Cape Cod Baseball League Live Looks: Weeks Three - Five

It’s been a few weeks since we provided you with some fresh Cape Cod Baseball League live looks, but fear not, the wait is over. Over the last few weeks, both Jason Pennini and myself (Ralph) have worked hard to edit, dissect, and organize our thoughts from over a dozen games from the last week of June, up until last week. This is the culmination of these last few weeks, as we looked to uncover the best players on the circuit, those destined to be selected in the first five rounds of next year’s MLB Draft. All ten Cape Cod League clubs have players featured in this addition, with several of these talents taking part in the All-Star Game in Orleans last weekend. With more looks to come before the Cape season wraps up in a few weeks, it’s best to stay tuned.

Austin Wells, C University of Arizona (Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox) – This spring, Wells put together an impressive freshman campaign at U of A, walking more than he struck out (46:43) and slashing .353/.462/.552 en route to earning the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. It is worth noting he’s old for his class and will be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2020. He has a pretty lefty swing with little wasted motion and excellent balance. Wells picks up spin well and has good feel for the zone. The swing can flatten at times, and judging from his BPs, I think Wells is still fully learning to tap into his power (a scary thought). Opinions on his defense differ, but in my mind Wells will be capable of sticking at catcher (45 DEF). He has spelled Y-D outfielders (including some action in center) on occasion this summer, a testament to his athletic ability. His arm strength is the weakest aspect of his game, with pop times in the 2.00-2.10 range (40 grade), but throws have been accurate, and he gets out of the crouch well. The scuttlebutt is Wells’ right elbow has undergone PRP injections, and he is playing through an injury which has adversely affected his arm strength. It is something to keep tabs on going forward. Wells is one of the better position players on the Cape. A potentially plus bat at a premium defensive position gives him a realistic shot to be a regular at the highest level. - Jason Pennini

Hayden Cantrelle, SS Louisiana-Lafayette (Falmouth Commodores) – In a loaded Falmouth infield that included Trei Cruz, Tim Tawa and Kevin Kendall, Cantrelle shone through as the most talented player on the roster. He is a toolshed, with 70 run times, plus bat speed and a chance to stick at short. His movements in all facets of the game were twitchy. Cantrelle switch hits, where he looks better from the left side. This spring, he slashed .327/.460/.556 vs RHP and .262/.324/.369 vs LHP. His offensive approach and feel for the zone were good; he would jump on first pitch fastballs at times but also looked content to work deep in counts at others, especially if pitchers were erratic. He makes good reads and gets good jumps, which allowed his speed to play well on the bases. Defensively, he was slick at short with twitchy actions, good body control and agility. Cantrelle is not a big kid; he’s listed at 5’10 175, which looks to be fairly accurate. The body does not look fully filled out and some projection remains. The frame is more lithe-strong than one that looks primed for adding big weight. For that reason I think he has a reasonable chance maintain plus speed and stick in the middle infield. To pick nits, the raw power is around 40-grade. It is mostly the product of his hands and plus bat speed. I think he has a chance to be a second-division regular. I’m very jazzed about this kid.  - Jason Pennini

Trevor Hauver, OF Arizona State (Hyannis Harbor Hawks) – Hauver put up huge numbers as a sophomore at ASU where he slashed .339/.443/.574. He has a discerning eye and good plate discipline, which is probably the strongest facet of his profile. At the plate, he crouches into a wide base stance, effectively shrinking the zone. When he does swing and miss, it’s because he swings very hard from his heels. Hauver goes to the plate with intent to elevate and does a good job leaning back and letting the ball travel deep into the zone. The raw power was not overly impressive in BP, grading to around a 50, but Hauver gets to most of it in games through swing mechanics and effort. Defensively, Hauver is limited to left field. This summer, he has shown good reads with direct paths to the ball, but he is a below average runner, which will limit him to a corner. The arm is also 40-grade; throws lack carry and have been more accurate than strong. The affiliate ball road will be difficult due to the offensive bar for left fielders, and Hauver has nowhere to slide down the defensive spectrum. Players whose profiles are headlined by plate discipline are a scary proposition. It is a skill, but it is a skill that tends to play less well against higher level competition. With limited defensive value and pressure on the bat, his ceiling is something like a strong side platoon bat (role 40). The bat/approach are polished though, so I think Hauver has a good chance to get there. - Jason Pennini

