FanShot

BA's Top 20 Appy League Prospects

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Here's the list: APPALACHIAN LEAGUE TOP 20 PROSPECTS 6. Drew Vettleson, of, Princeton Rays 7. Jake Hager, ss, Princeton Rays 9. Felipe Rivero, lhp, Princeton Rays 10. Ryan Brett, 2b, Princeton Rays 13. Josh Sale, of, Princeton Rays 15. Justin O'Conner, c, Princeton Rays 16. Jeff Ames, rhp, Princeton Rays 7 Rays made the list. Subscribers get the scouting reports, but here's a taste on the 2 that we have less past info on: Hager: The third of three Rays first-round picks this year, Hager signed quickly for $963,000 and got 47 games of experience under his belt. He may lacks prototype range for shortstop, but he's sure-handed and fundamentally sound, and his solid-average arm strength will allow him to play second or third base in the event of a position switch. Even if Hager's defensive home has yet to be determined, few managers questioned his offensive potential. He has a handsy swing and knack for contact, spraying the ball around and looking to hit the ball where it's pitched. He doesn't project as a big power or stolen-base threat, but he could top out at 12-15 homers at his peak and he has solid speed. In his U.S. debut, Rivero ranked eighth among Appy Leaguers with 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings and joined a distinguished group of former Princeton lefties. Matt Moore led the 2008 Appy League with 12.8 whiffs per nine, while Enny Romero finished third last year at 9.4. Moore and Romero finished second and sixth, respectively, in the minors this season. As a tribute to his athleticism and quick arm, Rivero's fastball velocity increased to 93-94 mph this season, up three to four ticks from last year. He locates the ball down in the zone and shows a feel for when to deploy his plus curveball and fringe-average changeup. In a worst-case scenario, he could have a future in relief if he commands his fastball and breaking ball. Good stuff.

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