As the sun sets on the Cape, a nice breeze off the ocean beckons those to come in from their shopping excursions in the quaint New England towns, or to walk up from the beach with their lawn chairs and blankets to catch an inning or two of a long-standing tradition of New England summers: baseball on the Cape.
Cape Cod, the ultimate vacation destination for many New Englanders, stretches out from the eastern part of Massachusetts into the Atlantic Ocean. Not only is it known for its small towns, sandy beaches, whale watching tours, and lobster dinners: its summer baseball league for collegiate stars has seen the likes of Carlton Fisk, Robin Ventura, and other Major League standouts.
Unfortunately, as August draws to a close, so does the regular season of the Cape Cod League (CCL). Currently, the playoffs are under way, as families who are making last-minute summer getaways can still catch a few innings here and there of CCL action before the winter winds blow off the ocean, forcing baseball to depart until next summer.
Seeing as the CCL is a hotbed for Minor League, and subsequently, Major League talent, I think it’s worth highlighting the standouts for S2S readers.
To give you a good sampling of the League, in this first installment, I’m going to highlight the top hitter and pitcher from the Eastern Division, and then in the next installment, I’ll highlight the top hitter and pitcher from all the Western Division teams. The order in which I list out each team under their respective division headings is the order by which they finish the regular season.
1. Harwich Mariners
Eric Jagielo, SS/3B
College: Notre Dame
Stats: .291 AVG, 13 HR, 29 RBI
Jagielo was a sophomore last year for the Fighting Irish, mostly playing center field. Hit .269 with with 5 HR and 28 RBI. He’s known for being a solid left-handed power hitter, with above-average defensive skills. Had some playing time at the corner infield positions before being moved out to the outfield.
David Whitehead, SP
College: Elon University
Stats: 5-2, 2.81 ERA, 28 SO
Whitehead is a junior hurler for the Elon University Phoenix in 2012, racking up five wins (with three losses), 38 strikeouts, and a 4.44 ERA.
2. Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
Sam Travis, 3B
College: Indiana University
Stats: .339 AVG, 4 HR, 35 RBI
Travis was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season. Had a .319 average with 27 RBI, adding a 17-game hitting streak for good measure. Although he plays third in the CCL, played across the diamond at first for the Hoosiers.
Ryan Connolly, SP
College: Coastal Carolina
Stats: 8-0, 2.28 ERA, 56 SO
Connolly, in my opinion, is the best pitcher in the CCL this season. He leads the league in wins, and is among the league leaders in ERA. Hopefully, his arm can hold up through his collegiate career and onto his start in the Minors—surprisingly, he’s a submariner!
3. Orleans Firebirds
Conrad Gregor, IF/OF
College: Vanderbilt University
Stats: .329 AVG, 8 HR, 21 RBI
Gregor, the Vanderbilt Commodore junior, is known as being more of a player that hits for average, and not necessarily for power, so his 8 HR this summer is a pleasant surprise. He plays strictly in the infield at Vandy, but it’s no surprise that he has played some in the outfield according to the CCL stats, given his athleticism, range, and strong arm.
Dylan Clark, RP
College: Elon University
Stats: 3-0, 1.93 ERA, 21 SO in 23.1 innings of relief
Clark, who is David Whitehead’s teammate at Elon University, is used as a reliever at Elon, just as he is used out on the Cape. In his 2012 sophomore campaign, Clark tossed 68 innings of relief, posting a 2.78 ERA while striking out 43.
4. Chatham Anglers
Andrew Knapp, C
College: Cal Berkeley
Stats: .293 AVG, 8 HR, 29 RBI
Knapp must enjoy the salty air out on the cape, because his near .300 average is far higher than his .212 effort this past season at Cal (although it was his freshman year).
Michael Wagner, SP
College: University of San Diego
Stats: 2-2, 1.57 ERA, 38 SO
Was used primarily out of the ‘pen in San Diego. Tthe 2012 freshman threw 30.1 innings with 28 strikeouts.
5. Brewster Whitecaps
Ryon Healy, IF
College: University of Oregon
Stats: .310 AVG, 4 HR, 20 RBI
The Oregon Duck hit a solid .312 with 4 HR and 42 RBI in his sophomore campaign. A solid corner outfielder, he’s also used as a pitcher.
Austin Voth, RP
College: University of Washington
Stats: 1-3, 4.29 ERA, 52 SO
Voth is among the CCL leaders in strikeouts and one of the most high-powered relievers on the Cape. Interestingly enough, he’s used as both a starter and a reliever for the Huskies, and ended up holding Pac 10 opponents to a .227 batting average.
Topics: Austin Voth, Brewster Whitecaps, Cape Cod League, Chatham Angels, Conrad Gregor, David Whitehead, Dylan Clark, Eric Jagielo, Harwich Mariners, Michael Wagner, Orleans Firebirds, Ryan Connolly, Ryon Healy, Sam Travis, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox