05/07/2021 6:00 AM
Article By: Mike Richard
It was a Major League Baseball season unlike any one seen before in 2020 as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic saw only 60 games played in a campaign that began on July 23 and ended on September 27.
Just the same, several Cape League alumni had memorable seasons leading their respective leagues in a variety of categories.
The American League’s top pitcher and 2020 Cy Young Award winner was Cleveland ace Shane Bieber (Yarmouth-Dennis ’15) who was the unanimous selection. Bieber captured the league’s "Triple Crown" of pitching, leading the AL with eight wins (losing just once), 122 strikeouts, and a 1.63 ERA.
Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks (Brewster ’10) was tops in fewest walks per nine innings at 0.885 while hurling for the Chicago Cubs.
New York Yankees infielder D. J. LeMahieu (Harwich ‘08) led the American League with a .364 batting average as he spent time at first, second, and third base throughout the season due to injuries on the team.
His teammate Luke Voit (Harwich ’11) led the league in home runs with 22 round trippers for the Bronx Bombers.
Whit Merrifield (Yarmouth-Dennis ’08, Chatham ’09) led the American League in at bats, coming to the plate 248 times for the Kansas City Royals.
Pacing the league in singles was Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher (Orleans 14), while Seattle’s Kyle Seager (Chatham ’07- ‘08) led in sacrifice flies with six.
San Francisco outfielder Mike Yastrzemski (Cotuit ’10-’11) hit his 30th career home run in his 151st game, joining Bobby Thomson and Dave Kingman as the only other Giants to hit 30 home runs so quickly in their careers. He hit .297, with 10 home runs, 35 RBI for the Giants in 2020.
The American League Manager of the Year was Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash (Falmouth ’99) who led the Rays to the pennant and into the World Series before losing to the Dodgers in six games.
Cape Cod League Hall of Famer Kolten Wong (Orleans ’10; League MVP ‘10) captured his second consecutive Gold Glove Award as second baseman for the Cardinals in 2020.
Bobby Dalbec (Orleans ’14-’15) made his major league debut for the Red Sox against the Washington Nationals last season and his first major league hit was a home run. Through his first 10 major league games, Dalbec hit six home runs, including five straight games with a homer.
Other members of the 2021 Red Sox roster who logged time in the Cape Cod League are pitchers Adam Ottavino (’05 Harwich), Garrett Richards (’07 Cotuit), Matt Barnes (Wareham ’09-’10) and Matt Andriese (Cotuit ’10). Chris Sale (Y-D 2009) is still on the disabled list following elbow surgery, but hopes to return to the squad mid-season.
Corbin Burnes (Orleans '15) began the 2021 season as the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out 40 batters and walk none through his first four starts. He also led the major leagues with a 0.37 ERA for the NL Central leading Brewers.
Cape League Alumni Continue To Shine in MLB Despite Pandemic