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Summer Collegiate : : Story
Texas League prospect reports
Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Official League Website

League Strength: ***

Texas Collegiate League top 25 prospects (list)

With their fourth championship in the league’s eight-year history, the Coppell Copperheads are proof that the more things change in the Texas Collegiate League, the more they stay the same.

The Copperheads are the lone franchise remaining from the TCL’s inaugural season of 2004, when it fielded eight clubs closely situated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They won the league title that year as a second-place team and duplicated the feat this season, beating the Brazos Valley Bombers 2-0 in a best-of-3 final.

Coppell (36-26) finished a distant second to the East Texas Pump Jacks (41-21) during the regular season, but took advantage of that team’s demise in the semi-finals and breezed to their latest title. The Copperheads also won TCL championships in 2007 and 2009.

The Texas Collegiate League has undergone a significant makeover through the years, notably after the 2007 season when serious financial issues nearly derailed the league. It was reduced from nine to four teams in 2008, and gradually built back up to seven in 2010 but dropped back to six this summer, though added a second team in Louisiana.

Through all the reshuffling, the one constant has been Coppell. And even the Copperheads had to rebound this season from a lowly 11-30, last-place team in 2008 to win their latest title. In outfielder Tyler Collins, they also produced the top prospect in the league, though Collins, a sixth-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in this year’s draft, had already signed with the Tigers by the time the Copperheads made their successful run through post-season play.

While the TCL has seen its share of instability through the years, it has had little problem producing a steady flow of talent, thanks in large measure to its close proximity to the strong college and junior-college programs in Texas and neighboring states. All but four of the 25 players on the accompanying list of the league’s top prospects have connections to Texas or Louisiana colleges or high schools.

Coppell had the luxury of having the league’s top prospect in Collins, but several other players took major strides throughout the summer—both those with established credentials and others who had little track record of success. In all, nine of the league’s top 25 prospects were selected in the draft in June.

Electric Alabama outfielder Taylor Dugas, an eighth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs, put his impressive bat, speed and defense on display and guided the Acadiana Cane Cutters to a respectable campaign in their first season in the league. In the end, Dugas elected bot to sign with the Cubs and headed back to Alabama for his senior year. Texas A&M position player-turned-pitcher Adam Smith showcased a mid-90s fastball for the Brazos Valley Bombers and signed with the New York Yankees just before the signing deadline.

Among some of the more unheralded prospects in the league were two previously-undrafted East Texas players, righthander Jason Jester and third baseman Hunter Dozier. Jester, a transfer to Texas A&M, recorded the best velocity in the league with a fastball that touched 97, while Dozier solidified his worth after a solid freshman campaign at Stephen F. Austin. He was overshadowed on the Lumberjacks roster in the spring by talented outfielder Bryson Myles, but is ready to become the headliner at that school after a strong summer.

FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
2004.
States Represented in League: Texas, Louisiana.
No. of Teams in League: 6 (7 in 2010).
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): East Texas Pump Jacks.
Post-Season Champion: Coppell Copperheads.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 18 Coppell Copperheads, No. 22 East Texas Pumpjacks.
No. 1 Prospect, 2010 (per PG CrossChecker): Miguel Pena, lhp, East Texas Pump Jacks (San Jacinto CC; Red Sox/6th round).
First 2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft: Bryson Myles, of, McKinney Marshalls (Stephen F. Austin; Indians/6th round).

Most Valuable Player:
Taylor Dugas, of, Acadiana Cane Cutters.
Pitcher of the Year: Damien Rivera, lhp, Brazos Valley Bombers.

BATTING LEADERS

Batting Average:
Trey Porras, 1b, Brazos Valley Bombers (.344).
Slugging Percentage: Seth Granger, of, East Texas Pump Jacks (.449).
On-Base Average: Taylor Dugas, of, Acadiana Cane Cutters (.467).
Home Runs: Tyler Collins, of, Coppell Copperheads (7).
RBIs: Brennyn Smith, inf, Brazos Valley Bombers (41).
Stolen Bases: Kirby Pellant, ss, East Texas Pump Jacks (33).

PITCHING LEADERS

Wins:
Jaden Dillon, rhp, East Texas Pump Jacks; Damien Rivera, lhp, Brazos Valley Bombers (7).
ERA: Alec Mills, rhp, Brazos Valley Bombers (1.98).
Saves: Garrett Shepperd, rhp, Brazos Valley Bombers (13).
Strikeouts: Andrew Adams, lhp, Acadiana Cane Cutters (65).

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Taylor Dugas, of, Acadiana Cane Cutters.
Best Hitter: Tyler Collins, of, Coppell Copperheads.
Best Power: Tyler Collins, of, Coppell Copperheads.
Fastest Base Runner: Taylor Dugas, of, Acadiana Cane Cutters.
Best Defensive Player: Hunter Dozier, 3b, East Texas Pump Jacks.
Best Velocity: Jason Jester, rhp, East Texas Pump Jacks.
Best Breaking Ball: Rafael Pineda, rhp, Coppell Copperheads.
Best Command: Matt Munson, rhp, East Texas Pump Jacks.

TOP 25 PROSPECTS

1. TYLER COLLINS, of, Coppell Copperheads (SIGNED/Tigers)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Collins was drafted in the sixth round by the Detroit Tigers in June for a reason. He put together a huge sophomore season at Howard (Texas) JC, hitting .488-19-82 with 34 doubles and a .949 slugging average, and earned national junior college player-of-the-year honors. He continued to swing a hot bat (.310-7-22) for the Copperheads before finally signing, and never stopped at two levels in the Tigers system, hitting .324. Collins attended Baylor as a freshman before transferring to Howard, and was slated to move on to Texas Christian as a junior. He handled college pitching with ease, both in the spring and summer, and has big-time power in his compact 6-foot, 210-pound frame with impressive bat speed and pop to all sides of the field. He earned a reputation throughout the summer as the league’s most-feared hitter, and often showed the ability to instantly turn on the switch during crucial at-bats. Collins’ approach will need some tinkering to make a splash at the next level, but there’s little doubt the tools are there to be a special hitter. Despite his stocky build, he has decent speed on the base paths and stole 16 bases at Howard. Though limited to left field because of his arm, he has solid instincts for outfield play.


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