SEE ALSO: Summer College League Top Prospects
Cape Cod was home again to the most talented college summer league in the country, as well as one of college baseball’s best dynasties. Yarmouth-Dennis won its third straight Cape Cod League title and sixth in 13 years under manager Scott Pickler. Y-D is the first team to win three straight titles since Cotuit won four straight from 1972-75.
|Cape Cod League Top Prospects|
|Brady Singer, rhp, Falmouth (So., Florida)|
|Colton Hock, rhp, Cotuit (Jr., Stanford)|
|Pavin Smith, 1b, Harwich (Jr., Virginia)|
|Dylan Busby, 3b/1b, Hyannis (Jr., Florida State)|
|Justin Hooper, lhp, Cotuit (So., UCLA)|
|Peter Solomon, rhp, Harwich (Jr., Notre Dame)|
|Brendon Little, lhp, Bourne (So., State JC of Florida)|
|Joe Dunand, 3b, Harwich (Jr., North Carolina State)|
|Michael Gigliotti, of, Falmouth (Jr., Lipscomb)|
|Zach Rutherford, ss/2b, Hyannis (Jr., Old Dominion)|
|Deon Stafford, c, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., St. Joseph’s)|
|Kevin Smith, ss, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Maryland)|
|Jake Mangum, of, Bourne (So., Mississippi State)|
|Konnor Pilkington, lhp, Brewster (So., Mississippi State)|
|Joey Bart, c, Wareham (So., Georgia Tech)|
|Ford Proctor, ss/2b, Hyannis (So., Rice)|
|Will Gaddis, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Furman)|
|Zac Lowther, lhp, Brewster (Jr., Xavier)|
|Kade McClure, rhp, Brewster (Jr., Louisville)|
|Corbin Martin, rhp, Falmouth (Jr., Texas A&M)|
|J.J. Matijevic, of/1b, Falmouth (Jr., Arizona)|
|Ernie Clement, 2b/of, Harwich (Jr., Virginia)|
|Michael Baumann, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Jacksonville)|
|Adam Haseley, of, Orleans (Jr., Virginia)|
|Logan Warmoth, ss/2b, Brewster (Jr., North Carolina)|
|Hunter Williams, lhp, Harwich (Jr., North Carolina)|
|Zach Pop, rhp, Wareham (Jr., Kentucky)|
|Will Toffey, 3b, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Vanderbilt)|
|Matt Whatley, c, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Oral Roberts)|
|Garrett Cave, rhp, Hyannis (Jr., Tampa)|
After dropping the first game of the championship series to Falmouth, Y-D rebounded to win the final two games and claim its latest title. Falmouth last won a championship in 1980 and was looking to end the league’s longest championship drought but settled for the President’s Cup, awarded to the team with the best record in the regular season.
While the top three players on this list a year ago were hitters, this summer the Cape returned to its more typical pitcher-friendly form. After third baseman Nick Senzel, the No. 2 overall pick in June, and outfielder Kyle Lewis, the 2016 College Player of the Year, spent their summer on the Cape last summer, scouts hoping to find more players like them this year were left wanting. Instead, college pitching again looks to be a strength of the 2017 draft class.
For a player to be eligible for the rankings, position players must have played in at least 22 games or made 88 plate appearances, and pitchers must have appeared in at least five games or thrown 15 innings. Several talented prospects who briefly appeared in the league came up short of those requirements, including North Carolina righthander J.B. Bukauskas, Vanderbilt center fielder Jeren Kendall and Florida catcher J.J. Schwarz. (Bukauskas and Kendall both ranked in our Top 20 rankings for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team.)
Drafted 56th overall by the Blue Jays in 2015, Singer was the highest-picked high school player in the draft to continue on to college last year. He worked primarily out of the bullpen this spring for the Gators and joined Falmouth’s rotation after Florida’s season ended in the College World Series. Including the playoffs, he made six appearances for the Commodores, going 2-0, 0.64 with 25 strikeouts and three walks in 28 innings.
Singer was electric in his time on the Cape. Late running action makes his low- to mid-90s fastball very difficult for hitters to square up and left several opponents with broken bats. His slider is an above-average offering, capable of eliciting swings-and-misses. He has some feel for his changeup, still in its developmental stages, and he often overpowered hitters with only his fastball-slider combination. Singer comes right after hitters and fills up the strike zone.
