Preseason Preview: Getting to know the Cape League East Division

Ahead of the 2024 Cape Cod Baseball League season, learn more about the Brewster Whitecaps, Chatham Anglers, Harwich Mariners, Orleans Firebirds and Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.
Cape Cod League RJ Austin

In preparation for the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Opening Day in one week, all 10 teams have diligently worked to fill their rosters over the past several months and the players are ready to take the field Saturday, June 15.

The Cape League is split into the East and West Divisions. The Brewster Whitecaps, Chatham Anglers, Harwich Mariners, Orleans Firebirds and Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox make up the East Division. Meanwhile, the West Division comprises the Bourne Braves, Cotuit Kettleers, Hyannis Harbor Hawks, Falmouth Commodores and Wareham Gateman.

The West Division has won the last two Cape League Championships, with Bourne capturing back-to-back titles. Brewster won the East Division’s last Championship in 2021, but the West Division has won the Cape League four of the last five seasons. Before then, the East Division won four consecutive titles. Yarmouth-Dennis was champions from 2014-16 consecutively while Brewster won in 2017. Meanwhile, Harwich hasn’t won since 2011, Orleans since 2005 and Chatham since 1998.

Ahead of the 2024 season starting on June 15, here’s a preseason preview of the East Division teams:

Brewster Whitecaps

The Whitecaps are coming off a 15-27-2 2023 campaign. They are managed by Jamie Shevchik, who has been at the helm for a decade and has been Division III Keystone College’s head coach for the last 22 years. The Whitecaps are returning four players from last season: Patrick Forbes (Louisville), Rocco Reid (Clemson), Darien Smith (Southeastern) and Ryan Ure (Oklahoma State).

Though they didn’t play for Brewster last season, Kaedan Kent (Texas A&M, Chatham ‘23), Nolan Schubart (Oklahoma State, Chatham ‘23) and Colby Shelton (Florida, Falmouth ‘23) are among notable league returners new to the Whitecaps.

Kent’s 130 wRC+ from the 2023 Cape League season leads all players returning to the league from last year. Meanwhile, Schubart has built off his Co-Big 12 Freshman of the Year 2023 campaign by leading the Pac-12 with a 1.323 OPS. Coming off a D1Baseball First Team Freshman All-American campaign at Alabama, Shelton has stepped in as Florida’s everyday shortstop and continued his success.

Daniel Cuvet (Miami), Nick Dumesnil (California Baptist) and Andrew Fischer (Ole Miss) are among Brewster’s notable newcomers.

Cuvet set Miami’s freshman single-season home run record (24) while ranking fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 1.165 OPS. After a solid freshman season in limited playing time, Dumesnil has starred as a sophomore, leading the Western Athletic Conference with a 1.142 OPS. Fischer transferred from Duke to Ole Miss ahead of the 2024 season where he became one of the premiere sluggers in the SEC, blasting 20 home runs.

Chatham Anglers

The Anglers are coming off a 15-27-2 2023 campaign. They are managed by Jeremy Sheetinger, who is entering his first season in Chatham and has been at the helm of NAIA Georgia Gwinnett for five seasons. The Anglers are returning three players from last season: Sam Antonacci (Coastal Carolina), Liam Paddack (Gonzaga) and Shane Van Dam (NC State).

Though they didn’t play for Chatham last season, Jamie Arnold (Florida State, Hyannis ‘23) and Ike Irish (Auburn, Brewster ‘23) are among notable league returners new to the Anglers.

After struggling to a 6.34 ERA across 44.0 innings as a freshman with the Seminoles, Arnold posted a 2.45 ERA — the second-best in the ACC — in 2024 across 88 1/3 innings pitched. Arnold had a 2.95 ERA with the Harbor Hawks last year. Irish was a consensus 2023 Freshman All-American selection and has built off his success in 2024, slashing .319/.403/.627.

Luke Cantwell (Pitt), Ty Dalley (Mercer), Griffin Herring (LSU) and Justin Lebron (Alabama) are among Chatham’s notable newcomers.

Following stops across Farleigh Dickinson and Vermont, Cantwell transferred to Pitt ahead of the 2024 season. With the Panthers, he accumulated a .515 OBP, the second-best clip in the ACC. Dalley was named to the Southern Conference’s All-Freshman Team in 2023. In 2024, he improved his wRC+ from 123 to 142 — making him 42% better at the plate than the league-average Division I player. As a reliever, Herring has been one of the most effective pitchers in D-I, posting a 1.88 ERA across 43 innings. Despite being a freshman, Lebron has been Alabama’s everyday shortstop and earned All-SEC First Team honors after hitting .332/.435/.529.

