WAREHAM, Mass. – At just 19 years old, right-handed pitcher Ian Bedell has displayed his dominance in the Cape Cod League this summer, posting a 0.70 ERA through 25 2/3 innings with the Wareham Gatemen.
Bedell attends the University of Missouri, a program that has a history of producing talented arms. Fellow Missouri Tiger Tanner Houck is pitching three hours north with the Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
In five starts this summer, Bedell has allowed no more than five hits in a single outing. The strikeout-to-walk ratio also has also been noteworthy, as the Davenport, Iowa native has struck out 28 while only walking three.
Bedell’s most impressive start came July 10 against the Chatham Anglers. Chatham has one of the best records in the league at 15-11 and is currently just a half a game back from the top spot of the East Division. Bedell went six innings, struck out eight and allowed just one hit to secure his third win of the season.
Bedell leads the Cape in ERA (0.70) and strikeouts (28). He has allowed only two earned runs and has held opposing batters to a .149 batting averaging.
The Cape Cod League is the most competitive collegiate summer league in the world. The Cape has produced over 1,000 professional baseball players, including Chris Sale, Matt Harvey, Kris Bryant, and Aaron Judge.
Bedell has carried his success from his sophomore season into the summer. He excelled as a reliever for Missouri this spring. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound righty posted a 1.56 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings.
It was a notable season for Bedell, who struggled his freshman year after skipping his senior season of high school to enroll at Missouri early.
His dominance in the Cape this year is a huge step in the right direction. He projects as a starting pitcher long term and if he can impress professional scouts next season at Missouri, Bedell figures to be an early-round selection in next year’s MLB draft.
Read Ian Bedell’s thoughts on his success this summer here:
Baseball Prospect Journal: The Cape Cod League is one of the best collegiate summer leagues in the country. How has facing that level of competition improved your game?
Ian Bedell: The Cape Cod League has great competition. Every hitter in this league was a big factor on their school team. Pitching against them is like pitching against an All-Star team each time out. You have to be fully focused on each individual at-bat. If you don’t, each guy is capable of making you pay.
BPJ: What would you say is the main difference between the Cape Cod League and other leagues you’ve played in throughout your playing career?
IB: The Cape treats their players better. We are given better food, more days off and shorter bus rides. We can go to the beach any time we want. Me and some of the guys have gone crabbing a couple of times.
BPJ: What aspects of your pitching are you most focused on this summer? What elements are you trying to improve upon or strengthen?
IB: This summer I came in with the intentions to be a better pitcher. I wanted to improve my off-speed pitches. Neither my curveball or change-up were anything special. I also wanted to attack hitters and challenge them the best I could.
BPJ: You’ve obviously had some great outings so far this season. Heading into a game, what is your mindset prior to the first pitch? What are you mainly focused on?
IB: Going into each game my goal is always that same. Put up zeros. Challenge hitters and make them beat me. Nothing comes free. Don’t walk anybody. Attack with fastballs and then work off-speed. I’m focused on each pitch and trying to throw each pitch where I want it. Work on off-speed when the time and count calls for it but stay true to attacking the hitter.
BPJ: You have experience as a starter and a reliever. Do any adjustments have to be made when switching between those roles?
IB: In school, being a reliever was easy. The coach would tell me to get hot and the adrenaline would take over. Throw 10-15 pitches in the bullpen and go into the game and just attack. Coming into the summer, I did not have a routine as a starter. I had to try and figure out when to start stretching and how much time I wanted to throw. I had to learn to play the clock. I decided on my first game to give myself 45 minutes before the game and it worked so I stuck with it. There isn’t that huge surge of adrenaline, so I made up the idea that each inning is like a boxing match. Before I go back out for each inning I say, ‘Round 2,’ or whatever inning it is. I don’t pace myself when starting – it’s give everything I have just like in relief.
BPJ: How has Mizzou and the Cape Cod League prepared you for your career in the future? What lessons and skills have you been able to take away from these teams that you’ll be able to use down the road?
IB: Mizzou has taught me how to struggle and overcome and succeed. Freshman year was a major struggle. I did not pitch very well, and I got injured. Coming back in the fall, things got a lot better and I started to pitch like I did in high school. There was a learning curve to college ball, and I didn’t expect to deal with it. During the season, I gained a lot of confidence and started to pitch better and better as the season went on. Coming to the Cape, I did not expect to do as well as I did. I expected to pitch well, but I did not expect to be starting the All-Star game. Both Mizzou and Wareham have taught me the value of community, having to do community service in Wareham and Columbia. Both places have taught me how to be a good person and a better baseball player.
Read a MLB draft profile on Ian Bedell from 2018 here.