So winter’s been fun, huh? For the vast majority of you, it’s been long, cold, snowy and icy.
Today, a reprieve.
While the rest of the world celebrates pitchers and catchers reporting to Major League Baseball spring training, college baseball delivers the real thing this weekend, with games getting underway this afternoon in – we hope – sunny locales.
For Cape League fans, the start of college baseball season seems to begin the march to summer, even when spring seems far off.
If you’re looking for a game, ESPN3 has a pair – Niagara vs. Florida State on Friday at 6 p.m. and LSU vs. New Orleans on Saturday at 3 p.m. You’ll see a good crop of 2013 and 2014 Cape Leaguers in both games. LSU once again features shortstop Alex Bregman, likely the best sophomore in the country. He’s on the Harwich roster for 2014.
As always, Baseball America brings the heat with its College Preview. Take note of the list of the top sophomores in the country, which has 2013 CCBL breakout star Ian Happ in the No. 2 spot.
And to whet your appetite on the Cape League, we’ve got eight of ten 2014 rosters posted online, with only Chatham and Wareham missing. Check them out:
A couple of CCBL related things to watch on opening weekend:
Former Hyannis Harbor Hawk Jeff Hoffman of East Carolina, the reigning top prospect in the CCBL, is the likely opening day starter for the Pirates as they take on James Madison. Hoffman is a likely first-round pick in the 2014 draft.
Cape League MVP Max Pentecost had a tremendous summer for the Bourne Braves, and we’ll see if his bat is still scorching six months later when Kennesaw State opens its season against Middle Tennessee State.
Sophomore James Kaprielian takes over as the ace for the defending College World Series champion UCLA Bruins. Kaprielian pitched for Y-D last summer and was Baseball America’s third-best CCBL prospect.
Nathan Kirby gets a start on Saturday for No. 1 Virginia. Kirby lit up the NECBL last year and is ticketed for Orleans in the summer.
The top prospect in the Northwoods League often goes on to Cape League success the next year. Arkansas lefty Colin Poche was Baseball America’s pick in 2013, and he’s set to play for Falmouth in 2014. Poche gets 2014 started this weekend when the Razorbacks host Appalachian State.