Image credit: Matt Shaw (Samantha Frank/Cape Cod Baseball League)
After a return to play in 2021, it was a return to normalcy for the Cape Cod League in 2022, as the schedule stretched to 44 games and the All-Star Game returned for the first time since 2019. In other ways it was a season of clarity for the new normal.
The mid-July draft set forth an exodus of draft-eligible players, leaving managers scrambling as squads saw massive turnover in the weeks and days leading up to the draft. This meant a fresh crop of new players and underclassmen found their way onto rosters for the final half of the season. Team USA plucked a few players from early Cape rosters, but a number of players returned following trials. Additionally a few players like Braden Montgomery, Enrique Bradfield Jr. and Ryan Bruno joined Cape rosters following Team USA duties.
The transfer portal played an even bigger role on the Cape this season as it was common to see power five coaches recruiting before and after games. This stands to be a larger part of the Cape’s dynamic going forward as the transfer deadline falls during the early weeks of the Cape season. It adds another wrinkle to an already moving target with roster management, forcing more turnover as several players were shut down for the summer after committing to their new school.
A repeat of last year’s final between the Bourne Braves and Brewster Whitecaps saw Bourne sweep the three-game series, 2-0, to capture its first Cape Cod League title since 2009. The Braves were led by first-year manager Scott Landers, an assistant on Jamie Shevchik’s Brewster staff last summer.
Note that these rankings may not align perfectly with our recently released 2023 draft rankings. While these rankings focus heavily on the best prospects in the league this summer, performance during the Cape Cod season was a deciding factor. Through conversations with coaches, scouts and front office personnel who observed long stretches of Cape Cod League action we ranked this list based on their feedback. To qualify for these rankings pitchers must meet a 10-inning minimum while hitters must have a minimum of 50 plate appearances. No 2022 draftees were included in the rankings.
1. Matt Shaw, Bourne Braves, 2B
Maryland, 2023 Eligible
The MVP of the Cape Cod League this summer, Shaw showcased a standout combination of power and speed. The Massachusetts native hit .360/.432/.574 with five home runs and 21 stolen bases in 36 games. Shaw continued to hit during Bourne’s championship run, hitting .261/.419/.522 with a home run in the deciding game against Brewster.
Shaw’s well-balanced profile is driven by above-average power and bat-to-ball skills. His ability to handle a variety of pitch shapes was notable. Shaw produced a .993 OPS against sliders, a 1.250 against curveballs and a 1.162 against changeups. He showed the ability to catch up to velocity, too, hitting .326/.418/.511 against fastballs. Elevated fastballs could be a problem, eliciting most of his swinging strikes.
Shaw is an excellent baserunner who reads pitchers and gets excellent jumps, though he’s not the burner his stolen base total suggests. He’s unlikely to have the range for shortstop, and there are some questions around his infield actions and internal clock.
2. Tommy Troy, Cotuit Kettleers, SS
Stanford, 2023 Eligible
The Stanford star was Mr. Everything for the Kettleers this summer, playing the role of starting shortstop, leadoff hitter and primary offensive threat. Troy’s ability to damage fastballs while limiting chase swings against spin should translate to pro ball. Some viewed him as the top prospect on the circuit this summer.
Troy’s twitch, bat speed and compact swing translate to lots of damage, particularly against velocity. He hit .400/.451/.747 against fastballs. While he struggles at times to adjust to breaking pitches, Troy rarely chases spin out of the zone with a 15% chase rate against curveballs and sliders. His combination of pitch identification and power at the point of contact allows him to make the most of each swing.
In the field, Troy was expected to handle second base, but last-minute roster shuffling saw him slide to shortstop. He showed an average or better arm, good infield actions and a strong internal clock. He’s not terribly rangy but Troy should end up a bat-first second baseman.
3. Mitch Jebb, Hyannis Harbor Hawks, 3B
Michigan State, 2023 Eligible
A last-minute addition to the Hyannis roster after Cotuit dropped him, Jebb made a late push for MVP as one of the toughest outs and most dangerous baserunners on the Cape. He has a nice combination of bat-to-ball skills, easy plus speed and bat speed. He hit .356/.429/.490 with two home runs and 26 stolen bases in 38 games.
