By: Ryan Kelleher, Intern
In 2015, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox squeaked their way into the playoffs as they clinched a spot on the last day of the regular season. Despite having four all-star game starters, the club finished with a .500 record of 22-22. The Red Sox, who were a loss away from missing the playoffs, rallied and became Cape Cod Baseball League Champions for the second straight year.
As the 2021 CCBL season gets underway, we take a look at multiple YD alumni who are on the radar to find action for their respective organizations, including multiple assets from that 2015 championship team. Here is where the champions are today:
Before winning the 2020 Cy Young award, Shane Bieber was taking the mound in South Yarmouth. The 6’3 junior out of UC Santa Barbara appeared in three games for the Red Sox, recording 1 win while recording a 1.93 ERA across 18.2 innings. Although he only pitched three games the entire season, he still had the third lowest ERA on the team (minimum of 2 games).
After YD, Bieber returned to UCSB for his junior year and was drafted in the 4th round that same year. After turning pro, Bieber showed extreme signs of potential, as he threw a no-hitter in 2018 as a member of the Columbus Clippers. Only 6 days after his no-hitter, Bieber made his MLB debut, pitching 5.2 innings against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. In 2019, Bieber was named an MLB All-Star after he struck out the side in the 5th inning. Bieber also finished 4th in Cy Young voting for the year in 2019. Bieber had the best year of his young career in 2020, as he won the Cy Young award, the Triple Crown, and was named a member of the All-MLB First Team. He finished the 2020 season with a 1.63 ERA.
On June 8th of 2019, Tommy Edman became the first YD Alumni from the 2015 championship team to make their MLB debut. Edman, the former sixth round pick, had his contract selected by St. Louis after batting an impressive .305/.365/.513 with the Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds and made his debut as a pinch hitter against the Cubs at Wrigley.
Over the first 92 regular season games of his MLB Career, Edman has hit .304 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. At the beginning of the 2020 season, Edman was selected to join the Cardinals as a part of their summer camp to prepare for the shortened season and after impressing the organization, he was selected for the 30-man roster and became the starting third baseman.
Edman has been impressive during his time in the big leagues, as he has continually shown off his glovework, hitting abilities, and speed. Edman is listed as the fastest third baseman in the major leagues, recording a sprint speed of 29.4 feet/second.
Just like his double play-partner Tommy Edman, Donnie Walton made his MLB debut in 2019 with the Seattle Mariners as a defensive replacement against the Cincinnati Reds. After his accolade filled season with the Red Sox, Walton returned to Oklahoma State for his senior year where he continued to build his draft stock. The Mariners saw Walton as a money-saving senior who could one day make an impact and for that reason, they selected him in the 5th round of the 2016 MLB draft. Since being called up, Walton has only appeared in 12 games, hitting a combined .172 with a .273 OBP. Walton currently sits behind a very young and very crowded Mariners infield, as he is competing for a spot behind starters like JP Crawford, Kyle Seager, and Dylan Moore. Heading into 2021, Walton could find his way into the lineup due to his consistency and strong glove.
Across his MiLB career, Walton hit .283/.371/.404 while taking home the honors of the MILB Gold Glove award (2019) and three organization all-star selections. Walton currently sits as the 22nd ranked prospect in the Mariners organization.
In 2015, Lynn Native made the most out of his trip to the Cape, as he provided strength in the bullpen. Bowden joined the Red Sox and brought plenty of experience, as his freshman year Commodores team won the College World Series and his sophomore season were runners up to the University of Virginia. Bowden posted an impressive 0.30 earned run average with 43 strikeouts across 30 innings when playing for the Red Sox. He served as a backbone during the playoffs, serving as a key relief pitcher who eventually split the playoff MVP honors with Donnie Walton. Since YD, Bowden has successfully been climbing the ranks in the Rockies Organization, as he is currently a member of Colorado’s 40-Man roster. In his most recent season (2019), Bowden started with the Double-A affiliate Hartford Yard Goats where he was 20-for-20 in save opportunities and where he posted an impressive 1.05 ERA across 26 games.
