Nested in the woods of Cotuit, about a half mile from Cotuit Bay, Lowell Park is one of the treasures of the league. This year, fans will be treated to a new scoreboard with a speed indicator, making the park nearly perfect (if only there was a good solution for parking). With four players returning from '08 and veteran skipper Mike Roberts ready for his 6th season, the Kettleers could be very dangerous. Leading the way will be a pair of '08 CCBL All-Stars: RHP Seth Blair (Arizona State) and 1st baseman Kevin Patterson (Auburn). Patterson may be forced to yield time at 1st to Tyler Townsend (Florida International), who hit .434 with 24 home runs.
Townsend and Robbie Shields (Florida Southern) are expected to go high in the MLB draft. Townsend, who hasn't decided if he wants to return to FIU, would absolutely light up Lowell Park. Shields, who we've been following on CodBall, seems likely to make the jump to MLB.
Beyond Townsend and Shields, the Kettleers have signed a number of strong hitters, who had college seasons with batting averages well above .300. All of these players are poised to have breakout seasons on the Cape:
- There are a pair of Owls: Rick Hague* and Brock Holt (Rice) who have similar lines with .320/.345 averages, 9/10 home runs, and 74/78 hits.
- Infielder Chris Bisson (Kentucky) hit .362 with 79 hits and 52 RBI.
- Utility man Rico Noel (Coastal Carolina) hit .319 with 73 hits, 8 home runs, and 45 RBI.
- Catcher Cody Stanley (UNC Wilmington) hit .332 with 74 hits, 12 home runs, and 56 RBI.
- Outerfielder Jeff Rowland (Georgia Tech) batted .352 with 82 hits and 8 home runs.
- And last, but not least, a CCBL legacy player: outfielder Cory Vaughn (San Diego State), son of Greg Vaughn (Cotuit '84-'85, former Major Leaguer, and cousin of Mo Vaughn). Cory batted .325 with 75 hits, 10 home runs, and 51 RBI.
On the mound, the Kettleers have three standout pitchers. The most exciting is freshman strikeout king Gerrit Cole* (UCLA) who led the Bruins with 104 strikeouts in 85 innings. My other favorite (probably because of his name) is Chance Ruffin (Texas), who led the Longhorns in strikeouts (93), wins (9), and innings pitched (106.2). The third standout is sophomore Max Russell (Florida Southern) who led the Mocs in strikeouts (104), wins (10), and innings pitched (104.1).
Update (6/11): Townsend and Shields have been drafted in the 3rd round. Townsend has been removed from Cotuit's roster.