Jebb looks to put the ball in play and use his plus speed. He has an innate ability to manipulate the barrel and rarely swung and missed this summer, with a strikeout rate of 14%. He identifies pitches well and makes strong swing decisions. While he’s primarily a groundball and line-drive hitter, Jebb showed the bat speed and ability to drive high fastballs. Some believe he could develop fringe to average game power.
In the field, Jebb has plenty of range, but at times his infield actions are rough, his arm limited and his clock are lacking. Many evaluators think his best position is in center field because of his speed.
4. Cole Carrigg, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, SS/OF/P
San Diego State, 2023 Eligible
The most impressive athlete on the Cape this summer, Carrigg was one of the best defensive outfielders on the circuit, while filling in at shortstop and on the mound. He hit .329/.388/.399 with one home run and 15 stolen bases in 41 games before going 6-for-18 in the playoffs with a double and a homer. Carrigg also made four pitching appearances between the regular season and the playoffs, working 5.2 scoreless innings with six strikeouts, no walks and two hits allowed.
Tall, athletic, projectable and twitchy, Carrigg showed average or better bat-to-ball skills with a line-drive swing. He has above-average speed and showed good instincts on the bases. He didn’t hit for tremendous power this summer, but he showed hard barrel contact in flashes. His broad-shouldered and athletic frame suggest power growth is likely as he matures. He has an aggressive approach and tends to expand the zone with frequency, particularly against spin.
Carrigg showed above-average defense in center field and at shortstop. While he didn’t catch on the Cape, evaluators have noted his strong abilities behind the plate and potential to stay there. With a variety of skills, Carrigg is an intriguing talent with as much ability as any player in college baseball.
5. Marcus Brown, Chatham Anglers, SS
Oklahoma State, 2023 Eligible
The best defensive shortstop on the Cape this summer, Brown has smooth infield actions, range, a quick first step and a strong, accurate arm. His sure hands contributed to perfect fielding percentage over 135 chances on the often rough Cape infields.
Brown is no slouch at the plate despite a .236/.319/.299 batting line in 43 games. His simple lefthanded swing features above-average bat speed. He showed average bat-to-ball skills and an aggressive approach that saw him chase spin out of the zone. Brown didn’t homer on the Cape but could develop more over-the-fence power as he matures because of his excellent bat speed. He’s an above-average runner who shows heads-up awareness on the bases.
While Brown lacks high-end quickness and range, he should be able to handle shortstop in pro ball.
6. Grant Taylor, Brewster Whitecaps, RHP
LSU, 2023 Eligible
Shut down in early July after he reached his pitch count, Taylor was the best pitcher on the Cape this summer. Armed with a deep arsenal of pitches, command and power, he dominated opposing batters with 30 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Taylor showed command of five different pitches in any given start and was rumored to be working on a splitter. His four-seam fastball sat 94-95 mph and touched 98 with 17-18 inches of induced vertical break and 11-12 inches of run. He paired that with two different breaking ball shapes, led by a hammer curveball at 77-78 mph with 20 inches of drop. His slider and cutter gave him different looks with more horizontal break, and he showed a changeup he had feel for.
Taylor generated above-average whiff rates on all of his pitches. His ability to throw strikes and generate chases out of the zone drove his success.
7. Bryce Warrecker, Orleans Firebirds, RHP
Cal Poly, 2023 Draft Eligible
Armed with some of the best command on the Cape, Warrecker consistently executed this summer and limiting hits and walks. The 6-foot-8 righthander delivers from a low sidearm slot that enhances deception on his three-pitch mix. A standout basketball player for Santa Barbara (Calif.) High in high school, Warrecker is thin, projectable and moves well on the mound for his size.
While Warrecker doesn’t overpower, he executes all three pitches at a high level and limits hard airborne contact. His fastball sits 89-92 mph with ride and late life. His slider is a sweeper that generated more than a foot of horizontal break at peak and a changeup with good velocity and vertical separation off of his changeup. Warrecker’s command was easily plus this summer, with all of his pitches registering strike rates around 70%, a rare occurrence even for pitchers with good command.
8. Travis Honeyman, Orleans Firebirds, OF
Boston College, 2023 Eligible
The early frontrunner for league MVP, Honeyman’s time in Orleans was cut short by a hamstring injury. He has power, bat-to-ball skills, speed and above-average defensive abilities in center field. While he was on Cape, he hit .289/.400/.530 with four home runs and four stolen bases in 24 games.
