The best prospect in the northwest this year is Oregon State catcher Andrew Susac who was putting up monster numbers before a broken hamate sidelined him for what is likely to be the remainder of the 2011 college season. A solid defender with a really good bat, Susac was ripping to the tune of a .364/.496/.614 line in 26 games with the new bats.
Even with the injury, scouts are still turning him in as a mid-first rounder and he is considered a prospect that could move quickly through an organization.
The best player in the northwest region that is still playing for his team right now is Oregon lefty Tyler Anderson. Anderson has started ten games for the Ducks, posting a 6-1 record with a tiny 1.55 ERA. In 75 2/3 innings he has allowed just 45 hits and 21 walks while fanning 84 hitters.
“He looks really good,” said a veteran area scout. “He’s an athletic lefty who’s gotten his body into great shape. He looks so much better this year.”
Anderson has an average fastball that sits at 88-90 mph and can reach 92 at times. He locates his fastball well throughout the zone and he knows how to set up hitters. His curveball has improved over the last year, showing as an average pitch regularly now. The change-up that Anderson features is by far his best pitch, grading out as a true plus pitch with some future 70-grades thrown on it.
“He stomps on that thing and it just sputters up there,” said the area scout. “It gets some really ugly swings.”
Anderson has a chance to join Susac in the first round but should fit in towards the back of the first or the beginning of the supplemental round.
Another lefty that merits watching is Gonzaga southpaw Ryan Carpenter. Previously a guy that scouts drooled over as his lanky frame pumped fastballs as high as 93 mph as a freshman with the ‘Zags, he now works more in the 86-88 range and can get up to 91 when he wants it. That change in style was at least in part by design.
“He’s not trying to dial it up anymore,” said another scout. “He’s just going out there and pitching it like he can. Guys pitch in the big leagues for a long, long time with his kind of stuff.”
Carpenter can command his fastball well and also mixes in an average change-up and a potential plus curveball. That package has most scouts turning in 3rd to 5th round grades on him this spring.
On the high school side of things, Newport (Washington) High School right-hander Cole Wiper has stood out as the best prep talent in the region. His 89-91 mph fastball and projectable frame have some scouts excited about his future.
“If you get a team that thinks he can realize that projection, I could see him in the late supp or second round,” said an NL scout.
Canada always pumps out a couple of nice prospects with someone usually shooting onto the radar late in the spring. This spring that guy could be right-handed starter Thomas Robson. Robson is a really young kid with a live arm and plenty to dream on. His delivery is more leveraged than quick and whippy, but he still works in the 88-91 range consistently with good downhill action and a fringy curveball.
Away from the northwest part of this continent, a unique story is brewing overseas. An American citizen, outfielder Cavan Cohoes has drawn tons of interest from teams looking to add him to their system. Though his family lives in Germany, Major League Baseball has ruled he is eligible for the June draft because of his American passport. Numerous teams have unsuccessfully worked to have him declared a free agent.
Asked recently about Cohoes’ status for the draft, Detroit Tigers Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Pleis noted “As of now he is still eligible for the draft.”
Aside from the unique circumstances surrounding his entry into professional baseball, Cohoes is a legitimate talent. He has turned in outstanding 60-yard dash times, going as low as 6.4 seconds. He uses his speed well in the outfield as he covers ground with ease.
“He is a phenomenal defensive center fielder,” said a European scout. “He reminds me a lot of Peter Bourjos of the Anaheim Angels. He has all the tools and a pretty good idea of how to use them considering he spent all four years of high school overseas.”
Cohoes has committed to play D-I baseball at Ohio State starting this fall, but all indications are that if the right offer came along he is interested in entering pro ball. His bonus demands are believed to be approaching $1 million.