The second week of the Cape Cod League was a wet one with several games rained out. In fact only 12 games were played between Monday and Saturday, leading to a string of doubleheaders on Sunday, and a makeup day on Monday. Despite the rough weather, the Prospects Live team canvassed the Cape, getting to nearly a third of the week’s contests led by the efforts of Jason Pennini, Ralph Lifshitz, and Anthony Franco. Below is the teams combined looks for Week Two of the Cape Cod League season.
Week Two of the 2019 Cape Cod Baseball League
Zarion Sharpe, LHP UNC-Wilmington (Chatham Anglers) - A tall and lean left hander with a three-pitch mix, and some projection in his frame and fastball. The lefty missed a majority of his Sophomore campaign after getting injured in his fifth start of 2018. Sharpe returned in 2019 with a solid season for the Seahawks making 16 appearances — 13 starts — and striking out 63 batters over 57.2 innings. He held opponents to a .220 batting average against, while showing some control with a sub-10 percent walk rate. The St.Louis Cardinals drafted Sharpe in the 19th round, but that signing seems unlikely. He’ll enter 2020 as one of the better Seniors in the country.
I caught Sharpe in a three inning start against Yarmouth-Dennis in a game that was suspended due to a fog out. He showed three pitches that night, a fastball that sat 88-91 mph touching 92 twice, a changeup in the 82-84 mph range, and an upper 70’s breaking ball with slurvy shape. He leaned heavily on the fastball, mixing in the changeup as his lead secondary. The combination owns the bottom half of the zone, his fastball has downhill plane, but flattens out a bit higher in the zone. His changeup shows downward movement and deceptive arm speed. He didn’t use his curveball a ton, and it showed just average spin rates.
Zarion is a little funky mechanically, but he’s athletic and his arm is loose. Has some trouble repeating his landing spot and this led to some misses inside and outside the zone. It’s a slower windup and he’s not quick to home plate. He does show above average extension, and balance in a drop and drive delivery. In the end a back end starter profile. He’ll need to add some giddyup onto the fastball if he wants to successfully transfer to the pen. - Ralph Lifshitz
Logan Allen, LHP Florida International (Harwich Mariners) - Allen is a short, pitchability lefty with plus command. The mechanics are clean and allow Allen to repeat his delivery seamlessly: balance and posture are excellent through release. On 6/23, the fastball was not overpowering sitting 86-89, touching 91, but Allen still got ample swing and miss on the pitch by changing eye levels and spotting it on the corners. Allen’s curve featured tight spin and a 1-7 shape with moderate depth. He could go to it early in counts as needed. A changeup in the 78-80 range rounded out the mix, flashing 60 with good depth. The pitch was inconsistent in this outing with several firm ones. Allen is a crafty lefty who works the full zone. With his present stuff backend starter is probably a rosier projection. His feel for pitching and command profile give him a chance to get there. Realistically, a tick up in stuff would need to be a part of the equation too. - Jason Pennini
John Beller, LHP USC (Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox) - A shorter left-hander with a fastball, two breaking balls and a changeup. He works predominantly with the fastball and curveball, mixing in the slider or changeup as necessary. The slider is a harder version of his curveball with some tail. The changeup was used more during my first look versus Chatham opposite Zarion Sharpe in the fog-out game. He threw the slider almost equal to his curveball early in the Bourne matchup, but settled in later with mostly fastball-curveball.
His fastball velocity leaves much to desired as he reaches just 88 mph max but mostly sits 85-87. He spots the pitch well and can get some good plane to pair nicely with his curveball. His curveball sits in the mid-high 70s, touching 80 at times, shows true 12-6 shape as he uses it effectively on the inside part of the plate in same-side matchups.
