Summer Collegiate : : Story
Friday, August 02, 2013

Summer Collegiate Notebook

Frankie Piliere        
Photo: Evansville

The Cape Cod League All-Star Game:
If it was a Showcase

The Cape Cod League All-Star game was a different experience this year. It was not different in how it was selected, but different in the types of players, specifically pitchers, that were put on display. For the most part, every player on the rosters was justifiably deserving, and I will not fault anyone for putting players on All-Star rosters who are putting up impressive statistics. Rising seniors like Jaron Long earned his opportunity to start for the West squad by posting a video game-like 0.30 ERA in 30 innings pitched for Bourne. As much as I view the game through a scouting lens, it is no one’s place to take that honor away from a player who has earned it with outstanding numbers like that.

On the other hand, what if this was game was in a showcase format instead of how it is presently constructed? If an alternate reality existed in which these All-Star rosters were put together on professional and draft potential alone, the game would suddenly look very different. This was a year in which only one pitcher exceeded 93 mph with his fastball in the All-Star game, and when I remind myself that I’m referring to the Cape Cod League when I say that, it’s difficult for me to believe my own words.

What I don’t want people to leave that field with is the idea that this was the highest level talent the Cape League had to offer this year - it wasn’t. All the pitchers on display were very talented in their own right, but some of the league’s very brightest stars were not on display in this one. This piece is my way of giving those pitchers their just due.

With that, I’d like to present an alternative version of the All-Star pitching at the Cape Cod League All-Star Game. This is how my scouting wrap-up could have read if this game was setup as a professional showcase rather than being entirely results based. In no way am I knocking the actual All-Stars or the league’s process - this is simply my way of illustrating the league’s elite talent that you didn’t get to see last Saturday evening.

I’m lucky enough to see the league’s incredibly deep pool of talent on a day to basis - most in attendance do not have that luxury. So, what I’ve decided to do is provide an All-Star game scenario in which I break down a hypothetical group of pitchers who were not chosen to participate in the actual game.

So, here it is - the scouting wrap-up on the All-Star game that wasn’t.

The account of this theoretical game is of course fictitious, but the scouting reports are not. The scouting notes are drawn from other Cape League regular season appearances I’ve seen these pitchers in and scouted. This is just a glimpse of how these pitchers could have looked on this big stage. To illustrate the difference in the actual game and the proposed “showcase game,” I also broke down the two actual starting pitchers from the All-Star game.

Top of the 1st

Aaron Bummer
took the ball for the East, working at 88-90 with his fastball and topping at 91, a tick or so better than where he’s been for most of the summer. He spotted his breaking ball well, and he works from a deceptive angle. He’s enjoyed a consistent summer and been one of the league’s true standout performers.

If it was a showcase:

Dillon Peters
may have received the nod for the East squad, after allowing only nine hits over his first 19 innings of work on the Cape. He’d likely come out of the gate looking sharp with his command, locating his 90-92 mph fastball on the corners and mixing his 75-77 mph curveball enough to keep hitters off balance. I’d also put good odds on Peters making quick work of the first inning and pounding the strike zone.

Bottom of the 1st

Jaron Long
, who in the days following the All-Star game signed a free agent deal with the Yankees, took the ball to start for the West squad. Long’s fastball lived around 86-88 mph and as usual he command his fastball and secondary pitches expertly.

If it was a showcase:

Jeff Hoffman
would have without a doubt taken the ball for the West squad, getting the nod after back-to-back electric starting performances against Orleans and Chatham in the previous two weeks. The league’s top prospect wouldn’t fail to light up the radar guns from the large contingent of scouts behind home plate, as he’d likely top 98 mph with his fastball and work consistently at 94-97 with exploding life through the zone. The hitters that did manage to square up his fastball would likely pound the ball into the dirt in front of home plate. His curveball would be his put away pitch of choice at 80-82 mph, and there’s a good chance we would have seen some jelly legged hitters going down looking. Needless to say it would have been an exciting and worthy start to the 2013 Cape League All-Star game.

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