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Penn SR C Austin Bossart
Dartmouth JR 1B Joe Purritano
Dartmouth SR 2B Thomas Roulis
Penn JR SS Ryan Mincher
Dartmouth SR 3B Nick Lombardi
Harvard SR OF Mike Martin
Columbia SR OF Jordan Serena
Penn rJR OF Jeff McGarry
Dartmouth JR RHP Duncan Robinson
Cornell JR LHP Michael Byrne
Penn SR LHP Ronnie Glenn
Cornell SR RHP Roberto Suppa
Harvard SR RHP Tanner Anderson
With one of the finer institutions of the Ancient Eight within walking distance from my apartment, it should come as no great shock that I’ve seen an alarmingly high number of Ivy League games over the past decade. Sure, I’d love to live in a more deeply talented amateur baseball part of the country, but defending the talent in the Ivy League has almost become a point of weird pride for me, so much so that I think I’d miss regularly attending games if I ever move too far away. On the rare occasions I’ll get contacted by pro teams to share some firsthand insight on guys I’ve seen a lot of, it’s almost always in relation to whatever player is regarded as the Ivy’s top prospect that year. Typically, that guy is one of if not the only player in the conference expected to consider leaving before using up all of his eligibility. That’s one of the reasons I like following the Ivy Leagues as closely as I do. It’s a rare and beautiful world of senior signs as far as the eye can see. In true brainiac Ivy League fashion, it seems like the ones that stay all four seasons tend to be the hitters. The pitchers, very wisely, are more apt to leave for the professional ranks when called upon perhaps in part because of the knowledge that their arms only have so many bullets available for use in a lifetime.
There is plenty of competition this year for top Ivy League senior sign. Penn SR C Austin Bossart might head into the year as the favorite thanks to his strong defensive chops and steadily improving bat. It’s not a sexy all-around profile, but a smart, dependable veteran catcher with a good track record of working with all kinds of different pitchers should have value to a team as the draft winds down. Bossart strikes me as a player who will have a minor league job for as long as he’s willing to stick it out. I have him ranked directly behind two plus speed, above-average or better center field defenders in Harvard SR OF Mike Martin and Columbia SR OF Jordan Serena. The two are very, very similar prospects for me, but I like Martin’s defense, athleticism, and approach at the plate all just a touch better than Serena’s.
A pretty compelling case could be made for Dartmouth SR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis as the conference’s top senior sign. He would have likely been in the top spot on this very ranking were it not for the forthcoming lost developmental time (all of 2015) he’s expected to miss due to injury. Complicating things just a smidge is the fact that, despite his senior year status as a student, he could potentially return to play baseball at Dartmouth in 2016. The Ivy League does not allow “redshirts” in the same way many other conferences do, but exceptions to the rule can be gained by working with the fine folks in the compliance department. Roulis could apply for a Fifth Year Waiver exception if he so chooses. I have no idea if they’d be more willing to grant Roulis a fifth year since he missed so much of his sophomore season in addition to what will likely be his entire senior year. In any event, he’s a player that I’d follow very closely all spring in order to best determine what he’d like to do with his immediate future. He’s a really talented natural hitter with a whole-fields approach and a pretty swing. Outside of the hit tool, nothing physically stands out about his skill set but his high baseball IQ and instincts for the game allows him to work around his modest tools. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of what he has to offer yet, and now we’re left to just wait and hope that he’ll return to health hitting like he’s capable.
In addition to all the names listed above, I’m excited to watch Dartmouth JR 1B Joe Purritano, Columbia rJR 1B Nick Maguire, Cornell SR 1B/OF Ryan Karl, Penn JR SS Ryan Mincher, and Columbia SR OF Gus Craig particularly closely as this year unfolds.
Dartmouth JR RHP Duncan Robinson isn’t just a good pitching prospect for the Ivy League; he’s a good pitching prospect full stop. Guys with his size (6-6, 220 pounds), fastball (consistently low-90s), and breaking ball (have it listed as an in-between pitch in my notes; I’d call it a slider, but think folks at Dartmouth call it a curve) are easy to get excited about. The mechanics and control both check out for me, so his chance at crashing the draft’s top tier of pitching prospects will largely come down to the development of a softer offspeed pitch that will keep hitters off his fastball/breaking ball combo and enable him to start as a pro.
Robinson isn’t the only big Ivy arm angling for a 2015 draft selection this June. My very rudimentary convassing of the conference unearthed close to a dozen draft-eligible pitchers capable of hitting 90 MPH or above. Cornell SR RHP Roberto Suppa might have the hardest fastball in the conference. Paired with his good changeup, usable low-70s curveball, and 6-5, 200 pound frame, Suppa has a backend starting pitcher starter kit ready to go. He’s been reasonably effective in limited innings, but control remains his biggest bugaboo. Harvard SR RHP Tanner Anderson has similar stuff (88-92 FB, 94 peak; mid-70s CB; low-80s CU) with better control, more athleticism, and perhaps (I go back and forth here) a little more projection left in the tank. Then there are the two top lefthanders in the conference, Cornell JR LHP Michael Byrne and Penn SR LHP Ronnie Glenn. Both have had plenty of success to date by pitching off their 88-92 MPH fastballs and working in a collection of average or better secondary offerings. Upside plays like Harvard JR RHP Sean Poppen and Princeton JR RHP Cameron Mingo give the league better depth than many located outside of the northeastern part of the country might expect. Or maybe that’s not true and I’m just getting all preemptively defensive about the Ivy League again.
2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting
- Harvard SR OF Mike Martin
- Columbia SR OF/SS Jordan Serena
- Penn SR C Austin Bossart
- Penn JR SS Ryan Mincher
- Penn rJR OF/RHP Jeff McGarry
- Dartmouth SR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis
- Dartmouth JR 1B Joe Purritano
- Dartmouth SR 3B Nick Lombardi
- Columbia SR OF Gus Craig
- Princeton JR 2B Dan Hoy
- Columbia rJR 1B Nick Maguire
- Columbia rJR OF Robb Paller
- Cornell SR 1B/OF Ryan Karl
- Columbia SR 3B David Vandercook
- Cornell SR OF JD Whetsel
- Cornell JR OF Jordan Winawer
2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching
- Dartmouth JR RHP Duncan Robinson
- Cornell JR LHP Michael Byrne
- Penn SR LHP Ronnie Glenn
- Cornell SR RHP Roberto Suppa
- Harvard SR RHP Tanner Anderson
- Columbia JR RHP George Thanopoulos
- Penn SR RHP Connor Cuff
- Harvard JR RHP Sean Poppen
- Brown SR RHP David St. Lawrence
- Cornell JR LHP Matt Horton
- Yale JR RHP Chris Lanham
- Princeton JR RHP Cameron Mingo
- Brown SR RHP Eddie Fitzpatrick
- Penn SR RHP Dan Gautieri
- Columbia JR RHP Adam Cline
- Dartmouth JR RHP Beau Sulser
- Yale JR RHP Chris Moates