by Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
Pitcher Max Gieg got the biggest phone call of his life standing in left field in Hyannis for BP. After two years with the Ketts, Gieg’s phone rang with a call from his agent, and minutes later he heard the sound of his name getting called over MLB Network. The right-hander was drafted to the Angels in the eighteenth round of the 2022 draft as pick 538. His summer teammates celebrated around him as he stood in the hot outfield on an 85-degree day in the Cape and soaked up the news. It was a moment filled with mixed emotions for Gieg.
“It was really positive energy going on. It’s really sad, and saying goodbye to some of the older guys is a bit bittersweet,” Gieg said. “Cotuit has been one of the most wholesome and positive places to play, and the reactions embodied that.”
Even with the uncertainty of the past three days of picks, Gieg had a good feeling about his chances to go to pro-ball. He claimed he wasn’t too stressed, and instead of being glued to his phone on Monday, he spent the day with a refreshment in hand, playing croquet along with some of his Cotuit roommates and family. After the stress of the draft, his dad described that afternoon as therapy.
Ultimately, his dad got the news from Gieg’s two-year Cotuit host mother. After she told him that his son would have the option to play baseball professionally, Todd Gieg after went to the front porch and cried.
“The whole Cotuit organization has been so supportive and loving, and as wonderful as this is, it’s very sad as a parent, because it’s ending,” Todd Gieg said. “You can never look back. You have all these magnificent teammates and coach Roberts — to use a cliché, it’s a family. Doors are opening, and other doors are closing, so it’s a difficult time.”
Gieg was one of twenty-seven Kettleers whose names were called in the 2022 draft. On Monday, Cam Collier (Chipola) was called up in the first round as the eighteenth pick. Collier was drafted to the Cincinnati Reds and was one of two first-round Ketts picks. 2021 alumnus Eric Brown (Coastal Carolina), who played second base in 2021, was selected by the Brewers as pick 27. Dylan Beavers (California) was the second 2021 graduate to be selected, and he went in the Competitive Balance round A to the Baltimore Orioles. Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech) went as one of the last players to go in the night, his name called in the Competitive Balance round B to the Tampa Bay Rays.
On day two, eleven players were selected. The left-handed pitcher Dalton Rogers (Southern Mississippi) went in Round 3 to the Boston Red Sox. The lefty reliever pitched 13 innings for the 2021 team, registering a 2.77 ERA. Former shortstop Ryan Ritter (Kentucky) went to Colorado Rockies in Round 4, pick 116 to the Colorado Rockies. Kenya Huggins joined former Chipola teammate Collier in going the Reds, selected in the fourth round as pick 123. Luke Gold (Boston College), a 2021 graduate, went in the fifth round to the Detroit Tigers, and Nathan Martorella (California) was sent to the opposite side of the country, drafted to the San Diego Padres in Round 5. 2022’s outfielder Victor Scott’s (West Virginia) unstoppable speed propelled him to the fifth round; he stole eleven bases in Cotuit and will bring that baserunning to the St. Louis Cardinals. Closer TJ Brock (Ohio State), a pitcher who dominated in the Cape League with his fastball and slider combination, went as the 188th pick in Round 6 to the Blue Jays. The final three players to go on Monday were all from the 2022 team. Peyton Williams (Iowa) and Mark McLaughlin (Tennessee) both played short stints at Cotuit and both were drafted in round 7 to the Blue Jays and White Sox respectively. The final player to be drafted was outfielder Zach Cole (Ball State), who was the round 10 pick for the Houston Astros.
Thirteen players were drafted on the final day, with seven from 2021 and six from the 2022 class of players. Cam Wagoner (Eastern Michigan) was the first to go in the eleventh round to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was at Lowell Park for pregame practice when his phone rang. After he hung up and returned to the dugout, his teammates gathered around him and gave him a round of applause. “I’m just stoked, because this is big-time,” Wagoner reflected. “I finally got that call, and now I can not do more school. Focus on baseball and just try my best to make it.”
Also from the 2022 class, Jackson Kelley (Mercer) was picked up by the Rangers in the twelfth round, the mustached reliever and sidearm specialist who gave up one earned runs in five games with the Ketts. Brooks Baldwin (UNC-Wilmington), who still is in the top three for batting average on the Cape, went to the Chicago White Sox in the twelfth round. Former 2022 player Graham Pauley (Duke) who started his season with the Ketts before going to the Harwich Mariners, went in the thirteenth round to the San Diego Padres. Max Gieg and Alden Mathes rounded out the current Ketts class alumni to be drafted on the third day.
2021 Ketts drafted day 3 included Joey Mancini (Round 15 to the Astros), Brett Roberts (Round 16 to Miami), Blake Klassen (Round 17 to the Nationals), Andy Garriola (Round 17 to the Cubs), Alec Sayre (Round 17 to the Twins), Quinn Matthews (Round 19 to the Rays), and Shawn Rapp (Round 20 to the Guardians).
One more was added, as Matt Donlon went as an undrafted free agent to the Red Sox.
And despite getting drafted hours prior to first pitch against Hyannis, both Wagoner and Gieg took the mound to pitch their last innings for the Ketts, putting the team before any personal celebrations. Gieg closed out the game, throwing three frames.
For Gieg, the decision to pitch in the maroon uniform one last time was a no-brainer. “It was the place that I wanted to be after last summer,” he said. “Being able to finish it, especially for Coach Roberts, as kind of the last pitch out there today, it definitely meant something special.”