Wednesday Notes: Following Suit?

Reconnecting with the internet after an Irene power outage . . .

Hyannis operated on a pretty good model this season. The Harbor Hawks lined up a core of talented players from smaller schools and kind of had them as building blocks from day one. You never know how that model will work out, but at least one Cape League manager liked what he saw.

The Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin recently caught up with Chatham manager John Schiffner, who lives in Plainfield, Conn. The Bulletin’s Marc Allard covers a lot of ground with Schiffner, including a potential shift in the Anglers’ approach:

“Wait until you see next year’s roster,” Schiffner said. Out with the high-profile, major conference player; in with the mid-major scrapper.
It’s a strategy that worked in Hyannis, where the Harbor Hawks went from worst to first in the Western Division, turning a 14-30 team last year into a 29-15 squad this season under Chad Gassman.
“They had a bunch of kids from high-profile schools last year, went to the mid-major kid with a few major conference players, and won 30 games (including a playoff matchup) — they had great chemistry,” Schiffner said.
Schiffner said that’s what he will be doing next year: Looking for players “willing to eat dirt.”

Schiffner also said he’s had great kids the last two years, but there’s clearly some frustration about the perils of signing the big boys. It’ll be interesting to see how different the Chatham roster looks next season.

Remember Robert Stock? He played on the Cape after making headlines by enrolling early at USC. He didn’t exactly start a trend, but a few top prospects every year are following in his footsteps. Long Beach State’s Jake Thompson did it and also played on the Cape. Perfect Game’s Kendall Rogers reports that, this year, two big prospects are heading to school early. Catcher Chris Harvey is leaving high school to start his career at Vanderbilt while Taylor Gushue is enrolling at Florida.

Perfect Game is also rolling out its summer league top prospects. Scouting reports are subscriber content, but you can see lists for no charge. Checking out the lists from other leagues can give you a taste of 2012 on the Cape. The top prospects from seven summer leagues in 2010 played on the Cape in 2011.

Former Chatham Angler Kyle Seager made his Major League debut earlier this summer and has started to make a splash. Seager, a star at North Carolina, played for Chatham in 2007 and 2008 before getting drafted in the third round of the 2009 draft. After moving quickly through the minors, Seager was called up to the Mariners on July 7 and went 0-for-4. Seager has heated up lately, though. In a nine-game span starting Aug. 19, Seager went 18-for-36 with two home runs and six doubles. He’s now hitting .289. Seager is joined in the Mariner lineup by former UNC teammate — and former Cape Leaguer — Dustin Ackley, who’s hitting .295.

Baseball America’s prospect hot sheet ranked former Orleans Firebird Gary Brown as the top prospect for the week of Aug. 19-25. Brown, who plays for Class A San Jose in the Giants organization, is hitting .331 with 47 stolen bases in his first full season of minor league ball. The former Cal State Fullerton star earned the top spot on the hot sheet by hitting .556 for the week, including a 5-for-5, two home run, two double day. Brown played for Orleans in 2008 and 2009, hitting .222 his first year before batting .310 with 10 stolen bases the next year. He was selected 24th overall in the 2010 draft. Also on the same prospect hot sheet is Zack Cox, who starred for Cotuit in 2009. Since the end of June, Cox has hit .382 for the Cardinals’ Double A affiliate.

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