Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Postseason Prospect Rankings: Pitchers 30-21

Here are the next 10 pitchers in my Top 40 rankings. In case the format is not self-explanatory, each player's vital information is followed by his 2009 Cape League regular season statistics, a short overarching blurb and a scouting blog post from earlier in the summer.

30. Tyler Lyons, Chatham/Oklahoma State. Throws L. 6'2" 205. Lubbock, Texas

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 2-4, 1.77 ERA, 44 K's, 45.2 IP

Lyons was one of the better pitchers among guys who were under a Major League team's control and ended up staying the whole summer. The Yankees took Lyons in the 10th round of June's draft but Lyons did not sign and will return to Oklahoma State for his senior season. Lyons has been an effective starter in the Big 12 for the past two seasons, and with his Cape League performance and a strong senior year he should be selected higher next year.

Here is what I blogged about Lyons on July 27, when he pitched against unconventional lefty Mario Hollands: "Lyons was a lot more conventional, and while he stuff was not overpowering he had four pretty good pitches and was effective. Lyons is average height for a pitcher with an athletic build at 6'2" 205. He has a smooth motion and has good arm action but does throw with a little effort. His fastball sat in the 87-89 mph range and once touched 90. His two-seamer had good tailing action in on left-handed hitters and his four-seamer moved a little bit the other way. He threw a very good 75-76 mph curveball with sweeping break which he could throw for strikes, and also threw a good 78-79 mph slider with late break. The two breaking pitches had a similar trajectory but the curveball had more depth to it. Lyons also threw a deceptive 79-80 mph changeup with some downward movement. The Yankees have several guys under control up here, and Lyons is one of their better ones."

29. Matt Harvey, Chatham/UNC. Throws R. 6'5" 225. Mystic, Conn.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 0-2, 6.00 ERA, 16 K's, 18 IP

Harvey is a unique case, as he could turn out to be the best pitcher to come out of this year's league, or he could flame out as a mechanical mess with unrealized potential. Harvey's velocity is way down from where it was when he was a high school All-American in 2007, and the severe hitch in his motion is very disconcerting. But if Harvey can regain his old form he could be a dominant pro. There is a chance a team might risk its first-round pick on him next June. I ranked him this low because he just seems so mixed up on the mound I don't think it will be easy for him to find his way completely back.

Here is what I blogged about Harvey on July 19: "Harvey is a really interesting case to me. He was one of the nation's best pitching prospects out of high school in 2007, dropped to the third round of the draft because he had signability issues, didn't sign, and then watched as his stock has dropped dramatically over the past two years. His mechanics are really out of whack right now, but he still has the potential to be really good and a team might take a chance on him with a high draft pick next June anyway. One scout said he should have signed in '07, and another agreed and said it must "leave a mark" every time Harvey watches fellow '07 high school phenom Rick Porcello pitch for the Detroit Tigers. Harvey is big with a solid build at 6'5" 225. He has poor arm action and a strange hitch in his delivery toward the top of his motion. He falls off toward third base and sometimes throws severely across his body. All of these things affect his command and velocity. I saw Harvey throw 94-95 for Chatham last summer, but his fastball sat in the 86-89 mph range on Saturday. He has a really good 73-75 mph overhand curveball with big break, but he tends to leave it up in the zone. He also throws a good 77-79 mph changeup with good downward movement when he throws it well. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Harvey next year, but ultimately he could have saved himself a lot of stress by taking what would have been big money in 2007."

28. Brett Weibley, Orleans/Kent State. Throws R. 6'3" 220. Duncansville, Pa.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 2-1, 1.23 ERA, 26 K's, 22 IP

I only got a brief glimpse of Weibley in a relief appearance, but his fastball touched 96 that day so he earned this ranking. Weibley threw mostly one pitch so he is probably only going to be a reliever. Weibley is a raw thrower who was more of a hitter than a pitcher until this past spring, and he was used solely as a pitcher by Orleans. It will be interesting to see how he develops as he gains more experience on the mound. Weibley is expected to go in the first few rounds next June.

