Bruin Baseball Players Head To Cape Cod

LHP Matt Grace will play for Cotuit in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer, the nation's premier summer league, via the official site

The Cape Cod Baseball League is the premier amateur summer baseball league in the country. Year after year the league churns out pro player after pro player. CCBL alumni include Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Nomar Garciaparra, Mark Texiera, Barry Zito, Jason Varitek, Evan Longoria and UCLA's own, Chase Utley. In the 2007 MLB season, over 200 CCBL alumni were on major league rosters, while over 1,000 were playing professionally.

Part of the reason the CCBL is the best league is because they use wood bats. Because the players use wood bats, it provides scouts a more accurate look at how the players; skills will translate to pro ball and scouts flood the CCBL. As a college player, you want nothing more than to play in front of as may scouts as possible so the CCBl is filled with some of the top college baseball talent in the country.

While there are other summer leagues like the Northwoods League and some have issues with the CCBL, there is no beating the number of scouts, quality of play and setting of the CCBL. If you're a baseball fan, college, professional or whatever, I highly recommened you make the trek to Cape Cod and take in some games one summer. The Cape is great, you're sure to see some future major leaguers and nothing beats the quaint ballparks and small, down to earth feel that gives you that old-time baseball feel and captures what our national pastime is all about.

This summer, up seven UCLA players will compete in the CCBL on up to five teams (it's a 10 team league).

Niko Gallego and Erik Goeddel will head to Brewster, where they'll play for the Whitecaps, the same team that Garett Claypool pitched for last year. Gallego has shown flashes in his two years at UCLA, but will look to develop some consistency in the Cape after a disappointing 2009 season. Goeddel entered UCLA with some hype, but he was forced to redshirt in his first year due to injury and was used sparingly in 2009. It will be important for Goeddel to get some innings in this summer and refine his mechanics after two years of limited use.

Tyler Rahmatulla will play for the Chatham Anglers this summer, the league's most prestigous club. Rahmatulla hit .222 in his freshman season, but did show pretty good pitch recognition and walked a fair amount. Rahmatulla will have the chance to play a pivotal role on the 2010 Bruin team so this summer will be key for his development.

Rob Rasmussen will return to pitch for Orleans after having pitched for the Firebirds last summer. Rasmussen went 4-3 with a 4.12 ERA for Orleans last year and struck out over a batter per inning. He parlayed that into a strong start to the 2009 season, but he really struggled with his command after the first few weeks and will have to find that this summer.

The 2009 Collegiate Baseaball Freshman Pitcher of the Year, Trevor Bauer, is slated to pitch for Yarmouth-Dennis this summer, but that may not come to fruition. Bauer has been invited by USA Baseball to particpate in the USA National Team trials for the team that will compete this summer. The final roster will be announced on June 24 and should Bauer make the squad, he will don the red, white and blue, but if he is not selected, he will report to the Cape and play with Yarmouth-Dennis.

Matt Grace will pitch for Cotuit this summer and look to build upon a strong 2009 campaign. Shuttling between starting during the week and coming out of the bullpen on the weekends, Grace emerged as one of the Bruins' most valuable pitchers. He will be heavily leaned upon in 2010 and could really help himself out with a strong summer in the Cape It's possible that he will be joined in Cotuit by Gerrit Cole. Like Bauer, Cole will play in the Team USA trials and only play in the CCBL if he's not chosen for the USA team.

The 2009 CCBL season begins tonight and the regular season will run all the way through August 5th. The CCBL playoffs will begin on August 7th and will end on August 13th, if the final games are necessary. I'll be around all summer to provide updates on the play of the Bruins in the CCBL and in other summer leagues around the country once the official site updates us as to where everyone will be playing. If you want more UCLA baseball information and continuous updates on the program, as well as the play of the Bruins in summer leagues, check out my UCLA baseball twitter.

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