2022 Martinsville Mustangs vs Peninsula Pilots

Coastal Plain League: Pitchers To Watch

Coastal Plain League: Pitchers To Watch

Some of the best and brightest pitchers from the collegiate ranks will take their talent to the Coastal Plain League this summer.

May 25, 2022 by Briar Napier
Coastal Plain League: Pitchers To Watch

Take a look at the list of Coastal Plain League alumni that have had a stop in Major League Baseball. 

Justin Verlander. Greg Holland. Over 100 others. Pitchers make up the bulk of the former CPL stars that have made the big time since the league’s first season 25 years ago. The league has earned a reputation as a spot for talented hurlers to strut their stuff ahead of potentially long and fruitful careers in the big leagues.

Odds are that some pitchers on CPL rosters this season are going to make it to the top someday, too. Predicting who those might be is the trickier part, but there are certainly some players that stand out from the crowd.

Here is who to check out on the mound this summer as the CPL makes its FloBaseball debut.

Sam Garcia, LHP, High Point-Thomasville HiToms (High Point)

It’s not often that one of the top hurlers in an entire league falls into the lap of a CPL team, much less one that’s in their own backyard. But that’s exactly what’s happened to the HiToms, as they’ve nailed down Sam Garcia for the summer, with High Point University less than 15 minutes away from Finch Field in Thomasville, North Carolina. 

After a tough freshman season, Garcia broke out for the Panthers in his sophomore campaign this year, tallying a 1.94 ERA—the second-lowest mark in the Big South Conference—across 16 appearances with eight starts. Garcia tossed 58 strikeouts to 14 walks while allowing just a .205 opposing batting average. 

His 5-4 record on the mound was a bit deceiving as the Panthers were the worst-hitting team in the league this past season. But as Garcia moves on to play for the three-time CPL champions over the next few months, his skill may be more accurately reflected in wins.

Dalton Mims, RHP, Lexington County Blowfish (Winthrop)

A familiar name to CPL fans from last season, one of the league’s top relievers from summer 2021 is back for seconds. Mims went a perfect 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA over 38 innings for the Blowfish a year ago, finishing with the CPL’s third-lowest ERA overall as he helped lead Lexington County to a winning record. 

Arguably the CPL’s best returning arm, Mims struggled a bit in limited appearances for Winthrop this spring as he finished it with an 8.40 ERA across just 15 innings. But the change of scenery from college and familiarity with the Blowfish clubhouse could be of great benefit to Mims—a Lexington County native—as he attempts to recapture his form from last summer. 

If he is indeed able to repeat the feat as Lexington County’s top arm, Mims would be the second player in team history to have its lowest ERA in back-to-back years after former stud Will Abbott did so in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. 

Kirby Connell, LHP, Forest City Owls (Tennessee)

The CPL has sent droves of pitching alums to the pros, and Connell could very well be on his way to joining that elite group. After all, any significant contributor to what’s been by far the best rotation in college baseball this year is bound to garner some attention. 

At 3-0 with a sizzling 1.17 ERA in 25 appearances thus far this season for the Vols, Connell has the lowest ERA on a pitching staff that has the lowest team ERA in America at 2.37—not to mention that UT overall has 49 regular-season wins and been the nation’s No. 1-ranked team for most of the season. 

Connell has been stellar all spring and will return to Forest City after just a single appearance last year. He’ll look to finally get a proper crack at the CPL that may not come until later this summer if Tennessee makes a repeat run to the College World Series. 

Caleb McRoy, LHP, Martinsville Mustangs (Duke)

Experience playing high-level baseball certainly never hurts, and McRoy has plenty of it in his arsenal. The 6-foot-2 hurler has already competed in a summer of CPL ball and is one of the league’s few players with four college seasons under his belt, making the graduate student a rarity across club rosters this year. 

That clearly helped McRoy on the mound for the Mustangs in 2021, as well, as his 52 strikeouts made him one of the CPL’s leaders in the category. The Raleigh, North Carolina native may have a bit of rust to shake off after just six appearances for the Blue Devils this spring—his first in Durham after transferring from North Carolina Central—but McCoy has proven that he knows what makes hitters bite at this level. 

For a Martinsville team that struggled mightily last summer on its way to a 15-28 record, the Mustangs will need all the help they can get to get back into contention.

Ty Bothwell, LHP, Morehead City Marlins (Indiana)

Another CPL vet that went 3-0 with 38 strikeouts across 27⅓ innings for the Marlins last summer, the frightening part about Bothwell is that he’s starting to hit his stride just in time for what Morehead City hopes is another impressive campaign. 

The native Hoosier has a college career-high 61 strikeouts and counting this year, showing out recently with the premier performance of his time in Bloomington—a no-hit outing against Minnesota on May 15 in which Bothwell made it seven innings as the starter before being pulled after 111 pitches. 

He’s had eight career starts in the CPL with Morehead City last year and the Macon Bacon 2020. Bothwell has been primarily a reliever with IU, but is more than capable of shouldering a long night’s work on the mound. But is the third time a charm in the CPL for Bothwell as he looks to evolve into one of the league’s undisputed top arms?