From there, he was promoted to the Albuquerque Isotopes where he appeared in 22 games and was selected to participate in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. As of 2020, Bowden is ranked the 10th prospect in the Rockies organization.
Ricky Tyler Thomas
If you attended a YD Game in 2015, then odds are you heard the buzz about Ricky Tyler Thomas. Thomas, who served as an all-star, cemented himself as the ace of the team as he posted a 1.01 ERA while taking home the win in every game he started. In those games, Thomas pitched 44.1 innings and recorded 45 strikeouts while recording 17 more in the playoffs. After his lone season with the Red Sox, Thomas accepted an invite to be a part of the Team USA’s Collegiate Team where he was awarded the Dick Case Award honoring the top player in the organization. With Team USA, Thomas appeared in 19 innings over 7 appearances, posting a 0.95 ERA while tying the team lead with 21 strikeouts. After his time with Team USA, Thomas reported back to Fresno State where he earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors for the second season in a row. Thomas turned professional in 2017 after his junior year, signing with the Chicago Cubs organization.
While professional, Thomas has bounced between levels of Single-A, but has yet to get placed higher. In late 2018, Thomas was placed on the injured list and reappeared on it again in 2019, where he missed most of the season due to that injury. 2021 will be an important year for Thomas as he will need to prove that he is a serious prospect and not just a player with tremendous talent.
During the 2015 season, Wong joined the Red Sox and served as a helpful utility man. During his sophomore season at the University of Houston, Wong began to focus on spreading himself across the field, as he spent time playing across the infield and behind the plate. When he came to Yarmouth, Wong continued the trend from his college season and saw time across the field, playing all but two positions in the field. Wong had a .232 average across 38 games in the regular season, seeing action mostly as a pinch hitter or replacement in the field. He returned to the Cape the following year as a member of the Bourne Braves where he found himself as a regular catcher and outfielder. Wong was named the starter catcher for the West and hit .313 during his time with the Braves. When Wong turned professional, he saw time as a catcher in the Dodgers organization, making it as high as Double-A. In February of 2020, Wong was sent to the Red Sox as one of the prospects who were in exchange for Mookie Betts and David Price.
Upon arrival in Boston, Wong was assigned to the Double-A affiliated Portland Sea Dogs, but he was promoted in mid-July to the Red Sox Alternative Training Site. He currently sits as the 19th ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization and is listed as a catcher, 2B, and 3B combo player. There is a strong chance Wong will see Major League action in 2021 as a utility player.
Three alumni from this championship team were selected by the Houston Astros within the first 10 rounds of the 2016 MLB Draft. Taken in the 6th round, former YD outfielder Stephen Wrenn was selected and since his professional debut in 2016, he has swiftly climbed the minor league ranks. Appearing in 39 games for YD, Wrenn cemented himself as an everyday outfielder who hit everywhere within the top five spots in the lineup. He finished the year with a .273 batting average while finishing 4th on the team in hits, 2nd in home runs, and second in stolen bases. Wrenn is assigned to the Triple-A affiliated Round Rock Express and was invited as a non-roster invitee to the Astros spring training in 2020.
Despite being selected in the 15th round of the MLB draft as a senior, Noda has proven his worth as a prospect in the Blue Jays organization. In the year he was drafted, Noda posted the highest weighted runs created out of all minor leaguers, leading him to win an MILB.com Organization All-Star and a Baseball America Rookie All-Star. Noda, who has proven in the minors that he is a strong hitter, batted .204 across 38 games while finishing the season with a .303 on base percentage. Noda also finished 6th on the team in both RBIs and hits. Since entering the minors, Noda hasn’t climbed above Single-A Advanced, however with the MiLB season cancelled, the Blue Jays assigned Noda to the Triple-A affiliated Buffalo Bisons.