A weekly list of the top six performers of the 2013 season:
While the offensive elite have become slightly clearer during Week 4 of the Cape League season, star pitchers continue to sprout like weeds. Staff aces are performing at consistently high levels while the majority of their batting counterparts have struggled with that same consistency. The halfway point of the season has officially arrived, and several names continue to make appearances on the Watch List. All-Star rosters will be announced soon and the playoff push is not far behind. Legitimate MVP contenders will continue to perform while the pretenders will be exposed.
Rhys Hoskins (Sacramento State)
Outfielder, Falmouth Commodores
.311 BA, 23 R, 19 RBI, 4 HR, 2 SB
Falmouth is the top offensive team in the league, and Hoskins is a big reason why. He leads the league in runs, is second in hits and RBIs, and is tied for second in home runs. He raised his batting average by 45 points this week, and is no longer a sub-.300 hitter. The Commodores are challenging for the West title and as long as they keep firing on all cylinders, Hoskins' consistent output puts him in good shape for a shot at league MVP honors. But his biggest opponent down the stretch may be his own teammate …
Kevin Cron (TCU)
First Base, Falmouth Commodores
.366 BA, 18 R, 20 RBI, 4 HR, 6 SB
It’s difficult to put two players from the same team and on the same side of the ball in the MVP conversation, but at this point it's impossible not to. Cron has slowly and steadily begun gaining attention the past couple of weeks, and after a breakout week last week, he has asserted himself as a true contender. With four home runs, nine RBIs, and an incredible .571 average since July 3, Cron has pulled ahead in a whole laundry list of offensive categories. He leads the league in hits, RBIs, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and doubles. He also has the second best batting average, first in the West, and is second in runs to Hoskins. Both Cron and Hoskins share second place in the home run race with fellow Falmouth player Casey Gillaspie (Wichita State), and trail only Dylan Davis (Oregon State), yet another Commodore. You can see why Falmouth leads the league in runs scored. With Cron bucking for Triple Crown honors if he can keep up this ridiculous pace, it's difficult to see him as anything but a true MVP candidate.
Andrew McGee (Monmouth)
Pitcher, Chatham Anglers
22 IP, 2-0, 1.22 ERA, 23 K, .95 WHIP
McGee is the only player to have made the Watch List all four weeks this season. Despite coming off his worst start of the summer, in which he gave up two runs on five hits in four innings against Orleans on July 4, McGee is still the most dominant pitcher in the Cape League. He has yet to lose a game, still has a WHIP under one, and is maintaining his pace of at least one strikeout per inning. The Anglers are the team to beat right now and McGee is their undisputed ace. He makes his next start Wednesday night, and his next several outings will go a long way in determining his shot at MVP honors. Being the leader of a staff that is fueling a march toward the team’s first Cape League title since 1998 is not a bad position in which to be.
Aaron Bummer (Nebraska)
Pitcher, Harwich Mariners
26 IP, 3-1, 0.69 ERA, 13 K, .96 WHIP
Bummer is past due for a spot on this list, as he has been tossing excellent outings all season for the Mariners. He is second in the East in innings pitched, right behind the man he supplanted, Erick Fedde (UNLV) of Yarmouth-Dennis, and has made good use of all those innings. Bummer has three shutout starts, the most recent of which was a 10-0 drubbing of the Orleans Firebirds in which he threw seven innings of solid work with a season-high six strikeouts. He has only allowed two runs all year, which came in a 4-0 loss to the Red Sox. The one loss is merely a blemish on an otherwise spotless line for Bummer. A 0.69 ERA and .69 WHIP is nothing to be taken lightly, especially with half of the season gone by. While Bummer may not have the strikeout numbers of other top pitchers, he has excellent control and is a bona fide game manager. If he continues to perform at this level, he won’t lose his spot on the Watch List any time soon and his name will certainly deserve to be mentioned in MVP conversations.
Ian Happ (Cincinnati)
Infielder, Harwich Mariners
.347 BA, 13 R, 11 RBI, 2 HR, 8 SB
Happ has been on fire lately. During a week in which he belted two home runs against Brewster, he batted .423 and slugged an East-leading .750 with five RBIs and six runs. Happ has speed on the basepaths and skill in the field to go along with his offensive power, a contributor in all facets of the game. He has excelled recently in spite of his slumping team and, unlike teammate Bummer, he has the potential to contribute each and every game. If his effort can get the Mariners back on track in the second half, he will most certainly be Harwich’s most valuable player.
Mike Ford (Princeton)
First Base/Pitcher, Cotuit Kettleers
.357 BA, 15 R, 10 RBI, 3 HR, 0 SB
Ford got shelled in a relief appearance on July 5 in which he gave up seven runs in three innings of a 10-0 loss to Y-D. Fortunately for Ford, he's thriving in the batter’s box. He has the highest on-base percentage in the West, and is top five in the league in batting average, runs, extra-base hits and slugging percentage. While Ford might not consistently drive in runs, he does manage to score them and is a valuable asset for a Cotuit squad that's fighting for the lead in the division.
Dropped out from Week 3:
Erick Fedde (UNLV), Y-D
Andrew Daniel (San Diego), Y-D
Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State), Chatham
Zach Fish (Oklahoma State), Orleans