Following a disappointing loss in the Regional last season, a few of Tech’s baseball players decided to continue playing baseball this summer. Nine players elected to travel north and play in the Cape Cod League, and a handful of players went to different leagues around the country.
Four Tech players joined the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League this offseason, by far the most Tech players on any team.
Sophomore first baseman Daniel Palka stood out for the Gatemen by leading the team with a .327 average. Palka improved on his .297 average last season at Tech, but his one home run in 110 at bats for the Gatemen suggests that Palka could become more a singles type hitter for the Jackets next season.
Joining Palka in the Gateman’s everyday lineup has been junior outfielder Brandon Thomas. After hitting only two triples in 205 at bats last season for Tech, Thomas hit three triples in only 132 at bats for the Gatemen this summer.
Thomas also added a team leading nine doubles to his three triples, and looks poised to take a role in the middle of Tech’s lineup as a strong hitter for the upcoming season.
Sophomore shortstop Mott Hyde also played for the Gatemen this summer, and the young player struggled to get on base. Hyde’s average was 125 points lower this summer than it was for Tech and he had twice as many strikeouts than walks.
One bright spot for Hyde was his running as the sophomore stole seven bases without being caught stealing once.
Sophomore pitcher Matthew Grimes joined his three hitting teammates on the Gatemen and much like Hyde, Grimes had a disappointing offseason.
Grimes allowed 23 runs to score in only 32 innings, let batters hit .301 off of him and carried a 1.66 WHIP throughout the summer. It was a tough summer for the soon to be weekend starter, after he showed good signs as a freshman last season by going 7-4 as a midweek starter.
Sophomore center fielder Kyle Wren had a productive summer for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League. Wren did not hit .340 like he did for Tech last season, but his .282 summer average was good enough for fourth on the team. Wren created havoc on the base paths this summer and stole 18 bases. However, after only drawing six walks, Wren will have to do a better job getting on base more next season if Tech wants to win a title.
Junior pitcher Luke Bard also competed in the Cape Cod League this summer, playing for the Brewster Whitecaps. Bard had a nearly identical summer statistically as he did last spring, but he did so as a starter.
Bard went 2-2 after starting seven games for the Whitecaps and managed to drop his ERA from 2.72 to 2.61. Bard walked 21 batters in 41 innings, so he will have to work on his control if he wants to be a dominant starter for Tech next season.
The Harwich Mariners started slugging junior Jake Davies at first base this summer, and Davies had mixed results. Davies did hit a long home run for the Mariners but he hit only .241. He also struck out 33 times in only 112 at bats. Davies hit five homers for the Jackets last season, so expect to see Davies in the middle of Tech’s lineup next season.
Sophomore pitcher DeAndre Smelter proved that he could be a force in the Tech bullpen this upcoming season as he struck out 12 batters in 12 innings for the Falmouth Commodores. Smelter only made 10 appearances this summer, but his 2.13 ERA was impressive.
Junior pitcher Buck Farmer had a tough summer for the Chatham Anglers. Farmer struggled to a 5.57 ERA and only made it through 21 innings in his four starts. Those numbers may send up red flags for the future Friday Tech starter. However, Farmer only had two bad starts, as he won his first first two games by only giving up four runs in those starts.
Sophomore catcher Zane Evans elected to join the Leesburg Lightning of the Florida Collegiate Summer League and had a terrific summer. Evan’s OPS was .780 this summer thanks in large part to his three home runs and 18 walks. Evans drove in 22 runs and proved that he is more than a great defensive catcher.
Sophomore pitcher Dusty Isaacs had perhaps the most impressive season of any summer ball player. Isaacs started seven games for the Hamilton Joes of the Great Lakes Summer League and went 5-1 on the season. He posted a 2.44 ERA and struck out an amazing 50 batters in just 44 innings.
Isaacs was a force out of the bullpen for the Jackets last season, but Head Coach Danny Hall might consider starting Isaacs more often next season.
In total, 26 current or future Tech players competed in different summer leagues around the country. Although they will not be able to carry their stats this summer over into next season, the players who competed in the summer gained experience that will help them in their Tech careers.