After a stellar start to the season, the Gatemen own the league’s best record and finally had an off-day this past Monday.
Despite the off day for the players, the Gatemen broadcasters kept at it as they participated in the first edition of the broadcasters’ round table.
The Gatemen broadcasters, J.D. Raucci, Henrique DaMour, and Cam Stuart, are on the call bringing you coverage of every game for Wareham this season.
Here are their thoughts on the now 6-2 Gatemen:
The Gatemen ______ has been the best facet of the team.
Cam Stuart (CS): Pitching
As a team, Wareham has posted a very impressive 3.76 ERA, and their ace, Joey Matulovich, is comfortably in the top 10 league-wide in that category, with an ERA of 1.00. While a 3.76 team ERA is not something to be overlooked, it actually becomes jaw-dropping when you look further into it.
Five Gatemen pitchers, all relievers, have ERAs over 10.00, ballooning the team stat greatly. Finally, the only Gatemen starter with an ERA over 3.00 is Justin Glover, who is no longer with the team. With the starters they have now, the Gatemen are able to hang around in every game, which has led to some of their late game heroics this year.
J.D. Raucci (JDR): Pitching
Up until Sunday night's game two loss to Orleans, Wareham had yet to allow more than four runs in a game. That's the kind of pitching you want to see, especially when your offense hits a bit of a slump as the Gatemen's did toward the end of the seven-games-in-six-days stretch. This Gatemen staff has shown an incredible amount of composure in high-pressure situations, whether that being protecting small leads or giving the offense an opportunity to fight back by keeping the deficits at a minimum.
The bullpen has especially impressed me and it seems like just about every arm that Don Sneddon throws out on the field is going to perform at a very high level. If we continue to see guys like Connor Lunn and Tyler Keysor perform well then, this hot start to the Wareham season won't just be a fluke.
Henrique DaMour (HDM): Pitching
The only real “blip” on the Gatemen pitching staff’s record was the 10-4 loss to Orleans where a lot of free passes were given up and they couldn’t get out of deep two-strike counts. McKinley Moore had a poor start, it was the second game of a doubleheader, so we knew we were going to see more arms out of the ‘pen, but the game dragged on in a way that it hadn’t all year for Wareham in the late innings.
Which player on a temp contract do you think has a shot to stick around?
CS: Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins to me should stay. He’s a guy who you can plug in at the top or the bottom of the order and he finds ways to get on base. He’s only gotten 15 at-bats this season, but has four hits and three walks. Once on the basepaths, he is a guy that can wreak havoc as he went 12-15 stealing bases during the college season. Collins is a guy who can play a couple different positions and is a solid defender. His versatility alone should be enough to keep him on the Cape.
JDR: Parker Phillips
I think Parker Phillips has a really great chance to make the full roster. He's a great power bat in the middle of the lineup and has helped to form that vaunted 3-4-5 punch with Andrew Vaughn and Bryant Packard. He's been mostly in the DH spot thus far, but flashed the leather at first base in the game two loss on Sunday.
While the power and his own abilities are good reasons to keep him around, the biggest reason I'll think we'll see him make the full roster is because of the departure of Andrew Vaughn for Team USA. When Vaughn leaves, the middle of the lineup is going to be begging for a power punch and that's something that Phillips can provide (19 HR, 1.080 OPS this season at Austin Peay). Not only that, but Vaughn has been the everyday first basemen and Luke Roskam is the only other first basemen on the current roster and Roskam will likely see time behind the plate and at third base as well. That means that Phillips will likely be the guy to replace Vaughn at first base. So based on the numbers, both on the field and on the roster, Phillips seems like a guy that Gatemen fans could be seeing for the rest of the summer.
HDM: Isaac Collins
I had the privilege of seeing him in the Northwoods League for Duluth last summer, and I know what he can do. Yes, the talent (pitching) is better here, but he can run and draws a lot of walks. His speed and discipline on the basepaths is made more dangerous by the fact that he is one of the toughest guys to strike out in the lineup. He puts the ball in play and has gone 4-15 so far this year. Look for him to be a mainstay in the two-hole.
The Gatemen have a run differential of +10, tied for second in the league. Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
The area the Gatemen need to improve on most is ______.
CS: Hitting with runners in scoring position
So far on this young season, the Gatemen have a propensity to leave guys on base. They’ve done a good job of working long at-bats as both Bryson Stott and Bryant Packard rank in the top 10 in the league in walks. They have struggled, however, to knock those guys in consistently. Twice this year, they have left more than 10 guys on base. While the big inning has aided them in Chatham, Falmouth and against Orleans, they will struggle to keep their torrid pace if they can’t get timely hits.
