The MLB Careers of Cape League Award Winners

The playoffs of the nation’s premier collegiate summer wood-bat league, the Cape Cod Baseball League, began Thursday night. Along with the end of the regular season come the league’s various awards — and one player, left-hander Sean Manaea of both Hyannis and Indiana State, has won not only the league’s Top Pitcher Award but also its Outstanding Pro Prospect Award.

Manaea was excellent this summer, posting an 85:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51.2 innings for Hyannis over nine appearances (including eight starts). Those numbers are preposterous as they sound: the next most strikeouts recorded was Ryan Connnolly’s total of 56 in 51.1 innings. Nor was Manaea’s dominance merely a product of polish or deception: according to the whole internet, he was sitting at 92-96 mph this summer and topping out at 98. There’s now every indication, provided he remains healthy, that Manaea will go in the first round of the 2013 draft.

It certainly seems as though being recognized as the best college prospect in a league that has, of late, produced ca. 200 draftees per year and generally has about 200-250 active alumni in the majors — it certainly seems as though that sort of thing would indicate future success. “How much future success?” one might wonder — or, like the author, wondered slightly earlier this afternoon.

To answer that question, I made custom batting and pitching leaderboards of all the players to win the Cape League’s Outstanding Prospect Award since its inception (in 1976).

Here are the (sortable) results of that search for batters who’ve won the Outstanding Prospect Award. (Note: WAR/650 is WAR per 650 plate appearances.)

Player Year Pos PA WAR WAR/650
Robin Ventura 1987 3B 8271 61.2 4.8
Mark Teixeira 1999 3B 6480 42.2 4.2
Matt Wieters 2006 C 1854 11.8 4.1
Chuck Knoblauch 1988 SS 7387 42.7 3.8
Bill Schroeder 1978 C 1356 4.1 2.0
Doug Glanville 1990 OF 4282 12.1 1.8
Steve Balboni 1977 1B 3440 5.0 0.9
Cory Snyder 1983 SS 3933 3.5 0.6
Josh Paul 1995 OF 797 0.2 0.2
Grant Green 2008 SS
Mike Loggins 1984 OF
Todd Cunningham 2009 OF
Victor Roache 2011 OF
Wes Whisler 2002 1B
Tyler Greene 2004 SS 556 -0.2 -0.2
Russ Adams 2001 2B 993 -0.9 -0.6
Ross Jones 1979 OF 158 -0.4 -1.6
John Ramos 1985 C 29 -0.1 -2.2
Wade Rowdon 1981 SS 174 -0.9 -3.4
Avg 2090 9.5 0.8

And here are the results for pitchers to’ve won the same award. (Note: WAR/200 is WAR per 200 innings.)

Player Year Pos IP WAR WAR/200
Billy Wagner 1992 LHP 903.0 24.7 5.5
Brian Denman 1977 RHP 49.0 0.6 2.4
Aaron Crow 2007 RHP 108.1 1.2 2.2
Ron Darling 1980 RHP 2360.1 22.1 1.9
Andrew Miller 2005 LHP 388.2 3.4 1.8
Kip Wells 1997 RHP 1338.1 11.3 1.7
Kyle Snyder 1998 RHP 237.2 2.0 1.7
Tyler Green 1989 RHP 384.0 2.1 1.1
Cris Carpenter 1986 RHP 414.1 2.2 1.1
Matt Anderson 1996 RHP 256.2 0.8 0.6
Bobby Sprowl 1976 LHP 46.1 0.1 0.4
Tony Zych 2010 RHP
Wade Townsend 2003 RHP
Bob Brownlie 2000 RHP
Dave Shepard 1994 RHP
Gary Kanwisher 1982 RHP
Steve Taylor 1976 RHP
Derek Wallace 1991 RHP 33.0 -0.3 -1.8
Chris Clemons 1993 RHP 12.2 -0.3 -4.9
Avg 343.6 3.7 0.7

• From the above, we find that 14 of 19 batters (73.7%) to have won the Cape’s Outstanding Prospect Award have played major-league ball of some sort — and that three of the five batters not to’ve made the majors (Todd Cunningham, Grant Green, and Victor Roache) could rightly still be considered prospects.
• As for pitchers, the percent of future major-leaguers is about the same: in this case, 13 of 19 (68.4%), although with just one of the remainder (Cubs prospect Tony Zych) still regard-able as a prospect.
• In terms of career WAR, batters have approximately a 3:1 advantage over pitchers — not surprising, considering the attrition rate of pitching prospects. I discussed some of the league’s best hitters earlier in the week.

Unassailable Conclusion
Given the above, we can assume that left-hander Sean Manaea has about a 70% chance now of making the majors.

We hoped you liked reading The MLB Careers of Cape League Award Winners by Carson Cistulli!

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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A few yrs from now, when he has 15,647 adds on yahoo in one day, I will remember this article. Lol, nice work as always FG