I went to Falmouth on Monday to watch Falmouth play Harwich. And even though it was a lopsided 11-2 win for Falmouth and a game that was decided by about the fourth inning, it was a great choice because I saw five pitchers I had not yet seen.
One might say it was an especially good night to be watching the players first and the game second.
Righthander Kyle Winkler from TCU started for Falmouth and looked really good. Winkler threw the only true sinker I can remember seeing all summer and it was a great pitch. Winkler has a stocky build at 5'11" 195, and while he has a jerky motion and throws with some effort he has good arm action and a very strong-looking lower body which should limit some concerns about his durability. Winkler's fastball sat in the 91-93 mph range and once touched 94. The 85-86 mph sinker was really effective and with its late movement was very difficult for hitters to pick up. Winkler also threw a decent 76-78 mph curveball with sharp break and an 81-83 mph slider with hard run that wasn't really that good. Winkler just turned 19 last month, and he is somebody to watch for the 2011 draft.
Harwich right-handed starter John Gast from Florida State was fairly average. Gast is average height for a pitcher with a solid build at 6'2" 215. He drops down then drives when he pitches. Gast's fastball sat in the 89-91 mph range and once touched 92. It had some tail in on left-handed hitters. He spun an average 73-76 mph curveball he could throw for strikes and threw a 77 mph changeup with some tail in on lefties that he tended to leave up in the zone. Gast really didn't have a go-to pitch and the Falmouth hitters were able to get to him when he couldn't locate.
Right-handed reliever Daniel Bradshaw from LSU came in next for Harwich. Bradshaw is average height with an athletic build at 6'1" 208. He throws easy but he falls slightly off the mound when he releases. Bradshaw's fastball sat in just the 85-87 mph range. He floated in a late-moving 73-75 mph changeup and threw a good 68-72 mph curveball with 3/8 break that he could throw for strikes. He also showed a cutter during warmups but didn't use it in the game. If hitters are patient enough to stay back against his slow stuff, they are going to get to Daniel Bradshaw.
Right-handed reliever Les Williams from Northeastern was the third Harwich pitcher of the night. Williams is average height for a pitcher with a solid build at 6'2" 220. He has stiff arm action and throws across his body. Williams fastball sat in the 87-89 mph range. He threw a decent 78-81 mph curveball with sweeping break and also showed a harder slider. Williams' appearance was brief, and while he wasn't bad I don't think it's especially pressing to see him again before the end of the season.
Right-handed reliever Cecil Tanner from the University of Georgia looked good as a short-relief prospect for Falmouth. One NL scout said he saw Tanner sit consistenly around 96-97 mph this spring during his freshman season at UGA. I haven't seen him hit higher than 94 in three glimpses of him this summer, but he is still worth keeping an eye on. Tanner has good size at 6'6" 240. He looks a little stiff and awkward on the mound, but it's possible he is still growing into his body. Tanner's fastball sat in the 91-93 mph range Monday and had some sinking action. He also showed a good 77 mph slider with sharp break. If Tanner can regain that alleged 96-97 mph heat, one would have to believe he will be a high pick in 2011.
Finally, right-handed reliever Chad Sheppard from Northwestern State threw well for Falmouth. Sheppard is above-average height with an athletic build at 6'3" 200. He throws only from the stretch, so his motion consists of him rearing back, pausing, then driving toward the plate. He throws with some effort. Sheppard's fastball sat in the 90-93 mph range and once touched 94. He also threw a good 76-79 mph slider with tight two-plane break. I like Sheppard a lot in a short relief role.
Among position players, Falmouth shortstop B.A. Vollmuth from Southern Mississippi is quickly becoming one of my favorite guys to watch. He has improbably supplanted Derek Dietrich from Wareham and Georgia Tech as my top prospect among Cape League shortstops, even though I think both of those guys will eventually end up being third basemen, and he has cracked my Top 3 position-player prospects. Before the game Monday, Vollmuth took the type of batting practice session I had been yearning to see all summer. With his smooth and fairly effortless right-handed stroke, Vollmuth crushed ball after ball over the leftfield fence. In the game, he took an outside fastball to right for an opposite-field home run and he drove the ball in two other at-bats. His range isn't outstanding in the infield but he is solid and moves with athleticism out there. He also has a plus arm. Vollmuth should be a very high draft pick in 2011.
Leftfielder Brian Fletcher from Auburn and second baseman Conner Mach from the University of Missouri both homered for Falmouth as well. Harwich rightfielder Dan Grovatt from the University of Virginia did a good job staying back on a slider and hit a home run for the Mariners. Fletcher looked a little ridiculous taking a moment to admire his no-doubter, and he also gave an annoying Sammy Sosa-esque salute when he finished circling the bases.
I will be at Chatham at Cotuit on Tuesday.
AROUND THE LEAGUE:
Hyannis 5 Bourne 0: Right-handed starter Tyler Wilson from the University of Virginia allowed two hits and one walk over seven shutout innings. First baseman Ryan Cuneo from Delaware, Ryan Graepel from the University of North Carolina and rightfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., from the University of South Carolina each had two hits for Hyannis.
Cotuit 5 Brewster 3: Catcher Zach Maggard from Florida Southern and rightfielder Zach Cone from the University of Georgia homered for Cotuit. Third baseman Harold Martinez from the University of Miami homered for Brewster.
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