Cape Cod League Notebook: 6/21

Kellen Kulbacki hasn't missed a beat to start his summer season, Tony Watson dominates in his Cape Cod debut, Connor Graham is taking to the closer role in a hurry, and Cody Crowell is punching out hitters at an amazing pace. All this and much more in this edition of the Cape Cod League Notebook.


Cody Crowell, a Cape Cod native himself, is doing very little to disappoint the hometown crowd this summer. In fact, he has been arguably the best pitcher in the league over the first week of the season. In 11 innings of work, Cody has struck out 17 batters while walking only two. In that time, he has also compiled a miniscule ERA of 0.82. Scouts have noticed a significant velocity spike from the Vanderbilt southpaw this spring, and if he continues to strike out batters at this rate, he could be rising on draft boards in a hurry. Crowell has done it all for Brewster, making his first start on June 19th, striking out 11 in 7 innings of work, following a dominant 4 inning relief appearance on June 15th in which he struck out 5 and didn't allow a run.

If anyone was looking to call Kellen Kulbacki's monster 2006 season at James Madison University a fluke, it's obvious here in the early going of the Cape Cod League that he is most definitely for real. Kellen is 5 for his first 15 in the Cape, contributing two doubles and 3 RBI to the Cotuit offense. He has also worked three walks in that span. While he may not continue to bash home runs at a record pace in a notoriously pitcher friendly, wood-bat league, Kulbacki is showing early on that he is a pure hitter that can have success against even the best pitching.

A draft eligible sophomore at Nebraska this spring, Tony Watson was expected to be one of the highest sophomore draft selections in the 2006 draft. But, for reasons that are speculated to be in regards to signability, Watson will be back with the Huskers in 2007 and is expected to be one of the most sought after lefties in the nation. So far, in the Cape, Watson has done nothing to hurt his draft status. In his debut for Harwich, the hard throwing lefty tossed six shutout innings, surrendering only two hits without allowing a run to cross the plate. He also mixed in seven strikeouts along the way and did not hand out one free pass.

Connor Graham has been a solid swingman in his first two college seasons. But, until now, closing out ball games hasn't been his niche on the pitching staff. However, after his first two opportunities, he seems to be taking to the role very well. In fact, he hasn't allowed a base runner and has struck out four in his first two save opportunities, converting them both. If he keeps up this kind of success, he's giving scouts a great look at where he may profile at the professional level.

The 2006 Cape Cod debut for Johnny Dorn wasn't a pleasant one. In his opening start of the summer, Dorn did manage to work seven innings, but also surrendered five earned runs on seven hits. True to form, Dorn didn't walk a batter but didn't miss enough bats, striking out only two in his seven innings. Johnny doesn't possess the power stuff to work in the middle of the plate or strike hitters out, so he'll need to be on the mark to be able to put away the nation's best college hitters in the Cape this summer.

Following a huge season at USC that saw him hit an amazing .369 for the Trojans, Matt Cusick was one of the fastest rising college prospects in the nation entering his Cape Cod League campaign. To begin the season, the contact hitting middle infielder has struggled mightily. He is one for his first 18, batting an anemic .056. Matt won't be mistaken for a power hitter any time soon, so perhaps the adjustment to wood bats will take him somewhat longer than other players. The odds are that he is too good a player to continue to struggle at this rate.

Emerging from the shadow of 2006 Missouri State ace, Brett Sinkbeil, Ross Detwiler is also emerging as one of the top left-handers in the 2007 draft class. Also a Team USA invitee, Detwiler has jumped out of the gate in the Cape Cod League following a regular season in which he compiled a 2.81 ERA and struck out 99 batters in 93 innings of work. In his first Cape Cod League appearance of the season, the 6'4" southpaw fired 6 1/3 strong innings, allowing only two hits and keeping his opposition of the scoreboard. He also struck out eight while walking only two.

One of the elite position player prospects in the nation, Todd Frazier has gotten off to a slow start, to say the least, up in the Cape. In his first thirteen at-bats, the Rutgers' slugger has gone hitless to go along with six strikeouts. Obviously, no one expects this type of slump to continue for such a highly touted player, but as of now, Todd has some work to do.

Corey Brown, at the plate, certainly would have liked to gotten off to a better to his summer season. He has still been a valuable member of the Chatham A's over the first five ball games. Yes, he is only two for his first fifteen, but he still has stolen four bases despite the fact that he has only reached base a total of four times. It goes without saying what type of dynamic player Brown will be once he gets his usually potent bat going the way it was this spring.


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