Singer is listed at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, giving him a good pitcher’s frame with room to add more strength as he continues to physically mature. He won’t be eligible until the 2018 draft but is an early candidate to be one of the first players selected that year.
2. Colton Hock, rhp, Cotuit (Jr., Stanford)
Hock excited scouts this summer with his combination of velocity, stuff and size. His fastball typically sat in the low 90s and he ran it up to 95 mph. He paired his fastball with a hard curveball that generated swings-and-misses when he located them, although he allowed 41 hits in 37 innings during a 1-4, 3.44 summer. His changeup made strides over the summer and gives him a third promising offering. Hock is listed at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and largely pitched around the zone, though his command will need further refinement.
Just two of Hock’s 50 appearances in two years at Stanford have been starts, and part of his developmental process is learning how to manage a starter’s workload. As the summer went on, he got better at maintaining his velocity deeper into his starts and making in-game adjustments. He’ll need to continue to work on that part of his game, as well as his pitchability, but his raw tools give him a good chance to be a starter.
3. Pavin Smith, 1b, Harwich (Jr., Virginia)
MLB scouting directors voted Smith a Preseason All-American in 2014, his senior year of high school, and again this spring, before his sophomore season at Virginia. He built on his long track record this summer, hitting .318/.394/.444 with four home runs.
Smith earns praise for his smooth lefthanded swing and disciplined approach at the plate. He doesn’t often swing and miss and knows how to work a walk. He has above-average power but didn’t get to it quite as often this summer as he has in the past. Smith split his time between the outfield and first base as a freshman at Virginia but largely settled at first this year. He has a chance to be an above-average defender there, but regardless of his position, the focus will be on his bat.
Busby had a breakout spring at the plate for Florida State, hitting .323/.374/.597 with a team-high 14 home runs. He carried that hot bat into the summer, hitting .322/.425/.567 with four home runs in 29 games for Hyannis. Listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Busby creates good bat speed and has power to all fields. He has become a more patient hitter, adopting the disciplined approach Florida State coach Mike Martin preaches. Some scouts are not completely sold on his knack for hitting, however.
Busby was Florida State’s everyday third baseman as a freshman but moved across the diamond to first base this spring. He was back at third this summer, where he was a capable defender. Some scouts believe he’ll be able to handle the hot corner in pro ball, while others see his above-average speed and arm and think he could profile in right field. Proving he can handle either position and isn’t limited to first base would be a boost to his draft stock.
Ranked No. 39 on the 2015 BA 500, Hooper was the second-highest ranked player to make it to college from that class (behind the late Donny Everett). But the big lefthander struggled mightily with control this spring and threw just eight innings in 14 appearances for UCLA. He went to the Cape to work on refining his delivery, a project that produced promising early returns.
Listed at 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, Hooper is an imposing physical presence on the mound. He threw his fastball mostly 91-94 mph this summer but has been known to run it up into the mid-90s in the past. He worked hard to improve his changeup, turning it into his second-best pitch. His slider is an adequate third pitch but remains inconsistent.
Hooper didn’t solve his control problems in one summer, as he averaged 5.3 walks per nine innings. But he made important progress towards becoming more of a pitcher instead of a thrower. He’ll need to continue that work to reach his high ceiling.
6. Peter Solomon, rhp, Harwich (Jr., Notre Dame)
After an inconsistent spring at Notre Dame, Solomon put together one of the best pitching performances of anyone on the Cape. He fell short of qualifying for the ERA title by three innings, but had his 33 innings been enough, his 0.54 mark would have been the best in the league.
Solomon worked as both a starter and a reliever, as he did for the Fighting Irish this spring. As a starter, he threw in the low 90s, and in a short stint at the all-star game ran his fastball up to 96 mph. He throws both a curveball and a slider, with the slider the better of the two options and showing plus potential. Listed at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Solomon has a wiry pitcher’s frame and a loose delivery. He’ll need to improve his command after averaging four walks per nine innings this summer (and 6.5 this spring), but he has enough attributes to be given a chance as a starter.
No. 159 on the 2015 BA 500, Little was the top-ranked player in North Carolina’s 2015 recruiting class but threw just four innings in four appearances this spring. He didn’t have a problem getting on the mound this summer, however, and he was one of the most dynamic pitchers on the Cape. He made the all-star team and struck out 39 batters in 27 innings (including playoffs).
