03/28/2022 8:45 AM
Article By: Kaley Brown
With just ten days until MLB Opening Day, we're continuing our free agency recap of former Cape Leaguers. After focusing on the biggest pitchers to switch teams last week, we're looking at the biggest bats who will have a new home in 2022!
Kyle Schwarber (2012, 2013 Wareham Gatemen): Philadelphia Phillies - 4 years, $79 million
One of MLB’s most sought-after free agent bats, Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Famer Kyle Schwarber, signed a four-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of the 2022 season.
Schwarber played for the Wareham Gatemen in 2012 and 2013, winning the League championship and being named the postseason’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2012. He batted a .343 average in the 2012 regular season and hit eight home runs through 44 games and came alive in the Gatemen’s title run by hitting two home runs and three doubles while scoring ten times. The outfielder’s performance as a Cape Leaguer was so memorable that he was inducted into the CCBL Hall of Fame as a member of the 2019 class.
The left-handed power bat started the 2021 season with the Washington Nationals and notably hit 16 home runs between June 12 and June 29, prompting the Boston Red Sox to trade for him prior to MLB’s trade deadline last summer.
He played a major role in Boston’s 2021 postseason run, which lasted until Game 6 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS). He hit a grand slam in Game 3 of the series to help lift the Red Sox past the Houston Astros by a 12-3 score.
Schwarber joins a Phillies team that has not played playoff baseball since 2011, but did achieve a winning record for the first time in ten years in 2021. He will play alongside two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper, Odúbel Herrera and Matt Vierling in the outfield and bring a fierce bat to Philadelphia’s lineup.
Chris Taylor (2011 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox): Los Angeles Dodgers - 4 years, $60 million
The Dodgers re-signed their beloved utility man Chris Taylor to a four-year contract in early December, the same year in which the infielder made his first All-Star Game.
Taylor spent the summer of 2011 with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, playing in 28 games across the regular season and playoffs, whilst logging 28 hits, 15 runs, 11 RBI, 10 extra-base hits and a .277 batting average. He played in four postseason games for YD, registering four hits through 12 at-bats as well as drawing five walks.
A member of Los Angeles’ 2020 World Series championship team, Taylor played in 56 of 60 games played. He gathered five hits against the Tampa Bay Rays, including one home run, to help bring home the Dodgers’ first World Series trophy since 1988.
Last year, in Taylor’s All-Star season, he collected 92 runs, 73 RBI, 20 home runs, 25 doubles and stole 13 bases through 148 regular season contests. He hit a walk-off homer in the National League (NL) Wild Card game against the St. Louis Cardinals to send the Dodgers to the NLCS. Taylor also hit three home runs in the final game of his team’s postseason run.
Kris Bryant (2011 Chatham Anglers): Colorado Rockies - 7 years, $182 million
The Colorado Rockies made a major splash in free agency by signing former NL Rookie of the Year and 2016 World Series champ Kris Bryant to a massive seven-year deal. Bryant will be Colorado’s starting left fielder.
Bryant played in 37 games as a Chatham Angler during the summer in 2011 and collected 29 hits, 11 of which were extra-base hits. He scored 16 times and drove in as many RBI as well as drawing 14 walks.
A member of the Chicago Cubs’ historic 2016 World Series championship team, the utility player who was named NL Most Valuable Player that same year, spent the latter half of 2021 with the NL West-winning San Francisco Giants. He spent time at third base and in the outfield while logging a .262 batting average over 51 games with his new team.
The Rockies appear to have high hopes for the 2022 season with the addition of a superstar in Bryant and the contract awarded to him. Colorado placed fourth in the NL West last year and is eager to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
Bryant joins recently-extended infielder Ryan McMahon and four-time All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon on a Rockies team looking to pick up the pieces after the departure of infielders Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story.
Mark Canha (2009 Brewster Whitecaps): New York Mets - 2 years, $26.5 million
After experiencing playoff baseball in three out of the last four seasons with the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Mark Canha signed with the New York Mets, a team clearly dedicated to bringing winning back to the Big Apple.
Canha, a member of the 2009 Brewster Whitecaps, gathered 19 hits on Cape Cod plus 11 RBI, nine runs and three home runs. Former MLB infielder Jedd Gyorko was a teammate of his that summer, who was named a CCBL All-Star.
The 33-year-old played all seven of his Major League seasons as a member of the Athletics, logging a .244/.344/.431 slash over that span plus 523 total hits, including 89 home runs, 346 runs and 294 RBI through 645 games.
He was a key piece to Oakland’s recent success, including the team’s 2020 appearance in the AL Division Series. Canha joins a Mets organization that has not made the playoffs since 2016 and has not brought a World Series title home since 1986.
However, New York seems to be eager to turn things around with free agent signings of Canha, fellow outfielders Starling Marte and Nick Plummer, as well as legendary starting pitcher Max Scherzer. Perhaps all of these pieces will bring victory back to New York City.