Friday, July 17, 2009

All-Star Selection Analysis

The Cape Cod League unveiled the rosters Thursday for next week's All-Star Game at Fenway Park. The game is the league's signature event, and you can expect to see about 100 scouts in attendance at Fenway on Thursday.

The challenge each year for the 10 field managers who meet and select the teams is to find a balance between rewarding the players who are having good summers while still making sure the league's best prospects are put on display.

I was hoping to have some serious gripes about the rosters so I could provide a hate-filled blog post that would show everybody how much smarter I am than the managers, but all-in-all I think they did a pretty good job. There are a few questionable selections, but none that are too outrageous.

I'm glad Wareham's Brandon Workman and Cotuit's Cameron Rupp from Texas made the West team even though the two Longhorns have only been here for a week or two. They are two of the bigger prospects on the Cape and they belong in the game. Same goes for Y-D's Micah Gibbs from LSU, who was named an East Division alternate even though he is hitting just .179 in his first few games up here. Gibbs is a major talent as a switch-hitting catcher and he deserves the recognition.

Still, here are a few players who should be on the All-Star team who got snubbed, and who those players should be replacing.


RHP Jesse Hahn, Chatham/Virginia Tech: Hahn is one of the top pitching prospects in the league and has incredible numbers this summer, but somehow got left off the East squad. Hahn is the only pitcher I've seen touch 97 or 98 mph with his fastball this summer, and scouts eagerly anticipate each one of his relief appearances. The idle chatter among scouts is instantly stopped and they start getting serious when Hahn trots in from the bullpen. Plus, he has allowed no runs on one hit in 9.1 innings pitched this summer and has struck out 10. He has been limited to five appearances, but he has thrown just one-third of an inning fewer than Workman. He belongs in the game. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if he replaced any of the pitchers currently on the East roster, but I think it would be most fair if he took Chatham teammate Russell Brewer's spot. I like the way Brewer knows how to pitch, and he has been an effective closer for two teams up here this summer and last. But Hahn is the bigger prospect, has better numbers other than saves, and Brewer got to be an All-Star last year.

OF Trent Mummey, Harwich/Auburn: Mummey was one of the best players in the league the first few weeks of the season, carrying Harwich until their College World Series guys arrived. But a recent dry spell cost him a spot on the All-Star team. Mummey has showed off all five tools this summer, and he is really an exciting player to watch. I would have taken him over Orleans' Alex Hassan from Duke. The fact that Hassan was a Red Sox draft pick last month probably has something to do with him being selected, but the Red Sox took him as a pitcher, and I think he is better as a pitcher, too. He is on the All-Star team as an outfielder, and Mummey is just better.

1B Jaren Matthews, Orleans/Rutgers: Matthews is Orleans' second-best position player prospect behind outfielder Gary Brown, and he was their only player to do any hitting during their early-season struggles. Matthews has cooled off recently as the rest of the team has heated up, but as a professional prospect and a guy who has been pretty solid since the very beginning of the season he deserves a spot on the All-Star team. Mickey Wiswall from Y-D is very deserving as the East's starting first baseman, but I would have taken Matthews instead of Y-D's Tyler Hanover from LSU and just moved Wiswall to third base when you wanted to insert Matthews. Hanover is a good player, but he's really small which works against him as a professional prospect. Plus he has only been here for a couple weeks which qualifies the argument for his solid statistics.


Brandon Cumpton, RHP Cotuit/Georgia Tech: Cumpton looks like a third-to-fifth round draft pick next June, and he has put up very good numbers for a Cotuit pitching staff that is among the best in the league. He has really good stuff and has been successful on the Cape for two seasons now. He should replace Eric Pfisterer from Wareham and Duke. Pfisterer has put up good numbers so far this summer, but he is maybe the fourth or fifth best pitching prospect Wareham has after Workman, Jack Armstrong, Matt Barnes and maybe Blake Monar. Cumpton is another glaring performance/projectability combo guy who was left out of the game.

Hunter Morris 1B Falmouth/Auburn: This isn't a terrible omission because Kyle Roller is very deserving at first base and Ryan Cuneo should continue to be allowed to make a name for himself in his breakout summer as the designated hitter. But Morris has the raw power to be a star. He snubbed the Red Sox after they couldn't sign him as their second-round pick out of high school, and the Boston fans will still get a chance to see what they're missing out on in the home run derby. Having him participate in the home-run hitting contest is a good compromise, but as a guy with solid statistics and a possible first-round pick next year, they should have found a place for him in the game.

Those are really the only issues I have. As for some All-Star predictions, the West has better pitching, but the East has a better lineup and as we saw last year it only takes one big inning to win a Cape League All-Star Game. I think the East will win 6-4.

Jedd Gyorko will be the East MVP and Zack Cox will be the West MVP.

The home run derby is going to be low-scoring as the right-handed hitters will struggle to get the ball over the Green Monster, the left-handed hitters will struggle with deeper dimensions in right-center, and everyone will struggle with the pressure of trying to hit home run in Fenway Park. I'll take Gyorko to edge out Morris.


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