At the plate, Honeyman flashes one of the best combinations of skills in the college hitter class. He showed the ability to hit against a variety of pitch types, hitting .312/.410/.688 with three home runs against non-fastballs. Honeyman did damage against velocity and had a contact rate above 80% against fastballs. He also had little trouble elevating contact—more than half his balls in play were either fly balls or line drives. He should grow into more power in the coming years.
An athletic and twitchy player, Honeyman handled the cavernous center field at Orleans’ Eldredge Park with ease, taking good routes and showing an average arm. Overall, Honeyman has the makings of a potential first-rounder next summer.
9. Braden Montgomery, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, OF/P
Stanford, 2024 Eligible
Montgomery was a late arrival from the Collegiate National Team but showcased stunning power in both his barrel and his right arm on the Cape.
A true two-way talent, Montgomery hit .250/.333/.500 with four home runs in 18 games. The switch-hitter has swing-and-miss concerns that were noticeable this summer with a 65% contact rate and 25% strikeout rate. His whiff rate jumps and power disappears when batting righthanded. From the left side, Montgomery showed solid on-base skills and arguably the best raw power on the circuit. He has a right field profile with near-average range and a top-of-the-scale arm.
On the mound, Montgomery shows a power fastball and pairs it with a tumbling changeup. He threw just 5.1 innings on the Cape, striking out nine, walking four and allowing two hits in five appearances.
Evaluators seem split on which side of the ball they prefer Montgomery, but as an amateur he’s been more of a position player than pitcher.
10. Juaron Watts-Brown, Falmouth Commodores, RHP
Oklahoma State, 2023 Eligible
One of standout pitchers in the circuit, Watts-Brown transferred from Long Beach State to Oklahoma State late in the Cape season. A projectable and athletic righthander with room to add strength, he has a four-pitch mix with two different breaking ball shapes and a four-seam fastball with notable ride and late life.
He did a good job of changing eye levels and working in his changeup as needed. His four-seam fastball sits 93-95 mph for stretches and settles in around 92-94 with heavy ride and late jump. He struggled to consistently command his fastball, however. Watts-Brown mixes in a trio of secondaries, led by two breaking balls in the low 80s. One is a tighter slider that grades as plus—batters hit .186 and whiffed 57% of the time—and the other is a curveball with 11-5 shape. He flashed an average changeup as well, selling it with good arm speed despite a lack of shape or velocity separation off his fastball.
Watts-Brown ranked among the innings leaders this summer with 40. In his nine starts he struck out 53 and walked 16.
11. Carson DeMartini, Brewster Whitecaps, SS
Virginia Tech, 2024 Eligible
The highest rated 2024 eligible player on the list, DeMartini took a hold of the Western Division finals against Yarmouth-Dennis, smacking four home runs over a pair of games. With plenty of twitch and developing power DeMartini flashed an impact bat as well as speed on the basepaths. He was the top underclassman on the circuit as he posted a .383 on-base percentage with 15 stolen bases. His .409/.519/1.000 slash line with four home runs in the playoffs propelled Brewster to a second consecutive CCBL title game.
DeMartini falls into the three true outcomes profile at the plate, showing plus on-base ability, above-average game power and swing-and-miss tendencies in-zone. DeMartini’s plate discipline is excellent, as his 16.5% walk rate paced the Cape Cod League in 2022 for all players with 80 or more plate appearances. Rarely expanding the zone, DeMartini had chase rates below 20% against all pitch types this summer and an 18% mark overall. This allowed him to balance below-average bat-to-ball skills, as his 62% contact rate on the summer is certainly concerning. While he didn’t do much damage prior to the playoffs, DeMartini showed he has the ability to impact the baseball with bat speed and lift-driven power. While DeMartini struggles with whiffs in-zone, he swings at the right pitches and is a good low-ball hitter. His profile is driven around working deep into counts and punishing mistakes.
Defensively, DeMartini started primarily at third base where he showed a strong throwing arm and good lateral quickness. He also filled in at shortstop and second base, but it seemed clear he was more comfortable on the corner where he could develop into an above-average defender. He’s an exciting overall player with on-base ability and power.
