Official League Website
Coastal Plain League top 50 prospects (list)
season long, the opportunistic Edenton Steamers found a way to win on
their way to posting an impressive 44-11 record, capturing both
half-season titles in the Coastal Plain League’s North Division and
climbing to the No. 1 spot in PG CrossChecker’s weekly ranking of
the nation’s top summer-league clubs.
seemed like destiny was in their corner, as well, when the Steamers
pulled out two improbable extra-inning wins against Peninsula in the
opening round of the league playoffs, and beat Gastonia 1-0 in 11
innings in the opening game of the best-of-3 Petitt Cup championship
CPL title and an apparent unofficial national championship was
clearly in Edenton’s grasp as it needed to win just one of two
games at home on the final night of the season against underdog
Gastonia to close the deal.
a dream season for the Steamers came crashing down with a pair of
tight losses to Gastonia, which struggled to even qualify for
post-season play with a 29-26 record and was stretched to the limit
in all three playoff series. In sudden fashion, the clock struck
midnight on the overachieving Steamers.
Cinderella-like run to an elusive title was the defining storyline in
the Coastal Plain League this summer, but there were plenty of other
moments that stood out, both literally and figuratively, in the case
of the league’s two top players.
City’s 6-foot-4, 270-pound slugger Chase McDonald narrowly missed
winning a triple crown on his way to earning league
player-of-the-year honors. A previously-unheralded freshman from East
Carolina, McDonald led the league in batting (.403) and RBIs (51),
and became just the second player in league history to crack the .400
barrier. He also tied the league record for RBIs.
6-foot-6, 250-pound lefthander Michael Heesch, meanwhile, was
selected the league’s pitcher of the year after taking a no-hitter
into the sixth inning and earning the win as the Grizzlies blanked
Edenton, 2-0, in the clinching game of the CPL playoffs. That effort
pushed Heesch’s overall record on the summer to 9-0, 2.08 with 79
strikeouts in 82 innings. He had three wins and 23 scoreless innings
in post-season play.
dominant as Edenton was as a team, and McDonald and Heesch were as
individual players, they were all upstaged on the accompanying list
of the league’s top 50 prospects.
Steamers players are ranked in the top 18, and the soft-tossing
Heesch wasn’t ranked at all. McDonald landed at No. 4, but was
upstaged by the first baseman who started opposite him in the league
all-star game, Peninsula’s Jake Cave, who didn’t come close to
matching the numbers that McDonald produced.
was judged the No. 1 prospect in the league, even as he hit just
.326-1-16 for the Pilots. But Cave’s professional upside became
apparent to even the most casual observer shortly after the season
when he received an $825,000 bonus from the New York Yankees. Though
he was that team’s sixth-round pick in this year’s draft, he
received the second-highest bonus paid out by the Yankees.
sweet-swinging Cave also gained notoriety for becoming the first
high-school talent ever to play in the CPL as the league relaxed its
eligibility rules to permit the inclusion of recent high-school
graduates, though no more than two per team. Peninsula was the only
team to take advantage of the amendment, and its roster included
Virginia’s two best high-school prospects for the 2011 draft, Cave
and righthander Deshorn Lake.
a significant two-way talent throughout his high-school career,
actually saw little time at first base for the Pilots, despite his
all-star selection at that position. He was used much more
extensively in the outfield. He also saw limited duty on the mound,
and his emergence as the No. 1 talent in the league marked the third
straight year that a two-way talent from Peninsula held that
lefthander/outfielder Will Lamb was ranked the No. 1 prospect in the
CPL in both 2009 and 2010 on his way to being drafted in the second
round by the Texas Rangers in this year’s draft. Another former
Peninsula player with two-way credentials, Kes Carter, upstaged Lamb
by becoming the first player from the CPL’s 2010 class to be
drafted. He went in the supplemental first round to the Tampa Bay
by Lamb (No. 1) and Carter (No. 3), the top three players on last
year’s list of top Coastal Plain League prospects were the first
three players from the league to be drafted this year. Fayetteville
righthander Carter Capps, ranked No. 2, was a supplemental
third-round pick of the Seattle Mariners.
