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Cape League Notes: Week 2

Notes from week two of CCBL action.

Welcome to the second edition of Cape League notes. In case you missed week one, I’ll be spending all summer on the cape as an intern, getting in-person looks at some of the nation’s top collegiate players. Given the multi-faceted confusion around Covid-eligibility and the draft being pushed back, there is a lack of high-profile 2021 draft prospects on the Cape this year. That said, there is a very strong contingent of ’22 and ’23 eligibles to pick up the slack. Each week I’ll share highlights and scouting reports from players I’ve seen in the past week.

This week I was able to see quite a few prospects, including a handful of highly-touted Cotuit players (as promised) and two pitchers projected to go in the first round in 2022. There is expected to be a slight talent drain in the coming weeks as high-profile underclassmen get poached to play for the Collegiate National Team (Kevin Parada, Jace Jung, and Brooks Lee among the notables), while a chunk of what remains will likely be drafted come July 11th.

 

Bryce Osmond, RHP, Chatham/Oklahoma St.

 

FF: 91-92 T93  SL: 80-82

Bryce Osmond, one of the top projected pitchers in the 2022 draft class, made his CCBL debut on Wednesday and got mixed results. The righty struggled a bit in his sophomore season, with an ERA over 7 in 57.1 IP (10 GS), but was comfortably hitting 95 as a freshman and is the definition of “what they look like.” It was tough to draw takeaways from this start, as he struggled with command and the fastball was only sitting low-90s according to the scouts I talked to. That said, it was one of the most visually appealing pitches I’ve seen on the cape (it seemed to find another gear, ah-la Walker Buehler). Hard to confirm without Trackman data, but I would confidently wager Osmond’s four-seam fastball has both impressive spin efficiency and a close to perfect spin axis. He mixed in a tight breaking ball that is reportedly a SL, but has plenty of vertical depth and pairs well with his FB. His mechanics are simple and clean, with long levers and good extension. The majority of his misses were elevated arm-side FBs and a string of sliders in the dirt. It’s certainly possible the radar gun was slow (though I don’t think it was), or that heat played a role (it was 97 degrees at game time), but this is one of those cases where a player looks much better than their results.

 

Teddy McGraw, RHP, Brewster/Wake Forest

 

FT: 92-94 T95  CH: 82-84 T85 SL: 83-85

McGraw started opposite Osmond on Wednesday and pitched fantastically. His arsenal was a stark contrast to Osmond, featuring a wicked two-seam fastball with tons of arm-side run and a hard mid-80s changeup with good fade. McGraw’s horizontally-oriented pitch mix is maximized by a ¾ arm slot, with a high leg kick and coil from the windup (seen below). The changeup is easily his best secondary, though he also mixed in the occasional SL which has much less movement than the FT/CH — likely signifying more of a gyro-slider profile. McGraw was very impressive, with his combination of velo and movement one of the best I’ve seen so far. It’s also one of the reasons I tend to trust Osmond was truly 91-93, as those same radar guns had McGraw right around his average of 93-94. Both are consensus top 40 prospects for ’22, and have a good chance of being taken at some point in round one.

 

Luke Gold, INF, Cotuit/Boston College

 

Gold is a bat-first infielder who profiles somewhere on the 2B/3B/corner OF spectrum. No matter where he ends up in the field, the dude can flat-out hit. He has a powerful right-handed swing that is tailor-made for solid contact. He appears to have changed his hand placement since coming to the cape (or potentially mid-season at BC), which gives him a shorter bat path and more compact swing. Everything I’ve seen him hit so far is a line-drive up-the-middle, both during BP and in game. He has developing power and his current knack for solid contact leaves me optimistic that game power will be tapped into shortly. He’s not the smoothest defender, but the worst-case scenario is a capable, albeit somewhat boring, bat-first 2B. He can play 3B for now and could feasibly handle a corner OF spot as well. He will have a tough time cracking Day 1 of the loaded ’22 draft class, but with a strong third year at BC could be pushing for the comp rounds or an early Day-2 selection.

 

Eric Brown, 2B/SS, Cotuit/Coastal Carolina

 

I was waiting to report on Brown because I’ve seen some subtly above-average traits that needed additional looks. The Coastal Carolina infielder has primarily played 2B on the cape due to teammate Ryan Ritter’s (SS, Kentucky) defensive prowess, but Brown is no slouch with the glove either. He’s athletic and rangy at both positions (I’ve now seen him play both SS and 2B), and while his arm is not amazing it’s certainly on par with the average SS. Offensively, Brown shows a deliberate approach that to me signifies advanced pitch recognition skills. He’s gone for primarily off-speed pitches in my looks, with a unique hand placement leaving him somewhat susceptible to elevated velocity. Those high outstretched arms still worry me a bit, but his hands are fast enough to generate bat speed through the zone, and he has shown above-average pull power in BP. He’s got an intriguing combination of tools (power, on-base, defense) that could prove valuable to teams towards the middle of next year’s draft.

 

Jake Brooks, RHP, Cotuit/UCLA

 

FB: 88-90 T91  SL: 77-80  CH: 80-82

Brooks threw 5.2 shutout innings against Hyannis on 6/29, bringing his scoreless inning streak to 11 so far this season. He featured a tailing two-seam fastball and sweeping slider, both maximized for horizontal movement by his ¾ arm slot. The fastball only reached 91 on occasion, but hitters were noticeably struggling with the movement including plenty of weak grounders and a pair of broken bats. The SL was his best secondary, showing the ability to command it for both looking and swinging strikes. The changeup had a different look, with significantly more vertical depth than his sinker/slider combo. The UCLA sophomore profiles as a major league 4/5 starter and is eligible for the ’22 draft.

 

Jaylen Nowlin, LHP, Hyannis/UAB 

 

FB: 90-93 T94  CH: 82-84  SL: 83-85

Nowlin is a ’21 eligible JUCO transfer committed to play at UAB next season. He’s steadily improved in each appearance for the Harbor Hawks; his fastball has gone from 89-91 in his first start up to 94 in his last start on July 4th vs Yarmouth-Denis. The CH is easily his best pitch, with great fade and the confidence to throw it in any count. That was evident on Sunday, where he struck out six over four IP, allowing just one run on a botched first-and-third double-steal play. I counted eight changeup whiffs alone, which included getting Stanford’s Drew Bowser on three straight for one of his six strikeouts. He also features a tight breaking ball with late drop, mostly used against LHH. He has a projectable 6’3″ frame, repeatable mechanics, and gets considerable extension from a big stride. Nowlin could be worth a day 3 flier and has 4/5 starter potential if all goes right.

 

Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)

Natan Cristol-Deman

Natan is a California native and senior at UMass Amherst. He enjoys applying analytics to scouting and player development. You can find him on twitter @natan_cd

  • Firebirds says:

    How about some love for Justin Miknis! Kent State C LHH is putting up awesome numbers there.

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