02/07/2017 3:36 AM
The Amsterdam Mohawks will host four players this summer from national power Mississippi State, including three highly touted freshmen. In his pre-season press conference, Bulldogs Head Coach Andy Cannizaro answered a question about his top freshmen and discussed the three future Mohawks as a group.
Cannizaro on freshmen Riley Self, Graham Ashcraft and Dustin Skelton…
"Both (Graham Ashcraft and Dustin Skelton) have been outstanding. Riley Self has been outstanding. Those three freshmen have a chance to be three of the better freshmen in the league this year. Two of them are certainly big, strong-armed right-handed pitchers. Graham Ashcraft is going to run his fastball to 98 or 99 miles an hour. Every time I have seen him pitch he has thrown it anywhere from 94 to 98 every time out. His secondary stuff is getting better each and every time. He is just a young 18-19-year old freshman right now who has to learn how to pitch and have success in this league. Riley Self is built out of the same mold right now. He is a big, strong kid from north Mississippi. His fastball is going to be up to 94-95 miles an hour with incredible movement. You are talking about a fastball, cutter, slider guy that attacks the zone. He has a great tempo and works fast. He is a guy that our defense loves to play behind. I love when I get the chance to watch him pitch. He just attacks guys and the innings go quick. He really gets out on the mound with confidence and I have been very impressed with him. Dustin Skelton has done a great job with us in terms of being versatile. He can catch and play third. His at-bats have been outstanding since he has shown up here on campus. He has barreled up a lot of balls over the course of this weekend. He is a guys that has a chance to have a lot of impact on our team here in year one. Those are three freshman young guys that are going to be asked to do a lot for this program in year one. They are certainly capable of it with their ability, but they are also three kids with tremendous makeup and work ethic that are going to have a chance to be really good leaders in our program moving forward as well."
On freshman C/3B Dustin Skelton…
"I think (Skelton) is one of the guys who has really benefited from the approach and attitude of 'there are no guaranteed starting jobs right now.' Everything on the field is up for grabs every single day. A guy like Dustin Skelton can catch, play third and give quality at-bats. He is a guy that is fighting every single day for the opportunity to grab his glove and run out onto the field on opening night. I feel really good about Dustin Skelton. I think he is going to be an incredible player at Mississippi State and I am really glad he is on our team. He has a chance to be a star in the SEC the next couple of years."
The trio will join teammate sophomore outfielder Brant Blaylock in Amsterdam this summer. Blaylock is also rated as one of the top draft prospects in the 2018 Major League Draft.