With August very much here, the nation’s collegiate summer leagues — many of which have probably hosted at least one future major leaguer — are coming to an end.
Below are the players to have performed most ably in this year’s edition of the Northwoods League. Offensive production (represented as the totally made-up SCOUT+, where 100 is league average and above 100 is above average) is essentially a version of wRC+, except using the three main defense-independent inputs (home-run, walk, and strikeout rate), all regressed duly*. Pitching performance (represented by the also entirely made-up SCOUT-, where 100 is league average and below 100 represents above-average run prevention) is calculated using a version of kwERA, with regressed strikeout and walk rates as the relevant inputs.
*By the method outlined here.
The idea here is not to suggest that the following players are/were the actual best prospects from the Northwoods League this summer. Outlets like Baseball America and Perfect Game will certainly do a much better job of that. Rather, it’s to (a) represent as accurately and responsibly as possible the best performances of the Northwoods League season and to (b) acquaint ourselves with those top performers.
Here are the top hitters from this year’s Northwoods League, as determined by the methodology explained above. Positions are those listed by team. Click on a player’s name to see his Northwoods League profile page.
• Casey Gillaspie of both Eau Claire and Wichita State is (a) the brother of Giants minor leaguer Conor Gillaspie and (b) at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, much larger than his brother, Giants minor leaguer Conor Gillaspie. Gillaspie started all but three of Wichita State’s 60 games as a freshman this spring, demonstrating the best combination of power (8 HR in ca. 250 PA) and plate discipline (34:43 BB:K) on the Shockers.
• In terms of best actual field-playing prospect, that distinction likely falls either to Eric Filia-Snyder (Wisconsin, UCLA) or Derek Fisher (Madison, Virgina), both freshmen this past spring. Filia-Snyder appears to’ve played center field for most of the summer and also finished among the league leaders in stolen bases; Fisher is a full year younger, however, and more physically impressive (6-foot-3, 205). Also of note: Fisher was drafted in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft by, but didn’t sign with, the Texas Rangers.
• There’s real dearth of shortstop prospects towards the top of the batting leaderboard, it appears. Chris Munoz (Mankato, Oklahoma City) led all shortstops in offense (125 SCOUT+), but is a junior and also only 5-foot-7. Matt Chapman (Cal State Fullerton) was the regular shortstop for La Crosse, although only 37th overall (117 SCOUT+) among batters. Hunter Dozier (Wilmar, Stephen F. Austin), who was right behind Dozier with a 116 SCOUT+, is interesting in that he’s a shortstop who’s 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds.
Here are the top pitchers:
• This list is a bit frustrating in that only Bradley Wallace (7/10 GS/G) made even as few as half his appearances in a starting capacity, meaning that most of the players here are getting the slight performance bump a pitcher will see moving from the rotation to bullpen. In any case, Jacob Dorris (La Crosse, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi) was the most effective overall pitcher and did, in fact, do his work mostly in an extended fashion, averaging more than two innings for each of his 24 appearances. He’ll be a sophomore this next year.
• Wallace (Green Bay), a sophomore this past spring at Arkansas State, sat at 89-93 mph during the league’s all-star game, reports Perfect Game’s Patrick Ebert, who also noted Wallace’s “good size, projectability and… loose, live arm.”
• Here are names of the three next-best starters (listed with most recent college year) after Wallace: Jack Fischer, So. (Wisconsin, Wake Forest); Bryce Bellin, So. (Green Bay, Minnesota State); Zak Hermans, Jr. (Green Bay, Princeton).