03/11/2008 8:59 AM
Four of Top Five Draft Choices
Projected by USA Today Sports Weekly
Are Veterans of the Cape Cod Baseball League
USA Today’s Sports Weekly, in its March 5-11 issue, unveiled its choices for the top choices in June’s Major League amateur entry draft, and four of the five players profiled are Cape Cod Baseball League veterans.
Only the No. 1 selection, Vanderbilt infielder Pedro Alvarez, who has played for the U.S. National Team the past two summers, is without Cape League experience.
The others on the list are Miami first-baseman Yonder Alonso (Brewster 2007), Wichita State third-baseman Conor Gillaspie (Falmouth 2007), Florida State catcher Buster Posey (Y-D 2006 & 2007), Texas outfielder Kyle Russell (Cotuit 2006) and South Carolina first-baseman Justin Smoak (Cotuit 2006).
Alonso ranked third in batting in the Cape League last summer at .338. He led the league in on-base percentage (.468) and walks (36), ranked second in total hits (51) and tied for second in doubles (12).
Gillaspie powered his Falmouth team to the West Division title in 2007, winning both the batting championship (.345) and MVP award along the way. He led the league in extra-base hits (21) and slugging percentage (.673), shared the runner-up spot in doubles (12), was second in on-base percentage (.448) and tied for fourth in home runs (7).
Posey, a converted shortstop, has a two-season college batting average of .364. He hit a respectable .289 for champion Yarmouth-Dennis in 2006, ranking ninth in the league, and finished second in hits (46) while playing in all 44 games. His batting average dipped a bit in 2007, as he wound up at .281.
Russell came into his own with the Longhorns last spring, belting 28 home runs to lead Division 1. His impressive season included 71 RBI, a .807 slugging percentage, 11 doubles and five triples. In his one season with the Kettleers, he could manage just a .206 batting average and three home runs in 36 games while striking out 64 times.
Smoak enjoyed a solid 2006 season with the Kettleers. He led the league in extra-base hits (21) and slugging percentage (.565) and tied for third in RBI (27). The switch-hitting first-baseman finished with a .286 batting average, 10th in the league. His impressive hitting has continued in college, where he has averaged 20 homers and 68 RBI and is a career .300 batter..
Meanwhile, Baseball America has released its pre-season college All-America choices and the list is loaded with Cape Cod League players. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams were compiled from voting conducted by Major League Baseball’s scouting directors.
On the 1st Team, five of the eight position players performed in the Cape League, as did the designated hitter, utilityman and three of the five pitchers. Similarly, the 2nd Team features six Cape Leaguers among the position players, plus two of the five pitchers. The presence of Cape Leaguers on the 3rd Team is most dramatic -- seven of the eight position players plus two pitchers..
Here’s the list of Cape Leaguers:
C – Buster Posey, Florida State (Y-D 2006 & 2007)
1B – Justin Smoak, South Carolina (Cotuit 2006)
SS – Gordon Beckham, Georgia (Y-D 2007)
OF – Kyle Russell, Texas (Cotuit 2006)
OF – Dennis Raben, Miami (Orleans 2007)
DH – Yonder Alonso, Miami (Brewster 2007)
UT – Zach Putnam, Michigan (Chatham 2007)
P – Aaron Crow, Missouri (Falmouth 2007)
P – Christian Friedrich, Eastern Kentucky (Falmouth 2007)
P – Ryan Perry, Arizona (Orleans 2007)
UT – Zach Putnam, Michigan (Chatham 2007)
1B – Allan Dykstra, Wake Forest (Chatham 2007)
2B – David Adams, Virginia (Brewster 2006, Falmouth 2007)
3B – Conor Gillaspie, Wichita State (Falmouth 2007)
OF – Ike Davis, Arizona State (Wareham 2007)
OF – Dominic de la Osa, Vanderbilt (Wareham 2006 & 2007)
P – Luke Burnett, Louisiana Tech (Falmouth 2007)
P – Shooter Hunt, Tulane (Falmouth 2006 & 2007)
C – Tim Federowicz, North Carolina (Chatham 2007)
1B – David Cooper, California (Brewster 2007)
3B – James Darnell, South Carolina (Hyannis 2007)
SS – Ryan Flaherty, Vanderbilt (Hyannis 2006)
OF – Mike Bianucci, Auburn (Cotuit 2007)
OF – T.J. Steele, Arizona (Bourne 2007)
OF – Blake Tekotte, Miami (Brewster 2007)
P – Alex White, North Carolina (Chatham 2007)
P – Joshua Fields, Georgia (Y-D 2006)
*For the complete squads of Baseball America’s 2008 pre-season All-America Teams, go to http://baseballamerica.com/today/college/awards/all-america-teams/2008/265574.html.