2017 Texas Collegiate League Top Prospects
SEE ALSO: Summer College League Top Prospects
Postseason Recap: The Brazos Valley Bombers won their fifth straight TCL championship in walk-off fashion, completing a two-game sweep of Acadiana with a ninth-inning single from Ryan Benavidez (Arkansas-Little Rock). The championship capped an incredible summer for the Bombers, who finished the season with a 34-18 record. Brazos Valley, coached the last two years by Trey Porras, rode a seven-inning start from Michigan State’s Mike Mokma in game one, and TCL player of the year Jared Mang (New Mexico) scored the winning run in game two after leading off the ninth inning with a double.
1. Gunner Halter, SS/RHP, Texarkana (Jr. Seminole State CC)
Drafted by the Blue Jays as a shortstop in the 22nd round of the 2017 draft, Halter opted not to sign and instead spent the summer in Texarkana, where the results were mixed (.279/.394/.414), but he continues to impress with raw ability. At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, Halter has a lanky frame that could take on more strength. He has a good approach at the plate and a quick bat that is not easily overpowered by velocity. In the field, Halter has a strong arm and has even garnered some attention as a pitcher at the next level.
2. Mike Mokma, RHP, Brazos Valley (So., Michigan State)
At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, Mokma’s biggest advantage comes from his height and the downward angle he establishes as a result. His fastball works in the upper 80s, breaking 90 mph on occasion. He showed good feel for mixing three pitches this summer, according to league coaches, and was particularly effective with a breaking ball that is thrown out of the same arm slot as his fastball. Mokma spent the summer as a starter and will look to establish himself as a reliable rotation option for Michigan State during his upcoming sophomore year.
3. Zac Leigh, rhp, Victoria (So., Texas State)
Leigh showed good feel for three pitches this summer, including a low-90s fastball that was reportedly up to 95 mph during the spring. Coaches said the ball jumps out of Leigh’s hand, thanks in part to a loose arm and delivery. He was also effective with a slider and a changeup and tallied 43 strikeouts in just 39.2 innings. The 6-foot, 190-pound Leigh spent most of the summer in a starting role after appearing in 13 games out of the bullpen for Texas State as a freshman.
4. Jack Kenley, 3B, Victoria (So., Arkansas)
Kenley put together a solid summer (.319/.457/.457) in Victoria after appearing in 34 games for the Razorbacks as a freshman in 2017. Texas Collegiate League coaches touted Kenley’s ability to hit the ball with power to all fields and his above-average speed on the basepaths. A 6-foot, 180-pound infielder, Kenley still has room to grow and, with added strength, could turn into a true doubles threat from left side of the plate. Kenley proved to be a reliable defender at multiple spots in the infield this summer but primarily played third base down the stretch.
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5. Daniel Lahare, OF, Acadiana (Jr., Louisiana-Lafayette)
Lahare will join the Ragin’ Cajuns this year after spending two seasons at Delgado (La.) JC. He impressed coaches in the Texas Collegiate League this summer with good speed and a consistent ability to put the ball in play. Lahare hit .356/.463/.429 for the Cane Cutters this summer and showed good plate discipline with occasional doubles power, in part because of his speed. Coaches described the 5-foot-11, 185-pound lefthanded hitter (and thrower) as an upside player with raw tools—his speed and his arm in the outfield—that give him carrying tools to buy his bat time to develop.
6. Hayden Marze, RHP, Arcadiana (Jr., Florida Southern)
A big, strong righthander, Marze battled arm trouble in 2017 and did not appear for Mississippi State. He’ll head to Division II Florida Southern in 2018, where he’ll look to build on a solid summer. Marze, at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, features a low- to mid-90s fastball and good feel for a swing-and-miss slider. He struck out 29 Texas Collegiate League hitters in just 16 innings this summer and will look to prove he’s healthy and reliable heading into the 2018 draft.
7. Glen McClain, 1B, Victoria (Jr., Indiana Tech)
McClain carried a strong sophomore season at NAIA Indiana Tech into the summer, where he hit .317/.462/.382 for Victoria and impressed coaches with an above-average approach at the plate. McClain was described as student of the game and hitter with the ability to adjust on the fly. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, McClain has a good frame and could develop more power over time, a must for him to profile at his defensive position, as he's limited primarily to first base.
8. Jared Mang, OF, Brazos Valley (Jr., New Mexico)
After leading the Lobos in hitting as a sophomore in 2017, Mang put together an impressive summer for Brazos Valley and made the transition to a wood bat look easy. A 5-foot-10, 210-pound righthanded hitter, Mang has a solid approach at the plate and good speed. He hit .349/.471/.490 in the TCL this year and collected 10 doubles. League coaches questioned where his permanent position might be down the road but praised his consistency and balance at the plate.
9. Alex Rodriguez, 2B/SS, Texarkana (Jr., Kentucky)
Rodriguez will join the Wildcats as a junior in 2018 after two seasons at Northern Oklahoma JC as a middle infielder. At 5-foot-8, 195 pounds, Rodriguez was described as having a strong frame and above-average athletic ability. Despite being somewhat undersized, Rodriguez has shown a knack for driving in runs and finding the gaps for extra base. For Texarkana this summer, he batted .336/.427/.527 with three home runs and eight doubles.
10. Handsome Monica, C, Arcadiana (Sr., Louisiana-Lafayette)
Monica finished his high school career in Louisiana as one of the top-rated prep catchers in the country but has struggled to stand out in the years following. At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, Monica has above-average power potential and connected for one home run in the TCL this year to go along with 21 RBIs. Monica was drafted by the Braves in the 33rd round of the 2016 MLB out of Northwest Florida State JC. As a senior at ULL in 2018, he'll look to add more consistent contact at the plate to become an appealing senior-sign option for scouts.