Summer Collegiate : : Story
Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cape League prospect reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game

Official League Website

League Strength: ****

Cape Cod League top 100 prospects (list)

While it wasn’t readily apparent during much of the 2011 season that the Harwich Mariners had the deepest and most-talented team in the Cape Cod League, that point was driven home in post-season play.

The Mariners got hot at the right time, overcoming a second-place finish in the Eastern Division standings to go 6-1 in the Cape’s three-tiered playoff and sew up their second league title in four years. They beat the Falmouth Commodores 7-5 in the deciding game of the final series to complete a two-game sweep.

Harwich went just 24-19-1 during the regular season, and was ninth in the 10-team league in batting average at .238 and sixth in ERA at 3.35. And yet the Mariners dominate the accompanying list of the league’s 100 best prospects with a total of 17 selections.

So deep was the team’s roster that it was the performance of two players who didn’t even crack the top 100 that pushed the team over the top in the end, though in somewhat of clumsy ways.

Two-way player Jake Davies (Georgia Tech), who had worked just six innings in the regular season, was called on to start the biggest game of the season for the Mariners and their depleted pitching staff. While he didn’t make it out of the second inning after giving up three hits and three walks, Davies allowed just one run, and it was his pivotal run-scoring double in the seventh inning that put Harwich ahead for good. He later came around to score an insurance run.

But Harwich’s run to a title wasn’t without some bottom-of-the-ninth-inning drama as Falmouth loaded the bases with none out against righthander Chris Overman (North Carolina State), who saved only one game for the Mariners in the regular season. Overman managed to get out of the jam unscathed, however, preserving his team’s 7-5 lead and securing a championship.

In the process, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Overman preserved his own remarkable streak of not allowing an earned run all summer on the Cape. He had a perfect 0.00 ERA in 19 regular-season relief appearances covering 28 innings, mostly in a set-up role, and was unscored on in four playoff appearances.

Harwich’s strength all season was its deep, dominant bullpen. The Mariners never had a set closer, but utilized the likes of righthanders Carter Capps (3-1, 0.39, 2 SV) and Overman, both of whom were selected to play in the league all-star game, along with hard-throwing Blake Hauser (Virginia Commonwealth) and Eddie Butler (Radford), in mix-and-match roles to get the job done. Come playoff time, the two North Carolina pitching products were entrusted with different responsibilities and responded admirably.

Capps, a third-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners out of Division II Mt. Olive, was called upon to make his only start of the season and was dominant in a six-inning outing, while Overman was installed as the team’s primary closer and had three saves, including his nail-biter in the deciding contest. Capps signed with the Mariners following his start.

With a fastball that peaked at 97 mph, the best-recorded velocity at the Cape all-star game, Capps factors prominently on the list of the league’s top prospects; with a fastball that hovered at 87-88, Overman does not and profiles as a mid-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Together, as relievers, Capps and Overman contributed as much to Harwich’s success as anyone as the Mariners didn’t have a player who ranked among the league’s top 18 hitters, or a starting pitcher who won more than two games or had enough innings to even qualify among the league ERA leaders.

Most of Harwich’s better prospects, in truth, made only marginal contributions to the team’s success, with several playing an abbreviated schedule, though their raw talent was not lost on the large volume of scouts who frequent the Cape Cod League each summer.

Harwich’s top prospect, Stanford outfielder Austin Wilson, hit just .204-1-13. Two Louisiana State products, righthander Kevin Gausman and infielder Jacoby Jones, ranked 2-3, even though Gausman made just two appearances and Jones garnered just 47 at-bats while hitting a meager .234-0-5. All are rising college sophomores and the professional upside of all three players is unmistakable.

There wasn’t a player in the league with a more athletic, more projectable frame than the gifted 6-foot-4, 235-pound Wilson; or threw consistently harder than Gausman, or had more potential five-tool ability than Jones. Gausman’s season was interrupted by his tour of duty with USA Baseball’s college national team, while it’s just going to take time for the manifesting talent in Wilson and Jones to rise to the surface.

Overall, the talent level on the Cape was considered slightly down from past years. That was most evident in the modest crop of starting pitchers. If anything, there was a nice assortment of power bats and relievers with power arms.

Many of those players did not play a full season on the Cape, however, either because of injury, or due to their college team’s participation in the College World Series that cut deeply into the first-half schedule, or their own participation with Team USA’s college national team, whose schedule carved into the middle portion of the Cape season and led to several top prospects electing to shut it down for the balance of the summer.

