Summer Collegiate : : Story
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cape Cod Prospect Reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Hyannis Harbor Hawks
Official League Website
Cape Cod League top 100 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage

A juiced baseball that led to a dramatic increase in home runs was the No. 1 storyline in summer-college baseball in 2012, and nowhere was the surge more impactful than in the Cape Cod League, the nation’s showcase summer circuit.

A total of 382 home runs were hit in the Cape during the regular season, more than the two previous seasons combined. In 2011, just 159 home runs were hit by Cape players; in 2010, 158.

Harwich broke the existing Cape single-season record of 59 (set in 1981 by Orleans during the league’s aluminum-bat era) by clubbing 64. With eight homers in his first 15 games, Mariners outfielder Phil Ervin (Samford) eclipsed the season-long total of the home-run leader in both of the last two seasons.

Every team in the league saw a dramatic increase in home-run production with the exception of Chatham, which led the Cape with 24 in 2011. The Anglers still managed to top that total with 26, but that figure was the lowest in the league this summer.

League champion Wareham improved from six home runs in 2011 to 51 this season, and slugged 15 more in seven playoff games. Appropriately, the Gatemen won the Cape League title in dramatic fashion by homering twice in the ninth inning to overcome a 5-2 deficit, only to launch two more home runs in the 10th inning of an improbable 8-6 win over Yarmouth-Dennis in the third and deciding game of the championship series.

No game may have symbolized the Cape’s wacky, home-run filled season more than the final one, with the two teams combing for eight homers. Wareham outfielder Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) earned playoff MVP honors by launching two dramatic homers—the first leading off the ninth inning, the second a game-winning, two-run blast an inning later.

Another Gatemen outfielder, Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech), tied the league’s wood-bat record of 16 home runs and smacked two more long balls in the post-season, including a second homer to complement Schwarber’s shot in the fateful 10
th inning of the title clincher.

Wareham won the championship, despite posting a sub-.500 record (21-23) in the regular season. The Gatemen simply got hot at the right time, winning six of seven playoffs contests, with an unprecedented barrage of home runs turning the tide.

The opposite fate befell the Cotuit Kettleers, who dominated the Cape Cod League during the regular season with a 30-14 record, only to lose in the opening round of the league’s eight-team playoff. For their part in the league’s assault on offense, the Kettleers produced the top three hitters in the Cape in outfielders Pat Biondi (.388), Daniel Aldrich (.350) and Tony Kemp (.343).

Harwich, the defending league champion, was the scourge of the Cape Cod League for much of the 2012 season, and ended up placing more players (15) than any other club on the accompanying list of the league’s top 100 prospects, including four players in the top 15 that contributed significantly to the team’s record home-run total. Like Cotuit, though, the Mariners bowed out of the playoffs in quick fashion.

Against the backdrop of one of the most-exciting, yet most-bizarre offensive seasons in the Cape’s long history was, ironically, one of the most-dominating pitching performances the league has ever witnessed. Hyannis lefthander Sean Manaea was practically immune from all the bluster going on around him as he posted a 5-1, 1.22 record, while walking just seven and striking out a league-high 85 in 52 innings. Perhaps most amazing, opponents batted just .119 off him—far and away the best mark in the league.

Manaea’s performance was so dominating that he not only zoomed to the top of the Cape League’s list of top prospects for 2012, but may have become the early favorite to be the first player drafted in 2013.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Massachusetts.
No. of Teams in League: 10 (10 in 2011).
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): EAST—Harwich Mariners (27-16-1); WEST—Cotuit Kettleers (30-14).
Post-Season Champion: Wareham Gatemen.
Teams, PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 5 Cotuit Kettleers; No. 8 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox; No. 10 Harwich Mariners; No. 12 Wareham Gatemen; No. 22 Orleans Firebirds.

No. 1 Prospect, 2011 (per PG CrossChecker):
Deven Marrero, ss, Cotuit Kettleers (Arizona State; Red Sox/1st round, 24th pick).
First 2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft: Mike Zunino, c, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (Florida; Mariners/1st round, 3rd pick).

Most Valuable Player:
Phil Ervin, of, Harwich Mariners.
Outstanding Pitcher: Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Top Prospect (as selected by league): Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks.

BATTING LEADERS (League games only)

Batting Average:
Pat Biondi, of, Cotuit Kettleers (.388).
Slugging Percentage: Tyler Horan, of, Wareham Gatemen (.717).
On-Base Average: Tony Kemp, 2b/of, Cotuit Kettleers (.489).
Home Runs: Tyler Horan, of, Wareham Gatemen (16).
RBIs: Colin Moran, 3b, Bourne Braves (42).
Stolen Bases: Tony Kemp, 2b/of, Cotuit Kettleers (18).

PITCHING LEADERS (League games only)

Ryan Connelly, rhp, Cotuit Kettleers (8).
ERA: Aaron Blair, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (1.17).
Saves: Dan Slania, rhp, Cotuit Kettleers (10).
Opponent Batting Average: Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (.119).
Strikeouts: Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (85).


Best Athlete: 1.
Austin Wilson, of, Harwich Mariners; 2. Aaron Judge, of, Brewster Whitecaps; 3. Jacoby Jones, of/2b, Harwich Mariners; 4. Jacob May, of/2b, Cotuit Kettleers; 5. Dale Carey, of, Chatham Anglers.