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Little worked exclusively out of the bullpen, giving Bourne an electric late-inning option with two plus pitches. He threw his fastball 93-94 mph and combined it with a power breaking ball, making him particularly tough on lefthanded hitters. As good as his stuff is, Little still has to make some improvements to convince scouts he can be a starter. There is stiffness to his delivery and his command remains a work in progress. Little will transfer to the State JC of Florida this year and will try to follow the path blazed by Phil Bickford—from Cape dominance to the junior college ranks to the first round.
8. Joe Dunand, 3b, Harwich (Jr., North Carolina State)
The nephew of Alex Rodriguez, Dunand shook off a lackluster spring at North Carolina State to stand out as one of the most dynamic position players on the Cape. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, and his strong frame translates to plus raw power. The righthanded hitter has a lot of strength in his swing and is capable of putting a charge into the ball. He is an aggressive hitter with holes in his swing, which good pitchers were able to exploit at times this summer.
Dunand struggled at shortstop at thimes this spring but earned better marks defensively this summer at third base. He has a plus arm and could become an average defender at the hot corner. If he’s able to convince scouts he can stay at third, his offensive potential will make him very attractive next spring.
9. Michael Gigliotti, of, Falmouth (Jr., Lipscomb)
Gigliotti was one of a trio of Lipscomb players who went to Falmouth this summer and became Cape all-stars—Virginia was the only other school with as much representation in the game. The 6-foot-1, 177-pound Florida prep product is the best prospect of the herd of Bison and was a key part of the Commodores’ strong performance throughout the summer, as he hit .310/.404/.426 with 11 stolen bases.
Gigliotti’s game is built around his plus speed. He knows how to use it to his advantage at the plate, showing a willingness to bunt for a hit and the ability to steal bases once he gets on base. While he has an approach mostly suited for the top of the lineup, he also can drive the ball and hit three home runs during the regular season and playoffs combined. Gigliotti is an above-average defender in the outfield, showing good instincts and the ability to track down balls well.
10. Zach Rutherford, ss/2b, Hyannis (Jr., Old Dominion)
A Freshman All-American in 2015, Rutherford put together another solid spring this year and went to the Cape as a career .313 hitter at Old Dominion. He built on that reputation this summer with Hyannis, as he started the all-star game and won MVP honors for the West division after going 3-for-3 with a home run in the showcase.
Rutherford produces good bat speed that translated into solid righthanded power this summer for the first time; he hit four homers this summer after hitting two in the spring for ODU. His game, however, typically is more about making contact and getting on base, though the righthanded hitter did strike out in a quarter of his at-bats this summer. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder is an above-average athlete and runner. Rutherford split time at shortstop and second base with Ford Proctor this summer. He is a solid defender, though his average arm strength and choppy infield actions may end up pushing him to second.
11. Deon Stafford, c, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., St. Joseph’s)
Stafford was named Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year this spring after hitting .395/.486/.702 and setting a program record with 18 home runs. He carried that momentum into the summer, as he hit .283/.377/.509 and led the Cape in OPS (.886).
Stafford showed exciting raw tools, but there are some rough edges to his game that still need to be worked out. The righthanded hitter has plus raw power and did a good job getting to it. He has a big swing and his hittability has room for improvement. Stafford has plus arm strength but will need to improve his receiving and blocking ability to remain behind the plate. He’s an average runner and saw some time in the outfield this summer to keep his bat in the lineup when he wasn’t catching. His power, arm strength and athleticism give him a chance to profile in the outfield if he can’t stick at catcher.
12. Kevin Smith, ss, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Maryland)
Smith starred for Maryland as a freshman in 2015 but struggled to repeat that performance this spring. He rebounded on the Cape, hitting .301/.348/.427 during the regular season and winning playoff MVP honors.
A listed 6-foot, 188-pounder, Smith was a steady contributor offensively throughout the summer. He has a line-drive approach and some raw power, though it plays more as doubles pop now. His approach needs further refinement, as he struggles with spin and is not particularly patient.
Scouts are uncertain of whether Smith will be able to stay at shortstop, and how he answers that question next spring will determine how high he goes in the draft. He’s a below-average runner but has the arm strength and infield actions for the position. He earns praise for his makeup and understanding of the game.
