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Summer Collegiate Team Rankings

Allan Simpson
7/30/2012

Cotuit Capitalizes on Unexpected Success
Of Non-drafted Players to Move to No. 1

The Cape Cod League is typically a haven for future premium-level draft picks, but the Cotuit Kettleers have surged to the top of the standings this summer largely on the strength of some unexpectedly strong performances by players that were passed over in this year’s draft.

Cotuit’s inspired play has been fueled by Michigan outfielder Pat Biondi, who leads the Cape with a .402 batting average; Coastal Carolina righthander Ryan Connolly (6-0, 2.42, 4 SV, 41 IP/46 SO), who shares the Cape League lead in saves and is second in strikeouts; College of Charleston first baseman Daniel Aldrich (.342-7-19), who has launched some of the longest home runs on the Cape this summer; and Washington State third baseman Adam Nelubowich (.304-4-15), one of the steadiest players in the league.

All four of those players were eligible for the 2012 draft; none was selected.

We have no superstars on this team,” said Cotuit manager Mike Roberts. “We just have a bunch of very solid players that like playing with each other. If you want to talk about team baseball, then this is team baseball that we’ve been playing here this summer.”

By riding a current 8-game winning streak and 15 victories in their last 17 games, the Kettleers (23-12) not only extended their lead in the Cape’s Western Division to 6-1/2 games, but also overtook the Harwich Mariners (22-13), the Eastern Division leader, for the best record overall.

In the process, Cotuit has climbed from No. 3 to the No. 1 spot in Perfect Game’s weekly ranking of the nation’s Top 30 summer-league teams, supplanting Harwich, which dropped to No. 2. The Kettleers current win streak includes a win over the Mariners as well as two victories over the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, the nation’s No. 2 team a week ago. Cotuit beat Y-D 1-0 Sunday for its eighth straight win.

Not coincidentally, it has been the performance of some of Cotuit’s more-unheralded players that has pushed the Kettlers to the top of the league and the national rankings.

Biondi and Connolly joined Cotuit this summer after going undrafted as juniors; Aldrich and Nelubowich were passed over as draft-eligible sophomores.

They were all non-drafted players,” Roberts said, “and they’ve really picked up their games considerably this summer. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, I’ve had a bunch of calls from scouts, including three scouting directors, in just the last 24 hours inquiring about them and other players in the same situation.”

While Aldrich, Biondi, Connolly and Nelubowich went undrafted in June and unsigned by the July 13 deadline, all actually remain eligible to sign with big-league clubs before they are scheduled to return to college in August. Under provisions of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, all players that were eligible for the draft in June and went unselected are still eligible to be signed as non-drafted free agents before fall classes begin.

On the strength of his league-leading .400-plus average after hitting just .304 at Michigan in the spring, Biondi is typical of a player that has drawn increased scrutiny from scouts as the summer season has moved along. Aldrich and Nelubowich, who have improved their batting averages this summer by upwards of 50 points while increasing their home-run frequency, have also been targeted as potential last-minute signings.

Connolly has largely duplicated his success from the spring, when he went 5-2, 2.10 with 11 saves for Coastal Carolina, but he may lack the raw stuff to warrant being signed. His ability to post impressive results against superior competition than he faced in the spring, however, has caught the attention of scouts.

He’s been the glue to our pitching staff,” Roberts said. “He may be a little different than most pitchers up here as he comes from somewhere between three-quarters and sidearm, and I’m not even sure I know what kind of pitches he throws. I don’t ask. He just gets people out, both lefthanded hitters and righthanders equally well.”

Led by Cotuit’s quartet of free agents, it is expected that a significant number of college players could end up signing pro contracts over the next 2-3 weeks, particularly after enjoying greater success this summer than in the spring. Scouts are expected to closely scout the Cape and other high-profile summer leagues around the country over the next 2-3 weeks.

Meanwhile, numerous summer college leagues have wrapped up regular league play and are either involved in playoffs or have completed post-season play altogether.

Teams in Perfect Game’s Top 30 are ranked on the following criteria: won-loss record, league dominance, depth and quality of professional-level talent and the overall strength of the league. To receive consideration, teams must have at least a .500 record overall.



