Welcome to the fourth edition of Cape League notes. In case you missed weeks one, two, and three, 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 installment should be the most extensive yet as I got looks at an impressive Vanderbilt right-hander, (no, not that one…or that one either), a true-freshman hitter already building hype for the 2023 draft, and yet another Chatham pitcher with gaudy pitch data.
Patrick Reilly, RHP, Orleans/Vanderbilt
FF: 94-96 T97 SI: 91-93 SL: 81-84 CH: 84-86
Vanderbilt right-handed starters certainly were popular last week. While two of them went within the first 10 picks of the draft, another made his CCBL debut. Freshman Patrick Reilly pitched against Harwich on July 14th and showed impressive command of a four-pitch arsenal over five innings of work. Reilly’s mechanics are effortlessly clean, with an ergonomic short-arm path reminiscent of Shane Bieber and a strong lower half to support it. He used two distinct fastballs—a mid-90s four-seamer and a low-90s two-seamer—roughly 65% of the time. His putaway pitch was a low- to mid-80s slider he located front-door to RHH and down and in to LHH. The changeup is still developing, as it lacked fade and tended to hang in the zone. He only threw a few, but at least two went for hits. He certainly has the look of a front-line starter, the extent of which relies on the further development of his secondaries.
— Natan Cristol-Deman (@natan_cd) July 15, 2021
Brock Wilken, 3B, Harwich/Wake Forest
The hype keeps building for Wake Forest 3B Brock Wilken, a true freshman whose exit velocity data is impossible to ignore. With a freshman-record 17 HRs in 2021, his 120.6mph max exit velocity and 95th percentile mark of 107.6 wouldn’t look out of place near the top of major league leaderboards. Granted, those marks came with metal bats. So how has Wilken fared with wood bats on the Cape? Through 95 PA, Wilken is slashing .329/.472/.570 with 4 HR and 19 RBI. He’s walking at a 13% clip and has kept the strikeouts to a manageable 24%. That K-rate is an uptick from his season at Wake Forrest, but also reflective of the strong pitching he’s faced on the Cape (as the above clip shows). You hardly need Trackman to know Wilken absolutely crushes the ball. He has a relatively quiet stance at the plate, but generates power with a strong back leg and hands that fly through the zone. As for the ever-important exit velocity data; in my two looks this week, he has hit a 99mph EV double, and two lineouts in excess of 100mph. His swing path shows more gap-to-gap doubles power in game, though he obviously has the ability to clear the fence. Barring an abysmal showing for the next two seasons at Wake Forest, Wilken should be one of the most-coveted players in the 2023 draft class.
— Natan Cristol-Deman (@natan_cd) July 17, 2021
Jordan Beck, OF, Harwich/Tennessee
Vols outfielder Jordan Beck came to the Cape last week, as the Alabama native was needed to replace a pair of drafted Harwich hitters. Though he struggled initially, Beck’s bat came alive against Hyannis with a 4-for-5 performance on Friday. Coming off a 15 HR season at Tennessee, he is an athletic swinger with mighty hacks translating to both power and whiffs. Watching just a few AB, it didn’t take a genius to formulate an attack plan against Beck; he crushes fastballs, but couldn’t hit a breaking ball if his life depended on it. That issue raises questions about both his hit tool and pitch recognition, though his 23% K-rate in NCAA play can be tolerable. He has above-average speed and has looked comfortable defensively. He is a long-term fit in RF, having played there exclusively for both Harwich and the Vols, but could conceivably moonlight in CF if needed. His draft stock is buoyed by the power/speed/defense combination, but the whiffs will be something to watch for Beck as he’s struck out in 22 of his 43 CCBL at-bats thus far.
Cade Winquest, RHP, Chatham/UT Arlington
SI: 95-96 T97 CU: 76-77
Add UT-Arlington righty Cade Winquest to the list of stars on a loaded Chatham pitching staff. He threw four shutout innings of relief against Hyannis on Saturday, showing a downright filthy two-pitch combination. Throwing from a ¾ arm slot, Winquest gets a tremendous amount of arm-side run on a 95-96 mph two-seamer. It appears to be a true turbo sinker, with more horizontal movement than drop and a consistent 2:00 spin axis according to Trackman readings. He was pounding the zone with it early, generating six groundball outs and two broken bats in the process. He supports the sinker with a disgusting 76-77 mph curveball, thrown at a 7:00 axis (once again via Trackman) but gets a decent amount of horizontal movement due to his arm slot. That 19mph speed difference was giving batters fits, as Winquest looks poised to parlay his two-pitch arsenal into a multi-inning bullpen role.
Josh Rivera, SS, Chatham/Florida
Chatham shortstop Josh Rivera is one of the smoothest defenders I’ve seen this summer. His offense has trailed behind — with a career .739 OPS at Florida and uninspiring .221/.312/.250 on the cape — but he has loud physical tools and a patient offensive approach that could soften the blow of a sub-par hit tool. He should be a long-term fit at short, combining plus-plus hands and arm strength with instincts that make up for a fairly average range. With hit tool improvements he could be an impact major league player, with the lower-end scenario resulting in a glove-first bench bat.
- Hyannis/Arkansas RHP Mark Adamiak got his third start of the season on Saturday and came out pumping 95-97 mph and touching 98 in the first inning—by far the hardest I’ve seen him throw this season and confirmed by Trackman readings. His FB was jumping sporadically 91-95 over the next three innings, though his spin axis via Trackman was consistently 12:45. By the time he exited, he had dropped nearly five ticks and to me solidified a relief-only profile.
- Orleans/JMU OF Chase DeLauter continues to impress, looking increasingly comfortable at the plate and continuing to hit the ball hard. As of now, he feels like a potential first-round pick in next year’s draft. Consider me fully aboard the hype train.
- Orleans/Tulane RHP Donovan Benoit was drafted in the 10th round by the Reds. He was one of the better 2021 draft class arms I saw in the CCBL, sporting a horizontally-oriented 92-95 mph sinker, 82-85 mph changeup, and 79-82 mph slider from a low-3/4 slot. He has polished starter traits and was able to hold both velocity and command through five innings. He now joins a Reds system that is known for getting the best out of their pitchers and could be a sleeper prospect if “Spincinatty” and co. can help him find another gear.
- Though I don’t have time to rundown every drafted CCBL player, some notables I have seen but not included in notes are RHP Jake Smith (Angels, 6th round, 94-97 mph with movement), OF John Rhodes (Orioles, 5th round, solid plate discipline but otherwise unimpressive in my looks), OF Colin Davis (Mariners, 7th round, capable in CF with contact/speed combination), RHP Ryan Long (Orioles, 17th round, spin data intrigue) and RHP Hunter Dula (Giants, 18th round, sinker/slider depth starter up to 94 in final start).
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)