VICTORIA, B.C. – The Victoria HarbourCats have made a pair of impactful additions to their 2017 roster, signing outfielder Hunter Vansau from Mississippi State University and left-handed pitcher Jack Owen, a Freshman-commit of Auburn University. Both players come from schools in the NCAA Div. 1 SEC, one of the deepest and most competitive conferences in college baseball.
The HarbourCats have also signed pitchers Sam Crocker of Florida Tech University (NCAA Div. 2) and Jacob Castillo from Mt. San Antonio College.
OF/INF Hunter Vansau, Mississippi State University, Junior, Crawford, TX, 6-3/195
LHP Jack Owen, Auburn University, Freshman-commit, Coto de Caza, CA, 6-2/170
LHP Sam Crocker, Florida Tech University, Sophomore, Merritt Island, FL, 6-1/190
RHP Jacob Castillo, Mt. San Antonio College, Freshman, Glendora, CA, 5-11/205
Hunter Vansau is a gifted player with capability to be a difference maker with the bat and with his glove. Vansau signed with Dallas Baptist University out of high school, spending one year there before transferring to Northeast Texas Community College. Vansau hit .378 with 11 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 40 RBIs while posting a .488 on-base percentage as a sophomore at Northeast Texas.
Vansau played in the Alaska Baseball League during the summer of 2016, finishing seventh in the league with a .297 batting average in 46 games. He transferred to Mississippi State for his junior year in 2017 where he is expected to compete for a role in the outfield and at first base.
Vansau joins his Mississippi State teammates, infielders Harrison Bragg and Reed Smith on the 2017 HarbourCats roster. The trio are the first-ever players signed by the HarbourCats from Mississippi State, a program that has reached the College World Series nine times and produced 185 major league draft picks.
The first Auburn Tiger to sign in Victoria, Jack Owen is a highly touted pitching prospect committed to Auburn for the fall of 2017. A senior at J Serra High School in southern California in 2017, Owen features an upper-80’s fastball, having earned 2016 Underclass Second Team and 17u Tournament All-American Team honors from Perfect Game. He also competed in the 2016 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, FL, earning All Tournament recognition.
Sam Crocker is another talented lefthander who is in his first year at Florida Tech University after signing out of high school and spending his freshman year at the University of Central Florida (NCAA Div. 1; AAC) where he made four scoreless appearances as a freshman. Crocker was a two-sport star in baseball and basketball at Merritt Island High School while graduating with a 4.28 GPA.
Jacob Castillo is a workhorse as a freshman right-hander at Mt. San Antonio College. Early in the 2017 spring season, Castillo leads the Mounties with 20 innings pitched over five appearances, three starts, posting a 1-1 record with a save and 14 strikeouts.
“All of these players add quality depth to our roster for head coach Brian McRae to utilize as we aim to build on the success of last season’s playoff berth,” says HarbourCats general manager Brad Norris-Jones. “Hunter Vansau is a proven run producer who will come battle tested from Mississippi State and the SEC. Jack Owen is regarded as a top high school arm in the United States resulting in his commitment to Auburn, while Crocker and Castillo possess tremendous repertoires, making each of them tremendous assets to our pitching staff.”
The HarbourCats open the 2017 season on the road, June 1, in the inaugural game for the Port Angeles Lefties. Victoria’s home opener is set for Monday, June 5, a 6:35pm first pitch against the Wenatchee AppleSox.