VICTORIA, B.C. – HarbourCats fans will like this – the number of returning players for the 2016 West Coast League season is now up to a whopping eight, giving the people of Victoria lots of familiar faces to root, root, root for next summer.
Michael Gretler, now a sophomore at Oregon State University, will return for a second season in the familiar white and blue. The 6-2/180 product of Bonney Lake, WA, saw a lot of action at third base for the HarbourCats in 2015, and the right-handed hitter hit .236 (25/106) and had a .373 on-base percentage in 32 games, hitting one home run and stealing one base. Gretler, a 2014 draft choice of the Boston Red Sox, provided premium defence at the hot corner.
“Michael is a quality player, but above that he’s a tremendous person and works very hard,” said General Manager Jim Swanson. “He can provide so many things for us defensively, and always seemed to get on base when we needed it most.”
In addition to Gretler, other returning players are Griffin Andreychuk, AJ Alcantara, PJ Floyd, Austin Dondanville, Nick Wojtysiak, Nick Meyer and Josh Walker.
The HarbourCats have also added four players from Fresno State, the same school that provided all-star pitcher Dominic Topoozian and hitters Austin Guibor and Torin Goldstein last season. Catcher Joe Prior, shortstop/infielder Scott Silva, outfielder Jake Stone, and right-handed pitcher Mark Reece.
The signings bring the roster total to 22 players.
IF Michael Gretler, Oregon State University (Sophomore), from Bonney Lake, WA
IF Scott Silva, Fresno State University (Junior), from Fresno, CA
OF Jake Stone, Fresno State University (Junior), from Carlsbad, CA
C Joe Prior, Fresno State University (Junior), from Los Alamilos, CA
RHP Mark Reece, Fresno State University (redshirt Junior), from Roseville, CA
Reece previously pitched at Nevada, then sat a year to move to Fresno State. In high school, he threw two no-hitters, one of them on his mother’s birthday. His one brother, Kevin, is an MMA fighter. Reece stands 6’5/214.
Prior is a right-handed hitting catcher who can also play first base, making 20 starts there in 2015 as part of his 42 games played. He hit .247 with three doubles and a home run, with the long ball a three-run shot that led his team to a 3-1 win over Nevada.
Silva, who started his college career at Gonzaga, played for the WCL’s Walla Walla Sweets in 2013 right out of high school, seeing action in 32 games. Silva played for Fresno junior college last year hitting .225 with nine doubles and six stolen bases in 39 games.
Stone, 6’1/180 and a lefty hitter, played both left field and centre field for the Bulldogs in 2014. Stone hit .420 in his senior year in high school with two home runs and didn’t make an error on 72 chances. He also had a perfect fielding record as a freshman at Fresno State.
Current roster for 2016 (22 players)
*2B/SS Griffin Andreychuk, Seattle University
2B Rykker Tom, University of San Diego
1B/OF/LHP Matt Warkentin, University of San Francisco
3B Nyles Nygaard, University of Washington
IB/DH/Util Brayden Resch, North Dakota State
*IF/3B Michael Gretler, Oregon State
IF/SS Shawn Silva, Fresno State University
OF Matt Smith, Sacramento State
*OF AJ Alcantara, UC-Irvine
*OF/IF PJ Floyd, Sacramento State
OF Ryan Anderson, UC-Davis
OF Jake Stone, Fresno State University
*C Nick Meyer, Cal Poly
C James Outman, Sacramento State
C Joe Prior, Fresno State University
RHP Colin Ashworth, Orange Coast College
*RHP Austin Dondanville, Cal Poly
RHP Kyle Peeler, Colorado State-Pueblo
*RHP Josh Walker, Orange Coast College
*LHP Nick Wojtysiak, Paradise Valley CC
RHP James Kannenberg, University of San Francisco
RHP Mark Reese, Fresno State University
*– Returning player