12. Luke Keaschall, Orleans Firebirds, OF
Arizona State, 2023 Eligible
A returning Firebird, Keaschall spent two seasons at San Francisco before transferring to Arizona State this summer. Keaschall is a well-balanced hitter with average bat-to-ball skills, approach and power. While none of his offensive tools stand out they all work together to create a hitter with few holes. In the field he’s shown versatility, spending time at six positions the last two summers. Keaschall was elected to the Eastern Division All-Star team, and was the only player to play all nine innings for either team.
Keaschall is a solid bat-to-ball hitter with potential for above-average power at peak. While his contact numbers on the Cape were solid—74% contact rate across 199 plate appearances—he struggled against spin. Keaschall is an excellent fastball hitter, hitting .300/.400/.444 with three home runs, an 84% contact rate and a 7% swinging strike rate. When you dig under the hood at Keaschall’s production versus spin you see a very different story. Over the summer Keaschall hit .161/226/.179 with a 63% contact rate and a 15% swinging strike rate versus sliders and curveballs. His numbers were strong against changeups as he collected eight hits across 14 balls in play versus changeups. Overall, Keaschall punishes fastballs, shows at least average bat-to-ball skills and developing power. He rarely expands the zone against fastballs or curveballs, but would do well to curb his higher chase rate against sliders (30%).
In the field Keaschall was a jack of all trades, handling multiple spots in the infield and eventually settling in as Orleans’ center fielder in 2022. Nothing about Keaschall stands out defensively but he has enough skills that it’s not a major question for his profile moving forward. Overall, Keaschall is a talented offensive player and versatile defender who needs to improve against spin.
13. Mike Sirota, Hyannis Harbor Hawks, OF
Northeastern, 2024 Eligible
When the summer began Sirota was a member of the Brewster Whitecaps. After weeks of uninspiring play and the return of Ryan Lasko from Collegiate National Team trials, Brewster released the outfielder. Hyannis, as it did with Mitch Jebb, quickly added Sirota to its roster and the rest is history. The freshman from Northeastern lit up the Western Division forming a formidable duo with Jebb atop the Hyannis lineup. Contact, approach, power and athleticism make Sirota a name to follow for 2024.
Sirota hit just .250 with a single extra-base hit over 11 games with Brewster. After he was dropped from the Whitecaps roster and added to the Harbor Hawks squad Sirota caught fire. He hit .339/.442/.532 with six extra-base hits across 18 games. His bat-to-ball skills and swing decisions were among the best in the circuit as he chased pitches outside the zone just 18% of the time. He rarely swings and misses, running a 9% swinging strike rate overall in the summer. He avoids sliders almost entirely, rarely swinging against spin as he had a swing rate below 25% against sliders and curveballs.
While Sirota handled center field primarily for the Huskies during the spring he mostly played on the corner during the summer, showing average or better speed and an average arm. Overall, Sirota is a good hitter who has a strong combination of above-average bat-to-ball skills, plus swing decisions, developing game power and the ability to play all three outfield spots.
14. Jackson Baumeister, Hyannis Harbor Hawks, RHP
Florida State, 2023 Eligible
After a difficult first start where Baumeister allowed four earned runs without recording an out, the righthander from Florida State settled in nicely. Armed with a four-pitch mix Baumeister showed the ability to change eye levels with his high-ride fastball and curveball with depth. He was one of the top starting pitching prospects on the Cape this summer.
Led by a four-seam fastball sitting 91-93 mph and touching 95 mph at peak with above-average induced vertical break and a flat angle of approach to the plate, Baumeister’s trio of secondaries play well off of his primary pitch. His go-to secondary is a mid-70s curveball with good depth that plays well off of his fastball as he attacks hitters vertically. Baumeister’s ability to change eye levels with his fastball and curveball combination generates swings and misses at a high rate, as he boasted a 39% whiff rate on his fastball and a 46% whiff rate on his curveball. He flashed a changeup that was inconsistent in execution, but when he did land it, it played as his best swing-and-miss pitch. Baumeister mixed in a sweepy slider as well but it was a clear fourth pitch in his arsenal.
While Baumeister’s pitch mix is good from a shape standpoint, you’d like to see more power in all of his offerings. A fastball with his shape sitting 93-95 mph could dominate with his trio of secondary shapes in different velocity bands. His fastball command is a problem at present as he struggled too often to land the pitch elevated and glov eside. Only incremental improvements are needed in either area leaving optimism that Baumeister could grow into a starter with a good arsenal.
