The highlight of the 2020 Cape Cod Baseball League year came a few days before the season would have started had the league not been canceled. For the third straight year a Cape League alum was selected first overall in the Major League Baseball draft, which began on Wednesday, June 10.
Former Chatham Anglers outfielder/first baseman Spencer Torkelson was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 MLB draft. Undrafted out of high school, Torkelson played three years for Arizona State University, batting .337 and clubbing 54 home runs over that time. With Chatham, he only further cemented his place as one of the best athletes in college baseball. In the summer of 2018, he tore up the league, hitting .343 with 10 home runs and helped the A’s to the championship series.
Reigning league MVP Nick Gonzales, who starred for Cotuit last summer, was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the seventh pick. A walk-on at New Mexico State, he immediately impacted the roster, batting .347. It was this past summer season when Gonzalez showed his potential to major league teams where he led the Cotuit Kettleers all the way to the 2019 Cape League Championship, and won league MVP. Cotuit’s drive through the postseason was highlighted by a two-run home run by Gonzalez against the Falmouth Commodores in round two, which propelled them to the championship series against Harwich.
MLB.com’s top 200 rankings projected three Cape League alums within the top 10 picks, and Reid Detmers completed that trend as he was selected at No. 10 by the Los Angeles Angels. The pitcher from the University of Louisville suited up for the Brewster Whitecaps in 2018.
Cape League dominance continued in the first round as 2018 YD Red Sox catcher Patrick Bailey was taken with the 13th overall pick by the San Francisco Giants, followed by another former Kettleer Bryce Jarvis selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks at pick No. 18.
Former Orleans Firebird Jared Shuster was taken at 25th overall and is someone the MLB had projected at 77th in the top prospect rankings. He has improved each season for Wake Forest but it was his Cape League performance that confirmed his high level of play. Shuster pitched in seven games on Cape Cod during the 2019 season, tallying four wins and a 1.40 ERA through the course of the summer. His impressive stats earned him a spot on the East All-Star team.
Twenty-nine selections were made in the first round of the draft. Nine of those 29 players have suited up for the Cape League. Eight more selections were made following the first round as part of Competitive Balance Round A, part of the MLB’s newest collective bargaining agreement, which allows a bonus pick for small-market teams. Four of those eight selections were Cape League alums, which continued an impressive opening night in the MLB draft for the Cape League. Former Falmouth pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski, of South Carolina, was taken during that portion of the draft, going to Pittsburgh with the 31st selection of the night.
Out of the 13 former Cape Leaguer’s selected on Wednesday night, nine of the 10 teams on the Cape were represented.