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Summer Collegiate : : Story
Cape Cod League prospect reports
Frankie Piliere        
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013


Official League Website: 
www.capecodbaseball.org
2013 Summer Collegiate Top Prospect coverage
Cape Cod League Top Prospect list (free)


It was business as usual on the Cape in 2013, another year, another stellar crop of future high round draft selections. There are at least a dozen players from around the league that could find themselves among the first 30 players taken in the 2014 MLB Draft, and many more with the same hopes for the 2015 draft.

The offensive explosion and barrage of home runs in 2012 proved to thankfully be an anomaly, as the league acted swiftly to rectify what was a very real juiced ball situation a year ago. Pitchers, as they historically always have on the Cape, took back control of the league. There were widespread instances of outstanding pitching performances on a day-to-day basis, and for the second year in a row, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks laid claim to the league’s undoubted top pitching prospect. In 2012, Sean Manaea took the league by storm, and in 2013, it was ECU’s Jeff Hoffman returning to Hyannis for a 4 start engagement in July.

Despite the deflated offensive statistics, the Cape was still home to a bevy of high level offensive prospects as well. Max Pentecost’s MVP campaign was one of the best ever by a catcher on the Cape, and underclassman like Ian Happ gave us a taste of players the league will feature in 2014. When you look up and down this list, you could actually make the case that 2013 was one of the league’s deepest crops of offensive talent in recent memory.

Something the Cape will always benefit from is a player’s simple desire to play there. If they’ve played there as a freshman, there’s usually a desire to return. One of the best stories from around the league this summer centers around Indiana catcher, Kyle Schwarber. The slugger spent a large chunk of the summer with the Team USA Collegiate National Team, and when his run there ended, the logical move would have been for him to pack his bags and head for home. Instead, Schwarber plotted a direct path for Cape Cod to join the Wareham Gatemen.

Wareham suffered through a trying season in 2013, losing a number of their star players to everything for innings limits to illness for large portions or the entire summer. The Gatemen owned, far and away, the league’s worst record upon Schwarber’s arrival on July 25th and had nothing tangible to play for. But, Schwarber, without hesitation, returned to them anyway after enjoying his 2012 experience in the league and with the Wareham coaching staff.

A similar story could be told for Jeff Hoffman, who opted against a spot on Team USA in favor of a return stint on the Cape following a positive experience in Hyannis as a freshman. The Cape Cod League is not just good at attracting the nation’s best players, but it gives them the player experience that brings them back. And, that’s a credit to the coaches, and the league as a whole. Even if it is for limited engagements, players like Schwarber, Brandon Finnegan, and Hoffman, make time on their schedules for playing on the Cape.

Those limited engagements do create a revolving door of players at times, however. And, what Cape League teams did as well or better in 2013 than any year in recent memory was continue to bring in quality players, just as they lost players to inning limits or injuries.

Take one look at the league champion, Cotuit Kettleers and you’ll get an idea of the work it takes to keep a team viable in this competitive league. All told, 27 different pitchers took the mound for Cotuit in 2013, and 26 different position players had at least one at-bat. The ability of these teams to continue to roll out the highest level of talent, even while being exceptionally accommodating to the wishes of college programs when it comes to player limitations, is just one of many reasons the Cape is still very much on the top of the summer collegiate heap.



FAST FACTS

Year League Established:
1885
States Represented in League:Massachusetts
No. of Teams in League:10 (10 in 2012)
Best overall record:EAST– Chatham Anglers (26-17). WEST– Falmouth Commodores (26-18)
Post-Season Champion: Cotuit Kettleers
Teams, Perfect Game Summer 50/Final Ranking:No. 2 Cotuit Kettleers, No. 5 Chatham Anglers, No.7 Falmouth Commodores No. 11 Orleans Firebirds, No. 20 Hyannis Harbor Hawks, No. 32 Harwich Mariners, No. 42 Bourne Braves
No. 1 Prospect, 2012 (per PG CrossChecker): Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (Indiana State)
First 2012 Player Selected, 2013 Draft:Colin Moran, 3b, Bourne Braves (UNC; Marlins/1st round, 6th overall)

