Amsterdam's Rocky McCord (Auburn) was selected as the PGCBL's Top 2012 Prospect by Perfect Game. (Photo courtesy The Leader-Herald)
Article originally published here by Perfect Game USA
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No summer league in the country showed as dramatic improvement in talent from one year to the next as the Perfect Game Collegiate League in 2012.
Seven teams spun off from the New York Collegiate League two years ago to form the new PGCBL, but not soon enough to effect much change in the level of talent during the 2011 season. But with a full year to pursue and secure a ramped-up talent base, plus the addition of another choice NYCBL franchise in the Oneonta Outlaws, the PGCBL witnessed a significant talent surge this summer.
Even with a significant uptick in pro-level prospects throughout the league, the Amsterdam Mohawks (the nation’s No. 3-ranked summer-league team) stood out from the pack, handily winning the regular-season and playoff titles while in the process of posting a franchise record 39 wins. It marked the third championship in four years for the Mohawks, who also won in 2009-10 in their final two years in the NYCBL.
Amsterdam’s true dominance is reflected in the expanded list of the PGCBL’s top 40 prospects. The Mohawks are represented by 15 players altogether, including rising sophomore righthanders Rocky McCord (Auburn) and Chandler Shepherd (Kentucky), two Southeastern Conference products who are ranked 1-2. They went 13-0 between them on the summer.
With normal maturity, McCord and Shepherd should factor into the top 2-3 rounds of the 2014 draft—in contrast to Watertown outfielder Erick Gaylord and Glens Falls third baseman Josh Anderson, the top two PGCBL prospects a year ago who were non-factors in the 2012 draft. Scouts got their best shot at seeing the two Amsterdam arms at the league all-star, when McCord’s fastball topped at 95 mph, Shepherd’s at 94.
Year League Established: 2011.
States Represented in League: New York.
No. of Teams in League: 9 (8 in 2011).
Regular-Season Champion / best overall record: Amsterdam Mohawks (35-12).
Post-Season Champion: Amsterdam Mohawks.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 3 Amsterdam Mohawks, No. 45 Glens Falls Golden Eagles.
No. 1 Prospect, 2011 (per PG CrossChecker): Erick Gaylord, of, Watertown Wizards (Campbell; undrafted in 2012).
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: Dylan Baker, rhp, Glens Falls Golden Eagles (JC of Western Nevada; Indians/5th round).
Player of the Year: Ross Kivett, 2b/of, Glens Falls Golden Eagles.
Pitcher of the Year: Chandler Shepherd, rhp, Amsterdam Mohawks.
BATTING LEADERS (League games only)
Batting Average: Ross Kivett, 2b/of, Glens Falls Golden Eagles (.401).
Slugging Percentage: Ed Charlton, of, Amsterdam Mohawks (.590).
On-Base Average: Ross Kivett, 2b/of, Glens Falls Golden Eagles (.497).
Home Runs: Chris Cruz, of, Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs; Jack Morrow, 1b, Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs (8).
RBIs: Brett Langston, 1b, Newark Pilots (42).
Stolen Bases: Ross Kivett, 2b/of, Glens Falls Golden Eagles (37).
PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)
Wins: Chandler Shepherd, rhp, Amsterdam Mohawks; Sheldon Lee, lhp, Oneonta Outlaws (7).
ERA: Chandler Shepherd, rhp, Amsterdam Mohawks; Rene Solis, lhp, Watertown Wizards (1.31).
Saves: Chase Williamson, rhp, Amsterdam Mohawks; Trevor LaCosse, lhp, Albany Dutchmen (8).
Strikeouts: David Stagg, lhp, Albany Dutchmen (61).
Best Athlete: Morgan Phillips, 3b/of, Albany Dutchmen
Best Hitter: Zach Remillard, 3b, Albany Dutchmen
Best Power: Chris Cruz, of, Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs
Fastest Base Runner: DeMarcus Henderson, 2b, Amsterdam Mohawks
Best Defensive Player: Brandon Cipolla, of, Watertown Wizards
Best Velocity: Jimmy Yacabonis, rhp, Elmira Pioneers
Best Breaking Ball: Chandler Shepherd, rhp, Amsterdam Mohawks
Best Command: Chandler Shepherd, rhp, Amsterdam Mohawks
TOP 30 PROSPECTS
1. ROCKY McCORD, rhp, Amsterdam Mohawks (Auburn/SO in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: McCord and fellow Amsterdam righthander Chandler Shepherd were the class of the Perfect Game Collegiate League this summer. With one game on the line, the more-polished Shepherd might be the better bet to extract a victory, but the general feeling among scouts and those who saw them pitch over an extended stretch is that McCord has the better raw stuff and higher upside of the two. He flashed two dominant pitches at the league all-star game—a fastball that peaked at 95 mph, a slider that topped at 86—and routinely reached those upper limits in eight starts during the course of the 2012 season while going 4-0, 1.71. In 47 innings, he struck out 50 while allowing 29 hits and 16 walks. Overall, it was an impressive showing and even a confidence-builder for McCord, who was expected to play a key role for Auburn as a freshman after being drafted in 2011 (Twins, 39th round) on the heels of a decorated career at an Alabama high school—to say nothing of a fastball that was clocked between 93-96 mph last fall. But the 6-foot-1, 165-pound righthander failed to earn a single decision last spring for the Tigers while working in only 18, largely-meaningless innings as the velocity on his four-seam fastball ranged from 92-94 mph in some outings, to 87-89 in others. The same fluctuation was evident during the summer, though it was more consistently in the upper range. To sustain more consistent high-end velocity deeper into games, and also from start to start going forward, McCord will have to add strength and stamina by filling out his lanky, wiry frame. Some tweaking of his mechanics may be in order, as well, to achieve that goal as he has a very quick, but somewhat quirky, slinger-like arm action that he struggles to repeat consistently. Though he often battles inconsistent command with his unconventional mechanics, the deception he generates in his delivery makes him very difficult to hit, especially with the sinking action he gets from his two-seam fastball and depth on his slider. He continues to refine a changeup with darting action. Based on his showing this summer and projected upside, it would surprise few if McCord emerges as Auburn’s Friday-night starter in 2013 and an elite-level draft in 2014.
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