The 2013 Cape League season begins a week from today and I've been away from CodBall for way too long. That four-letter word - work - has gotten in the way too often recently but now it's time to get back in the swing of things. I've received a few emails asking about them, but you won't find me doing any in-depth team previews this year. CodBall has done them in the past and I have a lot of appreciation for those who attempt to do them. Researching the incoming players involves a lot of time. However, as is always the case this close to the start of the season, the rosters are simply in too much of a state of flux to try to guess who may be in uniform a week from now, let alone discussing which team might be crowned champion. Having done the preview thing before, it hasn't always worked out well which, admittedly, may be more a commentary on my lack of prognosticating skills than anything else. Having said that, I do think that Yarmouth-Dennis, Harwich and Cotuit look real good on paper. Brewster looks to be at the opposite end of the spectrum. So, there you go.... expect the Whitecaps to be playing for the championship in August.
Even the previews on the league website were outdated to some extent with the mention of Nick Burdi (Chatham) and Kyle Schwarber (Wareham) as key players. Each player could end up spending part of his summer on the Cape, but both had been invited to Team USA even before the league previews were online.
Wareham and Brewster haven't updated their rosters since they were first posted months ago. You can be sure there have been a lot of changes to those teams since then.
Chatham seems to have taken the biggest hit so far with regard to the players who have been dropped from their original roster. The Anglers have released the contracts of 12 players and that doesn't include Burdi. The most painful losses are RHP's Thomas Eshelman (CS-Fullerton) and Benton Moss (North Carolina). Eshelman is 12-2 with a 1.59 ERA and has fanned 78 while issuing a hard-to-believe 2 walks over 107.2 innings. Moss is 8-1 with a 3.78 ERA and has struckout 89 in 85.2 IP. Those two would look pretty good at the top of anyone's rotation. Burdi pitched 32.2 innings over 26 relief appearances for Louisville. He has posted a 0.83 ERA to go along with 59 K's and opponents have hit just .195 off him. UC-Irvine INF Taylor Sparks is another Angler who will be joining Team USA. Sparks started all 55 games for the Anteaters and batted .360 with 10 HR, 50 RBI and a .969 OPS.
Two other teams may not have lost the numbers that Chatham has lost, but each has lost a couple very talented players. Team USA has plucked Grayson Greiner (C, South Carolina) and Tyler Beede (RHP, Vanderbilt) away from Cotuit. Skye Bolt (OF, North Carolina) and Alex Bregman (IF, Louisiana State) were expected to suit up for Harwich but will instead be spending at least part of their summer wearing the red, white and blue.
Jumping around a bit.... Will this be the year Falmouth breaks their 33-year championship drought?.... Most of Brewster's players haven't had great springs but the Florida State trio of RHP Luke Weaver, LHP Brandon Leibrandt and IF/OF Jose Brizuela could provide some excitement at Stony Brook Field. Leibrandt tied for the team lead with 10 wins. Weaver compiled a record of 7-2 with a 1.95 ERA to go with 114 K's and 17 BB. Brizuela batted .325 and drove in 43 runs for the Seminoles who will be hosting Indiana in a Super Regional this weekend.... What's new at your favorite team's ballpark this year? Cotuit's Lowell Park will have new restrooms and a new Kettleer Kitchen. Brewster has built a new storage shed. (Yeah, I know, real exciting.).... Among the West Division teams that have lights at their field, Wareham is the only team that will start games at 7:00. Starting time for games in Falmouth will be 6:30. This year, Hyannis will make the move that Bourne had previously made, moving their start time to 6:00.... Milford HS played Nauset HS at Eldredge Park last night in the state baseball tournament. The Milford Athletic Director is Rich Piergustavo who once coached Falmouth in the CCBL. It was during Piergustavo's tenure that the Commodores fielded a team of all New England-area players in an attempt to showcase "local" talent.... Last night's Texas Rangers-Boston Red Sox game was devoid of any suspense but, for very different reasons, it was an interesting night for a couple of former Cape Leaguers. Rangers starting pitcher Justin Grimm (Cotuit, '09) was knocked around for 7 hits, 3 walks and 8 earned runs in 1.2 innings as the Red Sox went on to win, 17-5. David Murphy (Wareham, '01, '02) made his MLB pitching debut when he came in from left field in the eighth inning. Murphy was the only Rangers pitcher to fare well as he gave up one hit and struck out Mike Carp in his scoreless inning.... The story is just developing, but multiple sources are reporting that the MLB hammer may be ready to drop on Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (Brewster, '04) and many others, as part of MLB's investigation into the use of PED's. Stay tuned....
I'll be posting a lot of notes to @capeleague on Twitter (not to be confused with @Official_CCBL which is the league's official Twitter account.)
Jump on board and share your thoughts about your favorite team and the upcoming season.