5 Wild Things among top 20 indy prospects
Switch-hitting shortstop A.J. Nunziato (pictured) is ranked the No. 4 prospect, and left-handed relief pitcher Alfonso Yevoli is ranked No. 5.
Outfielder Andrew Heck is ranked the No. 12 prospect catcher-first baseman Rick Devereaux is No. 16 and right-handed pitcher Chris Smith is No. 17.
The Frontier League produced four of the top 10 with Lake Erie relief pitcher Jonathan Kountis the highest-rated player at the No. 3 spot.
A rookie out of NCAA Division II Lander University, Nunziato batted only .238, but he hit six home runs and had 32 RBI. Nunziato proved to be a reliable fielder as committed only three errors in 51 games after joining the Wild Things in early July.
Here is what baseball America said about Nunziato:
It's much tougher to get signed out of independent ball as a position player than as a pitcher, in part because scouts are generally skeptical about the athleticism and defensive ability of independent league players. But Nunziato is a shortstop who should be able to stick in the middle infield if he makes the jump to affiliated ball.
A four-year starter at Division II Lander (S.C.), Nunziato is a switch-hitter who shows pop from both sides. He showed solid-average range while showcasing an average arm that is extremely accurate, and he had a .985 fielding percentage in the Frontier League.
Nunziato hit .391 as a college sophomore despite a back injury that forced him to take a redshirt year in 2009 as he recovered from surgery to fix a herniated disc. He has shown no ill effects as a pro. He is an average runner who needs to improve his pitch.
Yevoli, a hard-throwing lefty, had a 1-2 record and 2.62 ERA in 28 games. He struck out 34 in 34 1/3 innings. Yevoli, a rookie out of NAIA Tennessee Wesleyan, got steadily better as the season progressed. He allowed a run in only one of his last 17 appearances. During that late-season stretch, Yevoli struck out 24 batters and walked only two.
Here is what Baseball Amerrica said about Yevoli:
Yevoli pitched for three years at High Point, then transferred as a senior to Tennessee Wesleyan, helping the Bulldogs win the NAIA title this year. The move didn't improve his draft stock, however, so after his name didn't get called he signed on with the Wild Things.
Yevoli has quality stuff, sitting at 92-94 mph consistently and piling up a strikeout an inning with Washington. He generates good angle and his fastball has late life, although that sometimes affects his command. His slider is a hard breaking pitch, but he also struggles to throw it for strikes at times.