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Miller repeats as Cape's best arm
by Jim Callis
CHICAGO‹Cape Cod League opponents saw more than enough of Andrew Miller in 2004, but at least then they had a fighting chance. Miller was dominant but not efficient, and earned just two decisions (both wins) in seven starts.
Miller opted to return to Chatham rather than pitch for Team USA this summer, and his performance established him as the early favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2005 draft. The big lefthander won six of his seven starts with three times as many strikeouts (66 in 49 innings) as hits allowed (22). The league's co-pitcher of the year, he headlines our Cape Top 10 Prospects list for the second straight summer.
"He's the Randy Johnson of the Cape League," Yarmouth-Dennis manager Scott Pickler said. "There's a fear of facing Andrew Miller among the kids. There's no one else like that in the league."
1. Andrew Miller, lhp, Chatham (North Carolina). A 6-foot-6, 195-pound lefty, Miller threw 93-96 mph all summer long. His fastball, clocked at 99 mph during the all-star game, also has terrific late action. One National League crosschecker graded both Miller's fastball and slider as 70 pitches on the 20-80 scouting scale.
While his stuff is big league-ready, scouts still view Miller as a work in progress. His command, control and mound presence all need more improvement.
2. Daniel Bard, rhp, Wareham (North Carolina). Miller and Bard gave North Carolina a sweep of the first two spots, which hadn't happened since Georgia Tech had Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra in 1994. The league leader in strikeouts (82) and innings (65), Bard has a classic pitcher's frame (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and a plus fastball (93-95 mph). He flashes a good slider, though it's inconsistent because he tends to drop his elbow.
3. Evan Longoria, inf, Chatham (Long Beach State). Longoria was an obvious choice as the Cape's MVP and top position prospect. He led the league in homers (eight), RBIs (35) and slugging percentage (.500), launching balls with an effortless swing. He probably isn't quick enough to stay at shortstop, but he has good hands and arm strength and would fit at either second or third base.
"He never gets cheated at the plate. Never," Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy said. "He's a scary hitter."
4. Chris Errecart, 1b/of, Yarmouth-Dennis (California). After hitting .298 with eight homers during the spring with aluminum, Errecart took to wood and batted .303 with six homers before a sprained ankle ended his season three weeks early. He has a good approach at the plate and moves well enough to play left field.
5. Brandon Morrow, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (California). Morrow also stood out much more on the Cape than he did at Cal, where he had control problems and a 9.36 ERA as a sophomore. He had the best fastball in the league, consistently working at 96-99 mph, and put hitters away with a mid-80s splitter.
6. Brad Lincoln, rhp/dh, Bourne (Houston). A lefthanded power hitter, Lincoln was one of the better bats on the Cape. But scouts definitely preferred him on the mound, where he makes up for his stature (6 feet, 200 pounds) with a 90-95 mph fastball with boring action and an 82-84 mph power curveball that one scout compared to Ben Sheets'. Lincoln won the Cape's 10th player award for his inspired play and exceeding expectations.
7. Dallas Buck, rhp, Falmouth (Oregon State). The Cape's ERA leader (0.77) and No. 4 on this list a year ago, Buck didn't look as crisp, seeming tired after pitching Oregon State to the College World Series. Buck throws strikes and achieves plenty of life with his 87-92 mph fastball and his slider, though some scouts wonder if his future lies in relief.
8. Greg Reynolds, rhp, Bourne (Stanford). With his size (6-foot-7, 230 pounds), 90-95 mph fastball and hard curveball, Reynolds has first-round potential for the 2006 draft. He'll start missing more bats once he improves the command of his two-seam fastball and the consistency of his curve.
9. Brad Meyers, rhp, Orleans (Loyola Marymount). The only freshman in the top 10, Meyers was one of the league's most projectable pitchers at 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds, He needs to get stronger, though he already owns a 90-92 mph fastball and two good secondary pitches in a changeup and slider.
10. Mark Hamilton, 1b, Falmouth (Tulane). Hamilton had as much raw power as anyone on the Cape and tied for second in homers (six) despite missing the first two weeks while Tulane made a run to the College World Series. He trusts his swing and showed more selectivity (21 walks, 19 strikeouts) than he did in 2004, when he ranked No. 14 on our Cape top 30.
For more Cape Cod League scouting reports, please visit www.baseballamerica.com/today/college/cape2005.html. You can contact Jim Callis by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.