The Cape Cod League always attracts some of the top amateur players in the country. It has become a mecca for baseball scouts and enthusiasts alike, all hoping to catch a glimpse of the next big star. Here is a rundown of some of the top players to watch for this summer. I hope to provide some scouting reports on some of these players as the summer progresses.
Anthony Rendon is already mentioned as the top pick in the ’11 MLB draft. Rendon is listed on the roster but will almost assuredly make Team USA. ASU infielder Zach MacPhee batted close to .400 this season and returns to the Cape for his second year. Big bat Austin Maddox has anchored Florida’s lineup this year and will look to showcase his bat this summer. The top starter is Coastal Carolina’s Anthony Meo who finished the year 13-2. Ryan Wright from Louisville is another top talent but also a Team USA candidate.
The Red Sox’s supplemental first rounder Anthony Ranaudo will likely return to pitch for Brewster this summer. Ranaudo is a Boras client and will be treating as a draft and follow by Boston. Also on the roster is Georgia Tech’s Luke Bard, brother of Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard. One player to watch for is Arizona States Jake Barrett. Barrett was a third round pick of the Blue Jays in ’09 and struck out 42 batters in 28 innings as a freshman this season. Harold Martinez from Miami and Troy Channing of St. Mary’s are both power hitting third baseman although Martinez just recently underwent surgery and may miss the summer.
Dan Paolini may come from a small school in Sienna but he packs some serious power. The second baseman hit 26 home runs in 212 at bats this spring. Ricky Oropesa also had a strong spring for Southern California belting 20 long balls. Keep an eye on Baylor RHP Logan Verrett. Verett averaged almost 10 strikeouts per nine this spring.
Cotuit hopes to return Georgia outfielder Zach Cone although he may end on on Team USA. Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray had a solid sophomore season and will be looking to improve his draft stock for next year. Another name you may not yet know is Paul Hoilman. Hoilman put up gaudy numbers this spring for East Tennessee State hitting .421/.526/.860. Even when park and schedule adjusted they come out to .353/.471/.723
TCU’s Matt Purke is perhaps the top pitching prospect heading into the league this summer although he likely ends up with Team USA. Shortstop B.A. Vollmuth returns again after a strong summer last year. Vollmuth has a a real chance to move up on draft boards with another good summer. Georgia Tech’s Matt Skole provides a legitimate power threat in the middle of the order for Falmouth.
Levi Michael played well last summer in the CCBL and led UNC in hitting this spring. He is a versatile infielder who can play second, short or third as needed. Virginia Tech righty Matt Price was chosen by Boston in the 8th round last week but may still throw a few innings for Falmouth before signing. Alabama’s Taylor Dugas is also listed but he will be trying out for Team USA as well.
Johnny Ruetigger (ASU) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (South Carolina) will both return to Hyannis. Each contributed last summer and posted strong spring’s for their respective schools. Ruetigger was named to the CCBL all-star team last year. Bradley and ACC pitcher of the year Danny Hultzen are both trying out for Team USA so we’ll see if they make it to the Cape this year.
Cal State Fullerton’s Nick Ramirez is one of the top two-way prospects in the country. He throws lefty and had a breakout year at the plate this season. He is a candidate for Team USA. Florida first baseman Preston Tucker is a pure hitter and one of the best hitters in the SEC. Arizona outfielder Steve Selsky had a fantastic sophomore season and hopes to carry that momentum through the summer.
UCONN teammates Matt Barnes and George Springer are both Team USA invites but also two of the more intriguing prospects this year. Springer is a great athlete with five-tool potential and Barnes just completed a strong sophomore season on the mound as the staff ace. Returning to the Cape is Vandy starter Jack Armstrong. Armstrong is a big strong righty with a big time fastball. He excelled last summer for the Gateman. Alex Dickerson was the Big 10 player of the year and a true offensive threat.
Kentucky pitcher Alex Meyer is the tallest player on the Cape at 6’9. Meyer has struggled with his command in the spring. but he obviously has the size and tools to garner some serious interest. Kyle Hansen, younger brother of Craig Hansen, will also be looking to make a name for himself. Hansen’s teammate at St. Johns, Joe Panik just finished a great sophomore season. He is a talented offensive minded shortstop.