Caroline County, MD – For as long as baseball has been around, experts have always insisted the key to a championship is great pitching and defense. Teams love to score runs, but it’s often overlooked that preventing runs is equally as important as scoring them.
Of course, finding great pitching is much easier said than done, although a great defense can help.
With the CBL’s annual amateur draft coming to a close this evening, we can now confirm that the Caroline County Channel Cats selected pitchers with all 12 of their draft choices.
“We didn’t plan on taking all pitchers, but obviously we were considerably higher on the pitching in this draft than the offense,” the team’s GM told me. “We had a few hitters we liked a lot, but we didn’t have the opportunity to select them. We’re happy with our draft.”
The team selected recently profiled SP Kade Guzman, out of Florida, 2nd overall.
“I can’t believe they took Guzman over Oscar Cherry,” a league rival told me. “Cherry could be a great all around player. Guzman’s peak looks like a #3 starter. Guzman might be a little safer, but how safe are pitchers in general? Cherry’s going to be a stud.”
“We were debating between Guzman and Damian Miller, all the way down to the wire,” the team’s assistant GM admits. “Ultimately Guzman was the choice, but their were a few voices in our room that loved Miller and wanted him at #2. We had Cherry just below those two. He’s a great player though.”
By the time the second round came around, it was clear Guzman had been the right choice. Miller remained on the board for the Channel Cats in round 2, and the team pounced.
“I’ve never filled out a draft card faster,” the GM told me. “He was great this past high school season. Our scouts loved him. It was a no-brainer at that point.”
Miller struck out 100 batters in just under 66 innings, while walking just 6. Over two high school seasons, Miller struck out 132 batters and walked just 7. If the team can sign him, he should be a fun player to watch in the low minors this season. Especially for Channel Cat fans who will likely see the big league team struggle over the rest of the season.
“We’ll sign him. No concerns at all,” A person close to the negotiations told me. “We should sign all of our picks.”
The team selected another recently profiled starting pitcher in the fourth round, Brit Cunningham, who’s dealing with an injured shoulder and a weak heart. He’s likely to make his debut in the Hawaiian Winter League following the season, if his rehab goes accordingly.
The Channel Cats know they need to build up their pitching staff if they want to truly contend with the top tier teams in this league, and their draft strategy shows a commitment to improving the team’s pitching over the next few years. We’ll have to wait and see if any one becomes a capable big league player.