13. Jake Mangum, of, Bourne (So., Mississippi State)
Mangum exploded onto the college baseball scene this spring as a freshman at Mississippi State, hitting .408/.458/.510 to win the Southeastern Conference batting title and All-American honors. The son of former Chicago Bears defensive back John Mangum, he brings some of his father’s football mentality to the diamond, playing with an all-out, hard-nosed style.
Mangum’s game is based around his plus speed. He has a knack for putting the barrel on the ball and using his speed to get on base. The switch-hitter has below-average power from both sides of the plate but understands his game well and sticks to his approach at the plate. Mangum played right field at Mississippi State this spring in deference to Jacob Robson and moved to center on the Cape. He handled the position well and profiles as a prototypical speedy, top-of-the-order center fielder. Mangum, a listed 6-foot, 185 pounds, will turn 21 in March, making him eligible for next year’s draft.
14. Konnor Pilkington, lhp, Brewster (So., Mississippi State)
Pilkington took over as the Bulldogs’ Sunday starter midway through the season, stabilizing the rotation for the eventual SEC regular-season champions. That form continued on the Cape, as he went 2-1, 1.37 with 33 strikeouts in 39 innings.
Pilkington throws his fastball in the low 90s, topping out at 94 mph. Both his curveball and changeup show the potential to be at least average offerings, with his curveball the better pitch at this stage. At his best, Pilkington can both land his curveball for strikes and make it a chase pitch out of the zone. He works around the strike zone, repeating his loose delivery well.
Pilkington won’t turn 19 until next month, making him one of the youngest players on the Cape this summer. With his advanced understanding of his craft, size (listed at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and stuff, he has a lofty ceiling.
15. Joey Bart, c, Wareham (So., Georgia Tech)
Bart earned Freshman All-American honors this spring at Georgia Tech and continued the strong start to his college career this summer. He was an all-star and hit .309/.389/.433 in 30 games for Wareham. Bart has plus raw power, though the righthanded hitter is still learning how to get to it consistently in games. He homered just once this spring and had six extra-base hits this summer (two homers). But he makes a lot of hard contact that should turn into more juice as he learns how to use the strength in his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame.
Coming out of high school, evaluators had questions about Bart’s ability to remain behind the plate. He has made improvements in the last year and has the potential to be a solid defender by the 2018 draft. His receiving still needs refinement, but he has a strong arm and earns praise for his makeup.
16. Ford Proctor, ss/2b, Hyannis (So., Rice)
Proctor was a first-team Freshman All-American this spring and followed that up with a solid summer on the Cape, hitting .286 with nearly as many walks (18) as strikeouts (22). The lefthanded hitter has a short, compact swing that enables him to make consistent hard contact. He has raw power that presently plays as doubles pop. He is a mature, disciplined hitter who controls the strike zone well and does a good job of using the whole field to hit.
Proctor split time with Zach Rutherford at shortstop and second base this summer. He has smooth hands and infield actions. His average speed may eventually push him to second base, but he has plenty of time before the 2018 draft to convince scouts he can stay at short.
17. Will Gaddis, rhp, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Furman)
Gaddis was the Southern Conference pitcher of the year this spring, going 10-3, 3.45 in 102 innings, and followed that up with a strong, if brief, appearance on the Cape. In four starts with Yarmouth-Dennis, he went 2-1, 1.36 and posted a 24-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 26 innings.
Gaddis earns praise for his pitchability and ability to throw strikes with his whole arsenal. His fastball sat in the low 90s and his curveball and changeup give him two more average-or-better offerings. He added a cutter late this spring, and while he is still getting a feel for it, the early returns are promising. With four pitches and a solid understanding of his craft, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Gaddis has the look of a solid starter.
18. Zac Lowther, lhp, Brewster (Jr., Xavier)
Lowther began his breakout summer by striking out nine batters in 3 2/3 innings in his first appearance for Brewster and never slowed down. Originally signed to a temporary contract, he became a mainstay for the Whitecaps, made the all-star game and led the league with 54 strikeouts in 36 innings.
Lowther relies heavily on his fastball, which sat 89-92 mph and dominated hitters despite its average velocity. Lowther throws with some deception from a low three-quarters arm slot and gets late sink and run on his fastball. As a result, he was able to pile up swings and misses with just his fastball. He also throws a breaking ball, which can be average, and a changeup that he seldom used this summer. He pounded the zone, walking just four batters this summer.
