With the temperature outside sitting in the mid-teens and a steady windchill around zero for much of the day, it is hard to believe that the college baseball season gets underway in less than three weeks. Well, at least in some parts of the country it will. For those of us in the northeast and other outposts where global warming seems like just a rumor, it will be another two months before we see a game on a local field. Let's fire up the hot stove and take a look at some of the Massachusetts players who will be playing in the Cape League this summer. With four teams not yet posting their rosters, there may be even more locals than we are presently aware of who will be displaying their talents on the Cape. Keeping in mind that we are waiting for Falmouth, Harwich, Chatham and Orleans to post their rosters, having six players signed to permanent contracts before the season starts seems like a pretty high number. That number may go up when we hear from those four teams and there will likely be other locals who sign as temps and end up earning permanent contracts.
Here is a mini-profile on the Bay Staters:
Mike Dowd (Brewster / Franklin Pierce). 5'9"; 205 lbs. Bats: R. Throws: R. Sophomore catcher from East Bridgewater. Four-time All-Catholic Central League selection at Cardinal Spellman HS. While starting 53 games for the Ravens as a freshman, Dowd hit .380 to go along with 7 HR and 43 RBI, earning ECAC Division II Rookie of the Year honors. Other honors included ECAC Division II All-Star First Team, Northeast-10 Conference Co-Freshman of the Year, All-Northeast-10 Conference First Team Selection and Daktronics All-America Honorable Mention. His .450 mark lead the Northeast-10 in on-base percentage. Finished tied for second in the conference in hits (78), tied for third in hit-by-pitch (14), fourth in batting average and total bases (116), tied for fourth in doubles (15) tied for fifth in runs scored (47), and placed seventh in slugging percentage (.566). Dowd will face a challenge for playing time behind the plate with the Whitecaps who also have Robert Brantly (UC-Riverside), Jeremey Schaffer (Tulane) and Tyler Ogle (Oklahoma) on their roster.
Michael Yastrzemski (Cotuit / Vanderbilt). 5'10"; 168 lbs. Bats: L. Throws: L. Freshman outfielder hailing from Andover. Played high school ball at St. John's Prep. Any baseball fan of a certain age knows this legendary name. Grandson of Captain Carl, Hall of Famer, and major league baseball's last Triple Crown winner in the Impossible Dream season of 1967. Son of the late Mike Yastrzemski who also played in the Cape League. Michael was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 36th round of last year's MLB Draft but opted to attend Vanderbilt. Would have been drafted much earlier if not for an ironclad commitment to the Commodores. Some projections showed Yastrzemski as a fifth round talent. Also played for the powerful Andover American Legion team. Batted .368 with a .505 OBP and was 9 for 10 in stolen base attempts for the St. John's Prep team that lost in the Div. 1 North finals last year. He finished his high school career with a .374 average.
Jack Leathersich (Orleans / UMass-Lowell). 6'; 185 lbs. Sophomore LHP from Beverly. While at Beverly HS, set school records for strikeouts and career wins. Bay State Games gold medalist. As a freshman at UMass-Lowell, Leathersich started 10 of the 13 games he appeared in. Compiled a 7-4 record with a 2.18 ERA and pitched 3 complete games. Held opposing batters to a .226 avg. Named the NE-10 Freshman Pitcher of the Year. Also honored as NE-10 All-Star First Team and the All-Rookie Team. Leathersich was named the top prospect in the Valley Baseball League by PG Cross Checker last summer.
Keith Bilodeau (Wareham / Maine). 6'4"; 175 lbs. RHP from Sagamore who is returning to the Gatemen for a second summer. Perfect Game Baseball ranked him as one of the top-100 prospects in the country coming out of Bourne HS. As a freshman for the Black Bears, Bilodeau went 1-7 with a 4.28 ERA while the opposition hit .298 off him. In 18.2 innings over 12 relief appearances for the Gatemen, was 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA.
Steve Perakslis (Wareham / Maine). 6'1"; 185 lbs. Freshman RHP from Abington. Played for his father, Steve Sr., as Abington HS won the 2009 Division 3 state championship. Perakslis played shortstop when he wasn't pitching. As a senior, he went 10-0 with a 0.26 ERA while striking out 95 in 62 innings. Was a major contributor offensively for the Green Wave with a .522 avg. and 5 homeruns. South Shore League All Star. Boston Globe and Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic. Very aggressive pitcher with a fastball in the low 90's, curveball and slider.
Joe Flynn (Wareham / Franklin Pierce). 6'1"; 210 lbs. RHP from Plymouth who was a four-year starter at Plymouth North HS. Boston Globe Player of the Year as a junior and senior. As a junior in 2008, helped lead his team to the Division 2 state championship. Compiled a 10-2 record with a 0.68 ERA and 141 strikeouts last year. Playing shortstop when not on the mound, Flynn batted .385 with 6 homeruns and 28 RBI to help bring the Blue Eagles back to the state championship game. Pitched brilliantly in the state final, allowing only one earned run and two hits while striking out 13 as Auburn beat Plymouth North, 2-1. Career record of 33-4 in high school. Has been a close friend with soon-to-be Gatemen teammate Steve Perakslis for many years.
In addition to those six players, Spencer's Kevin Mortimer (Trinity College) has been offered a temp contract to play for Falmouth this year. Mortimer was the bullpen catcher for the Commodores in 2009 who was activated for the last three games of the season. Mortimer made the most of his limited opportunity, going 1 for 3 while throwing out a potential base stealer. Mortimer batted .372 while playing in 21 games as a freshman at Trinity last year.
If anyone knows of more Massachusetts players who will be playing on the Cape this year, please let us know.