Third base was probably the best position on the Cape this summer, with really seven or eight players who will likely be drafted very high in either 2010 or 2011. Of the five players on this list, three of them could go in the first round next year and shouldn't go lower than the first day, and the other two are definitely names to watch for in the first few rounds in 2011.
5. Jason Esposito, Falmouth/Vanderbilt. Bats R/Throws R. 6'3" 190. Bethany, Conn.
2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .198 BA/0 HR/8 RBI/.449 OPS
Esposito is a guy who came into the league with a lot of hype and just struggled terribly the entire summer. He never looked comfortable at the plate. Early in the season it looked like he was struggling to get used to handling the wood bat, and later in the summer it looked like he was pressing. He was coming off a solid freshman season at Vanderbilt where he hit .287 with 4 home runs, 42 RBI and 20 stolen bases. Esposito is an athletic looking kid with a mature body who just looks like he belongs on a Major League field. at the plate, Esposito has a slightly long swing and he struggled at times with pitch recognition so he was often late on the ball. But he swings hard and when he is able to see the ball well he can drive it. Defensively, he tends to sit back on ground balls and let them play him, but otherwise he moves well, has smooth hands and has good range. He has a very strong arm and decent speed on the bases. Esposito has the ability to be a very good all-around player, and he still has almost two full years until he is next eligible for the draft, but he just turned 19 during the summer and still looks very raw.
4. Tyler Hanover, Y-D/LSU. Bats R/Throws R. 5'6" 163. Kernersville, N.C.
2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .300 BA/2 HR/16 RBI/.767 OPS
Hanover is in many ways the opposite of Esposito. He is very undersized, which could lead to him being overlooked by many teams, but he performed very well on the Cape from the day he arrived after the College World Series. Hanover made an impact for the National Champions as a freshman this spring, hitting .321 with five home runs and 47 RBIs. Despite his strikingly small size, Hanover gets really good torque in his swing and actually has some pop in his bat. He is compact and very quick to the ball and turns well on inside fastballs, but also stays back well and uses the whole field. Hanover is also very solid defensively but with his size he will almost certainly only be able to play second base professionally. He is definitely a player to watch for in 2011.
3. Rob Segedin, Bourne/Tulane. Bats R/Throws R. 6'3" 220. Old Tappan, N.J.
2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .304 BA/0 HR/16 RBI/.802 OPS
Segedin was a very impressive all-around player who had perhaps the best right-handed swing in the Cape League. He made a major impact for Bourne after arriving a couple weeks into the season, and is a big reason why they are playing for the league championship today. Segedin missed most of his college season with an injury, and had just 14 at-bats in five games for the Green Wave. Segedin looks good at the plate, and he is the only player I can remember who made scouts whistle in delight about his swing on multiple occasions. He swings hard but is in control and limits his swings and misses. He has a quick bat, uses the whole field and can really drive the ball to the opposite field, to the point where he was arguably the best opposite field hitter in the league. He is a doubles hitter but not a power hitter. Segedin is solid but not outstanding defensively. He also played some outfield on the Cape and may be better suited to play out there professionally. Segedin will be selected in the first few rounds next June.
2. Jedd Gyorko, Brewster/West Virginia. Bats R/Throws R. 5'10" 195. Morgantown, W. Va.
2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .323 BA/5 HR/18 RBI/.878 OPS
Gyorko was one of the best hitters on the Cape this summer once he arrived after surprisingly being cut by Team USA. He doesn't really have a place to play to defensively, but he was definitely one of the five most feared hitters in the league all season. Gyorko somehow played shortstop for West Virginia this spring, and hit .421 with 8 home runs and 58 RBIs. Gyorko hits with an open stance and doesn't come all the way closed and sometimes steps even further in the bucket, but he still makes consistent contact and drives the ball with authority. He can absolutely punish balls on the inner part of the plate. Gyorko has a smooth stroke and is quick to the ball. He swings hard and has a pretty strong lower body so he gets good pop despite his lack of height. He can hit breaking pitches and he is somehow able to drive the ball to right field even though he doesn't step into the ball when he hits. Gyorko looks very shaky defensively and that will be his biggest problem in professional ball. He doesn't move well and has very limited range in the infield. Brewster used him at both second base and third base but he didn't look natural at either position. If a team wants his bat and thinks they can worry about finding a place for him to play later on, he will go very high in next year's draft.
1. Zack Cox, Cotuit/Arkansas. Bats L/Throws R. 6'0" 215. Louisville, Ky.
2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .344/0 HR/11 RBI/.795 OPS
Some scouts aren't as high on him as I am, but I think Zack Cox was arguably the best all-around player on the Cape this summer. He is extremely aggressive at the plate and just really fun to watch hit. Cox hit .266 with 13 home runs and 39 RBIs for an Arkansas team that went to the College World Series during his freshman year. Cox didn't show that home run power with the wood bats during the summer, but he did just about everything else. Cox has really good balance at the plate, and he is quick to the ball with his strong hands. He uses the whole field and can really drive the ball to left. Cox rarely works the count, and seems to swing at either the first or second pitch in nearly all of his at-bats. In a league in which many guys let themselves fall behind in the count, Cox made the pitcher work hard on every pitch. He had tremendous plate coverage and was able to drive balls that weren't necessarily in good locations to hit. Defensively, Cox has smooth hands and moves well in the infield. He isn't afraid to throw his body around to make plays. He has a strong arm and average speed. Cox will be draft-eligble after his sophomore season next spring, and will very likely be a first-round pick.
Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen
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