The two time defending New York Collegiate League Champion Amsterdam Mohawks have announced the signing of their outfielders for the 2011 season. The Mohawks, members of the newly formed Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, will be looking for a third championship in a row, as they captured the New York Collegiate League crown the past two seasons.
The Mohawks have signed three outfielders for the 2011 season, and plan to utilize two others that play different positions in an occasional outfield role as well. While the Mohawks typically mix veteran players with freshman, this outfield group will be made up of all freshman. Mohawks General Manager Brian Spagnola commented on the young group. "While we typically like to get some veterans in here along with freshman, these young kids were players that we just couldn't turn away. Every one is a kid that can compete in any summer league in America and all have the potential to be solid draft picks down the road."
Justin Glass, a right fielder at Cincinnati, center fielder Taylor Stark from Mississippi State, and Jude Vedrine, a right fielder at Lamar will be the primary three outfielders for the Mohawks this coming summer. Meanwhile Alabama freshman Austen Smith, who also plays first and third base, and Josh Nethaway, who also catches for UAlbany will see occasional outfield time as well.
Glass, a 6'2 195 pound native of Fort Wayne, IN is Cincinnati's number three hitter in their lineup as a true freshman this spring. He was slated to play right field but is experiencing shoulder problems and is thus serving as the team's Designated Hitter in the early season. He was named to the All-Tournament team in the Big East/Big Ten Classic last weekend after hitting over .500 for the tournament. Glass, a left handed hitter, is a great athlete with a strong throwing arm and has been timed running the 60 yard dash in 6.6 seconds. Out of high school he was listed in many publications as a mid round draft pick.
Stark, a native of Flowood, MS, may end up being the best athlete in the league. Both an outfielder and a pitcher at Missisippi State, Taylor was a 42nd round draft pick out of high school by the Washington Nationals last year. He turned down a substantial offer to sign and chose to attend Mississippi State instead. He possesses a strong throwing arm and has power but his greatest asset is his speed, where this fall was timed running a remarkable 6.4 seconds in the 60 yard dash. He is expected to see considerable time both in the outfield and on the mound for the Bulldogs this spring.
Vedrine, a Nederland, TX native is another top flight athlete signed by the Mohawks. A infielder/outfielder, Jude is the starting right fielder as a freshman and hits fifth in the lineup for powerful Lamar. A left handed hitter, he is another player that runs a 6.6 in the 60 yard dash.
The 6'4, 230 pound Smith, who has found his way into Alabama's lineup often in the early part of the season both as a first baseman and right fielder, leads the Crimson Tide in homeruns thus far in 2011. The true freshman comes to the Mohawks as a first baseman but will see time in right field as well as third base. He has been hitting fifth in the lineup for Alabama and appears to be a solid middle of the order SEC type hitter. He is a native of Cantonment, FL.
Nethaway, a Fonda, NY native, was Albanyï¿½s starting catcher a year ago as a true freshman, but tore his ulnar collateral nerve in his elbow during the first weekend of the season and was lost for the season. The 6ï¿½3 220 pound slugger will be Albanyï¿½s cleanup hitter this spring and will also see time at first base and in right field for the Great Danes. He will both catch and play right field for the Mohawks.
This talented outfield comes on the heels of some very good outfields comprised by the Mohawks over the past two seasons. The 2009 outfield saw draft picks Mel Rojas Jr (Wabash CC-3rd round), Tillman Pugh (Arizona State-15th round), Justin Fredejas (Auburn-35th round), along with Canisius' Ian Choy and Kentucky's Cory Farris (draft eligible this year). 2010's outfielders included Rojas again, as well as both Taylor Lewis (Maine) and Cody Kulp (Shippensburg), both of whom are expected to be upper end draft picks this June.
The Mohawks open their season on Thursday June 9 against the Albany Dutchmen. They will have an opening weekend fireworks extravaganza after their second home game on Saturday June 11.