WCCBL Pitcher of the Year Tommy Hanson of the Aloha Knights was named to Baseball America’s College Summer All-America first-team, which was announced by the national publication last month. He was the only WCCBL player chosen and one of only three selections from Western summer leagues. The Alaska Baseball League (ABL) featured two first-team picks. The Cape Cod League led the way with 4 first-teamers followed by the Northwoods League with three, Team USA and ABL with two and the WCCBL, Jayhawk League, New England Collegiate Baseball League and Texas Collegiate League with one each.
Hanson was dominating for the Knights as the right-hander from Redlands, California went 7-1 over 11 starts and led the WCCBL in ERA and strikeouts. Tommy’s miniscule 0.92 overall ERA broke Aloha’s single season ERA mark. The sophomore-to-be at Riverside CC logged 78 innings and only walked 21 while striking out 116. Hanson was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 22nd round of the 2005 MLB draft.
Baseball America also announced its top ten WCCBL prospects. Baseball America Founding Editor and WCCBL advisory board member Allan Simpson details the WCCBL’s finest propects below.
1. Tommy Hanson, rhp, Aloha Knights (Riverside, Calif., CC) Hanson, a 22nd-round draft pick of the Braves in June, had an outstanding summer, going 7-1, 0.92 with 116 strikeouts in 78 innings, while walking just 21. The 6-foot-6, 212-pound righthander threw four pitches for strikes, including a moving 88-92 mph fastball with an easy, effortless delivery. Though he has made a verbal commitment to Arizona State for a year from now, Hanson will return to Riverside CC for his sophomore year – if he doesnÂ¹t sign with the Braves first.
2. Steve Marquardt, 3b, Wenatchee AppleSox (Columbia Basin, Wash., CC) Marquardt has been an enigma to Northwest scouts and college recruiters since he surfaced as a top prospect at a Washington high school two years ago. He has rebuked all overtures for his services while often failing to measure up to his considerable talent, but the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder may have turned a corner this summer for the league champion AppleSox. He hit .333-1-20 and led the league with 14 doubles, while showing above-average power potential and arm strength while being used in a variety of roles. His sixth-inning bases-loaded double in the WCCBL championship game helped Wenatchee erase a 2-1 deficit and go on to win the league’s inaugural title. A 23rd-round pick of the Rangers in June, Marquardt will return to Columbia Basin for his sophomore year.
3. Bud Norris, rhp, Aloha Knights (Cal Poly SLO) Norris went 5-0 as a part-time starter in the spring as a sophomore at Cal Poly and followed it up with a 6-0, 1.20 season this summer with 52 strikeouts in 45 innings. Of greater significance, he showcased two plus pitches: a 91-95 mph fastball and an 85-87 slider.
4. Clay Mortensen, rhp, Wenatchee AppleSox (Gonzaga) The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Mortensen set off a mini-bidding war for his services in June when he was released from his commitment to attend Brigham Young, after attending Treasure Valley (Ore.) CC for two years. Gonzaga won out and Mortensen, who was drafted in the 25th round by Devil Rays, almost certainly will be in the Bulldogs rotation next spring after he went 3-1, 2.13 with 47 strikeouts in 42 innings this summer for the AppleSox. Long, lean and loose like Hanson, though not as strong, MortensenÂ¹s fastball was clocked at 88-91. He complemented it with a slider and changeup that he threw comfortably in any count.
5. Chris Davis, 3b/1b, Kelowna Falcons (Navarro, Texas, CC) Davis began his college career at Texas, before transferring to a junior college midway through his freshman year. He was drafted by the Angels in the 35th round in June, but the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Davis elected to showcase his considerable power potential for the lone Canadian team in the WCCBL, hammering a league-best five homers and 29 RBIs, while hitting .331.
6. Jess Todd, rhp, Kelowna Falcons (Texas) Todd, a teammate of Davis at Navarro CC last spring, will move on to Texas this fall where heÂ¹ll try to break into one of the best and deepest pitching staffs in the country – one that returns for starters from its national championship run. In his final tune-up this summer, he compiled a 3-2, 3.21 record with 44 strikeouts in 47 innings by deploying a three-pitch combination that included a sinking fastball that touched 94 mph and sat at 90-91, and a hard slider.
7. Eddie Kunz, rhp, Bellingham Bells (Oregon State) The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Kunz didnÂ¹t win a game this summer, going 0-1, 4.38, but saved five games by generating 91-94 mph heat.
8. D.J. Lidyard, rhp, Bellingham Bells (Lower Columbia, Wash., CC) Drafted in the 19th round by the Orioles in June after leading Lower Columbia CC to the Northwest Community College championship, Lidyard used an 89-91 mph fastball and plus breaking ball to post a 5-3, 1.98 record with 56 strikeouts in 59 innings for Bellingham.
9. Zach Borba, of, Aloha Knights (Nevada-Las Vegas) Drafted in June by the Rangers in the 24th round, one spot after Marquardt, his former Columbia Basin teammate, Borba hit only .244-1-14 for the Knights but used his speed, his best tool, to steal a league-best 11 bases. He also capped his summer by being named to the NBC World Series all-tournament team.
10. Matt Hague, rhp/of, Aloha Knights (Washington) After earning freshman All-America honors during the spring at Washington for hitting .419-8-34, Hague turned the tables during the summer by utilizing an 89-93 mph fastball to go 4-1, 2.20.
The WCCBL is dedicated to player development, player exposure and to providing affordable summer entertainment to its member communities.