Most Valuable Player:
Max Pentecost, c, Bourne Braves (Kennesaw State)
Outstanding Pitcher:Lukas Schiraldi, rhp, Chatham Anglers (Texas)
Top Prospect (as selected by league): Jeff Hoffman, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (East Carolina)

BATTING LEADERS

Batting Average:
Kevin Newman, mif, Falmouth Commodores (.375)
Slugging Percentage:Dylan Davis, of, Falmouth Commodores (.567)
On-Base Average:Derek Fisher, of, Harwich Mariners (.453)
Home Runs:Casey Gillaspie, 1b, Falmouth Commodores (8)
RBIs:Rhys Hoskins, of, Falmouth Commodores (37)
Stolen Bases: Scott Heineman, of, Brewster Whitecaps (24)

PITCHING LEADERS

Wins:
4 tied at 5
ERA:Lukas Schiraldi, rhp, Chatham Anglers (1.20)
Saves:Matt Troupe, rhp, Orleans Firebirds (11)
Strikeouts:Kyle Freeland, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (79)

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete: 1.
Tanner English, of, Harwich Mariners; 2. Brian Anderson, of, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 3. Rhett Wiseman, of, Cotuit Kettleers; 4. Greg Allen, of, Orleans Firebirds; 5. Jake Fincher, of, Cotuit Kettleers

Best Hitter:
1. Derek Fisher, of, Harwich Mariners; 2. Kyle Schwarber, c/1b, Wareham Gatemen; 3. Max Pentecost, c, Bourne Braves; 4. Ian Happ, 2b, Harwich Mariners; 5. Brad Zimmer, of, Cotuit Kettleers

Best Power:
1. Kyle Schwarber, c/1b, Wareham Gatemen; 2. Casey Gillaspie, 1b, Falmouth Commodores; 3. Kevin Cron, 1b, Falmouth Commodores; 4. Yale Rosen, 1b, Cotuit Kettleers; 5. Dylan Davis, of, Falmouth Commodores

Fastest Base Runner:
1. Aaron Barbosa, of, Harwich Mariners; 2. Greg Allen, of, San Diego State; 3. Tanner English, of, Harwich Mariners; 4. Landon Curry, of, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 5. Ian Happ, 2b, Harwich Mariners

Best Defensive Player:
CATCHER - Will Remillard, Cotuit Kettleers
INFIELDER- Alex Blandino, ss, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
OUTFIELDER- Greg Allen, of, Orleans Firebirds

Best Arm:
CATCHER - Will Remillard, Cotuit Kettleers
INFIELDER- Alex Blandino, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
OUTFIELDER- Tanner English, Harwich Mariners

Best Velocity:
1. Jeff Hoffman, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 2. Mason McCullough, rhp, Harwich Mariners; 3. Dylan Davis, rhp, Falmouth Commodores; 4. Sam Coonrod, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox; 5. Brandon Finnegan, lhp, Falmouth Commodore

Best Breaking Ball/Off-Speed:
CURVEBALL- 1. Jeff Hoffman, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 2. Chandler Shepherd, rhp, Harwich Mariners; 3. Dillon Peters, lhp, Harwich Mariners
SLIDER - 1. Kyle Freeland, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; Brandon Finnegan, lhp, Falmouth Commodores; 3. Erick Fedde, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
CHANGEUP - 1. Chris Ellis, rhp, Cotuit Kettleers;2. Jeff Hoffman, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 3. Jaron Long, rhp, Bourne Braves

Best Command:
1. Dillon Peters, lhp, Harwich Mariners; 2. Kyle Freeland, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 3. Jaron Long, rhp, Bourne Braves


