Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Postseason Prospect Rankings: Second Basemen

Second base was a Cape League position without any surefire major league prospects in 2009, but with several fringe prospects. The player with the most professional potential as a second baseman is perhaps Tyler Hanover from Y-D and LSU, but I decided to list him as a third baseman in these rankings because that's where he played the majority of the summer. Jedd Gyorko played some second base for Brewster, and the West Virginia standout was one of the best hitters in the league, but he is not nearly athletic enough to play the middle infield as a pro so he will also be ranked as a third baseman.

5. Blake Kelso, Y-D/Houston. Bats R/Throws R. 5'10" 170. Pflugerville, Texas.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .260 BA/0 HR/13 RBI/.665 OPS/18 SB

Kelso was a pest at the top of the order for Y-D all summer. The Louisvile Slugger Freshman All-American in 2008 led his college team in hits, runs, doubles and total bases in 2009. Kelso will hit the occasional double with a wood bat but he is mostly a contact hitter. He has a smooth stroke but is unafraid to slap at the ball just to put it in play and get on base. He does a good job taking what the pitcher gives him and using the whole field. Kelso ended the summer with a very low strikeout total in a big strikeout league. Kelso is also very good defensively, as he showed very good range both up the middle and to his left and a pretty good arm for a second baseman. Like many of these second baseman Kelso is never going to be a star, but he does enough things well that he will last awhile in professional ball.

4. Tom Belza, Chatham/Oklahoma State. Bats L/Throws R. 6'0" 188. Loveland, Ohio

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .183 BA/1 HR/11 RBI/.405 OPS

Belza had a terrible season on the Cape this summer, but I'm not ready to give up on Oklahoma State's leading hitter the past two seasons and a 2008 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. Belza hit .346 with 6 home runs and 52 RBIs for the Cowboys this spring. Belza didn't strike out as much as many others in the Cape league with similar batting averages, he just struggled to make good contact consistently. Belza keeps his hands very relaxed in the batter's box, and a lot of times it looked like he wasn't ready to hit. His timing was off and he was late to start his swing. Other times it looked like he was jamming himself. Belza is very strong defensively, as he made only one error all summer. He's a good athlete who moves well in the field and looks especially good on balls hit up the middle. Belza is not a base-stealing threat. If Belza fixes his hand issues at the plate, he could be a very good all-around player.

3. Pierre LePage, Bourne/UConn. Bats R/Throws R. 5'7" 157. Wolcott, Conn.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .308 BA/0 HR/14 RBI/.753 OPS/17 SB

LePage gets more out of his talent than any other player in the Cape League and he was by far the scrappiest, most hard-nosed player out there. No matter how much I wanted to leave him off this list because of his size and how awkward he looks sometimes on the field, his excellent performance all summer just made him impossible to ignore. LePage is the ultimate contact hitter and he very rarely struck out. He is never going to hit for power but he has very quick hands and would do whatever he could to put the ball in play. He uses his 4.1 second speed down to first base to make things happen on the basepaths. LePage has good pitch recognition and can use the whole field. Defensively he has very good range and is a smart player who often makes good decisions. He is unafraid to dive or leap or do whatever he needs to do to make a play. LePage is just the type of player you want to have in your organization.

2. Phil Gosselin, Harwich/Virginia. Bats R/Throws R. 6'1" 185/West Chester, Pa.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .262 BA/0 HR/7 RBI/.633 OPS

Gosselin started out very strong on the Cape his first few games after arriving after the College World Series but then settled into being a more a solid-average player the rest of the summer. Gosselin had a solid year for Virginia, hitting .310 with 6 home runs, 64 RBI and 24 SB. Gosselin is a line drive hitter with quick hands and a short stroke to the ball. He has occasional pop and does a good job driving the ball to the opposite field. Gosselin is just average defensively and doesn't have very good range, so he might eventually be better-suited to play the outfield. He does have good hands though and turns the double play well. Gosselin has an average arm. Gosselin has a projectable body and arguably has the most professional potential as a hitter of any second baseman in the league.

1. Colin Walsh, Brewster/Stanford. Bats S/Throws R. 6'1" 2oo. La Jolla, Calif.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .255 BA/0 HR/5 RBI/.661 OPS

Walsh was a solid player for Brewster all summer and quite honestly I was surprised his final stats weren't a lot better than they are when I just looked them up. Walsh led the Cardinal with a .320 batting average this spring. Walsh has a very smooth swing, especially from the left side, but his only hint of any power comes from the right side. Walsh is quick to the ball and can drive it even though he has hit only singles and doubles all spring and summer. He has very good pitch recognition and can use the whole field. Walsh is a very solid defensive player who makes nearly every routine play and also has shown athleticism and good range up the middle. He is a heads-up player who makes smart decisions on the field. It was a tough call between Walsh and Gosselin, and while Gosselin may have the higher ceiling as a hitter I went with Walsh because you pretty much know what you're getting from him and he has shown he can definitely stick at second base.

Wednesday: Third Basemen

Catchers, First Basemen

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1 comment:

  1. Colin Walsh also is one of the more patient hitters in the league. His walk-to-strikeout ratio was the best on the Whitecaps.

    Walsh was injured for the entire week between the All-Star Game and the All-Star Recognition at Fenway, and he didn't get his timing back in the last week of the season. That's why his stats are misleading.