Without premium secondary stuff, Lowther has limited upside, but a 6-foot-2, 225-pound lefthander who can miss bats with his fastball is an intriguing prospect.
19. Kade McClure, rhp, Brewster (Jr., Louisville)
McClure was perhaps the best midweek starter in the country this spring, going 12-0, 2.54 for Louisville. He didn’t have many innings left by the time he got to the Cape, but he made the most of them and impressed in his four appearances.
Listed at 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, McClure uses his height to his advantage on the mound. He pitches from a steep downhill angle and lives at the bottom of the strike zone with a fastball that sits around 90 mph. Hitters struggle to square the pitch up, and he generates a lot of groundball outs. His slider is his best secondary offering and gives him a second average pitch. He also works in a changeup and has added a curveball that shows promise. McClure throws a lot of strikes and has the look of a workhorse starter.
20. Corbin Martin, rhp, Falmouth (Jr., Texas A&M)
Martin was the top-ranked prospect in the Alaska League last year and came across the country to the Cape for this summer. He was one of the most electric relievers in the league, compiling a 29-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 19 innings during the regular season and playoffs.
Martin throws his fastball in the mid 90s and touched 98 mph this summer. He throws a sharp breaking ball that is a swing-and-miss pitch at its best and shows some feel for his changeup. Martin pounded the zone this summer, but his control has not always been as good; he averaged seven walks per nine innings this spring. If he throws enough strikes, Martin could get a look as a starter. But he may fit best at the back of a bullpen where he can air out his power arsenal in short stints.
Matijevic ranked No. 23 on this list a year ago after finishing third in the batting race. He returned to the Cape this summer after Arizona’s runner-up finish in the College World Series and again had a strong summer at the plate. His late arrival meant he fell short of qualifying for the batting title this year, but if he had, he would have led the league after hitting .376/.449/.553 in 23 games.
Matijevic has a short swing and produces a lot of hard contact. His strength and bat speed portend power, and he hit five home runs in 31 games between the regular season and the playoffs. But his gap-to-gap approach means his raw power doesn’t always play as well in games. Matijevic played a lot of right field this summer, and the 6-foot, 206-pounder may have the athleticism to handle a corner outfield spot, though he has played first base and DH for Arizona. No matter where he settles defensively, the focus will remain on his bat.
22. Ernie Clement, 2b/of, Harwich (Jr., Virginia)
Clement has been a key contributor throughout his Virginia career, starting all but one game in the last two years for the Cavaliers. He quickly took on a similar role for Harwich this summer and won MVP honors after hitting .353/.400/.395. He led the Cape in hits (59) and stolen bases (19) while finishing second in batting and third in on-base percentage.
Clement embodies the saying, “Good things happen when you put the ball in play.” He has an aggressive approach and an uncanny knack for putting the bat on the ball. The righthanded hitter was the fourth-toughest hitter in the country to strike out this spring, and he whiffed just 10 times and drew eight walks in 180 plate appearances this summer. He has minimal power and instead sprays the ball all over the field.
Clement has split his time between second base and center field both this summer and at Virginia, and he is a capable defender in both positions. His plus speed helps his profile but questions about his offensive impact leave some believing his future is as a utility player.
The Atlantic Sun Conference pitcher of the year as a freshman in 2015, Baumann struggled much of the summer with Yarmouth-Dennis, unable to find the strike zone. But near the end of the summer, he finally made a mechanical adjustment that allowed him to harness his premium stuff and closed out his summer with two strong outings.
Baumann runs his fastball up to 95 mph, typically sitting in the low 90s. He throws both a short slider and a bigger curveball, as well as a changeup. After struggling with his control throughout the summer and averaging 4.2 walks per nine innings this spring, Baumann will need to show his mechanical adjustment can be a long-term fix. As a Minnesota native at a mid-major with premium stuff and size (listed at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds), he will get every opportunity to develop as a starter.
Haseley earned All-America honors this spring after starring as a two-way player for Virginia. While he is 11-4, 1.86 in his career on the mound for the Cavaliers, he is a better prospect as a position player and exclusively played the outfield for Orleans.
No matter whether he’s pitching or hitting, Haseley plays with an advanced understanding of the game and earns praise for his makeup. In the batter’s box, that translates to a mature approach and the ability to work counts. He has a smooth lefthanded swing with an approach that is more geared for average than power. Haseley has good instincts in the outfield and tracks down balls well. But he is an average runner and has fringy arm strength.
