Gamecocks crack top prospects list
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS FOOTBALL
It's been a breakout summer for a few Gamecock players, including a few surging up draft boards now because of their performances.
Baseball America recently released it's top 50 prospects from the Cape Cod League with two Gamecocks cracking the top 10 in Carmen Mlodzinski at No. 2 and Noah Campbell at No. 10.
"Mlodzinski was South Carolina’s Opening Day starter this spring but ultimately made just three starts before he broke a bone in his left foot, an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the spring. He got back to full strength in time to report to Falmouth, where he established himself as the best pitcher on the Cape. He struck out 40 batters in just 29.1 innings, while allowing just 15 hits and four walks," Baseball America's Teddy Cahill wrote.
"Mlodzinski spent the spring getting stronger and was listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, giving him a more powerful look on the mound. He has the power stuff to match with a fastball that gets up to 96 mph and a hard slider that’s a swing-and-miss offering. He also will mix in a cutter and a changeup. Mlodzinski attacks hitters with his whole arsenal and pitches with above-average control. He has the makings of a first-round pick after an impressive summer."
If Mlodzinski can take that same form back to Columbia for his redshirt sophomore season, he could be one of the top arms not only on the Gamecocks' staff this season but in the SEC.
He's fully healed from his broken foot and will be in the thick of the team's starting conversation before opening day of next year.
Campbell, on the other hand, rebounded nicely from a rough second year on campus with an All-Star Cape Cod League performance and was good enough to make it into the top 10 of Baseball America's list.
"Campbell ranked sixth on this list a year ago after a standout summer that saw him finish second in the league in batting. He had a tough sophomore season at South Carolina, but rebounded when he returned to Yarmouth-Dennis, hitting .324/.442/.431 to finish sixth in the league in hitting," Cahill wrote.
"Campbell has exciting all-around tools and athleticism, though he’s still learning how to make the most of it on the diamond. He has quick hands, which are the key to making his unconventional swing work. A switch-hitter, he makes hard contact and produces solid power. He’s also a plus runner, though he’s still learning how to make the most of his speed on the base paths. Campbell split his time defensively this summer between second base and left field. His speed would play in center, if a team committed to him there, and his athleticism gives him a chance at second base. He’ll need a better spring than he had this year to go in the first round next year, but his performance in back-to-back summers on the Cape shows his potential."
While Wes Clarke didn't head to the Cape this summer, he did do his fair share of hitting in the Valley Baseball League, where he hit .364/.500/.645 with six homers and 29 RBI as an All-Star.
PerfectGame just released its rankings of prospects in the VBL and Clarke comes in at No. 2.
"Clarke undoubtedly looks the part of a professional prospect and impressed evaluators at the prospect showcase during the middle of the summer. He’s an uber-physical and surprisingly athletic prospect which some evaluators have called an 'SEC safety' based on his build from the backstop," Vincent Cervino wrote. "That athleticism shines through behind the plate where he has very good hands and solid receiving skills with pop times around the 2.0-second mark. The offensive presence, namely the power, is loud and he can hit balls a long way during BP to show off the above average raw power on the Major League scale. There are some hit tool and pitch recognition concerns long term, but as a 2020 eligible prospect who can catch and hit for power, the ceiling is high."
The Gamecocks had a few other standout performances this summer with graduate transfer Dallas Beaver earning a Cape Cod League All-Star spot and pitcher signee Brannon Jordan a Northwoods League All-Star.
Cam Tringali and Andrew Eyster also played in the Cape and Brett Kerry was scheduled to but spent the summer rehabbing an oblique injury.