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Coastal Plain League: Rookies To Watch During 2022 Season

Coastal Plain League: Rookies To Watch During 2022 Season

The 2022 Coastal Plain League season is underway, and a solid crop of rookies will be looking to steal the spotlight this summer.

May 31, 2022 by Briar Napier
Coastal Plain League: Rookies To Watch During 2022 Season

There's always that lingering element of surprise in the Coastal Plain League.

Sure, there are the returners and known names fans remember and flock to as the years go along, but every summer also brings in a crop of new stars who get their chance to shine on one of the top stages in summer baseball. Some prove they belong.

Though countless rookies will step up to the plate or take the mound across the league this summer, only a few will make onlookers wonder, "Who is this guy?" Their contributions and numbers will make them noticed, maybe even to major-league ballparks someday.

Look below at some names that could top stat lists this summer as the league gets going for its 2022 season on FloBaseball.

Ryan McCarty, SS/2B, Morehead City Marlins (Penn State Abington)

Many Division III baseball All-America teams aren't out yet, but if McCarty isn't on one after the year he had at Penn State Abington, it's probably not worth reading. 

The Yardley, Pennsylvania-native had a senior year for the ages with the Nittany Lions, setting the single-season Division III record in total bases (220), while winning its triple crown. He topped the charts in batting average (.529), home runs (29) and RBIs (91) in one of the greatest statistical seasons ever seen in college baseball. 

A Golden Spikes Award semifinalist - the only non-Division I player named to the list - McCarty would be the first player outside of Division I to earn the honor since Bryce Harper in 2010. 

For now, McCarty will be biding his time this summer for Morehead City. Early this season for the Marlins, the 23-year-old has shown flashes of the extreme power he had this spring, smacking a homer with five total RBIs across three games thus far.

Wayne Mize, OF, Holly Springs Salamanders (Wake Technical CC)

Though Mize had a solid two seasons at JUCO-level Wake Tech out of nearby Raleigh, North Carolina, his 14 home runs and 55 RBIs in 81 career games don't necessarily make for eye-popping numbers. 

He earned the attention of the CPL in the season's opening days, however. 

Mize currently stands alone atop the league's home run chart after three long bombs in four games for the Salamanders, with a .938 slugging percentage in 16 at-bats, marking himself as one of the CPL's early-year surprises. He has helped Holly Springs get out to a 3-1 start. 

Whether Mize's form is sustainable probably is the bigger question, especially considering he only has five total hits to go with five strikeouts in that time, but the Salamanders likely don't mind how they're getting the offense, as long as they keep winning. 

If Mize breaks out into summer superstardom, he may become another diamond-in-the-rough story the CPL specializes in.

Hayden Snelsire, RHP, Tri-City Chili Peppers (Randolph-Macon College)

Expectations aren't to the moon for the Chili Peppers this year after collecting just seven wins in 2021, their debut season. Tri-City's major aim is just to be consistently competitive this time around. 

How does a three-game winning streak and the first shutout in team history sound for a start? 

Sure enough, it was Snelsire who got the Opening-Day start and victory for the Chili Peppers in their 3-0 win over in-state foe, Martinsville. Snelsire tossed six stellar innings against the Mustangs, allowing just two hits, while striking out four. 

It remains to be seen if the 21-year-old can follow up his first outing with further gems, but with a 13-5 record and 130 strikeouts in 122 innings over three years with Division III Randolph-Macon in his background, Snelsire has the workload and experience behind him. So far, the 6-foot-2 Maryland-native has made a great first impression.

Armando Becerra, OF, Savannah Bananas (Erskine College)

The Bananas have a reputation to uphold following their romp to the Pettit Cup last season in which Savannah led the CPL in batting average, team ERA and wins. 

Getting key returners back and unearthing new stars are critical in reloading for a repeat, and Becerra might be one of the key pieces to helping the Bananas get there. 

Bercerra was a .345 hitter with 24 stolen bases and 41 RBIs for Division II Erskine this past spring, and has only had two games to strut his stuff for Savannah thus far but has done well placed near the bottom of the order, managing five hits in his seven at-bats. 

It's a small sample size, sure, but anyone who shows bright spots at any point in the year for Savannah likely will get some extra attention. Becerra is passing the test early on as he plays the first games of his career in the CPL.

Tyler Wehrle, RHP, Morehead City Marlins (Tiffin University)

Stars from small colleges have been stealing the show in the CPL's first week, and Wehrle, a career 23-11 pitcher at Division II Tiffin, fits that mold perfectly. 

Wehrle got the start in the Marlins' eventual 10-1 win over the Wilson Tobs this past week, going six innings with just two hits and no runs allowed. His 10-strikeout performance was the most punchouts in a single start across the CPL this week. 

As a strike specialist, he's had 219 Ks to just 76 walks throughout college. Wehrle seems to fit well in a rotation that is attempting to help the Marlins get back to the pinnacle after back-to-back Pettit Cup titles in 2018 and 2019. 

Following his best Tiffin season this past spring, in which the junior had a 6-1 record, 3.24 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 66 innings, Wehrle might be hitting the prime of his college career, too, and at just the right time for Morehead City.