Hardcore Victoria baseball fans will remember the name Bret Helton -- he was the North Division starter in the West Coast League All Star Game at Royal Athletic Park last July. Helton gave up an earned run on three hits in his one inning of work that night, including a double off the bat of none other than Alex Real of the HarbourCats. On the summer, he went 2-1 with 2.49 ERA in 39 ⅔ innings pitched for the Walla Walla Sweets, striking out 38 and walking 19 batters. A closer inspection of the stats shows that Helton’s WHIP was a worrisome 1.67, but we’re pretty confident that he’ll improve on that mark with another year of experience under his belt and that he'll find his way back onto the WCL All-Star team.
Noah Cummings is a 6-0, 182 lb. freshman at Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The middle infielder hit .438 with four homers and 32 RBI in his senior year at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California. Cummings is a right-handed hitter who might see a fair bit of action at third base for the HarbourCats. It's not that surprising to see Victoria sign a player out of ORU, as HarbourCats coach Bob Miller spent six years there (1996-2001) as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Aaron Barnett should have no trouble adjusting to living in Canada, since he lists hockey as his favourite sport (other than baseball). Barnett, a freshman at Pepperdine, is a left-handed hitting catcher who can also play some first base and outfield. The 6-0, 185 lb. native of Mission Viejo, California hit .337 with two homers and 13 RBI in 101 at-bats in his senior year of high school. We’re sure that Aaron will have a great time during his summer in Victoria, but here’s a tip for him to make his stay even more enjoyable: If you’re a Ducks or Kings fan then you might want to downplay that here in Canucks country.
Cole Kreuter, a senior at Westminster Christian High School in Miami, is the second player signed by the HarbourCats who's the son of a former big-leaguer (John Grimsley, son of Jason Grimsley, was signed three weeks ago). Cole’s Dad, Chad Kreuter, was a catcher who had his best season with the 1993 Detroit Tigers, but also played for the Rangers, Dodgers, White Sox, Angels, Royals and Mariners in a Major League Baseball career that spanned 16 seasons. Cole plays shortstop at Westminster Christian (A-Rod's old high school) and he can also hold down the second sack, but he might be used primarily at third base this summer. The 6-1, 180 lb. switch hitter will attend UC Irvine in the fall and play for his maternal grandfather, Mike Gillespie, who’s the head coach of the Anteaters.