Matt Mikulski, LHP Fordham (Brewster Whitecaps) – Mikulski is a 6’4” athletic lefty with plus arm speed and a burst to his delivery. He has an aggressive bulldog mentality on the mound and attacks hitters. He sat 90-92, touching 94. Mikulski gets good extension through stride length and release out front, and that helps his fastball play up. His curveball is a 1-7 hammer, appearing high spin with consistently tight shape (60-grade pitch). He snapped off a couple that froze Austin Wells. He also flashed a mid-80s changeup that is behind the curve. The explosion in his delivery also means some effort, and there is more head movement at foot strike than you’d like to see. This could be a limiting factor in his command long term. The arm slot looked a little lower for his fastball as he worked cross body away from lefties. Overall, he showed explosive stuff and profiles as a role 40 reliever, an exciting look for someone I had never heard of coming into the day. - Jason Pennini

Luke Bartnicki, LHP Georgia Tech (Chatham Anglers) – Bartnicki was part of a Walton squad that competed in the 2018 NHSI, and he came into the event as a highly-touted pitcher. He sat 88-90, and his stock took a hit. Earlier this year reports of mid-90s velocity circulated the Twittersphere, but I have never seen it. Bartnicki sat 88-91, T92 in both of my looks this summer. The lower half is not well-incorporated in the delivery. Bartnicki has a weak landing on his front leg with little strength flowing through to the upper half. Considering his height, his stride is also fairly short, eating into his extension. Bartnicki works from a low slot which produced a natural cutting action on his fastball. He used his slider a lot, and it flashed plus with big two-plane break in the low-80s. The ephemeral nature of his velo is a concern. Only 19.53 years old, Bartnicki is a strong kid with impressive physique (listed at 6’4”, 220). The body does not look projectable, but I wonder if pro instruction/player development could unlock more consistent mid-90s velocity. Assuming a mechanical change could be made successfully is risky business. If it happens, those two pitches alone (he also has a 40 CHG) could get him to the show as something like a role 40 (average to above average setup man), but the more likely scenario is just another guy middle reliever. - Jason Pennini

Matt McClain, 2B UCLA (Wareham Gatemen) – McClain was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round last year (25th overall). He opted to attend UCLA, turning down a $2,636,400 slot signing bonus in the process. He then went on to have a disappointing offensive season for the Bruins and played center field, ceding the middle infield positions to Chase Strumpf and Kevin Kendall. With Strumpf now out of the equation, McClain is expected to slide into second for the UCLA in 2020. With the lackluster offensive results in 2019 the Diamondbacks are probably happy he chose not to sign, but there are still some things to like about McClain. He is a plus runner with defensive versatility. The infield actions, body control and footwork will play well at second or short. McClain took BP on 7/8 wearing an unmarked red shirt. Not knowing who was (until after), I came away impressed. The raw power probably grades to 30 (40 tops), but he has strong hands and plus bat speed. They just have not translated into on-field production yet. I am not saying he is a future first-rounder, but super-utility guy is possible outcome for McClain. - Jason Pennini

Wyatt Young, SS Pepperdine (Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox) – The first thing you’ll notice about Young is his size; he is a 5’7”, 165 lb middle infielder. Young is a player who understands his physical limitations and plays to his strengths. He has good hands and a swing that stays short to the ball; he also showed a willingness to further shorten up with two strikes and grind ABs. Plate discipline and hand eye coordination are strengths. With these skills coupled with his size, Young does not look like a guy who will swing and miss much. Power (20-grade) will never be a big part of his game, but he makes a good amount of contact and is capable of peppering gaps. Defensively, he is sure-handed and takes a lot of small, quick steps. His path to the ball is direct, and he is an instinctive defender with good anticipation. Young looks capable as a shortstop at the D1 level, but with lack of power and physical tools in general, he profiles as more of a utility type long term. Still, he is a grinder that has a chance to carve out a niche role at the highest level. - Jason Pennini

