Springfield, Ill. —— Here are a few notable junior college baseball prospects that stood out on Saturday at Day Two of the Midwest Fall Classic, held at Lincoln Land Community College’s facility in Springfield.
Century College (MN)
Cole LaLonde, RHP
Extended out further than any pitcher we’ve seen all weekend, Cole LaLonde was impressive from the start in Century College’s morning game against McHenry County. The tall, strong righty sat 85-89 with serious plane on his fastball, and he pounded the bottom half of the zone with it incessantly. He paired it with a sharp breaking ball and a decent 81-82 change with some fade, giving him enough of a repertoire to dream on him as a rotation arm at the next level. He’s got the size and durability for it, without question; his is a full scouting report/game video is well worth looking up when we post it in the next few days here after the end of the Midwest Fall Classic.
Iowa Central College (IA)
Jason Ferreras, RHP
A tall righty with a funky arm slot at low three-quarters/nearly sidearm, Ferreras sat 86-89 with a ton of arm-side life and late, hard sink; he paired it with a good 75-79 sweeping slider that served as the perfect equal/opposite complement to his heavy fastball, and a 74-77 changeup with some feel. He hides the ball well, and makes for a remarkably uncomfortable at-bat for righties. There are some command/consistency questions, and his delivery and arm slot will move around a bit (whether on purpose or by accident), so there’s room to tighten things up, but Ferreras has arm strength and feel from a funky slot, and it’d seem he’ll have a bullpen future at the four-year level. Honorable mention here to Iowa Central reliever David Bruinsma; while Bruisnma doesn’t have Ferreras’ velocity (just 80-81 last night), he’s got an even lower slot below sidearm, he boasts a very heavy, sinking fastball in his own right, and he really tied up a couple right-handed hitters with it in a key late situation.
Albert Mora, OF
Talk about tools: Mora flies, recording a 4.08 time up the line from the right-handed box on Saturday evening and showing off easy access to his top speed roaming center field and tracking down fly balls. Better yet, he hit a line drive late in the game that registered a 99 mph exit velo reading on our radar gun. The kid’s got the physical strength in a lean but thick build to do damage at the plate, and his bat speed is already above-average. Easily one of the most tooled-up position players we’ve seen all weekend long at the Midwest Fall Classic.
Lincoln Trail College (IL)
Dalton Laney; Carter Poiry; Jacob Craig (all RHP)
Worth lumping these three guys all in together… Lincoln Trail showed out on Saturday night with nice arms in their game against Southeastern Illinois, and Dalton Laney was the headliner, sitting 88-89 with heavy sink and run to his fastball. He paired it with an impressive 83-85 cutter, a solid 78-81 slider, and an average 81-83 changeup. Laney has real, advanced feel for his repertoire, and he’s got great mound presence, going after hitters like he’s mad and never letting up. Lots of ways for Laney to succeed at the next level; he’s got enough of an arsenal and enough command to start, most likely, but man — he’d be lights out playing up his stuff in short bullpen stints, too. Carter Poiry threw a pair of innings, registering 86-89 on his heavy, sinking fastball with a 79-82 changeup, and a 77-80 slider. There are some similarities between these two (fastball velo/life), but Poiry doesn’t have quite as advanced of a breaking ball as his teammate. What Poiry does have, though, is an absolutely filthy changeup with feel for late tumble at the plate. At its best, the changeup is good enough to miss bats on both sides and, if I were able to see Poiry multiple times across a wider period, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it as his go-to off-speed pitch. Finally, Jacob Craig showed out pretty well in the game’s final inning; he’s a tick below Laney and Poiry, but still sat 83-85 with his own heavy, sinking fastball, and showed off a larger, deeper 68-69 breaking ball that got a few awkward swings and misses. Small crowd for Craig, throwing the final inning in the final game of the night, but that’s a shame; the righty can spin it, and his stuff will absolutely play in the right situation.
Illinois Central College (IL)
Adam Christianson, C/UTIL
This kid can play. A left-handed hitter with great feel behind the plate defensively, a strong and accurate arm (2.01 pop yesterday at Lincoln Land), and above-average athleticism that manifests itself in the ability to play multiple positions (and pitch!) when he’s not behind the plate, Adam Christianson was arguably the best player on the field in Illinois Central’s mid-day game against Des Moines Area Community College (IA). Spoke to recruiters from a few different programs who put Christianson on a follow list because of how the left-handed hitting catcher played on Saturday at the Midwest Fall Classic; he has an advanced approach to go the other way with authority at the plate (doubles to both the left-center field gap and down the right field line) and he manages his pitchers extremely well.
Wabash Valley College (IL)
Ryan O’Connell, RHP
Wabash Valley College’s starter in the first game on Saturday at the Midwest Fall Classic, O’Connell drew a ton of scouting interest and backed it up with a solid outing, sitting 86-89 and working up to 91 while pairing the lively fastball with a 79-81 changeup and an 81-83 slider. His command profile is pretty strong, living side to side in the bottom third of the zone, and his tight little slider showed enough depth and a good understanding of how/when to use it that it played up considerably as an out pitch. Decent tumble/fade to his changeup, too; rotation candidate with advanced feel for the arsenal; may be an immediate impact guy at high level.
Janier Puente, RHP
Janier Puente came out of the bullpen late for Wabash Valley College; huge kid, physically built and athletic with tree trunks for legs and a strong core. Showed it in his stuff on Saturday at the Midwest Fall Classic, working 89-92 with his fastball and pairing it with a sharp 78-79 slider. Real plane down in the zone coming from his big frame and high three-quarters slot. Special mention to Jon Beymer and Austin Kelly in this space, too; each sat 89-92 as well with Beymer boasting his own 80-82 slider and bowling-ball fastball, and Kelly showing off a changeup/curveball combo for his secondary stuff.
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