Former Gatemen making an impact in Major League Baseball

Brandon Pfaadt
Brandon Pfaadt.

Spillane Field is a relatively unassuming place. The wooden press box, metal bleachers and stone dust field come together to form a baseball field that could be anywhere. It doesn’t look like a place that would have felt the footprints of some of the most well-known Major League Baseball players. And yet, it has. That’s the beauty of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Here are some of the former Gatemen making a big impact at the highest level:

Kyle Schwarber (2012)

You can’t spend a day at Spillane Field without hearing the name Kyle Schwarber at least once, and for good reason. In the summer of 2012, the Indiana Hoosier helped lead the Gatemen to the CCBL Championship and was named MVP for his efforts. Schwarber batted .343 in his CCBL career with eight home runs, 10 doubles and 38 RBI. In 2019, he was inducted into the CCBL Hall of Fame.

Two summers after Schwarber put on a Gatemen jersey, he put on a Chicago Cubs jersey as he was drafted fourth overall in the 2014 MLB Draft. The catcher-turned-outfielder was expected to have some of the best power in the draft class, and he’s lived up to the hype. Nine years after his MLB debut, Schwarber is still thought of as one of the strongest hitters in the league and is known for his propensity to hit towering home runs. He is a two-time All-Star (2021, 2022) and has played in two World Series (2016, 2022), playing a key role in the Cubs’ 2016 victory.

Schwarber is currently playing for the Philadelphia Phillies on a contract that runs through the 2025 season.

Kyle Schwarber

(Kyle Schwarber)

George Springer (2009, 2010)

It’s not often players return to the Cape for a second year, but when they do it usually means they’ve got a lot of potential. George Springer is the perfect representation of that, playing with the Gatemen in the summers of 2009 and 2010. In 2009, he played in 18 games, batting .194 with 12 hits. The summer of 2010 saw a much-improved Springer, where he batted .288 with 15 hits and three home runs before the outfielder was called to play for Team USA. He was rated the No. 2 prospect in the CCBL that summer by Baseball America.

Springer was selected 11th overall in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros, becoming the highest draft pick in UConn history. He stayed with the Astros organization until 2021 -- helping them win the 2017 World Series and earning multiple personal accolades -- before signing with the Blue Jays. His contract with Toronto runs through the 2026 season.

Matt Barnes (2009, 2010)

Matt Barnes joined Springer in playing for the Gatemen two summers in a row, and the two were also teammates at UConn. In 2009, Barnes pitched 16 1/3 innings over the course of five appearances, recording 20 strikeouts and posting a 4.40 ERA. In 2010, he pitched 20 1/3 innings in three appearances, finishing with a 2.17 ERA and 20 strikeouts. He also pitched for the United States in the World University Baseball Championship later in the summer of 2010.

Barnes was drafted by the Boston Red Sox as the 19th overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft. He moved up through the Red Sox system and made his MLB debut in 2014, helping carry the Red Sox to their 2018 World Series win and multiple other postseason series. He was also named to the American League All-Star team in 2021. In 2023, Barnes was traded to the Miami Marlins. As a free agent in 2024, Barnes was picked up by the Washington Nationals.

Max Muncy (2010, 2011)

Clearly, the late 2000s and early 2010s saw a lot of future big-leaguers step foot in Wareham. In his first summer with the Gatemen, Muncy made a name for himself as he appeared in 40 games and hit .244 with a .344 on-base percentage. He racked up nine doubles, 25 RBI, two triples and three home runs over the course of the summer. In 2011, Muncy played 43 games, hitting .282 with 23 RBIs, 17 walks and six doubles. He was also named a Cape League All-Star.

In the 2012 MLB Draft, the Oakland Athletics selected Muncy in the fifth round. Muncy made his MLB debut in 2015, but was shuffled between Triple-A and Oakland until he was released in April 2017. He then signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and started making a name for himself, debuting with the team in 2018. Since then, he’s played in two World Series -- winning in 2020 -- and two All-Star games. Muncy’s current contract with the Dodgers carries him through the 2025 season, with a club option for 2026.

Matt McLain

(Matt McLain)

Matt McLain (2019)

The McLain name is a well-known one around Major League Baseball and Wareham alike, thanks to Matt McLain’s ability to make an immediate impact on any team he’s with. With the Gatemen in 2019 -- the summer between his freshman and sophomore year at UCLA -- McLain played in 37 games and hit .270 with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs and 24 RBI. He was named a Cape League All-Star and was named the West division MVP of the game.

McLain stayed at UCLA for two more years before he was selected 17th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2021 MLB Draft. After impressive outings in all levels of the Reds farm system, McLain made his MLB debut in May 2023. In 89 games he batted .290 with 16 home runs, 50 RBI and 14 stolen bases, playing a key role in revitalizing a young Reds team. However, his professional career has been continually impacted by injury and he was ruled out indefinitely in March 2024 after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Brandon Pfaadt (2019)

While McLain dominated many storylines over the course of the summer of 2019 for his batting and fielding abilities, Pfaadt exhibited similar talent on the mound. In 10 games, Pfaadt posted a 2.95 ERA in 36 2/3 innings. He struck out 37 batters while only walking 11. At the conclusion of the summer, he was recognized by Perfect Game as one of the top 10 pitchers in the league who pitched at least 25 innings.

The Arizona Diamondbacks also picked up on Pfaadt’s proficiency on the mound, drafting him in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and cancellation of the minor league season, he didn’t pitch in 2020. In May 2023, Pfaadt was called up to join the D-backs and went on to start one game in the 2023 World Series against the Texas Rangers. The 25-year-old has posted a 5.06 ERA in 10 2/3 innings so far in the 2024 season.

Bryson Stott (2018)

Bryson Stott has recently made a name for himself in Major League Baseball, but he was someone to watch out for long before his professional debut. He joined the Gatemen for 12 games in the beginning of the summer of 2018, posting a .275 batting average and an OPS of .708 in 40 at-bats before he was called to play with Team USA. With Team USA, Stott hit .262 for the summer and did a little bit of everything to help lead the team to multiple victories.

Stott, considered one of the top prospects of the 2019 draft class, was taken 14th overall by the Phillies. He worked his way through the minor leagues quickly and was named to the Phillies’ Opening Day roster in 2022. The shortstop made his MLB debut April 8 that year and became a utility infielder, playing at shortstop, third base and second base. Stott became the Phillies’ everyday second baseman in 2023 and batted .280 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI in 151 games, and was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award. Stott will become arbitration-eligible in 2025.