by Jim Swanson
March 3, 2014, VICTORIA, B.C. (ISN) – The effort to put the best team possible on the field for 2014 continues for the Victoria HarbourCats, with six more added to grow the current roster to 25 players.
The six players announced today include two players who were drafted out of high school but chose to go to the collegiate level first.
Infielder Bryce Greager was taken in the 37th round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers, and is now playing for the University of Nevada-Reno. Greager, who can play second, third or short, is listed at 6-1 and 195 pounds and hails from Fountain Hills, Arizona. He was a redshirt freshman at St. Mary’s, transferred to Chandler-Gilbert Community College, and then accepted an NCAA Division-1 scholarship offer from UN-Reno. His bat is his calling card, and should play well at Royal Athletic Park – as a high school player, the right-hand hitting Greager set Arizona single-season records for runs (60), RBIs (75), home runs (17) and slugging percentage (1.366). He hit 26 home runs in his high school career. At UN-Reno, he’s a sophomore. Here’s a link to video of a walkoff home run he hit in Las Vegas in 2012 — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIkmgYsHZII
Outfielder Wyler Smith is a sophomore at the University of Utah, where fellow HarbourCat Brett Helton also plays. Smith, who hits right and throws right, is a strong combination of plus-plus speed and power, able to play centerfield or left field. He measures 6-2 and 205 pounds, and could be a major presence in the middle of the order for the HarbourCats. A native of Vista, California, Smith hit .277 in 44 games as a freshman after leading championship teams in high school. Is off to a slow start batting .212 but has started all seven games as the Utes have posted a 4-3 record so far this season. Is mostly used in the three-hole or five-spot in the Utah batting order. This is a link to a walk-off double Smith hit while playing for Rancho Buena Vista high school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkNIMUaQdV4
Outfielder Hunter Mercado-Hood is a freshman at University of San Diego, a left-handed hitter who turned down pro money from the Oakland Athletics after being drafted in the 38th round last summer. The scouting report? Can flat-out hit. Was recruited by UCLA, Cal Poly and Oregon after hitting .495 as a high school senior, with five home runs, 14 doubles and 35 runs scored. Is 6-0, 195 from Brentwood, California. Turned 19 on February 16. Prospect video shows his strong outfield arm and potent bat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5W12UAgIjA
Right-hander Mikey Wright was a celebrated high school pitcher in Elk Grove, California, who is now a freshman at San Jose State, where his 6-4, 195 frame is generating 90-mph velocity. To say he was on a good high school team would be an understatement – one of his teammates went straight to USC, another went to UCLA. Was 7-0 with a 1.68 ERA as a high school senior, striking out 55 batters in 62 innings. Also hit four home runs that year, but his arm is most valuable. Notably, a three-time winner of conference pitcher of the year. Born in Stockton, California, he won’t turn 19 until November. Has had a tough start to his college career with seven walks in 8.1 innings, starting two games and making four appearances overall for a rebuilding NCAA Division-1 Spartans program that is 2-7 to start the season. Here are his thoughts on moving to the college level, and video of him throwing in high school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxZkqbg94HQ
Catcher Alan Baldwin was drafted in the 49th round by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, but chose to attend his home state University of Hawaii, where Scott Kuzminsky, who played for the HarbourCats in 2013, is a starting pitcher. Redshirted due to injury in 2012 and played in only 19 games in 2013. This year, as a sophomore, off to a slow start offensively batting .151, but has been used as high as fifth in the order and has played in seven of eight games to begin the season. Bats right, throws right. Listed at 6-2, Baldwin can also play first base or outfield, and was a standout at Kailua High School. Born in Okinawa, Japan. Here’s a video talking about his tough decision on choosing a school or going pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPgeXKB0SaY
Michael Gershman is a Beausejour, Manitoba product who is a sophomore at Valley City State in North Dakota, used as both a hitter and a pitcher. Is shifting his focus to the work his right arm can do from the mound. Bats right, has power, is a raw “tools” prospect at 6-1 and 180. Played for Weyburn Beavers of the Western Major Baseball League in 2013. Will be given an opportunity to make the team out of training camp, with a 10-day contract. Hit .287 with three home runs for Valley City State in 2013. Represented Manitoba in the 2011 Baseball Canada Junior Championship. Has speed to be used as a leadoff guy, but is also regularly called on to start games on the mound for the NAIA school. Has family ties to Victoria as well.
“We are eager to see all these players in Victoria, pushing each other for playing time while also working together to be a winning team and at the top of our division,” said General Manager Jim Swanson. “We continue to look for the best group we can fit together to make this a season where fans will follow our results right to the final day. Dennis Rogers and Bob Miller are working hard on completing the picture, and we think people here will be excited to come out to Royal Athletic Park.
“You will see a strong mix of NCAA Division-1 players on our roster, but there are also quality players who bring valuable skills from other levels of college baseball. We think this mix is coming together nicely.”
2014 roster to date – 25 players
C – Kelly Norris-Jones, Aaron Barnett, Alan Baldwin
IF – Griffin Andreychuk, Gabe Clark, Cole Kreuter, Noah Cummings, Bryce Greager
OF – Danny Collier, Nick Rutckyj, John Grimsley, Andrew Calica, Devin Carter, Hunter Mercado-Hood, Wyler Smith
P – LHP Carson Schneider, RHP Jacob McAdams, RHP Brandon Feldman, RHP Cameron Cotton, LHP Quintin Torres-Costa, LHP Will Dennis, RHP Matt Susac, RHP Bret Helton, RHP Mike Gershman, RHP Mikey Wright