Cotuit Kettleers 2022 Cape Cod League Preview
Under the guidance of field manager Mike Roberts since 2004, the Kettleers have captured three Cape Cod League titles during his tenure. The longtime UNC coach is known for building squads deep with pitching talent and aggressive baserunners. Few organizations put competitive teams together more consistently than the Cotuit front office, as the Kettleers have qualified for postseason play in four consecutive seasons entering 2022. Success has been anything but a new trend, as the team has qualified for postseason play in 13 of Mike Roberts' 17 seasons at the helm. Several current major leaguers have called Lowell Park home in recent seasons including Mike Yastrzemski, Tony Kemp and Kendall Graveman. The Kettleers rank among the best gameday experiences for fans as well, with one of the Cape's premier parks.
This year’s club features one of the premier pre-draft names in Chipola (Fla.) JC third baseman Cam Collier, but it’s a talented infield overall, with Stanford’s Tommy Troy, Michigan State’s Mitch Jebb, Iowa’s Peyton Williams and Colonial Athletic Conference player of the year Brooks Baldwin.
The pitching features a deep group led by righthander Christian Little, College of Charleston’s Daniel Brooks and Auburn’s Carson Swilling. The staff boasts plenty of firepower with bullpen arms like Adam Boucher of Duke, Mercer’s Jackson Kelley and College of Charleston’s Will Privette providing a variety of looks.
Home Park: Lowell Park (Built: 1947): While Eldredge Park in Orleans and Veteran’s Park in Chatham rank among the most iconic parks on the Cape Cod League circuit, none are as picturesque as Lowell Park in the village of Cotuit. Tucked into a wooded alcove just a stone's throw away from Cotuit Bay, Lowell is a beautiful throwback ballpark chiseled from red brick and oakwood. The park’s brick facade and stained-wood stands pop against the leafy green background. Punctuality is a must on game days at Lowell as parking is limited and few clubs draw crowds as consistently as the Kettleers. One of three Cape Cod League parks without lights, like Brewster and Yarmouth-Dennis, Cotuit has early start times.
Manager: Mike Roberts
Last Cape Cod League Championship: 2019
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Hitters To Know
Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC (2022 Eligible): One of the youngest players to compete on the Cape in history, Collier is just 17 years old. Collier’s story is a unique one as he was a 2023 high school graduate who graduated early, enrolled at junior college powerhouse Chipola and reclassified to the 2022 draft class. Collier is one of the top position prospects in the 2022 draft and one of the Cape Cod League’s top pre-draft prospects. His combination of contact, advanced plate approach and game power is a must see early in the season for the Kettleers.
Mitchell Jebb, SS, Michigan State (2023 Eligible): A standout for Michigan State this spring, Jebb hit .356/.448/.511 for the Spartans in 2022 and is one of the top 2023 prospects on the Kettleers roster. He’s a contact-driven lefthanded hitter with easy plus speed, a skill set manager Mike Roberts should take full advantage of. Jebb played shortstop for Michigan State this season but could see time at a few different positions this summer. He’s a potential table setter for the Kettleers this summer.
Tommy Troy, INF, Stanford (2023 Eligible): One of the circuit’s standout underclassmen last season while Troy was with Wareham, the infielder made the hop across the canal as he joins Cotuit for the 2022 summer. A twitchy infielder and righthanded hitter with a quick, compact swing, Troy showed game power over the final few weeks of the 2021 season, proving he could ambush an inner-half fastball with the best of them. Troy should once again be one of the top offensive performers to monitor this summer with the Kettleers as he has the ability to do damage at the plate.
Pitchers To Know
Daniel Brooks, RHP College of Charleston (2024 Eligible): An imposing figure on the mound, Brooks stands 6-foot-8 with a strong and muscular build. Brooks made 12 appearances, including 10 starts, for the Cougars this season and is one of the pitchers from the 2024 draft class on the Cape. He mixes four different pitches, all of which boasted whiff rates of 30% or above during the 2022 spring season. He sits 88-91 mph on his fastball, but has steep plane and good shape, playing both high and low in the strike zone. His changeup is his standout offering, showing good velocity and vertical separation off of his fastball, sold with arm speed. Brooks is a pitchability arm with plenty of velocity projection in the tank.
Christian Little, RHP (2023 Eligible): Little decided to forego his final year of high school and enroll early at Vanderbilt. He’s primarily worked as a reliever for the Commodores the last two seasons but has an opportunity to make the jump to starter this summer for the Kettleers. Little mixes four pitches, led by one of the hardest fastballs on the Cotuit staff and a curveball with serious depth. Little’s deep arsenal of pitches and overall stuff should make his innings some of the most electric this summer at Lowell. Little announced after the season that he was entering the transfer portal.
Carson Swilling, RHP Auburn (2022 Eligible): A reliever over the last two seasons for the Tigers, Swilling throws one of the best fastballs on the Kettleers squad. He sits 92-94 mph with a ton of ride and late life. He pairs that with a low-80s slider, a high-70s curveball and a changeup with good separation off of his fastball. Swilling is a talented arm coming off a sophomore campaign in which he struck out 33 batters over 27.2 innings.
Sleeper: Jaylen Paden, RHP Georgia Southern (2023 Eligible): The explosive righthander made 14 starts for the Eagles this spring. He features a loud pitch mix led by his fastball that sits low 90s with heavy bore, late life and ride. The pitch plays up due to his lower release and the flat angle of the pitch's vertical approach to the plate. He pairs the fastball with a low-80s slider and a changeup with good tumble and fade. It’s just a matter of Paden tightening his command and learning to work in the zone with greater frequency. He struggled mightily with walks this spring, and it’s a major point of emphasis heading into his draft spring. If it all clicks, Paden could be a breakout this summer.