Playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League does not guarantee that a ballplayer will be drafted highly in the Major League Baseball Draft. It sure doesn’t hurt his chances, though.
The Cape Cod League once again dominated the MLB draft’s first round, which was held on Monday, June 3. For the second year in a row a Cape League alum, former Falmouth Commodores catcher Adley Rutschman (Oregon State), was the top player drafted. Rutschman began a run that saw 14 former Cape Leaguers go in round one. Three of the top four players selected played summer ball on the Cape.
Wareham alum Andrew Vaughn was the third overall selection, by the Chicago White Sox, and former Orleans outfielder JJ Bleday was selected fourth overall by Miami. Former Chatham Anglers’ catcher Shea Langeliers went ninth to the Atlanta Braves followed by former Brewster Whitecap Hunter Bishop getting selected tenth by the San Francisco Giants. This was the second consecutive draft where the Cape League produced at least five top-10 picks, with six alumni going in the first 10 picks last year.
Commodores Manager Jeff Trundy said that he was not surprised to see Rutschman go at the top for a number of reasons.
“That was exciting, and exciting for the community and the organization, but most of all exciting for Adley. Anyone that got a chance to meet him when he was here knows what kind of a special person he is,” Trundy said.
“He truly is the total package. He’s a kid that really can receive, throw, he hits from both sides of the plate. Between the lines he does everything exceptionally well and off the field he is the type of person that can really lead and has great character.” he said.
“He is the type of kid that is going to be the type that I think people will say that ‘one day I want my kid to grow up to be like that.’…his makeup is off the charts, you wont’ find one person who has crossed paths with that kid that will have a bad word to say about him. I am happy beyond words for him.”
Trundy said that Rutschman endeared himself to everyone he met while he was on Cape. The OSU Beaver stayed with the Bill and Julie Matta’s family in Falmouth, and Trundy said that the Matta’s three boys, Jared, Mikey and Josh, adopted him as their fourth brother.
“I swear he was out in the yard playing Wiffleball with boys as much as he was swinging at the field,” Bill Matta said with a laugh.
Julie Matta also recalled the games of Wiffleball and times at the beach, and said that Baltimore is lucky to have him in their organization.
“We enjoyed getting to know Adley and his family,” she said. “They are a close-knit, down to earth family who loved hanging out at Guv Fuller. Adley is one of the kindest young men we have every met, he spent most of his time at the beach with our boys or playing Wiffleball with them.”
Coach Trundy said that it took just one start by the catcher to understand what kind of person that he was. He said he knew right away that there was something different about Rutschman. “The first game that he caught for us was at Chatham. He ran out and introduced himself to the umpire, and I just watched him do that and knew he was going to be special,” the coach said. “Here, he was in the process of changing some things (with his hitting style). He didn’t let failure deter him from sticking to his plan.”
Obviously the work put in on Cape Cod made a big impact for Rutschman. After hitting just .167 during the season with the Commodores, he went on to bat .408 the next season for Oregon State, with 83 runs batted in over 67 games. During this past season with the Beavers he hit .411 with 17 home runs.
In total, seven Commodores were selected in the top two rounds of the draft. Six members of last year’s team, which went to the CCBL finals, were picked up by CCBL teams.
“It was a great night for the Falmouth Commodores and the town of Falmouth,” Trundy said.
Two-year Commodore and CCBL all-star, infielder Logan Davidson (Clemson) was selected 29th overall by Oakland. TJ Sikkema (Missouri), a pitcher, went in the competitive balance A round to the Yankees 38th overall. Outfielder Matt Wallner (Mississippi) was taken with the next pick, 39th overall, by Minnesota. Third baseman Cameron Cannon (Arizona) went 43rd overall to the Boston Red Sox, in round two. Matt Canterino (Rice), a pitcher, was taken by the Twins at 54 overall in round two. Kyle Stowers (Stanford), was taken 71st overall in CB round B by Baltimore.
Through the first four rounds of the draft, 60 players that spent time on Cape Cod Baseball League teams were selected. Harwich had 10 players taken to lead all CCBL teams through the top four rounds, as of June 4. Falmouth and Chatham both had seen eight of their former members picked while Orleans boasted seven. Bourne and Yarmouth-Dennis had both had six from their past rosters selected while Wareham was next with five. Hyannis and Brewster both had four names go and Cotuit saw two of their players picked.