Mechanically Beller has a high leg kick that MacKenzie Gore might have a copyright case against (kidding!). Despite the unusual delivery, Beller repeats well and outside of a near stop in his leg kick where he straightens his leg, it’s a very fluid motion. It’s strange but it works for him, and he’s athletic enough to pull it off. The question is with a smaller frame and a leveraged delivery can he add the necessary velocity on his fastball to cut it in the professional ranks? His off speed and breaking stuff is legit, he located his fastball well now, but at 90-92 Beller could be a prospect. A good pitchability lefty with an out pitch and a feel for the zone. It will be a tough profile to translate to the next level, but Beller knows how to pitch. - Ralph Lifshitz
Mac Lardner, LHP Gonzaga (Bourne Braves) - The lefty from Gonzaga went five innings against a strong Y-D lineup, allowing two unearned runs on a misplayed ball in the outfield. He sat 85-87 on the fastball touching 88 a handful of times. He mixed in a changeup at 77-78 and a CB in the low 70s, with the changeup being the better of the two. His changeup showed nice run and fade moving like a two seamer and was a swing and miss pitch when located to right-handed batters. His curveball was more loopy and more of a change of pace pitch, but not quite a get-me-over. He located his fastball well in the lower level of the zone, and drove a fair amount of groundball contact. The lower velocity on his fastball is below average, and surprising for a guy his size. There’s some mechanical stuff too, including a head knock in his motion as he falls off to the third base side. His big frame and relatively simple mechanics leave some hope that he can channel his strength and size into some additional fastball velocity. Not the most exciting player, but he works fast, throws strikes, and changes speeds. - Ralph Lifshitz
Trenton Denholm, RHP California Irvine (Yarmouth-Dennis) – Another guy on the shorter side, Denholm is listed at 5’11”. He repeats his delivery well and fills the zone, often targeting the lower third with a pitch to contact approach. The low 90s fastball has some sink to it and generates a good number of ground balls. Most of the contact he has allowed in our looks has been weak and on the ground. The mechanics remind me of Oregon State’s Kevin Abel. Both guys get the most out of their frames (although Abel is considerably larger). They use the leading leg well, bending back slightly for torque then finishing strong at foot strike. Both guys have good body control which allows for repeatable mechanics. Denholm’s curve flashed 55 in my looks with classic 12-6 shape and good depth. The change was around average. Despite his success on the Cape, I am a little concerned about how Denholm will fare against higher level competition. Sinker usage in MLB has declined over the last couple of years as hitters have made more of an effort to alter mechanics and swing with an upward bat path, often targeting pitches low in the zone. Sinker ballers have been become an endangered species as a result. Denholm has an outside shot to make it due to his command. - Jason Pennini
Joe Boyle, RHP Notre Dame (Harwich Mariners) - A 6’7” 225 behemoth, Boyle turned heads immediately as he started to warm up. He came in to 6/23’s game throwing smoke, overpowering hitters with a 96-98 mph fastball. Despite a 9.5 BB/9 walk rate at Notre Dame, Boyle’s command looked fine on 6/23 (small sample size caveat here – only one inning). He also reportedly touched 101 in the Northwoods league last summer. His breaking ball was below average, but it played up because hitters had to respect the heat. I am unsure on its classification, but I think it was a slider in the 84-87 range. Boyle has only thrown 27.2 innings at Notre Dame between his freshman and sophomore seasons. To me, the limited track record makes Boyle intriguing. Rawness inspires hope his secondary stuff could take a larger step forward as he makes a run at an MLB pen. - Jason Pennini
Patrick Fredrickson, RHP Minnesota (Hyannis Harbor Hawks) – A lanky, long-limbed right-hander in the mold of Milwaukee Brewers prospect Adam Hill. Both are about 6’6” 220. Fredrickson and Hill also have very similar mechanics: loose arms and low effort delivery with lead hand out front and a bit up. The pitch mixes are a bit different, though. In my looks at South Carolina and 2018 spring training, Hill was primarily a two-pitch guy, working sinker/slider. Fredrickson has four pitches. The fastball was 90-93 early with natural run and sink due to his arm action. In that sense Hill and Fredrickson were similar.
From there the arsenals diverge. Fredrickson’s best secondary was his changeup. He showed confidence in the pitch, at times becoming overly reliant on it. It flashed 60 with big depth and fade. He opened Daniel Cabrera with a changeup, resulting in a swing and miss. Breaking ball command was inconsistent; the CB was left up too often. Fredrickson also showed a mid 80s slider. Overall glove side command was below average. I think it allowed hitters to focus on half of the plate. One could make the argument Fredrickson will be the classic case of a long-limbed guy who masters his body control at a later age. Personally, I think his 2019 stat line belies his stuff. There is more potential here than you might believe by looking at a 1.67 WHIP and 6.0 BB/9. - Jason Pennini
Cole Wilcox, RHP Georgia (Orleans Firebirds) – Prototype pitcher frame, workhorse body. Listed at 6’5” 232 pounds. Strong kid, turns 20 on July 14. Wilcox touched 100 this spring. Watching him live, it is surprising how little effort is in his delivery, but the cross body follow through looked reliever-y to me. The balance in his delivery has improved a lot since March. Compare the headwhack in this clip versus now.
