Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Five more NCAA Division I players coming to Victoria

Andrew Calica
The HarbourCats inked five more ballplayers today, all of them from NCAA Division I schools. Four of the five will also have at least two seasons of college baseball under their belt when they report to Victoria in June, so they’ll provide the 'Cats with some valuable veteran leadership. The roster now stands at 14 players, with 11 of those 14 coming from Division I schools.

Outfielder Andrew Calica is a sophomore at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). The 6-1, 180 lb. switch-hitter is a teammate of ex-HarbourCats David Schuknecht, Robby Nesovic, Cameron Cuneo and Joe Record. He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2012 draft by the Cleveland Indians, although Baseball America had predicted that he might go much higher than that. He was expected to be an impact player in his freshman season at UCSB, but he was plagued by a back injury and only hit .130 in 23 at-bats. Calica is an on-base machine and a classic leadoff hitter who is very patient and controls the strike zone. In his senior year of high school he walked 23 times, yet only struck out on five occasions in 94 at-bats. Even in his disappointing debut season with UCSB, he still managed to register more walks (3) than strikeouts (1). Calica makes good contact and sprays the balls to all fields, so he should fit in nicely somewhere near the top of the HarbourCats batting order. He’s also a good fielder -- he went his entire senior year of high school without committing an error. Calica is one smart ballplayer who will be a lot of fun to watch this summer at Royal Athletic Park.
Gabe Clark

Is there anything more Canadian than having a Beaver on your team? The HarbourCats just gained one of those by signing power-hitting sophomore Gabe Clark of the Oregon State University (OSU) Beavers. Clark is a 6-0, 210 lb. first baseman from Riverside, California who can also play in the outfield or at third base. He only had a .161 BA / .278 OBP in 31 at-bats in his freshman season at OSU, but the Beavers’ lineup is not exactly easy to crack into as a rookie. Oregon State went on to participate in the 2013 College World Series, finishing the season as the fourth-ranked NCAA team. Clark then won a West Coast League championship with the Corvallis Knights last summer, hitting .198 in 81 regular season at-bats with three homers and 14 RBI. He may end up winning the starting job at first base for OSU this season, and he could be a big run producer in the heart of the HarbourCats lineup.

Will Dennis
Sophomore Will Dennis is a lefty sidearm pitcher with the Seattle University Redhawks and a teammate of fellow HarbourCat Griffin Andreychuk. The 6-1, 190 lb. native of Saratoga, California (a small town near San Jose) had a very effective season out of the bullpen in his freshman year with Seattle U and it appears that he will become the team’s closer this season. Last year Dennis had a 2-0 record with a 2.78 ERA and one save in 32 ⅓ innings of relief. Although he walked 10 and struck out 15, he did not give up a single home run in his team-leading 31 appearances. He played for the Bellingham Bells last summer, compiling a 5.26 ERA in 13 ⅔ relief innings with seven walks and 12 strikeouts. Although Dennis amped up the strikeouts with the Bells, he paid for it with a loss of control -- not only did he walk seven batters in those 13 ⅔ innings, but he also hit another seven. If he can keep the strikeouts close to one per inning but improve on his control, look for Dennis to be very effective in the late innings out of the HarbourCats bullpen. He has actually pitched at RAP before, appearing for Bellingham in the last game of the 2013 season (he gave up a single in ⅔ of an inning).

Quintin Torres-Costa
Pitcher Quintin Torres-Costa (6-0, 190 lb.) is a former high-school phenom from Hilo, Hawaii and a redshirt freshman with the University of Hawaii Rainbows. Torres-Costa, a teammate of ex-HarbourCat Scott Kuzminsky, went 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in two 2013 starts with the Rainbows before being shut down with an ulnar collateral ligament tear in left elbow that was suffered while swinging the bat in early March. He eventually had Tommy John surgery in May 2013, and he may return to action with the Rainbows late in this season or he may get back on the hill in the summer with the HarbourCats. In his senior year of high school in 2012, Torres-Costa was named the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) State Pitcher of the Year and he led his high school to the state title in 2012, pitching six no-hit innings in the state final. In that game, he struck out 13 batters -- including 12 in a row -- pitching on one day’s rest. The only reason why he didn’t pitch a complete game in the state final was that he was removed from the game due to the HHSAA’s pitch-count limit. He was also named ESPN’s High School Player of the Week (West region) in May 15, 2012, and he led Hilo to the Senior Little League World Series title in 2011, posting a 0.75 ERA in the tournament.
Matt Susac

The first player from the University of Nevada Wolfpack to ever sign with the HarbourCats is pitcher Matt Susac from Roseville, California. The big right-hander has only made five appearances in the last two seasons and he missed all of last year due to elbow surgery. Susac transferred to the University of Nevada from Sacramento City College and spent his freshman season in 2011 hurling for American River College (ARC), where he went 1-2 with a 5.55 ERA in 35 ⅔ innings on the hill. Aside from staying healthy, control has been one of his biggest challenges over the last few years, as he walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in his senior year at Jesuit High School and 5.3 batters per nine with ARC. Susac did post a solid 5-1 record and 2.97 ERA in his final season of high school baseball, so he could surprise some people if he's fully recovered from his surgery.

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