Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Wild Things among top 20 indy prospects

Two Wild Things players have been ranked among the top 10 prospects -- and five are in the top 20 -- in independent baseball by Baseball America.

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.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Disa Pointed said...

I can't believe it!
Buttons did not make the list!!!

I am so Disa Pointed

October 16, 2012 at 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, what do you think about the rankings?

October 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Chris Dugan said...

If you're talking only prospects (players who have never been in affiliated ball), then I'm not surprised Nunziato and Yevoli are included. Obviously, I don't see games in the Can-Am, American Association and whatever the North American League was called this year, but ... Nunziato was probably ranked a little too high based on his batting average. Yevoli was rated about right because hard-throwing lefties are hard to find. If you're ranking a top 20, Heck probably should be in there in the 11-20 range. I was surprised by the inclusion of Devereaux. He doesn't seem have the power necessary for a first baseman and he's still a work in progress as a catcher. Also surprised by Smith because his fastball doesn't make the radar gun numbers that scouts like from right-handers, though the kid knows how to pitch. It's interesting that the Frontier League's Rookie of the Year wasn't included in the rankings.

October 17, 2012 at 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see where N. Franklin Twp. has enacted a 10% amusement tax.
I wonder if there will be a 10% price increase on Wild Cub tickets?
If so, I predict a 20% decrease in attendence in 2013 over a dismal 2012 attendence.

October 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, how will the North Franklin amusement tax affect the Wild Things? Sounds like something the fans will absorb as a result of the organization not doing something they always have done (38K donation)?

October 18, 2012 at 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumor has it the Lenny Randle and Jim Tatum were dismissed. Bando stays (if he wants to).

October 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were exactly did you get this awesome info?

October 24, 2012 at 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay this is how the Wild Things should be run in 2013

MANAGER:Jon Cahill
PITCHING COACH:Aaron Lebetter
HITTING COACH:Chris Sidick
GENERAL MANAGER:Ross Vecchio
THERE YOU HAVE IT

October 24, 2012 at 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this is true it will be a good start. Bando staying? NOT good.
Ban the Bandos!
Only a few days left to sign up for the three year plan. Why are so few taking taking advantage of this opportunity? Any guesses?

October 25, 2012 at 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should be so lucky as to be rid of those two.

October 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep its offical Tatum and Randle names are off the website

October 25, 2012 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that the Wild Cubs always make a big loud deal about somebody like Lenny when they sign them but try to sneak it by when they let them go?
Anyway the biggest problem is still Bando. He isn't exactly a 'take charge' sort of a manager.
Ban the Bando's - ALL of them.

October 26, 2012 at 6:29 AM  

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