15. Gage Ziehl, Harwich Mariners, RHP
Miami, 2024 Eligible
A true freshman with a rhythmic and athletic delivery, wicked arm speed and true feel for spin, Ziehl showed mid-90s velocity on his fastball with good shape and deceptive release traits. His ability to spin his breaking balls is notable as his slider was clocked upwards of 2,800 rpm in any given outing. Some evaluators ranked Ziehl among the top two or three pitchers on the Cape.
Ziehl deploys a four-pitch mix with his primary usage being split between his fastball and slider. His fastball was arguably the best of any pitcher on the Cape this summer. He sat 93-94 mph with a flat vertical approach angle with ride and spin rates in the 2,400-2,500 rpm range. He generated swings and misses consistently with a whiff rate of 33% and a swinging strike rate of 16% against his fastball this summer. In addition to his ability to generate whiffs with the pitch, Ziehl also showed a knack for driving groundball contact, getting a ground ball on 52% of batted ball events against his fastball. His slider is his primary secondary, a high-spin sweeper with spin rates in the 2,800-3,000 rpm range sitting 83-84 mph. The pitch is extremely effective in right-on-right matchups as he generates whiffs, chases and ground balls at a high rate. He showed a curveball in the low 80s with similar horizontal break but more depth than the slider as well as a mid-80s changeup, but each were used mostly against lefthanders.
Overall, Ziehl commands his pitch mix well, particularly his primary fastball and slider combination. He’ll need to hone in his plan of attack against lefthanded hitters and find a true third pitch, as his slider sweeps toward lefthanded batters’ barrels. He showed the ability to land the changeup but it’s still a somewhat inconsistent pitch and showed well in spurts.
16. Roman Kimball, Chatham Anglers, RHP
South Carolina, 2024 Eligible
After spending his freshman campaign with Notre Dame the electric Kimball transferred to South Carolina. An undersized righthander with an athletic and high-effort operation, Kimball dominated Cape competition this summer. With a high-ride fastball from a low release, a trio of secondaries and a competitive bulldog mentality on the mound Kimball is an intriguing prospect for 2024.
His pitch mix consists of a four-seam fastball, curveball, changeup and slider, with his fastball seeing heavy usage at 65%. His release traits and movement on his four-seam made it among the best on the Cape as Kimball generated a 24% whiff rate on the pitch and limited hard contact despite the elevated usage rate. His sub-6-foot height combined with an uncanny ability to extend downhill allow Kimball to create flat plane on his fastball despite a more vertical slot. This combination creates both ride and a low launch as it approaches the plate making it difficult to barrel when landed in the upper quadrants. His fastball command is still shaky at times as he was prone to missing at the top of the zone. He mixes in three secondaries in a high-70s curveball with depth, a mid-70s changeup and a slider in the 83-85 mph range. His changeup is the best of his secondaries as he showed better command for it than he did for either breaking ball.
In order for Kimball to turn his strong summer showing and plus stuff into a starter’s profile he’s going to have to show the ability to execute with more consistency across his pitch mix.
|Best Batting Prospect||Matt Shaw|
|Best Power Prospect||Brock Wilken|
|Best Strike-Zone Judgment||Cooper Ingle|
|Best Baserunner||Mitch Jebb|
|Fastest Baserunner||Enrique Bradfield Jr.|
|Best Pitching Prospect||Grant Taylor|
|Best Fastball||Levi Wells|
|Best Breaking Pitch||Jay Driver (Slider)|
|Best Changeup||Jordy Allard (Splitter)|
|Best Control||Bryce Warrecker|
|Best Reliever||Levi Wells|
|Best Defensive C||Josiah Cromwick|
|Best Defensive 1B||C.J. Kayfus|
|Best Defensive 2B||Rikuu Nishida|
|Best Defensive 3B||Mitch Jebb|
|Best Defensive SS||Marcus Brown|
|Best Infield Arm||Dominic Pitelli|
|Best Defensive OF||Cole McConnell|
|Best OF Arm||Braden Montgomery|
|Most Exciting Player||Rikuu Nishida|
|Best Manager Prospect||Eric Beattie|
|Best GM||Nick Johnson|