Cape Cod League: 2023 Preview
- Updated: June 12, 2023
EAST DIVISION PREVIEW
After finishing the 2022 with a record of 19-17-8, the Whitecaps were tied for the best record in the East. Brewster defeated Harwich and Yarmouth-Dennis in the playoffs before falling to Bourne in the Championship round. Manager Jamie Shevchik and his team will look to finish business in 2023. Returning to the Whitecaps from the 2022 team include shortstop Davis Diaz, pitcher Randy Reyes, and third-baseman Trevor Werner.
Players joining the Whitecaps in 2023 include LSU catcher Jared Jones and Arizona shortstop Mason White. Jones, a freshman at LSU, slashed .299/.424/.637 for a 1.061 OPS in debut season for the Tigers. He hit 11 doubles and 14 home runs in 198 plate appearances. White, also a freshman, slashed .313/.379/.611 for a .989 OPS in his first collegiate season. The 19-year-old tallied 18 doubles, seven triples, and 10 home runs for the Wildcats. These additions and many others are poised to make Brewster a strong contender in 2023.
Chatham is looking to rebound from their 15-20-9 season in 2022, where the Anglers finished last in the East and missed the playoffs. Returning for the 2023 season will be third baseman Aidan Meola, first baseman Will Butcher, catcher Kaden Hopson, and outfielder Lyle Miller-Green, as well as pitchers Tommy Molsky, Hayden Durke, Brian Holiday, Ben Peterson, Carlos Rey, and Cameron Brown.
The Anglers also have several additions coming to Veterans Field this season. Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht will be lighting up the radar this summer. Brecht posted 109 strikeouts in 77 innings this season, giving him the 14th highest strikeouts per nine innings in Division I this year (12.74). Also joining Chatham this year is Texas Tech catcher Hudson White. White slashed .296/.397/.550 for a .947 OPS in 204 plate appearances for the Red Raiders. This group of returners and newcomers will aim to win a championship under the helm of manager Tom Holliday.
The Mariners will be hosting the 2023 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game on July 22nd, and they will also look to host a playoff game once again. Harwich finished 17-21-6 last season and lost in the first round of the postseason. Returns for the Mariners include catcher Bryan Arendt, third baseman Kenny Levari, second baseman David Smith, and pitchers Sean Sullivan, Sean Hard, Jake Neuman, Shane Probst, and Gage Ziehl.
Newcomers for the Mariners include Wake Forest first baseman Nick Kurtz. Throughout the 2023 season, Kurtz has slashed .384/.552/.843 for an astonishing 1.395 OPS in 242 plate appearances. His OBP and SLG both rank in the top four throughout Division I. Also coming to Harwich this year is Maine second baseman Quinn McDaniel and West Virginia second baseman JJ Wetherholt. After an all-star season in the NECBL last summer, McDaniel slashed .354/.513/.688/1.201 for the Black Bears in 2023. Wetherholt hit a Division I leading .449 for the Mountaineers in 2023 and put up an OPS of 1.304. Manager Steve Englert and this group will look to bring a championship to Harwich this season.
After finishing 2022 with a record of 18-22-4, manager Kelly Nicholson will look to lead his team back to the playoffs after they were eliminated in the first round last year. Returners from last year include third baseman Drew Metzdorf, as well as pitcher Chris Clark and JD Urso.
Joining the Firebirds will be Kent State outfielder Jake Casey. He is the son of 12-year MLB veteran and former Red Sox first baseman Sean Casey. In 2023, he slashed .249/.385/.527 for a .911 OPS with Kent State. Also joining the Firebirds will be UCF pitcher Cam Leiter. He is the son of former Orioles minor leaguer Kurt Leiter, the nephew of former MLB pitchers Al Leiter and Mark Leiter, and the cousin of current MLB/MiLB pitchers Jack Leiter and Mark Leiter Jr. During his first year in Central Florida, he struck out 80 batters in 56.2 IP
Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox:
The Y-D Sox finished tied with the Whitecaps at the top of the East in 2022, but the Sox were bounced by Brewster in the second round of the playoffs. Manager Scott Pickler will look to avenge that loss as he enters his 25th season at the helm. Returning for Y-D will be shortstop Woody Hadeen and pitcher Eric Yost
Those joining the Red Sox this year include Mississippi State first baseman Hunter Hines and Kansas State shortstop Brady Day. Hines posted a slash line of .297/.375/.683 for a 1.058 OPS this season with Mississippi State in 232 plate appearances. Day slashed .356/.492/.459 for a .951 OPS. His OBP ranked tied for 41st in Division I.
WEST DIVISION PREVIEW
The defending champion Bourne Braves will be looking to make their third consecutive finals appearance in 2023. Led by second-year manager Scott Landers, the Braves will be returning last year’s Championship Series MVP in shortstop Bryce Eblin to the roster. Other key returning members of the championship team include right-handers Bryce Cunningham, Kade Grundy, Nigel Belgrave, and second baseman Joshua Kuroda-Grauer.