Wilcox was knocked around on 6/20, and it was hard to reconcile this look with the fanfare behind a prospect with big hype. He sat 94-96 and touched 97 early but did not maintain velocity and settled in around 90-93 in the 4th inning. The pitch was control over command and the fastball caught too much of the plate; Yarmouth-Dennis hitters did not miss it. The fastball would occasionally run armside, the product of Wilcox’s angle and release. The slider flashed 50 at best in the 85-87 range. Shape was inconsistent with some loose ones up and modest break and tilt on the good ones. The change was not used much and flashed 45/50. Considering his age it is hard to totally rip Wilcox off one look, but my gut shot reaction was this guy is a reliever. Lack of consistency with secondaries and overall command should force him to a pen track. The body and high octane velo still make him an intriguing prospect and one of the higher upside guys on the Cape this year. - Jason Pennini
Spencer Torkelson, 1B/OF Arizona State (Chatham Anglers) - Cool as they come in the batters box. An easy powerful swing from the right side that displays all fields power, Tork fits the profile of a middle-of-the-order bat. He’s patient but not to a fault and quick to jump on something left over the plate, but with an eye keen enough to pickup junk off it. Torkelson is rarely fooled or cheated. There’s all fields power and controlled violence in his cuts. He has a somewhat upright stance with a slight bend in his waist and lower half, his long powerful arms and quick hands allow him to cover a ton of the plate, extend, and take hard swings on pitches all over the zone. It’s a definite bat-first profile, with similar issues to Andrew Vaughn as a right-handed hitting, right-handed throwing first base type. Already possesses a big league body, and plus in game power. He’s an average fielder at first base and a below average runner, so the bat will have to carry the profile. - Ralph Lifshitz
Daniel Cabrera, OF LSU (Harwich Mariners) - Jason Pennini and I caught Cabrera back on June 23 versus Hyannis and the slugging outfielder put on a show going 3-for-4 with a double, home run, and four runs driven in. He showed the ability to turn on anything middle in with a tremendous amount of pullside power. His quick bat and hands allow him to make adjustments mid at bat. He’ll battle off pitches in two-strike counts and looks adept at making pitchers work. His setup is simple with his hands pretty low in his load before dropping them prior to his swing. They pull back a bit during this motion, allowing him to battle off pitches. Jason made note of an at bat versus Patrick Fredrickson where he missed on a changeup early, adjusted during the at bat and fouled it off a few more times. Overall he displayed good bat to ball skills, and easy plus power to his pull-side. He DH’d in the first game of the doubleheader and maned right field in the nightcap. - Ralph Lifshitz
Jud Fabian, OF Florida (Bourne Braves) - Fabian is a good all around player who’s adept in the outfield and a polished projectable bat at the plate. Fabian makes loads of hard contact. With a simple swing, with easy bat speed and little effort. His bat path has loft and he looks to elevate on everything on the inner-half of the plate. He shows good patience in his approach, spitting on breaking balls on the outside, and taking a couple of nicely placed strikes on the inner-half. Fabian has a plan at the plate and waits for his pitch. In the outfield, he gets good breaks on fly balls and covers solid ground. His arm was not tested, so I don’t have much of a feel for a grade there. Overall showed good bat control and the ability to make hard contact. One of my favorite bats thus far. - Ralph Lifshitz
Noah Campbell, South Carolina (Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox) – Campbell’s name was entered to this post without a position, and I found that ironic because there is some uncertainty surrounding his ultimate defensive home. He is listed as a middle infielder, but in two looks last spring and another three this summer, I have yet to see him play there; he has played OF twice and DH’d three times. On 6/29, Campbell took INF before BP. The results were underwhelming.
