With so much talent both past and present passing through the Cape Cod Baseball League, accomplishing something that hasn’t been done before in the league’s history is pretty notable and doesn’t occur often.
However, for Arizona baseball player Kevin Newman, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Last week, the Falmouth Commodores’ shortstop made Cape Cod League history by becoming the first person ever to win the league batting title two years in a row.
The Cape Cod Baseball League stands as the most prestigious offseason baseball league in the nation, annually combing the NCAA for the cream of the college baseball crop to compete in the illustrious wood bat summer league.
There are more than 250 Cape Cod League alumni currently playing in the MLB. Three Hall of Famers- Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk and Pie Traynor- numerous MVPs, Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winners have been associated at some point in time with the CCBL. Retired major league greats like Nomar Garciaparra, Barry Zito and Jason Varitek and current veterans including Mark Teixeira, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Braun, Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Utley all spent summers in Cape Cod and used the league as a stepping stone en route to successful professional careers.
“It’s obviously a huge honor,” Newman said. “A lot of good players have won that award and to win it twice, it’s just been a great experience. It was really cool to hear my name called again.”
Last summer as a freshman, Newman broke onto the scene as the first freshman to ever win the batting title crown after finishing the season with a .375 batting average.
This year, he returned to hit for a .380 (46-for-121) average with seven doubles, 20 RBIs and 20 runs scored over 31 regular season games. Additionally, Newman drew 18 walks, stole 10 bases and struck out just nine times.
“That’s quite an accomplishment,” Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez said. “Obviously we’re very proud of him and happy for him, too. Not only is he a good player, but he’s also a great young man. When you think of all the players who have played in the Cape Cod League, and I’m sure there are probably some Hall of Famers who have played in it, it’s quite an accomplishment to be the first to achieve what he’s done.”
Newman said that over this past summer, he’s really worked on and improved his approach while additionally enhancing his plate discipline.
“I got my strikeouts down from last summer and put in a lot of quality at bats, which I think will bode well for moving forward next year with Arizona,” Newman said. “This upcoming year, I’m just going to do everything I can to help our team win as many games as we can and get back to the playoffs and back to where Arizona baseball should be.”
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17