Summer Collegiate Team Rankings

Allan Simpson

Cotuit Picks Up on 2012 Slip, Moves to Top of PG Rankings

The Cotuit Kettleers were ranked first on Perfect Game’s list of the nation’s top summer college league teams at the conclusion of regular-season play a year ago, but failed to close the deal by getting bounced in the first round of the Cape Cod League playoffs.

Fast forward to 2013, and the Kettleers again find themselves atop PG‘s weekly ranking of the nation’s top summer clubs. Through 10 games, Cotuit is 7-3, and has replaced another Cape team at the top of the heap. The Chatham Anglers (6-4) ranked No. 1 a week ago, but slipped to No. 10 after losing four straight games.

Cotuit’s rise to the top of the rankings is somewhat surprising, considering the team has been besieged by defections to USA Baseball’s college national team, injuries and several projected top arms being shut down for the summer by their college programs.

Righthanders Tyle Beede (Vanderbilt) and Daniel Mengden (Texas A&M), both tabbed as first-rounders a year from now, were lost to the national team before the Cape season started, and the Kettleers suffered another major blow when outfielder Brad Zimmer (San Francisco), the best everyday prospect on this year’s Cotuit club and another possible first-rounder in next year’s draft, left after seven games to join Team USA.

Zimmer is the younger brother of ex-USF righthander Kyle Zimmer, a relative unknown who blossomed into the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft after a breakout 2011 summer season for Cotuit.

Zimmer’s unexpected departure came on the heels of the Kettleers losing catcher Aramis Garcia (Florida International), who was expected to be the best catching prospect this summer on the Cape. After catching every inning of every inning for FIU this spring, Garcia almost immediately complained of a sore knee after joining Cotuit, and left the Kettleers after playing in just one game this summer. He was the Kettleers’ No. 1 catcher last summer.

Additionally, the Kettleers have been forced to plug on without the services of righthanders Jordan Ramsey (East Carolina), Carson Fulmer (Vanderbilt), Dusty Isaacs (Georgia Tech) and Wyatt Strahan (Southern California)—all potential rotation pitchers who were shut down for the summer before even joining Cotuit. Fulmer, a freshman righthander, injured an eye in a freak training accident during NCAA regional play, while the others were simply shut down after enduring heavy workloads in the spring.

Obviously, all has not been lost this summer for the Keyttleers, who managed to pick up a number of key replacements, including the likes of Seton Hill (Pa.) lefthander Alex Haines, the top prospect in the New England Collegiate League last summer. Haines, a 6-foot-4 lefthander, was expected to be an early-round pick in this year’s draft, but had a mediocre junior season and lasted all the way to the 33
rd round, where he was finally taken by the Colorado Rockies.

Haines’ afterthought status in the draft made him available to the Kettleers, at least to start the 2013 summer season, and he responded in the early going by leading the Cape with 14 strikeouts. He also had not allowed an earned run or walked a batter in his first two starts, spanning nine innings.

The Kettleers also managed to secure the services of several other players at the last minute who have been factors in the early going. None may have contributed more to the team’s success than righthander/first baseman Mike Ford (Princeton), a holdover player from 2012 who led the team in batting at .429, and also was 1-0, 1.92 in five innings on the mound.

I’ve lost a bundle so far,” Cotuit coach Mike Roberts lamented, “but I’ve also really been blessed with some of the replacement players that we’ve managed to pick up. We’ll just have to see if we can stay healthy the rest of the way, and keep playing well.”

Brazos Valley Holds At No. 2

Led by Cotuit and Chatham, a total of six teams from the Cape Cod League occupy spots in Perfect Game’s second Top 30 ranking of the 2013 season. Conceivably more teams from that league, regarded as the nation’s strongest, could be ranked except that a team must have at least a .500 record overall to receive consideration. One Cape team definitely on the outside looking in so far is defending champion Wareham, which lost eight of its first nine games this season.

Meanwhile, the Texas Collegiate League’s Brazos Valley Bombers continue to occupy the No. 2 spot in PG’s Top 30.

The Bombers (19-3) have gotten productive 2013 seasons at the plate from Lubbock Christian (Texas) outfielder Brett Kauten, the NAIA leader in home runs this spring, and two Texas junior-college products, infielders Patrick McLendon (.357-2-16) and G.R. Hinsley (.289-2-17), both of whom are moving on to Texas A&M in the fall. The Bombers have also gotten solid performances from three starters, Middle Tennessee State lefthander Zac Curtis (3-0, 0.49), Oral Roberts righthander Guillermo Trujillo (2-1, 1.92) and Trinity (Texas) lefthander Michael Walker (4-0, 0.63).

Teams 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.

1Cotuit KettleersMACape Cod League7-3
2Brazos Valley BombersTXTexas Collegiate League19-3
3Edenton SteamersNCCoastal Plain League16-5
4Harwich MarinersMACape Cod League6-3
5San Luis Obispo BluesCACalifornia Collegiate League20-5
6Lakeshore ChinooksWINorthwoods League17-8
7Anchorage BucsAKAlaska League10-1
8Southern Ohio CopperheadsOHGreat Lakes League13-3
9Hays LarksKSJayhawk League14-3
10Chatham AnglersMACape Cod League6-4
11Victoria Harbour CatsBCWest Coast League10-4
12Waterloo BucksIANorthwoods League18-7
13Albany DutchmenNYPerfect Game Collegiate Baseball League10-3
14Vermont MountaineersVTNew England Collegiate League9-3
15Quincy GemsILProspect League14-6
16Bethesda Big TrainMDCal Ripken Sr League10-3
17Hyannis Harbor HawksMACape Cod League6-3
18Newport GullsRINew England Collegiate League8-3
19Woodstock River BanditsVAValley League11-3
20Willmar StingersMNNorthwoods League17-9
21North Shore NavigatorsMAFutures League7-2
22Orleans FirebirdsMACape Cod League5-4
23Bend ElksORWest Coast League12-6
24Falmouth CommodoresMACape Cod League6-4
25Harrisonburg TurksVAValley League11-5
26Laconia MuskratsNHNew England Collegiate League8-3
27Asheboro CopperheadsNCCoastal Plain League13-7
28Palm Springs PowerCASouthern California Collegiate League17-1
29Top Speed BaseballCAFar West League18-2
30L.A. BrewersCACalifornia Collegiate League10-3

OTHERS RECEIVING CONSIDERATION (Alphabetical): Chillicothe Paints, Cooperstown Hawkeyes, Fayetteville Swampdogs, Florence RedWolves, Glens Falls Golden Eagles, Humboldt Crabs, Klamath Falls Gems, La Crosse Loggers, Licking County Settlers, Lima Locos, Long Beach Legends, Madison Mallards, Mat-Su Miners, Medicine Hat Mavericks, Mystic Schooners, Nashua Silver Knights, Nevada Griffons, New Market Rebels, Okotoks Dawgs, Olean Oilers, Rochester Honkers, Santa Barbara Foresters, Shelter Island Bucks, Staunton Braves, Terre Haute Rex, Trenton Generals, Winter Park Diamond Dawgs