In addition to the returnees, the Doran Park faithful will have several new additions to the roster to watch. Outfielder Vance Honeycutt wowed at North Carolina this season, establishing himself as a true five-tool player and one of the most entertaining defensive players in the nation. Joining Honeycutt in the Bourne outfield will be Andrew Patrick, who put together an incredible season at Wright State, hitting 20 homers and stealing 31 bases in the Raiders’ run to a regional. The Braves should have another very strong roster this year, in hopes of defending their title.
The Cotuit Kettleers also have a lot of great talent to look forward to this summer. Last summer’s Relief Pitcher of the Year, Cam Schuelke, will be returning to the roster following a strong season at the College of Central Florida. Catcher Caleb Lomavita will also be returning to Lowell Park, following an impressive sophomore season in Berkeley. Manager Mike Roberts will also be chasing his fourth Cape League championship with the Kettleers.
Cotuit features some very interesting newcomers. Second baseman Christian Moore, who spent much of last summer with Hyannis, will appear in the Kettleer pinstripes coming off a season at Tennessee where he posted a 1.113 OPS. Shortstop Brady Counsell, son of 16-year MLB veteran and Brewers manager Craig Counsell, will suit up at Lowell Park following a solid sophomore campaign at Minnesota. Indiana outfielder Carter Mathison is an intriguing player to watch, following a season in Bloomington where he posted a .970 OPS. The Cotuit fans will have another strong product to watch this summer at Lowell Park.
The Falmouth Commodores have assembled one of the most exciting rosters in the Cape League this summer. The Commodores are expected to be led by two-way standout Jac Caglianone, who astounded baseball fans around the country at Florida this year. Caglianone appeared as both a starting pitcher, where he threw 69 innings with a 3.78 ERA and 81 strikeouts, and a hitter, where he hit .337 and crushed 31 home runs. Caglianone will be joined in the lineup by Sam Houston State’s Joseph Redfield, who hit .402 in 60 games for the Bearkats this spring. Falmouth’s pitching staff will be anchored by righty AJ Causey, who posted a 2.61 ERA in 48.1 innings while picking up nine saves at Jacksonville State.
Falmouth has some returning players fans should be excited to see again. 2022 All-Star Alex Mooney is coming back following a season at Duke where he posted a .321/.440/.514 slash line. First baseman Jacob Walsh will also return to the Commodores, after more than doubling his freshman home run output this spring in Eugene. Led by longtime manager Jeff Trundy, the Commodores are seeking their first Cape League Championship since 1980.
Hyannis Harbor Hawks:
Coming off one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in Cape League history, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks have a lot of momentum going into the 2023 season. Reigning Coach of the Year and CCBL Hall of Famer Eric Beattie will return for his second year, as will many key members of last year’s team. Righthanders Jay Driver and Ty Good will look to have a second strong summer at McKeon Park, and the lineup will again feature outfielder Michael Sirota and the electric Rikuu Nishida, both of whom excelled in their collegiate campaigns.
While the returnees are exciting, the newcomers to Hyannis are just as impressive. Wake Forest outfielder Tommy Hawke will debut, having posted a .364 average across his 117-game collegiate career. Ethan Bates starred as a two-way player at Louisiana Tech, posting a 3.16 ERA in 37 innings with a .281/.384/.573 triple slash in 48 games played in the field. The pitching staff will also feature righty Ryan Johnson, who struck out 116 batters in 87.1 innings at Dallas Baptist. The Hawks will once again have a fun and exciting squad to watch this summer
The Wareham Gatemen will have a new face at the helm this year, as first-year manager Ryan Smyth will take over. The Gatemen have assembled an amazing talent pool, headlined by returning catcher Ryan Campos. Campos slashed .388/.503/.594 this spring in Tempe, and will look to carry on that strong performance in his return to Wareham. His fellow Sun Devil Nick McLain, whose older brother Matt also appeared for the Gatemen, will play for Wareham after slashing an impressive .298/.391/.649 this spring. Outfielder Dylan Goldstein, who hit the first walkoff home run in the Cape League playoffs in at least a decade last summer with Brewster, will join the Gateman this season.
Wareham’s pitching staff looks equally solid, led by San Diego State righty Eldridge Armstrong III, who posted a 2.70 ERA in 46.2 innings for the Aztecs. Another arm poised for a strong summer is Clemson righty Casey Tallent, who made 16 appearances for the Tigers with a 3.43 ERA. One other arm to watch is Dayton southpaw Mark Manfredi, who struck out 96 across 79.1 innings with the Flyers this spring. A very talented Wareham squad rounds out what should be a very competitive West Division.
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