NEW BRITAIN - Itâ€™s been an exciting week for baseball - at least locally anyway.
The New Britain Bees have officially begun playing their first season in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, providing some much-necessary entertainment and distraction from the cornoavirus pandemic.
The Bees have gotten off to a bit of slow start, going 1-2 through their first three games of the summer, but thereâ€™s still a good amount of baseball left to be played. The FCBL is playing out a 39-game regular season slate.
With that being said, here are some things of note over the first week of play for the Bees:
Itâ€™s been a long layoff for many of the players. The NCAA canceled spring championships on March 12 and many conferences followed suit by canceling their spring sports for the season not long after. Itâ€™s been an especially long layoff for the hitters, who usually have a tougher time adjusting to live pitching than pitchers do to hitters.
The Bees have done OK with their plate production so far through the first three games of the season. As a team, New Britain ranks third in the Futures League with 14 runs scored, third in RBI with 11and fourth in hits with 19. The Bees have also managed to walk 16 times in 98 at-bats.
Individually, New Britain has three players hitting .300 or better - Andrew Cain (.462), Noah Martinez (.333) and Tyshaun Diaz (.333). That also places them in the top 14 in the league in hitters. It will be interesting to see how the offense and hitters continue to evolve as the summer progresses.
ONLY GAME IN TOWN
Before the season began, former Goodwin Tech standout and current Bees reliever Tommy Hughes made some interesting comments about the opportunity the players had with it being the only summer collegiate baseball league around playing with the Cape Cod League and the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League canceling their seasons back in May and April.
â€śAll eyes are going to be on us because there is no other baseball to watch,â€ť Hughes said. â€śScouts are going to be coming to our games just to get out of the house. As long as we catch their eyes, thatâ€™s the goal.â€ť
In other words, the Bees players - and the rest playing in the Futures League this summer - have a unique opportunity to impress scouts they might have not otherwise gotten. On Tuesday night against the Westfield Starfires, New Britain had around 13 scouts at the game, including ones from the Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins, Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers, sitting in the stands and taking notes.
It will be interesting to see what will come of this extra attention and how many will benefit from it when next yearâ€™s draft comes around. The 2021 MLB Draft will only be 20 rounds instead of the usual 40. This yearâ€™s draft was only five due to the coronavirus pandemic.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The Futures League announced its first Player of the Week on Tuesday and Bees infielder Andrew Cain won the first award of the season.
The University of New Haven sophomore went 4-for-9 with a home run, a double and two RBI over his first two games with the Bees. Heading into Wednesdayâ€™s nightâ€™s game, he is hitting .462, while slugging .846 with a .462 on-base percentage.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org