was his 77-78 mph changeup. He tipped the changeup a little bit by slowing his body down as he threw it, but it was still a really good pitch and got him a lot of his strikeouts."

31. Jimmy Reyes, Orleans/Elon. Throws L. 6'0" 190 Miami, Fla.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 3-2, 3.40 ERA, 38 K's, 47.2 IP

Reyes is an advanced pitcher and a situation where what you see is pretty much what you are going to get. I really like his stuff, though, and I think he could be an effective pro. He is another guy who might not be drafted really high next year but who could fly under the radar and climb his way to the big leagues.

Here is what I blogged about Reyes on August 3, after he outpitched Cotuit's Chad Bell even though Cotuit won: "Reyes was probably the better of the two southpaws. He is average height with an athletic build at 6'0" 190, though the 6'0" listing might be generous. He has a tight motion but throws with some effort and falls off the mound toward third base. Reyes is what you would call an advanced pitcher because he has four pitches, he mixes them well, and he has very good command. Reyes' fastball sat between 86-88 mph and had good tailing action in on left-handed hitters. Despite his limited velocity, Reyes was not afraid to challenge hitters inside. His 73-75 mph curveball was a very good pitch. It had slow, sweeping break but its late movement and Reyes' ability to spot it made it effective. Reyes also threw a slider with a similar trajectory but less depth than the curveball and a 78 mph changeup. Reyes isn't really a high ceiling guy, but he is solid and his command and know-how could translate to success at higher levels."

Tuesday: Pitchers 30-21

Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Third Basemen, Shortstops, Outfielders 10-6, Outfielders 5-1, Top 30 Position Players


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