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.

1 Cotuit Kettleers MA Cape Cod League 7-3
2 Brazos Valley Bombers TX Texas Collegiate League 19-3
3 Edenton Steamers NC Coastal Plain League 16-5
4 Harwich Mariners MA Cape Cod League 6-3
5 San Luis Obispo Blues CA California Collegiate League 20-5
6 Lakeshore Chinooks WI Northwoods League 17-8
7 Anchorage Bucs AK Alaska League 10-1
8 Southern Ohio Copperheads OH Great Lakes League 13-3
9 Hays Larks KS Jayhawk League 14-3
10 Chatham Anglers MA Cape Cod League 6-4
11 Victoria Harbour Cats BC West Coast League 10-4
12 Waterloo Bucks IA Northwoods League 18-7
13 Albany Dutchmen NY Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League 10-3
14 Vermont Mountaineers VT New England Collegiate League 9-3
15 Quincy Gems IL Prospect League 14-6
16 Bethesda Big Train MD Cal Ripken Sr League 10-3
17 Hyannis Harbor Hawks MA Cape Cod League 6-3
18 Newport Gulls RI New England Collegiate League 8-3
19 Woodstock River Bandits VA Valley League 11-3
20 Willmar Stingers MN Northwoods League 17-9
21 North Shore Navigators MA Futures League 7-2
22 Orleans Firebirds MA Cape Cod League 5-4
23 Bend Elks OR West Coast League 12-6
24 Falmouth Commodores MA Cape Cod League 6-4
25 Harrisonburg Turks VA Valley League 11-5
26 Laconia Muskrats NH New England Collegiate League 8-3
27 Asheboro Copperheads NC Coastal Plain League 13-7
28 Palm Springs Power CA Southern California Collegiate League 17-1
29 Top Speed Baseball CA Far West League 18-2
30 L.A. Brewers CA California Collegiate League 10-3

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
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