Sam Ferri, C Arizona State (Cotuit Kettleers) – As a sophomore this spring, Ferri split time with Lyle Lin behind the dish for the Sun Devils. Lin had the better bat and Ferri was the stronger defender. Ferri is incredibly flexible and moves with a striking grace behind home. Getting low through means of a split? No problem. Lateral movements come easily to Ferri. He is also adept at moving in and out of the crouch; the hips and feet are elite. Honest question: does Ferri have a spidey sense? Standout anticipation and reactions often bailed out pitchers when 58 foot breaking balls missed their mark. If the picture has not yet been painted, this kid is an elite receiver. The arm is good too, with accurate darts on a line around 1.94 (60 grade): quick out of crouch, good release, ok arm strength. The big question mark with Ferri will be whether he can get to something like a 40 hit tool. The industry consensus seems to be no. There is nothing glaringly wrong with his swing mechanics, but the bat speed is well below average, which limits his offensive upside. He will probably be a role 30 (organizational contributor) who will be beloved by pitching staffs. - Jason Pennini

Konnor Ash, RHP University of Missouri Columbia (Hyannis Harbor Hawks) – Ash is somewhat of an under-the-radar relief prospect. He has an impressive three-pitch mix. The fastball sat 90-93 and touched 94 in two viewings. The curve flashed plus with 12-6 shape in the mid-70s. The changeup was mid-high 80s, 50-grade pitch. All three pitches looked playable at the next level. The mechanics and all out nature to his delivery cast doubt on Ash. There is a lot of effort in his delivery, and he looks to be almost falling down the mound at times. His head veers off toward first when he pronates for changeups and the overall motion looks difficult to repeat for strikes consistently. Nearby scouts wondered whether he was a Driveline client who is physically maxed out and already working near the limit for what his frame can endure. They speculated a Driveline affiliation due to his max-effort mechanics and high release point. I am unsure whether those are hallmarks of a Driveline pitcher (?), but Ash’s high slot eats into his extension and make the ball easier to see out of his hand. He has a middle relief ceiling, and the mechanics make it hard to see him reaching his potential; there could be command difficulty. The margin for error will be razor thin for Ash as he enters the professional ranks. - Jason Pennini

Baron Radcliff, 1B/OF Georgia Tech (Falmouth Commodores) - A big, muscular slugger with swing and miss and approach questions, when Radcliff gets a hold of one it’s likely going a long, long ways. One of the loudest raw power bats on the Cape circuit, based on looks in the summer and this spring I’d rate his raw as an easy 70. The problem for Radcliff is getting to it consistently, as well as some concerns regarding a passive approach at the plate. This spring, I saw him play some outfield, where he was inconsistent, but showed some surprising athleticism, but bad routes to the ball, and poor fundamentals in general. He did show above-average first base defense in my two looks this summer, and I think he projects well there. Radcliff will strike out at a high rate unless he sharpens his pitch recognition skills and approach. He’ll take pitches he should swing at, and gets fooled by good breaking stuff. This inconsistency leads to Radcliff getting flat out exposed. - Ralph Lifshitz

Cam Thompson, IF/OF Kansas State (Harwich Mariners) - A sparkplug type player with a line drive approach and excellent bat to ball skills. Thompson puts the ball in play and makes plays with his legs, he’s rarely fooled and does not expand the zone. He makes pitchers work and is quick to jump on mistakes. He hardly drives the ball with authority, though, there’s likely 30 power at present, and he isn’t a huge stolen base threat. Thompson’s a versatile player who does a little bit of everything well. A future utility swiss-army knife type able to fill any role in the outfield, with some experience at second base. It’s a quiet swing with a slight leg kick and a linear path that hangs in the zone. He’s short to the ball, but rarely drives anything to his pull side> Consistently, his hardest hit balls were to the opposite field. - Ralph Lifshitz

Andrew Eyster, OF University of South Carolina (Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox) - A solid all-around player for the Gamecocks this spring, Eyster slashed .306/.389/.581 with ten homers as a sophomore JuCo transfer. While I did not see a lot of power from Eyster in my four looks, I did see some of the holes in his swing, and at times, questionable pitch recognition. He looks to elevate on everything, with an uppercut bat path, and some decent bat speed. The approach to the ball leads to lots of swings and misses on hittable pitches in the strike zone. His swing has some moving parts; starting from an open stance, Eyster has slight leg kick as he steps toward the plate, there’s a slight bat wrap as he draw his hands back in his load. All this leads to a longer swing. The mechanics combined with the approach will led to a fair amount of strikeouts in the future, unless adjustments are made. There’s no denying the power at the point of contact. but the bat to ball woes are a non-starter in some ways. - Ralph Lifshitz

