The oldest and best collegiate summer circuit, the Cape Cod League has roots that stretch back to 1885, and it has sent more than 1,100 players to the big leagues.Its alumni include four Hall of Famers in Pie Traynor, Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas and Craig Biggio, as well as several
The oldest and best collegiate summer circuit, the Cape Cod League has roots that stretch back to 1885, and it has sent more than 1,100 players to the big leagues.
Its alumni include four Hall of Famers in Pie Traynor, Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas and Craig Biggio, as well as several current stars such as Jackie Bradley Jr., Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Buster Posey and Chris Sale. Fourteen of the 17 college players selected in the first round of the 2016 Draft played in the Cape, including No. 2 overall choice Nick Senzel (Reds) and No. 5 pick Corey Ray (Brewers).
Though the high school players in the 2017 Draft look more promising than their college counterparts, there still were a number of talented players in the Cape this summer. The two best prospects were Cotuit outfielder Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt) and Chatham right-hander J.B. Bukauskas (North Carolina), though they didn't qualify for our rankings below because they stayed only briefly before joining the U.S. collegiate national team. They're included on our Team USA Top 10 here.
Eight members of our Cape Top 10 are eligible for the 2017 Draft, though clubs will have to wait an extra year before they can get their hands on our headliner:
1. Brady Singer, RHP, Falmouth (Florida, Sophomore in 2017)
Florida lost five pitchers in the first four rounds of the 2016 Draft, but the Gators will still be well-armed with Alex Faedo (Team USA's top prospect and a potential No. 1 overall pick in 2017) and Singer (the Cape's best prospect and a potential No. 1 overall choice in 2018). A second-round pick out of high school by the Blue Jays, Singer had a 0.64 ERA and a 25/3 K/BB ratio in 28 innings, including the playoffs. His fastball sits at 92-93 mph and reaches 96 with late boring action that chews up bats. Singer has a solid second pitch in his slider and a developing yet promising changeup, as well as command, competitiveness and a still-projectable 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame.
"Brady Singer is nasty," Hyannis manager Chad Gassman said. "He reminds me of Jeff Hoffman, a big power right-hander."
2. Pavin Smith, 1B, Harwich (Virginia, Junior)
Smith hit the tying home run in the final game of the 2015 College World Series, then delivered the go-ahead RBI single that led to Virginia's first national championship. He stands out in what appears to be a thin 2017 crop of college position players because he's a safe bet to produce at the plate with his ability to barrel balls, his raw left-handed power and his long track record of hitting. Smith is a quality defender at first base and moves well enough to make playing left field a possibility.
"The way the ball comes off his bat, it's absurd," Harwich manager Steve Englert said. "You can hear it and it's so obvious."
3. Corbin Martin, RHP, Falmouth (Texas A&M, Junior)
Falmouth had the two best pitching prospects in the Cape in Singer and Martin, not to mention the league's Pitcher of the Year in Lipscomb right-hander Jeff Passantino, a command specialist. Working out of the bullpen, Martin operated at 95-96 mph and hit 98 with his fastball. He also has a curveball that can devastate hitters and feel for a changeup. Martin threw a lot more strikes than he did in the spring at Texas A&M, fueling the belief that he can make it as a starter in pro ball.
"You're talking about a guy who throws 95-96 and his breaking ball is honestly his best pitch," Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy said. "It's late, it has depth and it's hard. Hitters didn't stand a chance against that thing."
4. Colton Hock, RHP, Cotuit (Stanford, Junior)
Primarily a reliever during his first two seasons at Stanford, Hock opened the summer in Cotuit's bullpen before showing plenty of upside in the rotation during the final month of the season. He uses his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame to leverage his fastball down in the strike zone, though he needs to use his legs more in his delivery to keep his 92-95 mph fastball from dipping to 89-92 mph midway through his starts. Hock had one of the better curveballs in the Cape, but he will have to refine his changeup to make it as a starter.
5. Kevin Smith, SS, Yarmouth-Dennis (Maryland, Junior)
Smith earned playoff MVP honors as Yarmouth-Dennis won its third consecutive championship, the longest Cape run since Cotuit won four straight in 1972-75. There's some swing and miss to his game and he'll have to improve against breaking balls, but he has more pop than most middle infielders, which showed when he led the Cape with 12 doubles in the regular season and three homers in seven postseason games. Though Smith is a below-average runner, he has the range, hands and arm to stay at shortstop in pro ball -- a claim few Cape Leaguers can make.
"His instincts are so good," Y-D manager Scott Pickler said. "You can't teach what he's got. He's very talented and has a great work ethic. He can hit and he has a good feel for the game."
6. Michael Gigliotti, OF, Falmouth (Lipscomb, Junior)
Gigliotti raised his profile significantly, earning the league's Top Prospect Award voted on by pro scouts and playing his way into first-round consideration for 2017. A well-above-average runner, he led the Cape with 31 runs while making solid contact, using the whole field and showing an improved ability to drive the ball into the gaps toward the end of the summer. Gigliotti might have been the best bunter and best defensive center fielder in the league.
"We knew he was good, but not this good," Trundy said. "We had Jacoby Ellsbury here in 2004, and he's ahead of where Jacoby was when we had him. Jacoby didn't play all that great on the Cape, but Michael had a great year all the way around."
7. Justin Hooper, LHP, Cotuit (UCLA, Sophomore)
The hardest-throwing pitcher on the high school summer showcase circuit in 2014, Hooper could have gone in the first round of the next year's Draft had he not been intent on attending UCLA. After walking 13 and giving up 18 runs in eight innings as a Bruins freshman this spring, he looked like a potential 2018 first-rounder on the Cape and drew comparisons to A.J. Puk, another big lefty who went sixth overall in this year's Draft. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Hooper effortlessly threw 92-95 mph fastballs and has more velocity left in the tank, and he did a better job of staying on a direct line to the plate. He'll need to continue making progress with his secondary pitches and control.
8. Joe Dunand, 3B, Harwich (North Carolina State, Junior)
A nephew of Alex Rodriguez, Dunand led the Cape with a .511 slugging percentage with wood bats after recording a .424 mark with metal bats in the spring. He's not as polished at the plate as his Harwich teammate Smith, but Dunand is stronger and has better power to all fields. A below-average runner who scuffled at shortstop with N.C. State, he looked more comfortable at third base and has the arm and actions to be an asset there.
9. Peter Solomon, RHP, Harwich (Notre Dame, Junior)
Solomon split time between the Harwich rotation and bullpen, and his 0.55 ERA and .086 opponent average would have topped the league had he not fallen a few innings shy of qualifying. He does a nice job of holding the velocity on his 92-96 mph fastball, gets swings and misses with both a slider and curveball, and also can mix in a changeup. To succeed as a pro starter, Solomon will have to throw strikes more consistently and add some weight to his skinny 6-foot-4 frame.
10. Brendon Little, LHP, Bourne (State JC of Florida, Sophomore)
Little worked just four innings at North Carolina as a freshman in the spring, prompting his transfer to the State College of Florida, where he'll be Draft-eligible as a junior college sophomore in 2017. His command is inconsistent, but he has an electric arm that produces 93-96 mph fastballs and hammer curveballs when he keeps his delivery together. Little struck out 37 in 26 innings, including the playoffs, and he could develop into a front-line starter or a high-leverage reliever.
"The best arm in the league was Little," Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said. "When he threw against us, I thought he was Randy Johnson. He flat lit it up against us."
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.