Without more power or speed, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder may end up as a tweener, not profiling in either center or a corner. But there is some reason to hope that once he stops pitching and focuses on being a position player, he will make a jump.
Warmoth, who took over as North Carolina’s starting shortstop as a freshman, took a step forward offensively this spring, hitting .337/.402/.481. He had a solid summer on the Cape, showing a mature approach at the plate. He is a gap-to-gap hitter with below-average power, but he occasionally will turn and drive a pitch. The righthanded hitter is disciplined in the batter’s box and does a good job of not expanding the strike zone.
Warmoth is a steady defender with above-average arm strength. He runs well, but his first-step quickness limits his range defensively and may push him off shortstop. He also saw time at second and third base this summer, and he likely profiles best as an everyday player as a second baseman.
26. Hunter Williams, lhp, Harwich (Jr., North Carolina)
Williams went 2-2, 1.26 this summer for Harwich, ranking second in the league in ERA. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound lefthander attacked hitters with his powerful arsenal. His fastball sat in the low 90s, regularly reaching 94 mph. He paired it with a slider and showed some feel for his changeup.
Williams held hitters to a .156 batting average and pitched around the strike zone. His command hasn’t always been as good at North Carolina, limiting him to 78 innings in two seasons, and he will need to continue throwing quality strikes next spring. With his fastball-slider combination from the left side, Williams would be a weapon out of the bullpen, but if he can continue to refine his command and changeup, he has a chance to be a starter.
27. Zach Pop, rhp, Wareham (Jr., Kentucky)
Pop has big stuff, though the former Canadian Junior National Team member has been unable to harness it consistently during his college career. He showed the same traits again this summer, impressing at times with his power arsenal but at other times struggling to throw strikes.
Pop throws his fastball in the low 90s and is capable of getting it up to 96 mph. He gets groundball outs with the pitch thanks both to its sinking action and the downhill angle his 6-foot-4 frame creates. He combines his sinker with a solid slider and also shows a changeup, though it needs further development. Pop’s delivery has some effort to it, which leads to his inconsistent command. If he’s able to smooth it out, he has the physical body and arsenal to give him a chance to start. Otherwise, his sinker-slider mix should play well in the bullpen.
After a Freshman All-American season in 2015, Toffey was voted a Preseason All-American by MLB scouting directors. He slumped throughout the spring at Vanderbilt, hitting .227/.387/.266 with no home runs but was drafted in the 25th round by the Orioles anyway as an eligible sophomore. He chose not to sign and rebounded with Yarmouth-Dennis, hitting .283/.392/.402.
Toffey showed improvements in his swing and approach this summer, as compared to his brief stay on the Cape a year ago. His approach is geared to hitting line drives, but he does have above-average raw power and can drive the ball to all fields. He is a patient hitter who walks about as often as he strikes out, both of which happen a fair amount when he’s at the plate. He is a capable third baseman with average arm strength. Toffey began to rebuild his value with his play this summer, and scouts will be closely watching next spring to see if he can continue moving in that direction.
29. Matt Whatley, c, Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Oral Roberts)
Whatley has starred at Oral Roberts in each of the last two years, earning first-team all-Summit League honors in each of the last two years and the league’s newcomer of the year award in 2015. He is a career .359 hitter for the Golden Eagles and while he didn’t match that production this summer, he stood out for his defense and raw power.
Whatley’s righthanded swing is more conducive to hitting for power than for average. The 5-foot-10, 205-pounder earned praise for his work ethic but may need to shorten his swing to more consistently make hard contact. Behind the plate, Whatley is a good defender with an above-average arm. He is athletic and blocks balls in the dirt well. His defensive ability will allow a team to be patient as he adjusts to facing more advanced pitchers in pro ball.
Cave led the league with 10 saves this summer and struck out 34 batters in 19 innings (15.83 SO/9). His summer also included an electric inning in the all-star game, when he struck out the side and touched 97 mph.
Cave has a power arm and typically threw his fastball in the low to mid 90s with run. He has a sharp curveball that is inconsistent but is a plus offering at its best. Control has been a problem for Cave throughout his college career and it was again this summer. His below-average control and lack of a changeup makes it likely he will remain in the bullpen in the long run, and he has the makeup for high-leverage situations. Cave will pitch for Division II Tampa this year after beginning his college career at Florida International.