Jack-Thomas Wold, 1B/OF UNLV (Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox) - A diminutive barrel-chested corner infielder, Wold is a hit over power bat, with an aggressive approach at the plate. He sets up with an open stance, with his hands by his shoulder, employs a slight toe tap, and drops his hands in his load. His bat path is linear, even downward at times, leading to a fair amount of line drive and ground ball contact. His power is almost entirely to his pullside, as he hits few balls with authority to the opposite field. Despite his power limitations, he shows good control of the barrel, allowing him to hit pitches all over the zone. The issue is he often swings on the wrong pitches and makes poor contact. Wold can hit, and he’s started to tap into the power the last few weeks of the CCBL season, so it’s not a bad profile. However, his lack of defensive value and approach issues make it more of a system depth outlook at the professional level. - Ralph Lifshitz

Adam Seminaris, LHP Long Beach State (Orleans Firebirds) - Work fast and throw strikes. If you do those two things simultaneously well, I more than likely will come away interested. That’s exactly what Seminaris did in my look. Facing a strong Cotuit lineup, he went five innings, allowing an earned run, on four hits and no walks, striking out four in the effort. The lefty is of average build, standing only 6-feet, with an athletic build. His mechanics are simple with a moderate leg lift before delivering the ball from upper three quarters arm slot. None of Seminaris’ offerings are overpowering, but he sequences effectively, works low in the zone and throws strikes. His arsenal consists of a FB in the 88-90 range, it looks like he uses a two seam variation to lefthanders, that flashed nice run and sink. His secondaries consist of a changeup at 80-81 with spin rates in the area of 1500-1700, his slider at 80-82 showed slightly better spin at 2000-2200, and his curveball in the 77-78 range had the highest spin rates of his pitch mix at 2200-2450. Seminaris is more pitchability than stuff, but he commands his repertoire well. His fastball is below-average but plays up due to his command. His curveball showed the best of his trio of secondaries. I prefer his changeup to his slider, since he showed better feel for the former. Ultimately an up and down type, without the stuff to play in a bullpen role.  - Ralph Lifshitz

Cody Morrisette, 2B Boston College (Bourne Braves) - Morrisette exploded onto the scene with a big showing in the ACC tournament, including a two-homer game in an extra inning victory over Clemson. The Exeter, New Hampshire native overcame a slow start this summer, and has hit well at the plate over the last month. There’s certainly been adjustment from wood bats to metal. Having had several looks at Morissette in the spring, I have a good feel for who he is. Despite that two homer game, Morrisette employs a contact-oriented approach with strong pitch recognition skills for a freshman. He uses the entire field, with most of his hardest hits landing in the middle of the field. It’s a strong baseline of skills at the plate, with some room to add power. His swing is simple and quiet, with a slight toe tap, and good hip rotation. His hands are quick with a short path to the ball. Defensively, I’ve seen him only at second base, he’s shown clean hands and a quick first step. The throws I’ve seen him make are at least average and he teamed up with Alika Williams early in the CCBL season to form, in my opinion, the strongest double play duo in the circuit. As a 2021 draft eligible player, Morissette has time to improve, add strength, and tap into more power. - Ralph Lifshitz

Parker Chavers, OF Coastal Carolina (Cotuit Kettleers) - One of the more highly rated players not to receive a Team USA invite, Chavers shows average or better tools across the board, with the ability to play all over the outfield. He showed a plus arm in game as well as warmups, and moves well, with a quick and athletic stride. He clocked above-average and plus run times home to first, and showed speed on the bases. He’s svelte and wiry strong, the type of build where adding good weight should not be an issue. He hits for power predominantly to his pull-side, but will go the other way with authority, just mostly with liners. His hit tool needs some work, as he’s aggressive on bad pitches from time to time and other times will show passivity. His bat-to-ball skills are about average, so there is hope, and there’s power at the point of contact. I believe he can be an average starting MLB outfielder if his plate approach improves and he adds some strength. - Ralph Lifshitz