The league all-star game, played in late July, graphically pointed out the disjointed state of the Cape Cod League this season. A premium was placed on performance to date in the selection of players to participate in the contest, rather than an attempt on the part of the league to identify the best projectable talent available.

Consequently, only four of the top 16 prospects listed below made their way into the contest. In somewhat of a curious irony, there may have been more raw talent in the impressive array of players who were chosen to participate only in the one-dimensional league Home Run Derby (Wilson, Chatham’s Richie Shaffer, Hyannis’ Adam Brett Walker specifically) than there was among the position players who played in the game itself.

With Harwich not always playing consistently well during the course of the season and its depth of talent perhaps not being so readily apparent at the time, the team that grabbed most of the limelight during the regular season was the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, who brought up the rear in the Cape in each of the last two seasons with a combined 30 wins. The Hawks nearly duplicated that victory total in 2011 alone with 29, but were promptly bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

In somewhat of a parallel, but reverse scenario, the Cotuit Kettleers won the league championship a year ago and promptly fell on hard times this season by not even qualifying as one of eight teams that made the Cape’s 10-team playoff field.

Cotuit still had the Cape League’s best overall prospect in shortstop Deven Marrero (Arizona State), whose season was compromised in the middle by his appearance with Team USA and at the end by a disabling hand injury after he was hit by a pitch.

The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox also struggled to keep their head above water in the regular season and quickly bit the dust in the playoffs, despite the presence of the league’s best pitching prospect in righthander Mark Appel. Another Team USA invitee, his Cape season was limited to two regular-season appearances and one superior playoff outing.

Led by the slick-fielding Marrero and hard-throwing Appel, Cotuit and Yarmouth-Dennis each had four prospects ranked among the league’s top 14. By contrast, the first Hyannis prospect recognized was the power-hitting Walker, at No. 15 overall—somewhat surprising considering the team’s wire-to-wire run in the regular season.

But in the somewhat unpredictable and often-misunderstood world of summer college baseball, where prospect rankings can vary greatly from on-field success, Harwich at least lent some sense of normalcy to the equation by winning a championship with the league’s most-talented team.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Massachusetts.
No. of Teams in League: 10.
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Post-Season Champion: Harwich Mariners.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 3 Harwich Mariners; No. 8 Hyannis Harbor Hawks; No. 17 Orleans Firebirds; No. 21 Wareham Gatemen; No. 39 Bourne Braves.
No. 1 Prospect, 2010 (per PG CrossChecker): George Springer, of, Wareham Gatemen (Connecticut; Astros/1st round, 11th pick).
First 2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft: George Springer, of, Wareham Gatemen (Connecticut; Astros/1st round, 11th pick).

Most Valuable Player:
Travis Jankowski, of, Bourne Braves.
Outstanding Pitcher: Ryan Eades, rhp, Bourne Braves.
Top Prospect (as selected by league): Victor Roache, of, Cotuit Kettleers.

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Steve Piscotty, 1b/3b, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (.349).
Slugging Percentage: James Ramsey, of, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (.571).
On-Base Average: Victor Roache, of, Cotuit Kettleers (.457).
Home Runs: D.J. Hicks, 1b, Bourne Braves (7).
RBIs: Dane Phillips, c, Chatham Anglers (34).
Stolen Bases: Kyle Wren, of, Cotuit Kettleers (18).

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Several tied at 4.
ERA: Scott Firth, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (1.15).
Saves: Trevor Gott, rhp, Orleans Firebirds; Konnor Wade, rhp, Wareham Gatemen (12).
Opponent Batting Average: Justin Amlung, rhp, Wareham Gatemen (.153).
Strikeouts: Joe Bircher, lhp, Falmouth Commodores (48).


