I went to Hyannis on Monday afternoon and evening for a doubleheader between Wareham and Hyannis. I originally went mainly to see some of the Hyannis hitters again, but ended up being very impressed by each of Wareham's starting pitchers. Wareham won 4-0 and 4-3.
Wareham's Game 1 starter was righthander Jack Armstrong from Vanderbilt, who I'm told was considered a top prospect nationally after his junior year in high school, but whose stock plummeted during his senior season in Jupiter, Fla. and his freshman year with the Commodores. Armstrong had a very effective fastball-changeup combination and while he might project to a bullpen role in the future, he has a major-league arm. Armstrong has a great body for a pitcher at 6'7" 230, and he throws with good, smooth arm action. He throws with a lot of effort but his mechanics are sound. Armstrong's fastball sat mainly in the 94-95 mph range early on and he once touched 96. His velocity did drop to the low 90s by the end of his seven-inning outing, but he was still missing bats at the end of his start. Armstrong's 80-82 mph changeup was also a really good, deceptive pitch that got him a lot of outs. Armstrong also showed a decent 81-82 mph curveball. He is certainly somebody to keep an eye on as a top prospect for the 2011 draft.
Wareham's Game 2 starter was righthander Brett Eibner from the University of Arkansas. Eibner is one of the better hitters in the league, and I was unaware before Monday the Gatemen had even planned to use him on the mound this summer. Eibner had a really good arm, though he did get tired quickly and didn't make it out of the fourth inning. Eibner has a thin, athletic build at 6'3" 205, and he throws easily with good, loose arm action. He tends to fall off the mound toward first base. Eibner's fastball sat in the 93-95 mph range in his first two innings, but he was down to 89-91 mph by the fourth. He threw an 85-88 mph slider with hard biting action, and a decent 84-87 mph changeup. He also showed an occasional 81 mph curveball. I still think Eibner is a better hitter than he is a pitcher, but there's a chance a Major League team will see what it can do with his 95 mph arm.
Hyannis' starters were both fairly nondescript. Righthander Jay Brown from South Carolina started the first game, and showed Cape League-average stuff at best. He has an athletic build at 6'4" 215, and throws easily with smooth arm action, but his fastball sits in the 86-89 mph range. He throws a sweeping 76 mph curveball and a decent 80-81 mph changeup, though the change doesn't really present that much difference from the fastball.
The Game 2 starter was lefthander Kevin Brandt from East Carolina. His fastball sat in the 85-87 mph range, he threw a 73-77 mph curveball with sweeping 3/8 break, and he showed a 76-78 mph changeup he tended to leave up in the zone and which didn't do much for me.
Among the hitters, Hyannis second baseman Nick Crawford from UAB impressed me, even though at a generously-listed 5'9" 150 he is probably too small to be considered a prospect. Crawford was leading the league in hitting entering Monday, and he seems to just be able to consistently find a way to put the ball in play and get on base. He's also a tremendous second baseman, as he made a couple of really good plays on balls to his left.
Wareham catcher Cole Leonida from Georgia Tech crushed a 400-foot home run, and his college and summer teammate Derek Dietrich continued to look like a major leaguer both at the plate and in the field.
Heading to Orleans on Tuesday to check on Firebirds starter Jorge Reyes, who I loved for some reason last summer when he pitched for Falmouth even though a lot of people didn't.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Chatham 4 Harwich 3: Dean Green from Oklahoma State and Whit Merrifield from South Carolina homered for Chatham.
Orelans 9 Bourne 3: Left-handed starter Jimmy Reyes from Elon pitched seven strong innings for Orleans, scattering six hits and striking out six. Gary Brown from Cal State Fullerton and Devin Lohman from Long Beach State each had two hits for Orleans.
Y-D 7 Falmouth 6: Y-D scored four runs in the seventh inning to come from behind to beat Falmouth. Brian Fletcher from Auburn and Ryan Jones from Wichita State, Arizona's 39th round pick, each homered for Falmouth.
Brewster 4 Cotuit 1: Brewster right-handed starter Kyle Blair from the University of San Diego allowed one run on five hits and struck out 10 in eight innings pitched.
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