Best Hitter:
1. Colin Moran, 3b, Bourne Braves; 2. Conrad Gregor, 1b, Orleans Firebirds; 3. D.J. Peterson, 3b, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 4. Phil Ervin, of, Harwich Mariners; 5. Eric Jagielo, 3b, Harwich Mariners.

Best Power:
1. Austin Wilson, of, Harwich Mariners; 2. Daniel Aldrich, of, Cotuit Kettleers; 3. Aaron Judge, of, Brewster Whitecaps; 4. Tyler Horan, of, Wareham Gatemen; 5. Brian Ragira, 1b, Harwich Mariners.

Fastest Base Runner:
1. Jacob May, of/2b, Cotuit Kettleers; 2. Michael O’Neill, of, Falmouth Commodores; 3. Tony Kemp, of/2b, Cotuit Kettleers; 4. Dominic Jose, of, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 5. Jacoby Jones, of/2b, Harwich Mariners.

Best Defensive Player:
CATCHER—Tyler Ross, Wareham Gatemen. INFIELDER—Chad Pinder, 3b, Chatham Anglers. OUTFIELDER—Pat Biondi, Cotuit Kettleers.

Best Arm: CATCHER—
Aramis Garcia, Cotuit Kettleers. INFIELDER—Jacoby Jones, Harwich Mariners. OUTFIELDER—Austin Wilson, Harwich Mariners.

Best Velocity:
1. Nick Burdi, rhp, Chatham Anglers; 2. Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 3. A.J. Vanegas, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox; 4. Colby Suggs, rhp, Wareham Gatemen; 5. Chase Johnson, rhp, Orleans Firebirds.

Best Breaking Ball/Off-Speed Pitch: SLIDER—1.
Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 2. Trey Masek, rhp, Falmouth Commodores; 3. Dan Slania, rhp, Cotuit Kettleers. CURVEBALL—1. Jeff Hoffman, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 2. Nick Rumbelow, rhp, Wareham Gatemen; 3. Tom Windle, lhp, Brewster Whitecaps. CHANGEUP—1. Marco Gonzalez, lhp, Falmouth Commodores; 2. Kevin Ziomek, lhp, Cotuit Kettleers. 3. Aaron Nola, rhp, Harwich Mariners.

Best Command: 1.
Marco Gonzales, lhp, Falmouth Commodores; 2. Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; 3. Kevin Ziomek, lhp, Cotuit Kettleers; 4. Aaron Nola, Harwich Mariners; 5. Sam Moll, lhp, Falmouth Commodores.


1. SEAN MANAEA, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (Indiana State/JR in 2013)
SCOUTING PROFILE: For a player who went undrafted out of an Indiana high school in 2010 and was recruited by only one Division I college (Indiana State), Manaea has made a meteoric rise up draft boards over the last two-plus years to a point that he ranks as an early favorite to be the first player selected in 2013. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound lefthander hasn’t overly distinguished himself in two years at Indiana State, going a collective 10-8, 3.77 with 85 walks and 197 strikeouts in 188 innings, but he has been a scourge in summer-league competition. He was ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Prospect League following his freshman year of college, and earned a similar designation this summer in the more-challenging Cape Cod League. Manaea was a slam-dunk choice as the Cape’s best talent after assembling one of the most-dominating seasons by a pitcher in league history. His 5-1, 1.22 record in nine appearances (8 starts) was noteworthy because it was achieved while pitching for a team that started out 0-9 and brought up the rear in the league for the duration, but the numbers that truly speak to his degree of dominance were a walk-strikeout ratio of 7-85 (in 52 innings), and an improbable .119 opponent batting average—all achieved against the backdrop of a huge surge in offense this summer throughout the Cape Cod League. Manaea started off by going winless in his first four appearances (3 starts) for Hyannis, but simply took off from that point, winning his final five starts, covering 34 innings, while allowing just one earned run and one walk while striking out 66. He didn’t walk a batter all of July. Manaea made it look ridiculously easy against some of the nation’s elite college hitters while focusing mainly on two pitches—a fastball at 93-96 mph that peaked at 98 in a one-inning stint at the all-star game, and a hard slider. His ability to locate his fastball with precision, regardless of the velocity, and the late, explosive life he generated on the pitch coming from a deceiving, lower three-quarters arm angle set him apart from any pitcher. His fastballs literally disappeared as they reached the plate. His slider, while not quite as advanced, had excellent late cutting action into righthanded hitters and was a lethal down-and-away weapon against lefthanders. Given the dominance of his two primary pitches, he only spotted his changeup, which also had good downward movement with a split-finger grip, and generally had a 12-14 mph differential from his fastball. If anything, Manaea showed improvement on the summer in his ability to finish off hitters, generally by getting strike-three on pitches both in and out of the strike zone. He got a lot of his strikeouts with pitches several inches off the black that unsuspecting hitters couldn’t resist flailing away at. With a clean, easy delivery—a pretense to his throwing even harder—there’s still room for projection in Manaea’s long, lean frame, but it will be exceedingly difficult for him to improve on his stunning performance from this summer.

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