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MLB Draft Recap: 140 Cape League Alumni Taken

Graphic by Maya Ferland
07/14/2021 4:34 AM

Article By: Taylor Viles

After three days, the 2021 MLB draft is complete. 612 selections were made over the entire 20 round draft and 23 percent of the players selected were former Cape League players.

Night one on Sunday saw a Cape League alum, Henry Davis (Bourne ‘19), taken with the number one overall pick, for the fourth year in a row. But only six selections on the first night following a year with 13, fans were looking for the league to be better represented the rest of the way through. For the night one recap, click here:

Through the second day of the draft, 73 Cape League alumni had been drafted including the six from the night before. On the final day, 67 Cape League alumni selections were made. The majority of players taken played on Cape Cod in 2019. Only a few suited up the summer before and some played as recently as this summer. That was the significance of the MLB holding the draft midsummer; some players found out in their Cape League uniform that they had been selected by a major league team.

Half of the Cape League’s first-round selections were products of the Bourne Braves and day two of the draft began on the same trend. Jud Fabian (Bourne ‘19) was the first Cape League alum taken as the fortieth overall pick by the Boston Red Sox. An all-star on Cape Cod, Fabian played in 35 games for Bourne, hitting .290 with six home runs.  

The Brewster Whitecaps then heard the names of two of their alumni called as shortstop Ryan Bliss (‘19) and pitcher Matt Mikulski (‘19) were taken at picks 42 and 50, respectively, by Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants. Both played well on the Cape, but Mikulski especially as he was named an all-star while compiling a 1.86 ERA over 19.1 innings pitched with 26 strikeouts.

With pick 52, Bourne returned to its domination as the Miami Marlins selected 2019 Bravo Cody Morissette who showed off his speed on Cape Cod. He finished the season second in the league in triples with three and picked up 15 RBI leading to an all-star selection.

Although Bourne had a high representation through the first two rounds, it tapered off in later rounds and after the full draft, it was Wareham (24) and Cotuit (21) who boasted the majority of draft picks. These two teams faced each other in the first round of the 2019 playoffs and as most players came from that summer, many of them share this close connection.

Every MLB team selected at least one Cape League alum, aside from the Texas Rangers. The Colorado Rockies drafted a league-high eleven former Cape League players some of whom were also teammates on Cape Cod. Joe Rock was drafted in the competitive balance round B, while Benjamin Sems and Braiden Ward were drafted in the fifteenth and sixteenth round, respectively. All three suited up for the Wareham Gatemen in 2019. Evan Justice and Robby Martin were taken in the fifth and eighth round, respectively, after playing together for the Cape League Champion Cotuit Kettleers in 2019. All five players join the Rockies organization with a teammate they aren’t total strangers with.

A special moment occurred prior to the Bourne Braves game against Hyannis on Monday night when Bourne catcher Colten Bender received a call from the San Diego Padres about being selected in the tenth round. Bender had been greatly improving his draft stock on the Braves during the first half of the summer hitting .273 with a home run in 10 games played.

During yet another MLB Draft, the name of the Cape League wasn’t far from anyone’s mind. Each Cape team was well represented by the top talent from the last three seasons, preparing fans for the opportunity to see their favorite summer player in the big leagues before too long.

Here is a breakdown of the first five rounds of the 2021 MLB Draft:

First Round--

1- Pittsburgh Pirates: Henry Davis, C, 2019 Bourne Braves/Louisville
17- Cincinnati Reds: Matt McLain, SS, 2019 Wareham Gatemen/UCLA
23- Cleveland Indians: Gavin Williams, RHP, 2019 Bourne Braves/East Carolina
24- Atlanta Braves: Ryan Cusick, RHP, 2019 Bourne Braves/Wake Forest

Competitive Balance Round A-

32- Detroit Tigers: Ty Madden, RHP, 2019 Chatham Anglers/Texas
35- Cincinnati Reds: Matheu Nelson, C, 2019 Falmouth Commodores/FSU

Second Round--

40- Boston Red Sox: Jud Fabian, OF, 2019 Bourne Braves/Florida
42- Arizona Diamondbacks: Ryan Bliss, SS, 2019 Brewster Whitecaps/Auburn
50- San Fransisco Giants:Matt Mikulski, P, 2019 Brewster Whitecaps/Fordham
52- Miami Marlins: Cody Morissette, SS, 2019 Bourne Braves/Boston College
53- Cincinnati Reds: Andrew Abbott, P, 2018 Orleans Firebirds/Virginia

Competitive Balance Round B-

67- Arizona Diamondbacks: Adrian Del Castillo, C, 2019 Wareham Gatemen/Miami (FL)
68- Colorado Rockies: Joe Rock, P, 2019 Wareham Gatemen/Ohio
69- Cleveland Indians: Tommy Mace, P, 2018 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox/FSU

Third Round--

76- Baltimore Orioles: John Rhodes, OF, 2021 Cotuit Kettleers/Kentucky
85- Sanfransico Giants: Mason Black, P, 2019 Brewster Whitecaps/Lehigh
90- St. Louis Cardinals: Austin Love, P, 2019 Orleans Firebirds/North Carolina

Fourth Round--

104- Detroit Tigers: Tyler Mattison, P, 2019 Hyannis Harbor Hawks/Bryant
106- Baltimore Orioles: Donta Williams, OF, 2019 Cotuit Kettleers/Arizona
109- Colorado Rockies: Hunter Goodman, C/OF, 2019 Hyannis Harbor Hawks/University of Memphis
113- Seattle Mariners: Bryce Miller, P, 2019 Falmouth Commodores/Texas A&M
129- San Diego Padres: Jackson Wolf, P, 2019 Cotuit Kettleers/West Virginia

Fifth Round--

131- Los Angeles Dodgers: Nick Nastrini, P, 2019 Falmouth Commodores/UCLA
140- Colorado Rockies: Evan Justice, P, 2019 Cotuit Kettleers/NC State U
144- Seattle Mariners: Andrew Thomas, C/1B, 2019 Wareham Gatemen/Baylor
145- Philadelphia Phillies: Griff McGarry, P, 2019 Hyannis Harbor Hawks/Virginia
151- St. Louis Cardinals: Gordon Graceffo, P, 2021 Bourne Braves/West Villanova
153- New York Yankees: Tyler Hardman, IF, 2019 Brewster Whitecaps/Oklahoma
156- Cleveland Indians: Tanner Bibee, P, 2019 Wareham Gatemen/Cal St. Fullerton
157- Atlanta Braves: Luke Waddell, IF, 2018 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox/Georgia Tech
160- San Diego Padres: Max Ferguson, 2B, 2019 Falmouth Commodores/Tennessee
162- Los Angeles Dodgers: Ben Casparius, IF/P, 2019 Falmouth Commodores/Connecticut