Here is what I blogged about Weibley on July 30: "Orleans right-handed reliever Brett Weibley from Kent State hit 96 with his fastball. Weibley is above-average height with a solid build at 6'3" 220. He throws with a lot of effort and falls off the mound toward first base, but he throws with good arm action. Weibley's fastball sat mostly in the 93-95 mph range and did hit 96 once. He does well changing his locations. Weibley threw mostly all fastballs, showing just an average slider and a good changeup that he only threw during warmups."

27. Russell Brewer, Chatham/Vanderbilt. Throws R. 6'0" 190. Norwood, N.C.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Statistics: 2-1, 1.90 ERA, 33 K's, 23.2 IP, 10 saves

Brewer is the type of guy you need to watch several times before you can really appreciate how good he is. He doesn't have great stuff but he has tremendous command and consistently gets the job done. Brewer went undrafted after his redshirt sophomore season, but with two consecutive stellar seasons on the Cape under his belt, I am convinced he can be an effective pro.

Here is what I blogged about him on June 16: "The Anglers brought in righthander Russell Brewer, also from Vanderbilt, to pick up the save in the ninth. I really liked Brewer a lot when he closed games for Hyannis last summer, and he was exactly how I remembered him. His stuff is not that good, but he has excellent command and just consistently gets the job done. He's a little undersized at 6'0" 190, and his fastball tops out at 89 mph, but he hits his spots with it and makes hitters beat him. Brewer also throws a 75-76 mph slider that doesn't have very tight break but gets outs."

26. Matt Barnes, Wareham/UConn. Throws R. 6'4" 185. Bethel, Conn.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 1-3, 4.78 ERA, 33 K's, 26.1 IP

Barnes is a raw, young, high-ceiling guy whose performance on the Cape didn't measure up to his stuff or his expectations coming in. If he is able to pitch more consistently against good competition he could be very good. It will also be interesting to see if he fills out more and increases his already good velocity.

Here is what I blogged about Barnes on July 1: "Barnes was also really impressive and had one of the Top 5 arms I have seen so far. He just turned 19 earlier this month, and there are indications that he has not even reached his full potential. Barnes has good size at 6'4" and a thin, very projectable 185-pound frame. He throws with really smooth arm action and makes everything look natural and easy. Barnes' fastball sat in the 90-93 mph range, and for the most part he spotted it really well and worked both sides of the plate. He threw a very good 75-76 mph curveball with tight break that he was able to throw for strikes, and also showed a good 83-84 mph changeup with sharp downward movement. Barnes is definitely a freshman to watch."

25. Jake Buchanan, Cotuit/N.C. State. Throws R. 6'0" 205. Gastonia, N.C.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 3-1, 0.84 ERA, 38 K's, 43 IP

Buchanan led all qualifying pitchers in ERA this summer, and was statistically one of the best pitchers in the league for the entire season. Still, his stuff is not dominant and he was not considered a very high prospect coming into this summer. This season definitely helped his stock, but he needs to continue to show he can get it done in the future.

This is what I blogged about Buchanan on July 21: "Buchanan, whose ERA was 0.67 before he pitched a shutout Monday, didn't have tremendous stuff, but he had a good feel for four solid pitches and he wasn't afraid to throw any of them in any count. In the middle innings of his start, one American League scout said "This guy doesn't ever throw the same pitch twice in a row." Hyannis' hitters were off-balance the entire game, and only four balls left the infield. Buchanan is average height with a stocky build at 6'0" 205. He short-arms his pitches a little but throws easy and has good balance. Buchanan's fastball sat in the 88-90 mph range but hitters always seemed unsure of when it was coming and therefore it was effectively faster than its actual speed. Buchanan's best pitch was probably his tumbling 74-77 mph curveball with very good, sharp break. He also threw a 76-80 mph slider with good run and a good 76-79 mph changeup with nice downward movement. None of Buchanan's pitches, other than maybe his curveball, was sensational on its own but his full repertoire was very effective. He could certainly be drafted in the first few rounds next June."

