Making it to the Big Leagues

The Cape Cod Baseball League celebrates wrapping up another incredible season, with many new faces and lots of new talent showcased. Vacationers and locals, alike, filled the stands to catch a game throughout the season and, for the 400 or so college-age men who play in the league, it might have been the most important summer of their careers.

For in those stands were not only tourists and locals. If you looked a little closer, you might have seen the other people, typically sitting alone, jotting down their notes, holding their radar guns, recording pitch speeds. Those were the scouts, those mysterious individuals whose recommendations (or lack, thereof) could determine the futures of many of the athletes on the field.

Countless past players of the Cape League’s 10 teams have gone on the “big leagues,” as they say, to display their talents in Major League Baseball. In fact, over 300 Cape League players played for the MLB in 2017. That’s an enormous reflection on the training and coaching that players receive during their time in the Cape League.

According to John Garner, Director of Broadcasting for CCBL, several prominent Cape League alumni were successful in showcasing their wares in Major League Baseball this year. “Perhaps the signature moment of 2018 came early when Sean Manaea (Hyannis ’12) of the Oakland A’s and no-hit Chris Sale (Y-D ’09) of the Red Sox were in a battle for former CCBL outstanding pitchers of the year.”

Sean Manaea

Other CCBL alumni currently playing for the Major Leagues include Aaron Nola (Harwich 2012), who plays for the Philadelphia Phillies, Dallas Keuchel (Wareham ’07-’08) with the World Series champion Houston Astros and Kyle Hendricks (Brewster ’10) for Chicago Cubs.

Enjoying a breakout MLB season is 2008 Cape League MVP A.J. Pollock (Falmouth), who’s hitting for Arizona. Aaron Judge (Brewster ’12) is hitting for the New York Yankees. Mitch Moreland (Bourne ’06-’07), Jackie Bradley Jr. (Hyannis ’09), Joe Kelly (Y-D ’08) and Matt Barnes (Wareham ’09-‘10) are all currently playing for Boston.

Former Gatemen outfielder George Springer (Wareham ’09-’10) was MVP in the 2017 World Series after hitting .379 with five homers and seven RBI leading the Astros to their first title, Garner said. “So far this season, he’s hit .266 with 20 HR and 64 RBI. Justin Smoak (Cotuit ’06) enjoyed a breakout season for Toronto in 2017, hitting .270 with a career-high 38 homers and 90 RBI.”

The CCBL has consistently turned out talented, successful players for the MLB, including many All-Stars, MVPs, World Series champions – even a few Hall of Famers. Some celebrated names from the pages of Cape League history include Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Albert Belle, Nomar Garciaparra, Jacoby Ellsbury, Frank Thomas, Kris Bryant, Mark Teixeira, Chase Utley, Carleton Fisk, Buster Posey, Mo Vaughn and famous former Red Sox captain and catcher, Jason Varitek, among so many others.

The CCBL also announced its Hall of Fame Class of 2018 earlier in the season at the First Pitch Brunch. Committee Chair Chuck Sturtevant made the announcement of the induction of the Class of 2018, including Arthur “Ace” Adams (Falmouth), Barbara Ellsworth (Y-D and Harwich), Peter Gammons (Cape League contributor), Craig Hansen (Harwich), John Schiffner (Chatham), and Mark Sweeney (Chatham and Y-D). The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place December 1.

For more information on the Cape Cod Baseball League, visit

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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