Stats reflect performance from July 16 to July 22.
1. Sean Manaea, lhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (Jr., Indiana State)
Statistics: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 GS, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 15 K
After appearances on the past two Cape League Hot Sheets, Manaea forced his way atop this week’s list with the top pitching performance of the summer. Facing a tough Falmouth squad Thursday night, the rising junior allowed just two hits while striking out 15 over seven scoreless innings. What’s more, Manaea has posted an astounding 37-0 strikeout-walk ratio over his last three outings (20 IP). Not including Manaea, only three other pitchers have amassed such a strikeout total over the entire summer.
“He’s getting better every start,” Hyannis manager Chad Gassman said. “He’s just not messing around at all anymore. Once he gets two strikes, he just knows he’s going to get them out.”
On Friday, Manaea was named the starting pitcher for the Western Division in this Saturday’s all-star game.
2. Andrew Thurman, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (Jr., UC Irvine)
Statistics: 1-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 1 GS, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K
With a no-hitter and a pair of one-hitters this spring at UC Irvine, Andrew Thurman is no stranger to big games. On Sunday night, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound righthander delivered again, turning in a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits, fanning 13. “That was one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen out here in a long time,” said Yarmouth-Dennis manager Scott Pickler. “He was in complete command the whole game.”
The rising junior returned to the Cape this summer with a solid three-pitch mix: a low-90s fastball, tight curveball and changeup with plus potential. This summer, he’s added a fourth offering, a cutter/slider, that was on display as a legitimate out-pitch Sunday night.
“I’ve been working hard on it. It’s come a long way and tonight we used it late in counts and got guys to chase with it,” Thurman said after Sunday’s gem. “Tonight was a big confidence booster for me—just knowing that I can do this, throw strikes and establish the zone. I was keeping my pitches low, working with everything and letting my defense work for me.”
3. Matt Boyd, lhp, Orleans Firebirds (Sr., Oregon State)
Statistics: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 GS, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 K
After making last week’s hot sheet for his dominance in relief, Boyd got the start for the Firebirds on Thursday night and proved to be just as filthy, striking out 12 while allowing just a base hit and a walk over six scoreless innings.
“I felt really comfortable out there,” said the rising senior. “I threw all four of my pitches for strikes, and that opened up everything for me. I could throw any pitch in any count and that made it easy to keep hitters off balance.”
For Boyd, who came out of the bullpen for Oregon State this spring, it was his first start in nearly a year, and according to Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson, it certainly won’t be his last.
4. Mason Robbins, rf, Bourne Braves (So., Southern Mississippi)
Statistics: .308/.333/.769 (8-for-26), 4 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 0-for-2 SB
Robbins showed a flair for the dramatic this week, winning a pair of games with walk-off hits and driving in the decisive runs in a third contest. On Monday against Brewster, the rising sophomore drove in the winning run with a ground-rule double. On Friday against Falmouth, his ninth-inning, two-run double put the Braves on top 5-4. And on Saturday, a wild inside-the-park home run ended the contest against the Red Sox in the 14th.
5. David Garner, rhp, Hyannis Harbor Hawks (Jr., Michigan State)
Statistics: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 1 GS, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Understandably overshadowed by Hyannis teammate Manaea, Michigan State rising junior David Garner has gotten off to a solid start of his own, earning a Western Division all-star nod as well. On Monday, the 6-foot, 180-pound righthander turned in his best outing of the summer, tossing eight innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits and two walks while striking out nine. “(Pitching Coach Dan) Wellik has done a really nice job with him,” Gassman said. “He’s taught him not to fool around with hitters and just attack. He’s gaining confidence, has big-time stuff and really starting to believe in it.”
6. Angelo LaBruna, ss, Orleans Firebirds (Jr., Duke)
Statistics: .500/.500/1.250 (8-for-16), 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K, 1-for-1 SB
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound LaBruna has given Orleans a jolt of offense from the bottom third of the lineup this week, homering in three of the team’s four contests, and falling a home run shy of the cycle in the other. While it’s his solid play at shortstop that has earned him playing time thus far, the rising junior’s improving ability at the plate has helped entrench him in the lineup.
“He’s such a hard worker,” Nicholson said. “He’s really caught on to what (hitting coach) Benny Craig has taught him. He’s a really good player, a solid defender and has really responded to playing every day.”
7. Trey Masek, rhp, Falmouth Commodores (Jr., Texas Tech)
Statistics: 0-1, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 GS, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K
On the losing end of Manaea’s gem Thursday night was Masek, who turned in an impressive outing of his own. Coming off a rough start last week at Chatham, the rising junior from Texas Tech struck out 11, while allowing five hits and three walks over six innings.
“Masek’s a kid with a great arm, but it goes deeper than that,” Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy said. “He pounds the zone with everything he has and competes his butt off. He’s got a good fastball and a great breaking ball—I think it’s one of the better ones on the Cape. The thing I notice above all, though, is his competitive spirit. He wants to win.”
8. Phil Ervin, lf, Harwich Mariners (Jr., Samford)
Statistics: .389/.450/.833 (7-for-18), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 2-for-2 SB
After leading off the first Cape Hot Sheet three weeks ago with his scorching start to the summer, Ervin went through a short slump that he has since worked out of. After thirteen contests without a home run, the rising junior from Samford tacked on a pair this week, while extending his streak of games with a run scored to six.
“He’s a tough kid mentally,” Harwich manager Steve Englert said. “You don’t know if he’s 0-for-4 or 4-for-4. He just knows how to flush it and move on to the next at bat.”
The Cape season is over for a number of notable prospects. Harwich slugger Austin Wilson (Stanford) was headed home after injuring his oblique, and Falmouth’s Jared King (Kansas State) left with elbow tendinitis. Cotuit lefthander Kevin Ziomek (Vanderbilt), who is tied for the league lead with a 1.27 ERA, shut it down for the summer, as did Orleans righty Karsten Whitson (Florida), who threw just three innings after an injury-ravaged sophomore spring. And Yarmouth-Dennis ace Aaron Blair (Marshall), who is tied with Ziomek for the league lead in ERA, plans to rest until the CCBL playoffs.