He was fairly upright, and his overall movements were stiff. I look at Campbell’s frame, which is pretty filled out, and wonder if it limits his flexibility. Campbell also does not seem to trusts his reads off the bat. He looked tentative. I think he may be better suited at third where he will be forced to react without thinking or in the outfield where he has looked more natural. Campbell’s offensive numbers this spring were not representative of his offensive potential. It is a bat-first profile. His bat speed is among the best in the league, grading around 70. Campbell has great hands and a powerful rotational swing. Velo is no problem for him; on 6/20, he pulled a mid 90s Wilcox fastball for a homer. The swing looks geared for pull-side contact, and Campbell hits better from his left, raw power grading around 55. I think he will have to fight his way through the minors from the outfield, and there will be more pressure on his bat to perform. - Jason Pennini
Zavier Warren, SS/3B Central Michigan (Bourne Braves) - An athletic switch-hitter with a prototype build. Warren’s approach from each side of the plate differs, with his right-handed swing showing more power, while his lefty swings look to go the other way and take advantage of his foot speed. He worked deep into counts but got to the point of passiveness at times. Overall it’s an above average approach with feel to hit and a style that plays to his gifts. He’s an above average runner and should maintain his speed as he ages. He didn’t attempt any steals in my looks but he did show the ability to swipe bags for Central Michigan this season. He was solid at third but wasn’t challenged much with Arizona State’s Alika Williams at the six gobbling up nearly everything hit to the left side of the infield. Showed good enough actions, hands, and zip on his throws to stick in the dirt. - Ralph Lifshitz
Joey Wiemer Jr., OF Cincinnati (Harwich Mariners) - One of the most unusual swings and setups you will ever witness. Wiemer’s hands begin by his head before he drops his hands and swings with a linear path through the zone. He’ll make hard contact but it’s more hard liners to the gap or down the line. That holds true in his batting practice sessions as well. He employs a high leg kick where he almost bends at the waist, dropping his backside before he swings. It’s a lot of moving parts but it works as Wiemer has hit well through the first three weeks of the season. - Ralph Lifshitz
Alerick Soularie, Tennessee (Brewster Whitecaps) - Soularie played left field this season at Tennessee in deference to SEC stolen base leader Jay Charleston, but he’s playing center for Brewster. A good athlete, Soularie wasn’t challenged in center in my look, so it’s tough to tell whether he stick there at the next level. Obviously doing so would alleviate the pressure on his bat.
Soularie’s transition to the SEC went swimmingly, as the JUCO transfer hit .357/.466/.602 his first year in Knoxville. He’s not especially big but generates above-average bat speed and has some feel for lifting pitches at the top of the strike zone. To fulfill his promise, he’ll need to tighten up his pitch recognition, but it’s tough to argue with the results he’s put together so far. Soularie’s young for his class (he’ll still be a month shy of his 21st birthday on draft day) and has a season of performance in the nation’s best conference. If he hits this summer with wood, he’ll check all the boxes for an organization who leans heavily on draft models. - Anthony Franco
Marcos Castanon, UC Santa Barbara (Brewster Whitecaps) - Castanon was the pleasant surprise of the weekend. A role player in two years at UCSB, Castanon showed some exciting offensive tools. He has a high leg kick but has no issues with velocity, as he generates plus bat speed with an athletic, easy swing. He can elevate pitches at the top of the zone and has strong hands through contact, barreling up balls throughout the weekend. Topping it off, Castanon showed an ability to adjust to offspeed pitches mid-flight, using above-average bat control to spoil soft stuff that clearly caught him off guard.
Castanon can really hit, but it’s not clear where he fits defensively. Playing second base for Brewster, he doesn’t seem like a clean fit there as a pro. He’s a fringe runner and athlete who didn’t look quick enough laterally to handle the middle infield. Third base might suit him better, but he doesn’t have prototype corner raw power. (Entirely speculatively, as there’s no indication this is actually in the cards, I would be tempted to give catching a shot). Regardless of his defensive home, Castanon put himself on the radar with his bat. - Anthony Franco
TJ Collett, Kentucky (Brewster Whitecaps) - Collett’s got plus raw power from the left side. He’s first base/DH only and a senior sign, so he’s not a great prospect, but there’s two years of SEC performance and legit all-fields power here. - Anthony Franco
Brett Auerbach, Alabama (Brewster Whitecaps) - Auerbach is playing left for Brewster after splitting time between catcher and third for Alabama this season. The bat doesn’t play in the corner outfield. He’s got a high load to trigger his swing, which, coupled with a flat bat path, makes it difficult for him to catch balls out in front of the plate to elevate. He’s got some bat speed and athleticism, and he’ll be young for his class, so there’s a chance he ends up a Day Two senior sign, especially if he shows well at multiple positions this spring. - Anthony Franco