As a "fan" of CodBall in Alaska recently enthused, this website ain't exactly scientific. But that doesn't stop us from trying our best to bring analysis, commentary and conversation to one of America's great baseball institutions. It is within that spirit, that I offer up my thoughts and analysis on the 2007 season, which gets underway on Friday.
It is very difficult to compile statistics for all college players in America, assign those players and data to their proper Cape Cod Baseball League team and then crunch the numbers in any kind of meaningful way. I'm sure there are people out there with the time and inclination to do so, but I am sadly not one of them.
Therefore, my analysis is based on 4 factors: 1) my own scounting reports of nearly a dozen college teams with Cape players; 2) my own compilation of CCBL rosters into a rudimentary database; 3) a review of the CCBL's own preseason reviews, and; 4) some thinking and some guessing based on experience.
What I cannot know from this analysis is which players are hot and which are not. Will a particular team of star college kids from different programs gell into a high performing summer team? What will be the impact of good coaching and managing? How will a wood bat change things? What about the different ballparks?
Nevertheless, here goes.
If you were to look simply at which teams have the highest concentration of players from Baseball America's top-10 list as well as highly-seeded College World Series teams, you would have to pick Wareham with 12 players in its roster from those categories, Bourne (9 players), Hyannis (9 players), and Chatham (7 players). These teams have recruited the most players from the most top programs. The other programs have 5 or less.
Bourne -- Bourne struggled last season but returns with 9 players from top programs like Rice, Arizona State, Wichita State, Clemson and Mississippi. Nine of its players hit above .300. On the downside, they are still looking for a closer. I would put them in the playoffs in the Western Division.
Brewster -- Brewster has 3 players from the College World Series tournament or Top 10 teams, including UC Irvine, Texas and San Diego. Austin Yount, a relative of Hall of Famer Robin Yount will be fun to watch this season.
Chatham -- I would have to pick Chatham to make the playoffs in the Eastern Division. With 7 players from places like North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson and Virginia, they are loaded with talent. Watch out for Allan Dykstra, who has hit .340 this college season. And watch out of the team's six-man pitching rotation.
Cotuit -- Two words. Justin Smoak. He may be back, but probably not since he is a Team USA invitee. Either way, I'm a believer in the Cotuit program, which is lead by the great coaching of Mike Roberts. Cotuit brings 3 South Carolina players and one from Arizona State.
Falmouth -- I'm a little biased here, since Falmouth is my home team. But I am not picking them to make the playoffs. I do so with some reluctance since they bring a potentially strong line-up into 2007. Falmouth has 5 players from top programs, including Arizona State, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Virginia. Brett Wallace of AZ State (Team USA invitee and no longer on the roster) would have been someone to watch. Pitcher Shooter Hunt is back and has good stuff.
Harwich -- I'm a little underwhelmed here, but I could be totally wrong. Harwich brings two Vandy players as well as players from Texas A&M and Clemson. Cole Figueroa of Florida (.321) is someone to watch this season.
Hyannis -- Hyannis will have to beat Wareham and Bourne to get into the playoffs, but they have a lot of potential. Their roster is loaded with guys from UC Irvine, Vandy, South Carolina, Clemson, Texas and San Diego. I think James Darnell at South Carolina may have a breakout season.
Orleans -- Orleans comes with Arizona State, UC Irvine, Florida State and Vanderbilt talent. Josh Satow (LHP) from AZ State will help out a lot.
Wareham -- Once again, Wareham is back with what may be the toughest lineup. They have recruited top talent from Rice, North Carolina, AZ State, UC Irvine, Vandy, Texas and Arkansas. Wareham, which barely lost in the playoffs last season, has 10 returning players. Look for them in the playoffs. And with their coaching, I pick them to make the championship this year.
Y-D -- The Red Sox are short on players from the top rated programs this year, but they do have all-star Buster Posey of Florida State returning. After winning the championship last season, they have a hill to climb this season.
EDITOR'S FOOTNOTE: The Cape Cod Times reports that 7 former Cape Leaguers were taken in the first round of the professional draft this past week. That number is down from 12 in 2006 and 10 in 2005. Bryan Smith of Baseball Prospectus has a great round-up of top talent we will see this summer on the Cape -- talent he predicts going high in the 2008 draft.