2016 Summer Collegiate Top Prospect Index
Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Top Prospect List (25)
While the Amsterdam Mohawks weren’t the clear, dominant team during the 2016 summer regular season – at least according to the standings – they did re-assert themselves as the league champion, their fourth championship in the six-year history of the PGCBL. They swept the Utica Blue Sox in a best-of-three series after failing to advance to the championship series in 2015, the only time in the history of the league they failed to do so despite setting a PGCBL record during the regular season with 40 wins.
Three new teams – the Geneva Redwings, Jamestown Jammers and Oneonta Outlaws – were welcomed to the league during the 2016 season, and one more, the Onondaga Flames, has already been announced for 2017. As the new teams were added the playoffs were also expanded to include eight teams, a format that began with a one-game do-or-die contest pitting each league’s Nos. 1 and 4 and 2 and 3 seeds against one another.
Player of the Year Joe Genord (South Florida) of the champion Mohawks set a league record with 45 RBI. Co-Pitcher of the Year Joe DeSarro of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs (Herkimer College) tied a league record with seven wins.
Year Established: 2011
States Represented: New York
No. of Teams: 13 (10 in 2015)
Regular Season Champion (best overall record): Amsterdam Mohawks, 34-15
Post Season Champion: Amsterdam Mohawks
No. 1 Prospect, 2015: Kyle Smith, rhp, NC State
First 2015 Player Selected, 2016 Draft: Caleb Baragar, lhp, Mohawk Valley (Indiana; Giants/9th round)
Player of the Year: Joe Genord, c, Amsterdam (South Florida)
Pitchers of the Year: Joe DeSarro, rhp, Mohawk Valley (Herkimer College); Brennen Smith, lhp, Victor (Canisius)
Batting Average: Chris Givin, 2b, Amsterdam (Xavier) (.383)
Slugging Percentage: Joe Genord, c, Amsterdam (South Florida) (.526)
On-Base Average: Alex Thrower, of, Saugerties (Buffalo) (.535)
Home Runs: Joe Genord, c, Amsterdam (South Florida) (7)
RBI: Joe Genord, c, Amsterdam (South Florida) (45)
Stolen Bases: Joe Spitaleri, ss, Utica (LIU Post); Alex Thrower, of, Saugerties (Buffalo); J.J. Shimko, of, Albany (USC Upstate) (28)
Wins: Joe DeSarro, rhp, Mohawk Valley (Herkimer College) (7)
ERA: Cameron Enck, rhp, Amsterdam (Maryland) (0.39)
Saves: Zachary Vennaro, rhp, Mohawk Valley (High Point); Brian Dolan, rhp, Newark (UMass-Lowell) (9)
Strikeouts: Brennen Smith, lhp, Victor (Canisius); Bryan Warzek, lhp, Glens Falls (New Orleans) (52)
Best Athlete: J.J. Shimko, of, Albany (USC Upstate)
Best Hitter: Chris Givin, 2b, Amsterdam (Xavier)
Best Power: Joe Genord, c, Amsterdam (South Florida)
Fastest Base Runner: Marcus Still, of, Amsterdam (New Mexico State)
Best Defensive Player: TylerFrank, ss, Amsterdam (Florida Atlantic)
Best Velocity: Tim Naughton, rhp, Amsterdam (NC State)
Best Breaking Ball: Sean Hjelle, rhp, Elmira (Kentucky)
Best Command: Chris Haney, rhp, Amsterdam (Florida State)
TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Jeff Belge, lhp, Amsterdam (St. John’s/FR in 2017)
Belge arrived later in the summer to make six appearances, three of which were starts, and one of which was a combined no-hitter with teammate Tim Naughton –the league’s No. 2 prospect – the third no-hitter in the history of the league. Those that saw Belge were quick to point out how much he immediately stood out with a strong and sturdy 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame that prompted one onlooker to say “(that’s) exactly the way you want it to look.” His fastball sat in the 88-91 mph range, peaking as high as 93 and dipping down to as low as 86. His breaking ball and changeup also showed promise, but like his fastball, were inconsistent. All are issues that can be ironed out with time and experience as Belge, who participated in the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic, enjoyed a successful tune-up (2.20 ERA in 16.1 innings, 17 strikeouts, six hits and nine walks allowed) before heading to St. John’s for his freshman season.
2. Tim Naughton, rhp, Amsterdam (NC State/R-SO in 2017)
The other member of the combined no-hitter along with Belge, Naughton had arguably the best pure arm in the league, regularly touching 94-95 in games and being clocked as high as 97 on numerous occasions. He also threw a potentially dominant slider in the mid-80s, although pitched sparingly (28.2 innings in 18 appearances) due to command issues (18 walks). He did strike out 43 batters in that time, with a 1.88 ERA, a testament to his dominance when he stayed on top of his pitches and pounded the strike zone. Should things come together in the spring at NC State Naughton has the potential to be drafted in the top three rounds.