RankTeamStLeagueRecord
1Cotuit KettleersMACape Cod League23-12
Surging Kettleers have won 15 of 17, best record on Cape; Michigan OF Pat Biondi (.402-0-14) is league's top hitter, Vanderbilt OF Tony Kemp (.362-2-25, 16 SB) tops in steals, Notre Dame RHP Dan Slania (1-0, 1.82, 8 SV) first in saves
2Harwich MarinersMACape Cod League22-13
Samford duo of OF Phil Ervin (.333-10-26), league HR leader, and RHP C.K. Irby (2-3, 2.61, 2 SV, 21 IP/35 SO) have impressed scouts, while undrafted Missouri State RHP Grant Gordon (1-0, 0.50, 18 IP, 4 BB/26 SO) a stabilizer in pen
3Amsterdam MohawksNYPerfect Game Collegiate Baseball League34-10
Injuries have hit Mohawks, but Kentucky RHP Chandler Shepherd (7-0, 1.31), Auburn RHP Rocky McCord (4-0, 1.71), New Jeresy Tech RHP Mark Leiter (3-0, 1.55) have continued to keep team far ahead in PGCBL standings
4Newport GullsRINew England Collegiate League27-10
Gulls batting .316 as a team; Rutgers C Jeff Melillo (.400-5-29) leads NECBL in hitting, Washington State OF Yale Rosen (.330-12-36), Michigan 1B Brett Winger (.350-3-29), Arizona State OF Kris Coffman (.318-5-33) all swinging hot bats
5Wisconsin WoodchucksSelNorthwoods League36-20
Woodchucks have been rage of NWL in second half with 19-2 record; UCLA OF Eric Filia-Snyder (.409-4-23, 20 SB), Virginia Tech 3B Brendon Hayden (.329-3-38), Arkansas RHP Jackson Lowery (3-0, 3.00, 6 SV, 39 IP/57 SO) key to surge
6Edenton SteamersNCCoastal Plain League34-16
Norfolk State RHP Jordan Egan (2-2, 2.05, 15 SV) continues to lead CPL in saves, while Washington OF Michael Camporeale (.347-8-40) is tops in RBIs, doubles (17), slugging (.620), Indiana State 3B Koby Kraemer (.371-6-24) third in hitting
7San Luis Obispo BluesCACalifornia Collegiate League33-16
Dominant pitching has been key to Blues CCL regular-season title, NBC World Series berth; Texas A&M closer duo of RHPs Corey Ray and Daniel Mengden have combined for 1.74 ERA, 14 SV, 76 SO in 42 IP
8Winchester RoyalsVAValley League33-13
Royals continue to battle No. 12 Waynesboro for supremacy in Valley League; Delaware 3B Jimmy Yezzo (.371-16-58) has contributed to league-best 78 HRs; Southern Arkansas Janson Carr (6-1, 2.54, 57 IP, 6 BB/68 SO) is staff ace
9Santa Barbara ForestersCACalifornia Collegiate League33-14
Foresters primed to repeat as NBC World Series champs behind dominant pitching of Texas State RHP Hunter Lemke (1-0, 1.48, 12 SV), Nebraska RHP Brandon Pierce (4-1, 2.45), Washington RHP Nick Palewicz (4-3, 2.92)
10La Crosse LoggersWINorthwoods League38-18
Long Beach State OF Richard Prigatano (.319-7-34) remains team's offensive leader; Texas A&M-Corpus Christi RHP Jacob Dorris (5-1, 2.60, 45 IP/71 SO), Long Beach State LHP Jake Stassi (4-0, 2.27) have been dominant on mound
11Orleans FirebirdsMACape Cod League21-15
12Waynesboro GeneralsVAValley League34-13
13East Texas PumpjacksTXTexas Collegiate League33-14
14Keene Swamp BatsNHNew England Collegiate League26-12
15Rockville ExpressSelCal Ripken Sr League30-12
16Wenatchee ApplesoxWAWest Coast League29-15
17Yarmouth-Dennis Red SoxMACape Cod League19-17
18Mankato MoonDogsMNNorthwoods League38-18
19Terre Haute RexINProspect League33-20
20Fayetteville SwampdogsNCCoastal Plain League32-18
21Anchorage Glacier PilotsAKAlaska League26-19
22Baltimore RedbirdsMDCal Ripken Sr League29-13
23West Virginia MinersWVProspect League33-17
24Nashua Silver KnightsNHFutures League32-11
25Palm Springs PowerCASouthern California Collegiate League39-7
26Humboldt CrabsCAFar West League34-9
27Hays LarksKSJayhawk League29-11
28Bellingham BellsSelWest Coast League27-17
29Cincinnati SteamOHGreat Lakes League24-15
30San Diego ForceSelWest Coast League35-8

OTHERS RECEIVING CONSIDERATION: Bethesda Big Train / Cal Ripken (26-17); Brazos Valley Bombers / Texas Collegiate (29-20); Chillicothe Paints / Prospect (32-21); Columbia BlowFish / Coastal Plain (30-20); Danbury Westerners / New England Collegiate (22-15); Dodge City A's / Jayhawk (26-16); DuBois County Bombers / Prospect (31-22); Glens Falls Golden Eagles / Perfect Game (25-20); Harrisonburg Turks / Valley (29-17); Kelowna Falcons / West Coast (26-20); Leesburg Lightning / Florida Collegiate (23-15); Liberal Beejays / Jayhawk (27-15); Licking County Settlers / Great Lakes (24-15); Lima Locos / Great Lakes (24-15); Madison Mallards / Northwoods (31-25); Medicine Hat Mavericks / Western Major (31-15); Newark Pilots / Perfect Game (25-19); New Bedford Bay Sox / New England Collegiate (25-16); Quincy Gems / Prospect (31-22); Regina Red Sox / Western Major (34-12); Richmond River Rats / Prospect (28-22); St. Joseph Mustangs / MINK (31-19); Staten Island Tide / Atlantic Collegiate (27-10); Syracuse Jr. Chiefs / New York Collegiate (28-12); Trenton Generals / Atlantic Collegiate (27-11); Willmar Stingers / Northwoods (33-24); Wilmington Sharks / Coastal Plain (29-20).