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Chatham Anglers 2022 Cape Cod League Preview

Weekend nights after the Fourth of July at Veteran’s Field are the closest thing the Cape Cod League has to prime time. The Chatham baseball team has been the definitive Cape Cod League team in Hollywood movies and in the quintessential Cape Cod League novel The Last Best League. The Anglers, formally known as the A’s, are an extremely well run organization from top to bottom, with legendary field manager Tom Holliday at the helm since 2018. 

After a successful run in the late 1990s to early-aughts, Chatham went through a difficult period between 2002-2011, qualifying for postseason play just three times during those years. Things turned around in 2012 as the A goers made the CCBL playoffs seven out of eight years, reaching the finals in 2018. Despite drawing some of the highest profile talents every summer, Chatham has not won the league since 1998.

This season manager Tom Holliday follows a familiar recipe, with arguably the biggest name on any early Cape roster in ECU lefthander Carson Whisenhunt. The highly rated 2022 draft prospect missed the Pirates spring season due to a performance enhancing drug suspension. Behind Whisenhunt is a steady stream of talented junior college stars, Oklahoma State players, and returning Anglers from the previous summer.

The positional group is led by Clemson slugger Caden Grice, who won the hearts of the Chatham faithful early last summer before shipping off to join Team USA. His teammate Cooper Ingle is coming off a breakout season in 2022, and can handle catching duties or either of the outfield corners for the Anglers. Wichita State’s Chuck Ingram, Florida Southwestern’s Paul Winland Jr., Georgia Southern’s Noah Ledford and Grice provide serious thump.

Roc Riggio and Aidan Meola give the Anglers their typical Cowboy-heavy look on the positional side. Riggio looks like a potential star in the making as he hit .295/.413/.519 this season. Texas A&M’s Jack Moss played in six games for Orleans last summer and made the hop to Chatham this summer after hitting .388/.448/.537 over 58 games for the Aggies.

The Anglers staff is loaded with fireballers and good stuff and chief among them is Whisenhunt. Outside of Whisenhunt, Oklahoma commit Miguel Fulgencio, TCU’s Cam Brown, Texas’ Lebarron Johnson Jr., and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Hayden Durke give the Anglers a group of live arms. Tennessee's Wyatt Evans, West Virginia’s Ben Hampton, and BYU’s Cy Nielson have shown above-average strike-throwing abilities. It’s a talented, deep roster, built to withstand the waves of Collegiate National Team and MLB draft departures this summer.

Field Manager: Tom Holliday

Home Park: Veteran’s Field (Built: 1927): There’s no Cape Cod League park as iconic as Veteran’s Field in Chatham. The blue outfield walls, scoreboard in left field and hill in right-center field are images that define the league’s aesthetic to many. Anglers games after July 4 draw extremely well, and have become a key part of Chatham’s social scene. The Anglers have some of the best merchandise in the league and one of the easiest home parks to find a good vantage point due to the bowl-like setup of the field. Chatham is a must-visit stop on any Cape League tour. It's the high temple of the CCBL.

Last Cape Cod League Championship: 1998

Hitters To Know

Roc Riggio, 2B Oklahoma State (2023 Eligible): A star freshman for the Cowboys this spring, Riggio was an 11th-round pick of the Brewers last July but did not sign. Instead he joined on with Oklahoma State, making 54 starts for the Cowboys, hitting .295/.413/.519 with 11 home runs. A draft-eligible sophomore next summer, a strong showing with the Anglers could push Riggio into top-round conversation.

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Cooper Ingle, C/OF Clemson (2023 Eligible): Ingle played sparingly his freshman season at Clemson, but this spring saw 54 starts at a variety of positions, hitting .351/.449/.526 with eight home runs. His ability to not only catch but handle both outfield corners makes him a unique chess piece for Holliday. Despite lacking the high profile of Grice, Ingle may in fact be the Clemson star to watch this summer.

Chuck Ingram, OF Wichita State (2023 Eligible): Ingram is a strong-bodied righthanded slugger who made 48 starts in center field for the Shockers this spring. This spring Ingram put up some of the best power numbers of any Angler, hitting .310/.362/.582 with 31 extra-base hits. He’s an aggressive free-swinger who needs to tighten his approach to take a step forward as a professional prospect, but he has power and has shown the ability to get to it in games.

Pitchers To Know

Carson Whisenhunt, LHP East Carolina (2022 Eligible): What can we expect on opening night versus Cotuit? It’s highly unlikely Whisenhunt’s handlers would allow him to pitch this summer if he wasn’t ready to dominate. For this reason I anticipate we get the best of Whisenhunt and his plus changeup. His fastball will sits low-to-mid 90s and he mixes in his low-80s changeup versus righthanders and a 1-to-7 curveball with spin rates in the 2,500-2,600 rpm range. Whisenhunt will be one of the biggest stories of the Cape League this summer.

Miguel Fulgencio, LHP Oklahoma (2022 Eligible): Fulgencio is a big-bodied lefty who was up to 94-95 mph and was the closer for Crowley (Kan.) JC this spring. He showed control, stuff and dominance in the role. He mixes in a tight slider and a changeup, missing bats with all three of his pitches. Fulgencio could be a standout for the Anglers in high leverage situations this summer. He's a live arm worth following.

Roman Kimball, RHP Notre Dame (2024 Eligible): The undersized Notre Dame righthander’s fastball popped on analytical models as an amateur with a low release height and flat plane of vertical approach to the plate. He struggled for the Irish this spring but his fastball shape and unique characteristics give the 2024 draft-eligible player traits that could lead to success. Chatham in recent seasons has a pitcher whispering element with Alek Manoah’s takeoff happening a few summer’s back with the Anglers.

Sleeper: Noah Ledford, 1B Georgia Southern (2022 Eligible): Potentially only in Chatham for a limited time, Ledford is draft-eligible this July coming off a hot spring where he hit .348/.444/.665 for Georgia Southern with 17 home runs. He cut his strike rate nearly in half year over year. He was draft-eligible in 2021 but has raised his profile significantly. He had the best statistical season of any 2022 Anglers player and the highest barrel rate on the roster.

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