Eighth round - Billy Cooke, CF, Coastal Carolina
Cooke has gotten better ever year at CCU, posting better and better numbers until his junior year line of .353/.479/.587, smacking 10 home runs and 15 doubles. He’s also a career 51 of 65 in stolen bases, thanks to his plus speed. Cooke is on the shorter side, at 5’10”, but he’s a dynamic, fast center fielder who can do this:
Cooke is a plus center fielder who simply doesn’t make mistakes:
Billy Cooke can recite on request all of the errors he has committed in his three seasons at Coastal Carolina.
It helps that there are only two of them, and the junior can tell you the opponent, the inning, the situation and the end result of the game for each.
That’s how seriously the player who Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore refers to as the best center fielder in college baseball takes his defensive responsibilities.
Cooke was part of the championship Chanticleer team which so delighted fellow alum Taylor Motter. He’s also a Dean’s List student who was named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll multiple times. So I guess you could say he’s a...smart cookie. I’M NOT EVEN SORRY ABOUT IT I LOVE THIS KID ALREADY.
Ninth round - Jorge Benitez, LHP, Leadership Christian Academy, Puerto Rico
Tall and skinny with long limbs and lively arm action, Benitez is raw and needs some significant work on his mechanics to get into the strike zone more. You can see the command issues in this prospect video from last year:
There’s a little bit of a promising curveball in there and a hard slider, plus some good cutting action on his fastball, but it just doesn’t land near the strike zone enough. It’s not like he’s a flamethrower, either; he was clocked in the high 80s, although it’s reasonable to expect he could add more velocity with increased weight. Not all high schoolers look so high schooly, but Benitez definitely does.
10th round - Randy Bell, RHP, University of South Alabama
The kid they call “Big Game Bell” won’t blow you away with overpowering stuff, although he does have excellent fastball command and a big curve he can use as a putaway pitch. What Bell brings is durability: this year he made 16 starts, several of them complete-game efforts, while throwing 96 strikeouts in 107 innings. He’s shorter, at 5’10”, but powerfully built while still bringing athleticism, as he was a track star in high school. Bell played two years at Hinds Community College, a D2 junior college, where he was named Spalding Baseball/National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Pitcher of the Year after going 12-0 over 80 innings with a 63:12 K:BB ratio and a 2.37 ERA. At South Alabama, he helped lead the Jaguars to their first Sun Belt Championship in over a decade. You can see a little footage of him here.