TOP 100 PROSPECTS

1. JEFF HOFFMAN, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (East Carolina, JR in 2014)
If you had to plot a graph of Jeff Hoffman’s career in the last three years, you might notice a very steep slope in the upward direction. Hoffman defines the term late bloomer, as he was noted as a draftable talent until very late in his high school career. There were scouts and teams laying in the weeds on his blossoming talent at that time, but it’s hard to think that many could have projected what he’d become less than three years later. What Hoffman is now is a bonafide candidate not just to become a first rounder next June, but to potentially be the first player taken in the MLB Draft. Hoffman made a coincidentally extravagant and highly anticipated 2013 Cape debut on the 4th of July for Hyannis in front of an enormous holiday crowd and a packed house of scouting directors and crosscheckers. Six dominant innings later, it was clear how much the 6-4 righthander had progressed. After a hiccup in which his command betrayed him and a talented Falmouth lineup made him pay for it, Hoffman finished his summer with two electric outings against Orleans and Chatham, his stuff seeming to improve with each outing. In those final two outings, Hoffman lived consistently between 94-97 mph, topping routinely at 98, showing big late two-seam action when down in the zone. It’s difficult to peg one pitch as Hoffman’s best, but it would be difficult to argue with his curveball, which is a 65 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale, and has hard, late 11-5 action at 80-84 mph. Perhaps the biggest difference for him, though, was the changeup, which now flashed above average potential. Thrown between 85-88 mph, Hoffman drops his arm action ever so slightly on this pitch, but it shows good fading actions and he located it very well against lefty batters. He proved willing to throw first pitch changeups, or even go back to back, and then finish hitters with his explosive fastball. In terms of his delivery and arm action, there’s nothing to worry about there for Hoffman. It’s a clean, repeatable, athletic delivery with possibly unmatched arm speed in the draft class. He’ll need to be careful of tipping his changeup, but other than simply being consistent, you’d be hard pressed to find physical glaring weaknesses in Hoffman’s game. And, his thin, young build also leads many scouts to believe that he is still just scratching the surface of his front of the rotation potential.

2. MAX PENTECOST, c, Bourne Braves (Kennesaw State, JR in 2014)
You’d be hard pressed to find a better summer by a catcher in the history of the Cape Cod Baseball League than the one Pentecost had in 2013. The league’s most consistent offensive force, Pentecost compiled a .346 average and hit 6 home runs in 130 AB. On July 10th in an extra inning contest, Pentecost reached base 7 times in as many at-bats, going 5-5 with 2 home runs, 2 walks and a drag bunt base hit. He was disciplined and consistently put together quality at-bats night after night. And, as that drag bunt might indicate, the 6-1/190 backstop is also a step above average runner down the line. Pentecost also appears to now be well beyond the injury issues that contributed to him not signing with the Texas Rangers as a 7th round pick out of high school. He’s made tremendous strides behind the plate and had one of the league’s best throwing arms. His reputation should not just be as an offensive catcher - his defensive will not be an issue for him at the next level. Pentecost has also gotten significantly stronger in the past year, adding more power to his game, after hitting just 3 home runs in 2013 at Kennesaw State. Scouts love to talk about his outstanding hand speed at the plate, and how easily the ball jumps off his bat. His relaxed, balanced approach as well as that good bat speed should allow him to be a high average professional hitter with 20 home run type power.

3. BRANDON FINNEGAN, lhp, Falmouth Commodores (TCU, JR in 2014)
The Commodores knew they weren’t going to get a full summer of Finnegan, but were more than happy to take two starts of him before he suited up for Team USA. To no one’s surprise, Finnegan’s stuff did not disappoint. He threw only 7 1/3 innings for Falmouth, but struck out 10 batters in that span while walking only 2. His fastball worked consistently at 93-95 mph, and we know he is capable of consistently hitting upwards of 97-98 mph. His plus breaking ball is a true swing and miss offering - and, the only real knock against Finnegan is his size. At 5-11/184, he doesn’t have the typical size of a big league starter, but all of the others traits are there. He pitches aggressively, has an intense mound demeanor, and clearly has two knockout pitches to miss bats at the next level.



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