Hot Stove Q & A with Manager Jamie Shevchik
1) You’ve obviously had great success managing college players in the summer. Would you share a little of your approach that has worked so well?
I break down summer success into two categories, recruiting and retaining. The recruiting part is tricky because if you recruit too well you may have trouble keeping players for the season. They may end up playing for Team USA or get selected in the MLB draft. Or, they may have played too much in their collegiate season and their college coaches either shut them down before they arrive on the Cape or they’re put on strict innings limits. If you recruit poorly, you won’t lose any players for the above reasons, but it will be difficult to compete successfully. The key to recruiting is getting players from the right programs where summer baseball is a priority. It’s also important to have a good combination of talented and dedicated players that fall just under the Team USA fit and have innings to spare throughout the summer.
2) Last year you and your staff recruited and coached 68 players over the course of the CCBL season. How challenging was that for you in terms of contacting coaches, getting to know individual players and assimilating them all into a team?
After winning the 2021 championship, we were essentially playing with house money and
decided to construct our roster a little differently than we have in the past. With the MLB draft being pushed into July, we went with more draft eligible and high-profile players. Our strategy was to win as many games as possible up to the draft and then find replacements for those drafted. This was a big mistake, but it didn’t hurt the product we put on the field because we had a ton of success last summer. The problem was the amount of work we had to put into constantly finding new players and the pressure we put on our housing coordinators and host families as players arrived and departed.
3) What did you learn or experience last year that has impacted how you’re approaching the 2023 season?
We recruited players for 2023 in more of a traditional approach with a healthy complement of draft eligible players, but with more non-draft eligible players than the year before. The older players are more mature and polished, both as players and people. With additional, less experienced players, I think the biggest challenge in 2023 will be to consistently compete. We’re hoping there will be less roster turnover and less stress put on the coaching staff and host families. With a younger team this summer, our job is to retain those players longer and keep them engaged for the entire season.
4) What were some highlights of the 2022 Whitecaps season for you?
Despite all the roster moves that we went through, the biggest highlight was a return to the CCBL Championship Series after winning the title in 2021. Sustainable success is very hard when 10 teams are all fighting for the championship. I think we are building something special in Brewster. It’s like building a house. When you build something over years you appreciate the product more than just buying something already built. You’re invested in it, and not just the team. You’re invested in the organization, the town, the fans… the entire experience. I think we have a product that everyone can be proud of and invest in.
5) In 2023, two other CCBL franchises will now be coached by men who shared the
Whitecaps dugout with you. How do you feel about two of your former assistants, Scott
Landers (Bourne) and Ryan Smyth (Wareham) being named Head Coaches in the CCBL? What will your coaching staff look like in 2023?
I am so happy for Scott and Ryan. Those guys were both big reasons for Brewster’s success over the past few years. It’s going to be weird seeing two of my closest friends in opposing dugouts, but they’ve earned the right to be there.
Our coaching staff in 2023 will be entirely new to Brewster and Cape Cod. Just about everyone from the 2022 staff moved on to advance their careers in 2023. Lance Ratchford is the new Head Coach at Marist College. Jason Rathbun became the new Head Coach at Saint Bonaventure University. Mark DiLuia became the Volunteer Coach at Middle Tennessee State. And, of course, Ryan Smyth became the new Manager of the Wareham Gatemen. Two of the new faces the fans will see this year are former players of mine at Keystone College. Scott Grimes is currently the Head Coach at Neuman University and Brian DelRosso is currently an Assistant Coach at Keystone College. Both are now making their own paths in the coaching world.
6) While there are always changes to the roster between now and the second week of June and throughout the CCBL season, who are some players Whitecaps fans may want to follow during their college season? Are there any players who are scheduled to return to Brewster for a second season with the club?
Some of the players scheduled to return are Carson DeMartini (Virginia Tech), Davis Diaz
(Vanderbilt), Cam Fisher (Charlotte), Ryan Ure (Oklahoma State), Carson Liggett (Louisville) and John West (Boston College). Some of the new players I’m excited to see are Jaime Ferrer (OF) and James Tibbs (1B/OF) of Florida State and Miami Dade infielder D’Angelo Ortiz, son of legendary Boston Red Sox great Big Papi, David Ortiz.
7) Final question – Is there anything you’d like to share with Whitecaps fans as you look
forward to the 2023 season?
Just how grateful I am to the Brewster Whitecaps organization and what this opportunity
means to me and my family. I’ve always said that being a Cape Cod Baseball League Head Coach is one of the ten best jobs in the world and I’m positive that I have the best one of them all in Brewster. I think we have set a new standard and the bar is high, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I look forward to seeing everyone in the stands rooting on the Whitecaps in a few months.