JDR: Hitting with runners in scoring position
The one way the hot start will come to a screeching halt is if the Gatemen continue to leave runners on base and in scoring position. Through the first seven games of the season, the Gatemen have left double-digit runners on base twice and have left at least six in all but one game. Those kinds of numbers are not part of a winning formula.
We've heard Don Sneddon talk about how Wareham wants to be a bit more efficient on the base paths so that they can help to manufacture runs for the offense, but the fact of the matter is that they have to have a more consistent approach at the plate. It seems like the Gatemen sometimes tense up when they runners on the bases, even the best hitters on the team. I think they just need to take a deep breath and come up to the plate in every situation with a similar mindset. Their job is to move the runners in whatever way possible. We know they can hit, but now it comes to hitting in big situations.
HDM: Offensive consistency
What I mean by this is twofold. First, they rely too much on the big inning late in games. With two come-from-behind wins already and a win on opening day against Chatham that was too close for comfort before a seven-run ninth, the Gatemen have to jump on starters early, and find a way to drive up pitch counts to get into opposing bullpens in the third/fourth innings.
Secondly, and they have gotten better at this so I’m being a bit nitpicky, but more production out of places other than the 3-4-5 of the lineup. This will be especially important when Andrew Vaughn and other Team USA guys leave in a few days. Austin Shenton has provided a nice boost in the eight-spot, and Skyler Hunter is hitting the ball better in the one and nine spot, but a little more well-roundedness in the lineup never hurt anyone.
Name a hitter that has struggled so far but you think will turn it around.
CS: Parker Phillips
It’s been a tough start for Parker Phillips, but don’t expect that to last all summer. With a .222 average and just three RBIs, Phillips has been lost in the meat-of-the-order fold, overshadowed by Andrew Vaughn and Bryant Packard. He does, however, have some of the most prolific power numbers in the spring at Austin Peay. He ranked number five in the country with 19 homers, drove in 62, and had an OPS over 1.000, he is going to catch fire at the plate very soon.
JDR: Dominic Clementi
Dominic Clementi is 0-15 through his first six games in the CCBL, but those numbers should start to swing in a more positive direction very soon. We know this kid can flat out hit based on his numbers at Michigan this season (.368 average, 1.059 OPS). He had a stellar season in his sophomore year and was even named All-Big Ten First team. Frankly, when I first saw his numbers, I was pretty shocked that he wasn't on a full contract. Clementi sees the ball well at the plate as evidenced by his three walks on the year.
Plus, lately, he's been putting really good wood on the ball and his hitting a lot of hard, line-drive outs. He just hasn't been able to find a gap to get base hits to drop. Clementi is a really talented baseball player whose stats haven't quite shown it this year, but as he continues to see more CCBL pitching and continues to adjust to the wooden bat ordeal, I think we'll see a real uptick in his numbers.
HDM: Dominic Clementi
He was First Team All-Big Ten and hit .368 this year with a really high slugging percentage (.574) considering he only had 4 HR, and got on base at a .485 clip. He’s a disciplined hitter with good fundamentals and has hit some balls hard this year, but right to guys. Once the transition to wooden bats and better pitching is realized, his raw talent and fundamentals will kick in and he will be a force in the bottom of the lineup.
The best part about being a Gatemen broadcaster is _____.
CS: The people that surround me. Not only do I have a great team around me, but the people that run the Gatemen are amazing, hard-working, irreplaceable people who do anything for this team, making for a top class organization in a top class league.
JDR: Getting to watch the immense amount of talent that the Cape League attracts every summer. So many of these guys that we see on a night-to-night basis will be playing in the MLB in just a few short years, so it's giving me an opportunity later down the line to have an "Oh I remember when I saw that guy with the Gatemen or that guy with Harwich or Chatham kind of moment". Those are the kinds of things that are so cool as a broadcaster.
Plus, because the competition is so good, I'm getting a great opportunity to really hone my craft. When the players are as good as they are at such a young age, it pushes me, as a broadcaster, to perform at a similar level as the players on the field because, at the end of the day, all of us just college kids chasing our dreams and that's something I'm really thankful for.
HDM: To me it’s how often we get to call games, because that’s the fastest way to get better. The value of experience by trial and error can’t be overstated, and you don’t get that as much at school just because you always have other stuff going on. Being able to follow a team every single game and see the development, trends, and personalities of the players and the team as a whole is as close to major/minor-league experience as you get. On a more fun note, the talent level on the field that we get to interact with and experience is second-to-none. We’re going to tell our kids about these guys.