I went to Cotuit on Tuesday to catch Cotuit and Chatham in another matchup of pitchers I hadn't seen yet this summer.
Cotuit won 2-1 as Chatham continues to freefall and looks more and more likely to miss the playoffs after starting the season 9-1.
Right-handed starter Craig Fritsch from Baylor, the Tigers' 8th-round pick last month, started for Cotuit and looked a lot less impressive than he did when I saw him pitch for Y-D in 2008. Fritsch is tall with a thin, athletic build at 6'4" 180 but he stands too tall in his motion and doesn't get good drive from his lower body. He does have good arm action and throws fairly easily. Fritsch's fastball sat in the 90-91 mph range and occasionally touched 92. It had some tailing action in on right-handed hitters, but Fritsch had some trouble locating his fastball and tended to leave it up in the zone. Fritsch spun a 73-74 mph breaking ball that would hang some of the time and he also showed a 78-80 mph changeup. Fritsch really showed a lot more ability last summer.
Right-handed starter Mike Dennhardt from Boston College pitched for Chatham. Dennhardt's stuff isn't overpowering but he throws at least five different pitches and mixes them effectively. None of his pitches are better than league average but he throws strikes and pitches to contact to get outs. Dennhardt is average height with a solid build at 6'1" 205. His arm trails behind the rest of his body and he sort of flings the ball. Dennhardt's fastball sat in the 88-90 mph range and his two-seamer had good tailing action in on right-handed hitters. He also threw an effective 83-86 mph cutter. Dennhardt's 74-78 mph curveball had sharp break when he threw it well and he was able to throw it for strikes, and he is mixing in a 78-81 mph slider with horizontal run. Dennhardt also throws an average 81 mph changeup that tails in on right-handed hitters. The depth of Dennhardt's repertoire is his biggest asset.
Chatham right-handed reliever Taylor Hill from Vanderbilt, who has impressed me more than once this summer, looked great again Tuesday. His low 90s fastball has a lot of movement including some sinking action and his 80-83 mph slider was nasty. Hill can either get hitters to chase the late-breaking pitch with tight break out of the zone or sneak it in the back door. When Hill froze highly-touted Cotuit catcher Cameron Rupp from the University of Texas with a slider to strike him out, Rupp started walking back to the dugout almost simultaneously to when the pitch hit the catcher's glove.
Cotuit right-handed reliever Navery Moore from Vanderbilt had good outing, a rare occurrence for him this summer. One National League scout said Moore was "kind of a phenom" early in his high school career before he underwent Tommy John surgery. The scout said Moore's velocity went way down after the procedure and it affected his confidence which in turn affected his command. Moore has struggled with terrible control issues this summer after seeing limited action at Vanderbilt in the spring, but he threw strikes Tuesday. Moore is above-average height with a solid build at 6'3" 205. He has a jerky motion and throws with some effort. Moore's fastball sat in the 91-92 mph range, and he threw a 78 mph curveball with tight overhand break. He also threw a 77 mph changeup.
Cotuit right-handed reliever Ben Rowen from Virginia Tech was intriguing as well. Rowen is the only submarine-style pitcher I have seen on the Cape, and Cotuit uses him often to give hitters a different look. Rowen doesn't throw harder than the mid-80s, and his stuff which also includes a slider and a changep isn't that good, but everything he throws moves a lot and he baffles a lot of hitters at this level with his delivery.
Cotuit third baseman Zack Cox from the University of Arkansas had another big game. He hit three singles, one to leftfield, one up the middle and one to right and he hit each one on the first pitch of the at-bat. Some think Cox's lack of patience is a negative, but I love his aggressive style at the plate. He gets in the box and hits, and he almost always puts a good swing on the ball.
Cotuit centerfielder Jeff Rowland from Georgia Tech, the Indians' 21st-round pick, has struggled at the plate and he has a below-average arm, but he can cover a lot of ground in the outfield.
I will likely be at Falmouth at Orleans on Wednesday.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Brewster 4 Orleans 2: Third baseman Harold Martinez from the University of Miami hit a home run and second baseman Jedd Gyorko from West Virginia went 3-for-4 for Brewster.
Harwich 5 Bourne 1, Bourne 7 Harwich 2: In the first game, Harwich right-handed starter Mike Gipson from Florida Atlantic allowed one run on five hits and struck out six. Designated hitter Kyle Roller from East Carolina homered for Bourne. In the second game, second baseman Pierre LePage from UConn and designated hitter Nick Schwaner from the University of New Orleans, the Giants' 42nd-round pick, each went 2-for-3 for Bourne. Centerfielder Leon Landry from LSU went 2-for-3 for Harwich.
Y-D 8 Wareham 3: Centerfielder Jordan Casas from Long Beach State went 2-for-4 and leftfielder Austin Wates from Virginia Tech went 2-for-5 with four RBIs for Y-D. Designated hitter Zach Wilson from Arizona State went 2-for-4 for Wareham.
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