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Summer Collegiate : : Story
Northwoods prospect reports
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013


Official League Website: 
www.northwoodsleague.com
2013 Summer Collegiate Top Prospect coverage
Northwoods League Top Prospect list (free)


After what was perceived as a down year for talent in 2012, most scouts agreed that the overall talent level, particularly in the form of pitching, was back up in the Northwoods League for the 2013 season. Similar to recent years, most of the league's top prospects are underclassmen, and won't be draft eligible until 2015.

While the pitching was viewed as a league strength, the amount of position players, particularly impact level talent, wasn't as strong as it was a year ago when Virginia's Derek Fisher and Cal State Fullerton's Matt Chapman, who performed at a high level this summer on the Cape and with Team USA respectively, were named the league's top two prospects.

This is also reflected by the players ranked among the league's top prospects. This year, seven of the top 10 prospects are pitchers, as opposed to last year when only three of the top 10 prospects were primary pitchers.

The talent level was evident on the roster of the league champion Madison Mallards, which boasts seven of the top 60 players – and six of the 40 as profiled below – listed among the top prospects. The championship was Madison's second in the league, their first since 2004, defeating the Duluth Huskies in the finals. Mallards' Field Manager Donnie Scott was brought aboard for that sole purpose, as he guided the Battle Creek Bombers to the NWL championship in 2011.

In the first round of the playoffs the Huskies were able to knock out the Waterloo Bucks, who not only won the North Division in both the first and second halves of the season, but also
posted the most wins of any summer collegiate franchise with a 51-21 record. Had the Bucks won the league championship they would have been in the driver's seat for the No. 1 spot of Perfect Game's final ranking of the top 50 summer collegiate teams.

For a league that prides itself on providing an experience most similar to that of minor league baseball, the Northwoods League continued to show their creativity by hosting the inaugural Big League Dreams Showcase event in Madison, Wis. in late July in which the top 80-plus prospects, as voted on by the scouts that cover the league, were assembled in the league's showcase city. Two games were played that afternoon and evening, which followed a scouting combine in which the position players conducted infield and outfield drills prior to taking batting practice. Despite a few notable omissions, almost all of the league's top prospects were in attendance and the event overall drew rave reviews from the scouting community.


FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
1994
States Represented in League: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario (Canada)
No. of Teams in League: 16 (16 in 2012)
Regular-Season Champion / best overall record: NORTH/First Half – Waterloo Bucks (24-10); Second Half – Waterloo Bucks (27-9). SOUTH/First Half – Madison Mallards (21-12). Second Half – Lakeshore Chinooks (23-13)
Post-Season Champion: Madison Mallards
Teams, Perfect Game Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 4 Waterloo Bucks, No. 10 Madison Mallards, No. 21 Lakeshore Chinooks, No. 31 La Crosse Loggers, No. 39 Duluth Huskies
No. 1 Prospect, 2012 (per PG CrossChecker): Derek Fisher, of, Madison Mallards (Virginia)
First 2012 Player Selected, 2013 Draft: Hunter Dozier, ss, Willmar Stingers (Stephen F. Austin; Royals/1st round, 8th overall)

Player of the Year:
Marc Flores, 1b, Willmar Stingers (Hawaii), Keith Curcio, of, Duluth Huskies (Florida Southern)
Pitcher of the Year: Clay Chapman, rhp, Duluth Huskies (Florida Southern)

BATTING LEADERS

Batting Average:
John LaPrise, mif, Madison Mallards (.407)
Slugging Percentage: John Michael Twichell, 1b, Willmar Stingers (.675)
On-Base Average: Chesny Young, ss, Waterloo Bucks (.470)
Home Runs: Michael Katz, 1b, La Crosse Loggers (18)
RBIs: Drew Weeks, of, Madison Mallards (67)
Stolen Bases: Pat MacKenzie, 2b, Waterloo Bucks (35)

PITCHING LEADERS

Wins:
3 tied at 7
ERA: Clay Chapman, rhp, Duluth Huskies (1.99)
Saves: Bret Dahlson, rhp, Willmar Stingers (14)
Strikeouts: Josh Frye, rhp, La Crosse Loggers (79)

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Cam Gibson, of, Battle Creek Bombers
Best Hitter: Mike Papi, 1b/of, Lakeshore Chinooks
Best Power: Marc Flores, 1b, Willmar Stingers
Fastest Base Runner: Cam Gibson, of, Battle Creek Bombers
Best Defensive Player: Jason Goldstein, c, Madison Mallards
Best Velocity: Blake Hickman, rhp, Waterloo Bucks
Best Breaking Ball: J.P. Feyereisen, rhp, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters
Best Command: J.P. Feyereisen, rhp, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters


TOP 40 PROSPECTS

1. COLIN POCHE, lhp, Willmar Stingers (Arkansas, SO in 2014)
The sturdy, long-legged 6-foot-3, 205-pound Poche resembles former Yankees southpaw Andy Pettitte in both stuff and in stature, known more for his fastball movement and command than its sheer velocity. Poche's stuff is still plenty firm, with the ability to sit at 88-91 while touching 92-93 when he's at his best and room for more as he continues to add strength to his still-projectable frame. His fastball bores down and in on right-handed hitters, with the ability to change speeds effectively with a low- to mid-70s curveball and a polished changeup. He throws all three pitches for strikes, and while he usually pitches in and around the zone, his ability to keep opposing hitters off-balance makes him difficult to square up. Poche went 6-2 on the summer with a 2.26 ERA and a 59-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51 2/3 innings of work. That followed a successful freshman campaign at Arkansas where he tossed only 19 2/3 innings largely in part to being on such a successful pitching staff. In eight appearances, five of which were starts, he was 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA. Poches figures to land a prominent weekend starting role next spring, possibly that of the team's Friday staff ace, given his success and the fact that all three members of the Razorbacks' weekend staff, Ryne Stanek, Barrett Astin and Randall Fant, have moved on to the professional ranks. Whatever his role he undoubtedly will see significantly more innings as a sophomore. After being selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles, Poche projects as a mid-to-late first-round pick when he's once again eligible in 2015.


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