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The Best College Players Play in the CCBL

02/12/2002 11:17 AM

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for immediate release:  12 February, 2002
Point and Fact :

The Best College Players Play in the Cape League

HYANNIS -- The numbers are in and they are, simply put, staggering.

     Baseball America last month announced its 2002 Pre-Season All-America Team and of the 42 college players listed, 25 of them either played in the Cape Cod Baseball League last summer or in the summer of 2000. The Pre-Season All-America Team is compiled based on votes taken from 18 Major League Baseball Scouting Directors.

     Which may mean that Major League scouts are relying more and more each summer on finding new talent directly from Cape League diamonds. In essence, the Cape League stocks its rosters each summer with the nation’s top college talent and Major League Baseball are paying heed.

     A quick look at the First Team Pre-Season All-Americans reads more like a Cape League all-star game roster. Of the 10 players listed, six (6) of them played in the Cape League in 2000 and/or 2001. Here’s the breakdown:


Player Position School Team
Tyler Parker Catcher  Georgia Tech Wareham 00-01*
Larry Broadway First Base Duke Orleans 01*
Russ Adams Second Base UNC Orleans 01*
Drew Meyer Shortstop  South Carolina Chatham 00-01
Brian Stavisky Outfield Notre Dame Hyannis 00-01*
Jason Cooper DH Stanford Y-D 00-01


     First Team pitchers, of which 5 total are included, had only one Cape Leaguer listed, but nonetheless one who could prove to be the top pick in the nation when the June First-Year Player Draft rolls around: Bobby Brownlie of Rutgers.

     Brownlie, who posted impressive numbers for Team USA last summer, was named the Top Pro Prospect in 2000 while hurling for the Falmouth Commodores. He was also a CCBL all-star. He is projected to be picked first overall in the first round of the draft.

     The Second Team Pre-Season All-Americans is no less impressive, boasting 7 former Cape Leaguers among the 10 listed. Included are:


Player Position School Team
Alberto Concepcion Catcher  USC  Cotuit 00-01
Nick Swisher First Base Ohio State Wareham 00
Chris O’Riordan Second Base Stanford  Cotuit  01
Kevin Howard Third Base Miami Wareham 00
Anthony Lunetta Shortstop  USC Brewster  00
Matt Carson Outfield Brigham Young Hya 00 Bre 01
Jarrod Schmidt Outfield Clemson Falmouth 00-01*


     The Second Team All-American pitching staff, of which there are 5 listed, boasts three former Cape League hurlers, including Wake Forest closer David Bush, who pitched for the Chatham A’s in both 2000 and 2001 and was a two-time CCBL all-star; Stanford’s Tim Cunningham, who pitched for the Hyannis Mets in 2000 and southpaw extraordinaire Joe Saunders (Virginia Tech) who started for the Cape League East Division all-stars in 2001 and who had an impressive summer pitching for the Harwich Mariners.
The Third Team Pre-Season All-Americans continues to show why the CCBL has become in the last 35 years the true proving ground for amateur players on the cusp of becoming Big Leaguers. Four Cape Leaguers are posted on the regular roster, while four pitchers round out the list.

     Third Team Pre-Season All-Americans who played in the Cape League include:


Player Position School Team
Val Majewski First Base Rutgers Falmouth 01*
Steve Sollmann Second Base Notre Dame Y-D 01
Hunter Brown Shortstop Rice Falmouth 01*
Matt Murton Outfield Georgia Tech Wareham 01*
Ben Crockett Pitcher Harvard Wareham 00 01*
Trevor Hutchinson Pitcher UC-Berkeley Orleans 01
Chris Leonard Pitcher Miami (Ohio) Wareham 01*
Steve White Pitcher Baylor Falmouth 01


     In an interesting aside, Baseball America last month also listed the top 50 college prospects by class – freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Of those 2000 total prospects, no less than 61 Cape Leaguers were listed. Excluding the incoming freshman class – of which there are no Cape Leaguers listed because many of them have yet to play in college – that’s 61 of 150 of the nation’s top collegiate players or 40%. Almost equally incredible, if not more so, Baseball America announced this week that of its Top 100 College Prospects for 2002, there are no less than 30 Cape Leaguers in the top 50, whether those players played on the Cape in 2000, 2001 or both seasons.

     The numbers of former Cape Leaguers who are currently playing in Major League Baseball are no less staggering, not to mention the hundreds who don Minor League uniforms each spring, summer and fall.

     Suited up to play in Major League Baseball in 2001, there were no less than 184 former Cape League players, most noticeably among them such superstars as Darin Erstad, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Bagwell, Todd Helton, Barry Zito, Rich Aurilia, Jeff Kent, Frank Thomas, Craig Biggio, Tino Martinez, Jason Varitek, Mo Vaughn and many, many more.

     The ratio of former Cape Leaguers who now play in Major League Baseball is about 1 in every 6, but of equal or even more important note is that 1 of every 3 Major Leaguers who played collegiate baseball also played in the Cape League. The numbers have grabbed the attention of Major League Baseball and just about anyone interested in collegiate-level play.

     “That’s really the number that has sort of knocked everyone’s eyes out,” Wylde said.

     According to Wylde, who serves as the Cape League’s Official Statistician, there were 33 new Major League players in 2001 who had played on the Cape, while 147 Major Leaguers had played in both 2000 and 2001. Three former Cape Leaguers were placed on Major League rosters but did not see official action on the playing field – such as Albert Belle of the Baltimore Orioles (Hyannis Mets 1987). As many as 12 Major Leaguers played on two different Cape League teams.

--Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002