(GAME DATE — Friday, May 13, 2022) — The Bull League annual amateur draft is usually loaded with talent every June, and 2022 will be no different. We take a sneak peek at some high potential draft pool candidates before the official draft pool list drops on May 15.
The league has two top end college leagues, the NCAA Division I, and the Pacific Rim College League (PRCL), the latter of which is comprised of top international sports-focused post secondary 4-year institutions around Asia and the Pacific. There is also a junior college circuit, the Can-Am College League, and of course, the sports-intensive high school league, the Nor-Am High School League.
Eligible players from the NCAA and PRCL must be at least juniors aged 21 and over. The Can-Am league allows all players to be eligible, while high schooler must be graduating this year. Now, we take a look at the top talent as rated by the OSA.
At the high school level, the indisputable top senior is Edwin Lopez (OSA rated: ★★★★★), an 18-year old Mexican reliever who played for Guadalajara High School. The Puerto Rican right-hander is a young groundballer who is well on his way to mastering a wicked circle change and fastball as his two pitch repertoire, and is projecting great stuff and unhittable movement. In two of his 3 high school seasons, he went sub-1.00 for WHIP. His senior year saw him reach a 14.9 K/9.
Vancouver High’s John Jollymour (OSA rated: ★★★★½) is another great reliever up for the draft out of high school this year. A pure finesse pitcher, he projects a masterful curveball paired with a high potential cutter, again with great movement as evidenced by his mere 2 home runs allowed in his entire high school career, over 46 innings pitched. The 18-year-old Kawartha Lakes, Ontario native is a lefty who could end up a key bullpen piece or even a closer for the right Bull League club in the future.
Honorable mentions go to Leon Humphries (OSA rated: ★★★½), a Jamaican teen playing for York Academy Raiders, who was a solid started last season, and looked just as promising this year before a lorn labrum sidelined him, and Jon Sosa (OSA rated: ★★★½), the top-rated position player, a flyball contact hitter who played first base for Mexico City High, and produced 28 home runs and a .348 average over 90 career high school games.
The only junior college circuit that drafts into the Bull League has a plethora of top talent, but rising above them all is Tomas ‘Doberman’ Lopez (OSA rated: ★★★★★), a Puerto Rican cousin to high school star Edwin Lopez (above). Tomas will be 19 by draft time, and has played just one superb season doing double duty for Danbury Central where he served as a power reliever and first baseman. Though he didn’t see much action as a batter, just 15 AB’s in 30 G’s, he managed a .533 average, driving in 5 and scoring 4 times. His true value, scouts assess, is as a pitcher, where he went 1-0 with 5 saves, itching 18 innings without allowing a single run. He struck out 24 and walked just 7, while allowing only 10 hits.
The OSA pegs Canadians Bryan Bloom, Charlie Terwilliger, Gérard Thiriet and Mathieu Nogues, and American Mike Harbeck (all OSA rated: ★★★★) as the top position players to come out of the Can-Am College League. Bloom is a 19-year-old 1B from Cape Breton College who was an all-star and knocked 19 homers in 49 games. Nogues, also 19, is a switch-hitting CF who hammered a grand slam in his 3rd game and has tremendous speed to match his gap power. Terwilliger, another 19-year-old, impressed scouts with his discipline at the plate, walking as many times as striking out and batting .361 in his rookie year. Mass Bay 19-year-old Thiriet bashed 17 homers and batted .397 while playing impressive first base. Harbeck, a first year military cadet at Royal Military College, also went .397 at the plate and was an all-star, along with player of the week once this season.
Kin ‘Spitfire’ Ryu (OSA rated: ★★★★★) of Hanoi College is the top-rated college player from either the NCAA or PRCL, an impressive and unusually tall (6’7″) Japanese right-handed starter with an impressive menu of five pitches, including a rare screwball that projects to be as equal to his devastating curve. Despite his array of breaking stuff, he reached 99 mph on his heater and is considered a power pitcher. Ryu was selected to team Japan in the Summer College Tournament three times, and was named PRCL Pitcher of the Year in 2021, the same year he had a 3-hit, no-walks shutout against Fiji College.
Left fielder Atsushi Yamamoto (OSA rated: ★★★★) of Daegu College, a 22-year-old Japanese slugger, was a two-time PRCL all-star and two-time best offensive LF in four college seasons. Although he only hit 30 career home runs, OSA scouts project high power potential for this lean swinging machine,e specially as he improves his pitch recognition and hones his ability to lay off bad pitches and reduce his K’s. In four seasons, he walked 112 times, but struck out just 76. He was actually picked by Washington in last year’s draft in round 3, 45th overall, but failed to sign. He is seen as a probable first round pick this year.
The top NCAA player is likely going to be Mike Sullivan (OSA rated: ★★★★) of the Miami Hurricanes. The southpaw closer was flawless in save opportunities in 2022, with 13 in as many appearances. Just one inhereited runner scored on him out of ten, and his ERA was a minuscule 0.69, while he whiffed 43 batters over 26.0 innings. Sullivan made the transition from starter last season, but was impressive in that role as well, with a 2021 stats line of 10-2, 3.01, and 104 K’s in 98.2 IP, with a 3.2 pitcher WAR.
The 2022 draft should see loads of talent added to the Bull League rosters in June, and we look forward to the official draft list being published in short order. In the meantime, feast your eyes, and your scouts, on these prospects.