24. Seth Blair, Cotuit/Arizona State. Throws R. 6'2" 190. Rock Falls, Ill.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 3-2, 2.75 ERA, 30 K's, 39.1 IP

Blair was one of the better starters in the Cape League this season, but I only caught him throw in relief on the last day of the regular season. Because of my limited exposure to him, I may be ranking him a little low. I also saw Blair pitch in the Cape League All-Star Game in 2008, when he gave up seven earned runs on five hits in 0.2 IP.

Here is what I blogged about Blair on August 6: "Cotuit right-handed reliever Seth Blair from Arizona State was very impressive. Usually a starter, Blair has a really good fastball/changeup combination and while his breaking pitches need some refining he definitely has a lot of potential. Blair is average height with a thin, athletic build at 6'2" 190. He throws with some effort but has good, loose arm action. Blair throws a low 90s fastball with late life that has really good tailing action in on right-handed hitters. The pitch appears to find a new gear in midair. His changeup also moves a lot and is a good, deceptive pitch. Blair throws a curveball with tight break that he tends to leave up in the zone, and a slider with two-plane break he has trouble commanding. Blair needs to throw his curveball with more consistency and develop a better feel for the slider to maximize his effectiveness, but he should be selected in the first few rounds of next June's draft."

23. Cole Green, Wareham/Texas. Throws R. 6'0" 210. Coppell, Texas.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 33 K's, 26 IP

Green is the only player on any of my lists who I did not see this summer and therefore did not blog about. He started four games after coming to the Cape late after the College World Series, and unfortunately I didn't see any of them. People tell me Green is very good, and that he could be selected in the first few rounds of next year's draft. It's possible I would have ranked him higher if I had seen him in person, but I didn't want to put him much higher than the guys coming up on the list.

22. Kyle Winkler, Falmouth/TCU. Throws R. 5'11" 195. Sugar Land, Texas.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 2-2, 3.62 ERA, 31 K's, 32.1 IP

Winkler was one of the more impressive freshman I saw over the course of the summer. His sinker is a really good pitch and he just has a solid repertoire overall. Winkler is raw and young, but he was coming off a good freshman season at TCU and there is no reason to think his success won't continue. Winkler has a bright future and could go high in the 2011 draft.

Here is what I blogged about Winkler on July 28: "Righthander Kyle Winkler from TCU started for Falmouth and looked really good. Winkler threw the only true sinker I can remember seeing all summer and it was a great pitch. Winkler has a stocky build at 5'11" 195, and while he has a jerky motion and throws with some effort he has good arm action and a very strong-looking lower body which should limit some concerns about his durability. Winkler's fastball sat in the 91-93 mph range and once touched 94. The 85-86 mph sinker was really effective and with its late movement was very difficult for hitters to pick up. Winkler also threw a decent 76-78 mph curveball with sharp break and an 81-83 mph slider with hard run that wasn't really that good. Winkler just turned 19 last month, and he is somebody to watch for the 2011 draft."

21. Caleb Cotham, Brewster/Vanderbilt. Throws R. 6'3" 210. Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 15 K's, 13 IP

Cotham was the Yankees' fifth-round draft pick this year and just signed with them right before the deadline. Cotham didn't come to the Cape until midway through the summer, but he was very effective in his limited action there. By my unofficial count, the Yankees selected 12 players I saw play on the Cape in 2008 and/or 2009. Cotham is the best.

Here is what I blogged about Cotham on July 20: "Another fifth-round pick, righthander Caleb Cotham from Vanderbilt, who was selected by the Yankees' last month, looked even more impressive in relief for Brewster. Cotham is above-average height with a solid build at 6'3" 210. He throws easy with tight mechanics and has good arm action. Cotham's fastball sat in the 90-92 mph range and he had pretty good command of it. He threw a hard 85-87 mph breaking ball with tight movement and a very good 83-84 mph changeup with very good downward movement. The Yankees would do well to sign him."

Wednesday: Pitchers 20-11

Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Third Basemen, Shortstops, Outfielders 10-6, Outfielders 5-1, Top 30 Position Players, Pitchers 40-31.

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