League Established: 1997.
Represented in League: North
Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia.
of Teams in League: 15.
Champion (best overall record):
Champion: Gastonia Grizzlies.
PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No.
7 Edenton Steamers, No. 35 Fayetteville SwampDogs, No. 46 Forest City
1 Prospect, 2010 (per PG CrossChecker): Will
Lamb, lhp/of, Peninsula Pilots (Clemson; Rangers/2nd round).
2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft:
Kes Carter, of, Peninsula Pilots (Western Kentucky; Rays/supplemental
of the Year: Chase McDonald, 1b,
Morehead City Marlins.
of the Year: Michael Heesch, lhp,
Prospect (as selected by league): None
LEADERS (League games only)
Average: Chase McDonald, 1b,
Morehead City Marlins (.403).
Percentage: Chase McDonald, 1b,
Morehead City Marlins (.663).
Average: Chase McDonald, 1b,
Morehead City Marlins (.469).
Runs: Ryan Mathews, of, Wilson Tobs
Chase McDonald, 1b, Morehead City Marlins (51).
Bases: Ryan Brenner, of, Edenton
LEADERS (League games only)
Derek Brooks, rhp, Fayeytteville SwampDogs (7).
Matt Campbell, rhp, Florence RedWolves (1.19).
Derek Epps, rhp, Gastonia Grizzlies (13).
Brice Riverbark, lhp, Wilson Tobs (81).
Athlete: Adam Matthews, of, Florence
Hitter: Jake Cave, of, Peninsula
Power: Daniel Aldrich, of,
Base Runner: Adam Matthews, of,
Defensive Player: Tim Saunders, ss,
Velocity: Patrick Scoggin, rhp,
Breaking Ball: Shawn Armstrong, rhp,
Morehead City Marlins.
Command: Brooks Fiala, rhp, Edenton
JAKE CAVE, of/lhp, Peninsula Pilots (SIGNED/Yankees)
PROFILE: Cave was acknowledged as
the best talent in Virginia’s 2011 prep crop pretty much throughout
his career at Hampton’s Kecoughtan High, and the only real debate
was whether he had more upside as a hitter or pitcher. Though he
lasted until the sixth round of this year’s draft, that stemmed
more from the uncertainty surrounding his commitment to Louisiana
State, not indecision on the part of big-league clubs on his future
role. The New York Yankees targeted Cave from the start as a hitter
and though they couldn’t sign him right away because his bonus
would be significantly out of line from the slot recommendations of
the commissioner’s office, they endorsed his playing in the Coastal
Plain League for the summer—believing the competition would be
equal, or better, than what he would face in the Rookie-level Gulf
Coast League. The only request the Yankees made of the Peninsula
coaching staff was that they not use Cave in a regular role as a
pitcher, even though his fastball was a steady 92-94 mph during the
spring. Cave hit a robust .621 as a high-school senior, and scored
high marks this summer for his lightning-quick hands, powerful
lefthanded swing and mature approach to hitting. Though his power
wasn’t evident in games, he showed it in BP and drove balls hard to
all fields. Cave still has mechanical flaws in his swing and his
power should evolve as they are corrected. In particular, scouts
noted that his bat didn’t stay in the hitting zone long enough, and
yet he still made consistent, hard contact, which inferred an
extremely keen sense of timing. Cave also needs work on hitting
breaking balls from lefthanders and changeups from righthanders after
striking out at a frequent rate (39 times in 138 at-bats). He is
capable of playing center field and is expected to start his pro
career there, though his speed is not ideal for the position. In all
likelihood, he’ll end up right field, where his powerful arm would
be an asset. Cave also pitched on rare occasion this summer, and
walked nine while striking out 14 in 12 innings. His fastball peaked
at 94. Scouts praise his intense, competitive approach and genuine
love for the game, and his out-style was graphically on display in
his first game in the Yankees farm system, when he hurt his knee
taking out the catcher on a play at the plate, and missed the rest of
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