3. Dan Dallas, lhp, Jamestown (SIGNED/Padres)
Dallas made only two one-inning appearances before signing with the Padres as their seventh-round pick from this past year’s draft, but he made a very strong impression on those that had the chance to see him throw. A projectable 6-foot-2, 204-pound lefthander who was ranked 260th in the nation in Perfect Game’s class of 2016 high school rankings, Dallas showed easy 92 mph heat, creating uncomfortable at-bats. The Padres quickly signed him after his two perfect innings and he carried that success over to the team’s rookie Arizona League affiliate, striking out 16 in 11 2/3 innings with a 3.09 ERA.
4. Joe Genord, c, Amsterdam (South Florida/SO in 2017)
Genord provided the power in the middle of the Mohawks’ batting order on their way to claiming the league title for the fourth time in the six-year history of the PGCBL. He set a league record for RBI (45) along the way, and was named the Player of the Year .296/.416/.526. His performance came off of a successful freshman season at South Florida, where he played mostly first base as a freshman but impressed behind the plate over the summer with a strong arm. While he does need to work on his overall catching skills, which should come with more experience, he has enough power to stick at first base as well, showing the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field gap and to deep center while also displaying good pitch-recognition skills.
5. Solomon Bates, rhp, Newark (Southern California/SO in 2017)
A projectable and strong 6-foot-2, 210-pound righthanded pitcher, Bates didn’t play during his freshman season at USC but made up for lost time with an impressive showing in the PGCBL. With a smooth, athletic delivery, Bates worked in the 89-92 mph range with a sharp mid- to upper-70s curveball and a changeup. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Elmira, and although he finished with a 1-4 record overall, he allowed just 23 hits and struck out 23 in 27 innings. A talented two-way prospect coming out of high school, Bates should have a much bigger role for the Trojans in 2017.
6. Sean Hjelle, rhp, Elmira (Kentucky/SO in 2017)
A towering 6-foot-11 righthander, Hjelle used his size extremely well to throw on a downhill plane which made his 91-93 mph fastball play up. With a lanky 200-pound frame, “Jelly,” as he’s referred to by his teammates, could see a significant uptick in velocity as he continues to fill out. He commanded the strike zone extremely well during his eight starts, posting a 42-to-12 stirkeout-to-walk ratio in 44 innings, allowing just 31 hits with a 3.06 ERA. Hjelle could move into a starting role for the Wildcats as a sophomore after enjoying success as the team’s closer (8 saves) while serving as a team leader.
7. Tyler Ratliff, 3b/rhp, Amsterdam (Marshall/JR in 2017)
Prior to leaving the PGCBL to play in the Valley League, where he was named the league’s fourth-best prospect, Ratliff presented an interesting debate among scouts. A true two-way talent, Ratliff has an exciting power/power profile with juice in his righthanded swing and an arm that produces easy 93-95 mph heat off the mound. He enjoyed a big sophomore season for Marshall, powering the middle of the Thundering Herd lineup with 12 home runs while making just six short relief appearances. With more experience it is believed he could touch the upper-90s as a pitcher, although likely will continue to play a key role on an everyday basis at third base, where his arm strength is a big asset.
8. Quin Cotton, of, Oneonta (Grand Canyon/FR in 2017)
Yet another player who came to the league after graduating from high school, Cotton routinely put his impressive tools on the display and was among the league leaders in several offensive categories for Oneonta after hitting .314/.387/.446. A good, compactly-built athlete at 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, Cotton displayed good overall skills in addition to his tool-set prior to getting hurt in mid-July, with good baserunners instincts, good speed on both the basepaths and in the outfield and a short yet powerful stroke as a righthanded hitter. The Rockies drafted him in the 38th round of this year’s draft but he will take his talents to Grand Canyon where he could make an immediate impact as a freshman.
9. Brett Kinneman, of, Amsterdam (NC State/SO in 2017)
A good athlete who was coming off of a successful freshman season at NC State, Kinneman has solid tools across the board. His speed, arm strength and versatility allows him to play each of the three outfield positions, although he projects best in either left or right field. Kinneman has intriguing power potential as well from the left side, hitting two home runs in just 13 games after hitting six during the spring. Although his summer was cut short due to a shoulder injury he displayed advance instincts on the field in all facets of the game and could be poised for a huge sophomore season.
10. J.J. Shimko, of, Albany (USC Upstate/JR in 2017)
Shimko had one of the more exciting overall athletic profiles of any player in the PGCBL. Although he’s not a burner he likes to run and has good instincts, both on the basepaths and in the outfield. He tied for the league lead in stolen bases (28) and shows very good first-step quickness. He also used that speed to get on base, and while he didn’t hit a home run during the summer, he displayed intriguing power to the gaps as a lefthanded hitter with the ability to stretch extra bases. Shimko is also considered a plus defender in center field with a fearless and aggressive overall approach.