America's League

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Eastern Division Preview

06/07/2022 6:00 AM

Article By: Michael Lane


After finishing the 2021 regular season 22-11-3 atop the East Division, Brewster ran the table going 4-0 in the playoffs to capture their second championship in four seasons. Led by head coach Jamie Shevchik and numerous returning players, Brewster hopes to carry their success into 2022. Among the returning players are Dale Stanavich (Rutgers), Teddy McGraw (Wake Forest), Brian Fitzpatrick (Rutgers), Zachary Neto (Campbell), and Kurtis Byrne (TCU). Stanavich, a hard-throwing lefty, was one of the most dominant relievers on the Cape last summer. He finished with a 2.29 ERA over 19.2 innings (including playoffs) with a 16.9 K/9. This spring Stanavich owns a 0.98 ERA over 18.1 innings with seven saves. Despite suffering an ankle injury mid-season last year, Zachary Neto returned for the Whitecaps playoff run, adding some clutch home runs. This spring Neto has raised his draft stock even more, hitting .379 with 17 XBHs so far. Hunter Owen (Vanderbilt) should be a big piece of the Whitecaps pitching plan this summer. In seven relief appearances this spring, Owen has a 1.54 ERA and a 12.9 K/9 in 23.1 innings. Brewster will open their season against a familiar opponent, traveling to Bourne on June 12th for the first time since sweeping the Braves in the Championship last August.


The Chatham Anglers finished the 2021 season 16-19-3, fourth in the East Division. Leading the Anglers infield will be Johnny Castagnozzi (North Carolina), who has primarily played second base for the Tar Heels this spring. At the plate, Castagnozzi has hit .318 with a .983 OPS and eight home runs. Caden Grice (Clemson) will return to Veterans Field, following a brief stint with Chatham last summer. In nine games, Grice hit .250 with a pair of home runs. In his collegiate career so far, Grice has hit 19 home runs with 70 RBIs and a .931 OPS. Ethan Long (Arizona State) will solidify the Anglers infield, alongside Castagnozzi and Grice. A consensus All-American in 2021, Long has .318 in his collegiate career with a 1.027 OPS, 43 XBHs, and 79 RBIs. Jacob Watters (West Virginia) has potential to be a big piece in the Anglers bullpen this summer. The right-handed junior has put together a 3.52 ERA through three seasons as a Mountaineer, but owns a 14.2 K/9 and has yet to surrender a home run through 64 innings in his collegiate career. With no shortage of talent, Tom Holliday and the Chatham Anglers will look to win their first championship since 1998, the longest active drought in the East Division.


In 2021, the Harwich Mariners finished 19-12-5, second in the East Division. Head Coach Steve Englert will look to lead the Mariners to their third consecutive Eastern Division Finals appearance, after defeating Y-D in 2019 and falling to Brewster in 2021. Brock Wilken (Wake Forest) will be a big piece of their anticipated success this summer. Wilken was named the CCBL’s Most Valuable Player in 2021, hitting .302 with a .949 OPS, six home runs, 26 RBIs and stellar defense at third base. Wilken has continued to rake this spring, hitting .288 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs. Returning alongside Wilken will be Tatem Levins (Pittsburgh), a CCBL All-Star in 2021. Levins finished last summer with a .402 OBP while catching in 29 games for the Mariners. Since transferring to Pittsburgh this spring, Levins is hitting .325 with 10 home runs. Jake Gelof (Virginia) has the potential to become the second consecutive Mariner to win MVP this summer. Following a freshman season where he hit .252 with a .804 OPS, Gelof has made massive strides this spring. So far he’s hitting .388 with a 1.368 OPS, 54 RBIs and 14 home runs. Gelof is in the running to lead the NCAA in home runs and could be a nightmare for CCBL pitchers all summer long. 


The 2021 CCBL season saw the Orleans Firebirds go 13-17-5, finishing last in the East Division. Led by Kelly Nicholson, the Firebirds will look to replicate their success from 2019 instead, when they finished atop the East Division. Luke Keaschall (University of San Francisco) is the sole member from the 2021 squad returning to Orleans this summer. Keaschall was named CCBL Player of the Week last season in week five, hitting .538 that week including a 6-RBI game. Keaschall is hitting .336 this spring with five home runs and 19 RBIs. Perhaps the tallest pitcher in te CCBL this summer will be Charlie Hurley (University of Southern California), coming in at 6’8”. Following a freshman season in which he strictly appeared out of the bullpen, Hurley has thrived this spring after transitioning to the rotation. The right-hander has a 1.85 ERA through 43.2 innings this spring, after putting together a 4.29 ERA in 21 innings in 2021. The most impressive stat in Hurley’s collegiate career so far is that through 64.2 innings he’s allowed just one home run (0.1 HR/9).


The 2021 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox finished with a 16-14-7 record, good for third in the East Division. The Red Sox will feature a pair of exciting pitchers in Alonzo Tredwell (UCLA) and River Ridings (TCU). Tredwell, a true-freshman for the Bruins, has shined this spring through his first ten appearances out of the bullpen. Over 16.2 innings, Tredwell has a 1.62 ERA with 15.0 K/9 and just 1.1 BB/9. Ridings' success this spring is no surprise, being named a 1st team Freshman All-American last season, compiling a 1.08 ERA over 33.1 innings. This spring, Ridings has delivered a 2.03 ERA over 13.1 innings so far. An intriguing name to watch this summer will be Cole Roberts (Loyola Marymount University), who is the son of current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Yarmouth-Dennis will look to get back to their winning ways in 2022, led by longtime Manager Scott Pickler, who is just six wins away from having the most all-time wins in Cape League history.