The Pittsfield Suns did not make the Futures League playoffs this past summer. But Suns fans got to watch one of the top 10 prospects in the Futures League play.
According to Baseball America, Eric Hamilton was listed as the No. 7 prospect in the summer college wood-bat league. He was the only Suns player listed in the top 10.
League champion Nashua claimed the title over Worcester two games to none, and the Silver Knights had four players on the Baseball America list. Worcester had none.
Seacoast and Martha's Vineyard had two each, while Pittsfield and Torrington each had one player listed.
Hamilton, the Futures League's player of the month in June, put up MVP-caliber numbers for manager Tom Conley's Suns. He hit. 319, seventh in the league, with 12 home runs and 63 runs batted in. Hamilton smashed the league RBI record, easily surpassing the mark of 53 set a year ago by Ryan Gendron of Seacoast.
Hamilton set a club record for home runs as well, surpassing the 10 hit by Ryan Deitrich in 2012.
"Hamilton definitely has professional raw power and showcased it to all fields and on pitches of all shapes and sizes as well," Baseball America wrote in its Futures League postseason recap and Top 10.
"His swing is a little bit long and he could be beat with fastballs in on his hands," the report continued, "but his understanding of the strike zone and easy power were indicative of a more experienced player who wasn't being challenged."
As a rising senior, Baseball America wrote in the summary that "defensive issues" and age — the fact that he is a senior — could hold him back as a prospect. But BA also wrote that it shouldn't stop Hamilton from moving to the next level.
"Defensively, [Futures League] coaches agreed that Hamilton is likely not athletic enough to play third base at the next level. They did think he had the size and pop to play first base and some thought he could fit at a corner outfield spot as well."
The No. 1 prospect in the Futures League was Torrington pitcher Nick Mondak. The freshman from St. John's had a 1.43 earned-run average and struck out 64 hitters in 43 innings.
According to Baseball America, the left-handed pitcher used his 88-92 MPH fastball "almost exclusively" during the Futures League season.
"Mondak's easy delivery and projectable frame [6-foot-3, 200 pounds] make many think there is more velocity in his arm, and the fact that he was still throwing 90-92 late into some of his outings only served to reinforce that belief amongst opposing pitchers," Baseball America wrote.
The rest of the Futures League Top 10 were right-handed pitcher Dylan Grove of Martha's Vineyard (Oklahoma), right-handed pitcher Ricky Constant of Nashua (UMass-Lowell), outfielder Dante Baldelli of Nashua (Boston College), right-handed pitcher Jake Nelson of Nashua (Penn), right-handed pitcher Isaiah Musa of Seacoast (Broward County CC), right-handed pitcher Gavin Hollowell of Nashua (St. John's), outfielder Dillon Nelson of Martha's Vineyard (Indian Hills, Iowa CC) and outfielder Mike Hart of Seacoast (UMass-Amherst).
The Mystic Schooners won the NECBL title this summer, but had only one representative on Baseball America's list of the top prospects in the league, and that prospect wasn't even around all summer.
Right-handed pitcher Jason Foley was signed by the Detroit Tigers in Late July after pitching only 11 innings. He was a starter at Sacred Heart, but was in the Mystic bullpen and remained in the bullpen with the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League.
There were no North Adams SteepleCats players listed among the top 10. While pitcher Braxton Wilks and center fielder Daniel Holst had good arguments to be on the list, the publication went in a different direction.
The top prospect in the NECBL was right-handed pitcher Tommy Doyle of Keene. The University of Virginia prospect came to the NECBL as a reliever for the Cavaliers. He became a starter for the Swamp Bats. While he managed only a 1-1 record, Doyle had a 1.62 earned-run average and struck out 40 in 33 innings, while walking seven.
"With his big frame [6-foot-5], Doyle generates downard angle on a heavy 91-93 MPH fastball with natural cutting action. His repertoire, body, command and effortless velocity point to a future as a starter, and a strong junior season with the Cavaliers could elevate his draft stock to that of an early pick," it was written in the magazine.
The rest of the top 10 are: outfielder Brandt Stallings of Keene (Georgia Tech), shortstop Connor Kaiser of Newport (Vanderbilt), infielder-outfielder Travis Jones of Valley (Texas), Foley, left-handed pitcher Darrien Ragins of New Bedford (Delaware State), right-handed pitcher Mark Washington of Valley (Lehigh), shortstop Mike Osinski of Vermont (Longwood), catcher Troy Dixon of Newport (St. John's) and outfielder Stephen Scott of Newport (Vanderbilt).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.