Best Athlete: 1.
Austin Wilson, of, Harwich Mariners; 2. Brandon Thomas, of, Wareham Gatemen; 3. Adam Brett Walker, of, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 4. Jake Stewart, of, Orleans Firebirds; 5. Josh Conway, rhp/3b, Bourne Braves.
Best Hitter: 1. Steve Piscotty, 1b/3b, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox; 2. Mike Zunino, c, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox; 3. Jason Monda, of, Brewster Whitecaps; 4. Dane Phillips, c, Chatham Anglers; 5. Travis Jankowski, of, Bourne Braves.
Best Power: 1. Austin Wilson, of, Harwich Mariners; 2. Victor Roache, of, Cotuit Kettleers; 3. Adam Brett Walker, 1b/of, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 4. Richie Schaffer, 1b/3b, Chatham Anglers; 5. Kris Bryant, 1b/3b, Chatham Anglers.
Fastest Base Runner: 1. Krey Bratsen, of, Cotuit Kettleers; 2. Andrew Toles, of, Brewster Whitecaps; 3. Brandon Thomas, of, Wareham Gatemen; 4. Travis Jankowski, of, Bourne Braves; 5. Joey Rickard, of, Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Best Defensive Player: CATCHER—Jack Marder, Falmouth Commodores. INFIELDER—Deven Marrero, ss, Cotuit Kettleers. OUTFIELDER—Andrew Aplin, Orleans Firebirds.
Best Arm: CATCHER—Mike Zunino, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. INFIELDER—Deven Marrero, ss, Cotuit Kettleers. OUTFIELDER—Austin Wilson, Harwich Mariners.
Best Velocity: 1. Mark Appel, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox; 2. Marcus Stroman, rhp, Orleans Firebirds; 3. Carter Capps, rhp, Harwich Mariners; 4. Bobby Wahl, rhp, Cotuit Kettleers; 5. Kevin Gausman, rhp, Harwich Mariners.
Best Breaking Ball/Off-Speed Pitch: SLIDER—1. Matt Simms, rhp, Falmouth Commodores; 2. Marcus Stroman, rhp, Orleans Firebirds; 3. Blake Hauser, rhp, Harwich Mariners. CURVEBALL—1. J.T. Chargois, lhp, Brewster Whitecaps; 2. Daniel Langfield, rhp, Brewster Whitecaps; 3. Jack Amstrong, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. CHANGEUP—1. Chris Beck, rhp, Cotuit Kettleers; 2. Dominic Leone, rhp, Chatham Anglers; 3. R.J. Alvarez, rhp, Bourne Braves.
Best Command: 1. Marcus Stroman, rhp, Orleans Firebirds; 2. Ryan Eades, rhp, Bourne Braves; 3. Josh Turley, lhp, Wareham Gatemen; 4. Andrew Heaney, lhp, Falmouth Commodores; 5. Taylor Rogers, lhp, Harwich Mariners.


1. DEVEN MARRERO, ss, Cotuit Kettleers (Arizona State/JR in 2012)
SCOUTING PROFILE: Marrero is a superior prospect in all phases of his game, and a leading candidate to be the first player drafted in 2012. The one area where he truly stands out is on defense, and he is in a league of his own as a college shortstop. Scouts say he is ready-made to play defensively in the big leagues, and have little reservation in extolling him as a future Gold-Glover. Marrero has exceptional rhythm in the field, no matter what the play or where a throw originates. He has a knack for instinctively reading ground balls and getting his glove into the right position, regardless of the hop, and is also adept at shifting his feet to make a throw from any angle. His arm is both strong and extremely accurate, and he excels at making plays from the hole. If anything, he can make shortstop look a little too easy, at times, and will lose focus occasionally and overcharge some balls, which accounted for most of the nine errors he committed in the 12 games he played this summer for Cotuit. While his ability to play shortstop has never been questioned, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Marrero continues to open eyes with his bat. He hit .326-0-5 in his brief time on the Cape, which he did in two instalments sandwiched around his tenure as the starting shortstop for USA Baseball’s college national team, where he hit .322-0-14, and led that squad in hits, doubles, RBIs and stolen bases. In contrast to his summer showing at the plate, Marrero hit .315-2-20 with the new BBCOR bats during his sophomore year at Arizona State, and scouts may have already come to the conclusion that he is one of those players who is a better hitter with wood. He has excellent hitter’s hands, and the bat speed to turn around a high-velocity fastball. His best attribute as a hitter, though, is his ability to drive balls sharply to the opposite field. He also has sound strike-zone management. The area where Marrero showed his greatest improvement this summer came in his base running. He has average speed but emerged as an above-average base stealer because of his superior instincts. Marrero was one of the top prospects in the Cape Cod League a year ago, when he hit .306-1-17, and his reputation as the league’s best talent carried over to this summer, to a degree, as his time in the league was too limited for scouts to get an extended look at him to be convinced he was the league’s No. 1 prospect. Not only did Marrero take three weeks out to join Team USA, but he missed the final week of the Cape season when he was hit by a pitch and suffered a badly bruised left hand.

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