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Baseball America Names TCL's Top Prospects

Baseball America has issued its annual list of the Texas Collegiate League’s top ten prospects, which this year is led by Coppell Copperheads righthander Nathan Karns.

Riley Cooper, the Florida junior who patrolled the outfield for the McKinney Marshals this summer, was ranked second in the league. San Jacinto freshman David Rollins was rated third after an all-star season with the East Texas Pump Jacks.

Coppell’s Rett Varner, who edged out Karns for TCL Pitcher of the Year honors, captured fourth in the rankings. Another award winner, TCL Player of the Year Mark Hudson of the Victoria Generals, finished fifth.

The final five spots went to: McKinney shortstop Carter Jurica, a sophomore from Kansas State; East Texas third baseman Matt Juengel, a freshman from Panola College headed to Texas A&M; Victoria closer Zach Nuding, a freshman from Weatherford College; Marshals righthander Michael Bolsinger, a junior out of Arkansas; and Pump Jacks catcher Brett Nicholas, a sophomore from Scottsdale Community College headed to Missouri.

The list features all three of the league’s primary award winners – Varner, Hudson, and Juengel, the TCL Freshman of the Year – as well as Bolsinger, who was the league Pitcher of the Year in 2008. Half of the list was named to the TCL All-League team, including Rollins, Varner, Hudson, Juengel, and Nicholas.

The top two members of the list have already signed professional contracts. Karns, who was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 12th round, signed for $225,000 immediately after the Copperheads won their third TCL title. Cooper, a 25th round selection, inked a $250,000 deal with the Texas Rangers that will allow him to play his senior season as a wide receiver with the Gators before embarking on his baseball career.

Six total players from the list were drafted by major league clubs this past June. Joining Karns and Cooper in the draft were Rollins (Seattle Mariners, 23rd round), Varner (Chicago Cubs, 34th round), Nuding (Pittsburgh Pirates, 37th round), and Bolsinger (Oakland Athletics, 33rd round).

Baseball America, long recognized as baseball’s trade publication, compiles the top prospect list every year for all summer collegiate and minor leagues. The magazine polls coaches, scouts, and media in each league to determine which players are most likely to go on to major league stardom, not simply the circuit’s best performers during the summer.

Last year, McKinney’s Del Howell, a sophomore out of Alabama, was tabbed as the TCL’s top prospect. Howell was drafted and signed by the Milwaukee Brewers this summer.

The complete list of Baseball America’s 2009 TCL Top Prospects:

1. Nathan Karns, RHP, Coppell (Junior, Texas Tech)
2. Riley Cooper, OF, McKinney (Junior, Florida)
3. David Rollins, LHP, East Texas (Freshman, San Jacinto College)
4. Rett Varner, RHP, Coppell (Sophomore, Texas-Arlington)
5. Mark Hudson, OF, Victoria (Sophomore, Alvin Community College, headed to Sam Houston State)
6. Carter Jurica, SS, McKinney (Sophomore, Kansas State)
7. Matt Juengel, 3B, East Texas (Freshman, Panola College, headed to Texas A&M)
8. Zach Nuding, RHP, Victoria (Freshman, Weatherford College)
9. Michael Bolsinger, RHP, McKinney (Junior, Arkansas)
10. Brett Nicholas, C, East Texas (Sophomore, Scottsdale Community College, headed to Missouri)

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