Harwich Mariners

The Mariners are coming off a 20-23-1 2023 campaign. They are managed by Steve Englert, who is entering his 21st season in the position and is an assistant coach at Manhattan. The Mariners are returning one player from last season: Griffin Kirn (Quincy).

Luke Heyman (Florida, Falmouth ‘23) is the only league returner from last season new to the Mariners. Heyman was a 2023 All-SEC Freshman Team selection before posting a .810 OPS across 17 games with Falmouth. For the Gators this season, he hit .240/.356/.495.

Robbie Burnett (UNC Asheville), Daniel Dickinson (Utah Valley State), Harrison Didawick (Virginia), Henry Godbout (Virginia) and Luke Stevenson (North Carolina) are among Harwich’s notable newcomers.

Burnett was a 2023 All-Big South First Team selection and had he not suffered a mid-season injury, his 179 wRC+ would’ve qualified to be top-15 nationally. He hit .323/.454/.656 in 2024. Dickinson’s .367/.469/.661 slash line propelled him to becoming a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is an award given annually to the nation's top collegiate player. In his second season at Virginia, Didawick broke out, hitting .301/.419/.676. Similarly, Godbout broke out in his second season with the Cavaliers, hitting .376/.467/.651. As a freshman, Stevenson became UNC’s everyday catcher, hitting .297/.431/.573.

Orleans Firebirds

The Firebirds are coming off a 24-20 2023 campaign. They are managed by Kelly Nicholson, who is entering his 22nd in Orleans. The Firebirds are returning one player from last season: Sean Matson (Harvard).

Tucker Biven (Falmouth) is the only league returner new to the Mariners. Biven struggled in his first season at Louisville and the Cape in 2023, but he notched a 3.82 ERA and five saves across 35 1/3 2024 innings.

Tyler Bremner (UC Santa Barbara), Jimmy Keenan (St. Johns), Roch Cholowsky (UCLA), Zachary Root (East Carolina) and Michael Foltz (George Washinton) are among Orleans’ notable newcomers.

Following a rocky freshman season, Bremner has established himself as one of the best pitchers in collegiate baseball. He pitched to a 2.63 ERA across 82 innings in 2024. Keenan became St. John’s everyday catcher after playing in a timeshare last season. In 2024, he hit .342/.410/.615. As a true freshman, Cholowsky became UCLA’s primary third baseman while accumulating some starts at shortstop. He hit .308/.399/.500 throughout the campaign. Root was listed as the No. 23 Collegiate Prospect For the 2025 MLB Draft by D1Baseball. In 2024, he pitched 60 1/3 innings to a 3.13 ERA. Foltz made the full-time change to a starting pitcher in 2024 and excelled, pitching 74.0 innings to a 2.92 ERA.

Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox

The Red Sox are coming off a 24-19-1 2023 campaign. They are managed by Scott Pickler, who is entering his 25th season at the helm. The Red Sox are returning eight players from last season: RJ Austin (Vanderbilt), Landon Beidelschies (Ohio State), Skylar King (West Virginia), Anthony Martinez (UC Irvine), Brady Neal (LSU), Pablo Torres (Bethune-Cookman), Mitch Voit (Michigan) and Micah Bucknam (LSU).

Though they didn’t play for Y-D last season, Dylan Delvecchio (St. Mary’s, Harwich ‘23) and Jayden Melendez (Pitt, Chatham ‘23) are the league returners new to the Red Sox.

Melendez had a 4.53 ERA across 45 2/3 innings in his first season with the Gales after transferring from Tarleton State. After playing a season at Florida International, Melendez has become Pitt’s primary catcher over the last two seasons. He hit .219/.366/.478 in 2024.

Drew Burress (Georgia Tech), Gavin Gallaher (North Carolina), DJ Newman (Bowling Green) and Ethan Petry (South Carolina) are among the Red Sox’s notable newcomers.

Burress was named the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2024. His 187 wRC+ is the 11th-best in D-I this season and he is expected to be a top pick in the 2026 MLB Draft. Gallaher also earned ACC postseason honors, as he was selected to the All-ACC Freshman team. Including a walk-off grand slam in the NCAA Tournament, Gallaher has hit .355/.435/.522 this season. Though he’s a two-way player at Bowling Green, Newman’s best production comes from the plate. His 157 wRC+ this season makes him 57% better than the league-average Division I batter. Petry has been a staple in South Carolina’s lineup over the last two seasons. He followed up a 168 wRC+ freshman season with another well-above-average 151 clip this season.

All rosters are subject to change throughout the season.

(Top Photo is RJ Austin)