for immediate release: 12 June, 2004
(Revised 16 August 2004)
Cape League Reaches New Milestone in Draft
This week, Major League Baseball pushed its selection of Cape League players into overdrive.
In 2003, Major League ballclubs selected 146 Cape league players, but this week, the Cape League reached a new all-time high for players picked to join the professional ranks; all totaled, 163 Cape Leaguers were given the nod by Major League clubs, including a staggering 111 players taken in the first 18 rounds.
In the first round alone, the Cape League boasted 9 out of 30 players selected; an additional four Cape Leaguers were taken in the supplemental first round.
As predicted by the media, the Rice University pitching trio of Philip Humber, Jeffrey Niemann and Wade Townsend were all taken in the top 10 selections. Humber, who went 1-4 with a 5.28 ERA for the Y-D Red Sox in 2003, was the first Cape Leaguer to be selected, third overall by the New York Mets out of 1,498 players drafted from the collegiate and amateur ranks. Niemann, who pitched for the Harwich Mariners in 2003 and went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched (19 Ks), was taken directly after Humber (4th overall). The Tampa Bay Devil Rays gave Niemann the nod.
The highly touted and respected Vanderbilt southpaw Jeremy Sowers, who pitched for the Wareham Gatemen in 2002 and 2003, was taken 6th overall in the first round by the Cleveland Indians. “He just mowed us down this year at school,” said fellow draftee Justin Maxwell who was taken in the 10th round by the Texas Rangers and was a CCBL All-Star for Bourne in 2003. “His stuff is just nasty.”
Following Sowers came Rice righty Wade Townsend (8th overall) who was named the CCBL’s 2003 Top Pro Prospect. Townsend pitched for the Wareham Gatemen last summer and went 1-3 with a 1.83 ERA.
Orleans Cardinals lefty Billy Bray (Wm. & Mary) was taken 13th overall by the Montreal Expos after he helped lead the Cardinals to the Cape League championship title in 2003. Bray was a workhorse for Orleans in 2003, appearing in 18 games and striking out 29 batters in 25 innings of work. He maintained a stingy 1.44 ERA and picked up four saves along with a 2-1 record on the hill.
Bray’s Orleans Cardinals lefty counterpart, David Purcey (Oklahoma), was selected 16th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays following a banner season for the 2003 CCBL champs. The 6’5” southpaw went 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA and struck out 60 batters in 52.2 innings of work.
Chris Lambert, a righty who threw for the Chatham A’s last summer and is the highest draft pick ever for Boston College, was taken with the 19th overall pick by the St. Louis Cardinals. Lambert went 3-3 with a 2.12 ERA for the A’s in 2003.
Lambert shared BIG EAST Co-Pitcher of the Year honors, while also gaining All-Conference first-team distinction for the third straight season. The junior posted a 6-4 record, 3.02 ERA and .196 opponent batting average this season. He fanned a school single-season record 107 batters and threw two complete-game shutouts. After three years on the Heights, Lambert holds the Eagle career strikeout record of 282 and career earned run average mark of 2.84.
Former Brewster Whitecaps’ southpaw Taylor Tankersley (Alabama), who posted a 6-1 record with a 1.44 ERA in 2002, was taken 27th overall by the Florida Marlins.
The Y-D Red Sox led all Cape League teams with 22 players drafted, followed by Bourne (18), Hyannis (17), Falmouth (19), Harwich (20), Orleans (18), Chatham (17), Cotuit (15), Wareham (15) and Brewster (15). This breakdown by Team totals 176 because 10 players were listed with multiple teams (166 net).