Bryce Greager (2B/SS/3B) is a highly-touted sophomore with the University of Nevada Wolf Pack who was selected in the 37th round of the 2011 draft by the Texas Rangers. The 6-1, 195 lb. infielder had probably the best season of high school baseball that is humanly possible in his senior year. Not only did Greager hit .594, but he set single-season Arizona prep records in home runs (17), RBI (75), slugging percentage (1.366 -- that’s not a typo!) and runs scored (60). Not surprisingly, he was named the 3A Arizona State Player of the Year in 2011. Greager was red-shirted by Saint Mary’s College in 2012 and last year he suffered a bit of a power outage playing for Chandler-Gilbert Community College, hitting .268 with one homer and 26 RBI in 153 at-bats. He still demonstrated very good strike zone judgement (28 walks versus 35 strikeouts) and a .389 on-base percentage, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Greager take a big step forward offensively in 2014. He hasn't played much with the Wolf Pack so far this season, but he does have a double in eight at-bats and a .417 on-base percentage.
The Oakland A’s selected 6-0, 190 lb. Hunter Mercado-Hood in the 38th round of the 2013 draft -- and it's not difficult to understand why. The freshman outfielder at the University of San Diego hits from the left side, and his smooth swing reminds me a little bit of Ken Griffey Jr’s stroke. Mercado-Hood played for Team USA (16U) in 2011 and as a senior at De La Salle High School in Concord, California hit .495 with a .905 slugging percentage. He also had five homers, 18 RBI and 13 steals in only 85 at-bats that season and he was named a Louisville Slugger first-team All-American. Mercado-Hood’s raw power combined with a knack for completely controlling the strike zone gives him a very high ceiling as a ballplayer. He managed to get into four games with the Wenatchee Applesox last summer (0-for-7), so he’s already had a taste of WCL action. With the Toreros in 2014, Mercado-Hood is hitting .500 with three RBI and a stolen base in 16 at-bats. Don’t be surprised if he makes an appearance in this summer’s West Coast League All Star Game.
Michael “Mikey” Wright is a freshman pitcher with San Jose State who hails from Elk Grove, California. The 6-4, 195 lb. hurler went 7-0 in his senior year of high school and posted a 1.69 ERA to go along with a tidy 1.09 WHIP in 62 innings on the mound. He also struck out 55 and walked 24 batters. Wright has had a rough start to his college career, as he currently sports a 14.04 ERA in his 8 ⅓ innings pitched for the Spartans.
The third drafted player in this group of signees is Alan Baldwin, a redshirt sophomore with the University of Hawaii. The 6-1, 195 lb. catcher, who can also play some outfield and first base, is a teammate of current HarbourCat Quintin Torres-Costa and ex-HarbourCat Scott Kuzminsky. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Baldwin hit .211 with no homers and two RBI in 38 at-bats. As a senior at Kailua High School in 2011, he hit .361 with a pair of homers before getting taken in the 49th round of the MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. Baldwin has started seven of the Rainbow Warriors’ first 12 games at catcher and he’s hitting .111 with three RBI in 27 at-bats.
Wyler Smith is a 6-2, 205 lb. sophomore outfielder with the University of Utah and a teammate of Bret Helton. As a freshman, Smith hit .277 with one homer and 12 RBI in 112 at-bats and so far this season he’s hitting .233 with no homers and two RBI in 43 at-bats as the Utes' starting centre fielder. Smith, a business management major, plans to open a brewery if a career in professional baseball doesn't work out. Who knows, maybe he’ll end up opening one right here in the beer capital of Canada.
Mike Gershman is the fifth Canadian signed by the HarbourCats for the 2014 season, although he is the first player signed to a 10-day contract. Gershman is a junior at Valley City State University in North Dakota (NAIA Division I). The native of Beausejour, Manitoba plays right field and pitches, but he’ll probably be used out of the bullpen with the HarbourCats. In 2013 at Valley City State, Gershman hit .287 with three homers and 13 RBI in 101 at-bats and had a 7.04 ERA in 7 ⅔ innings on the mound. He played in the WMBL last summer for the Weyburn Beavers, hitting .204 with four RBI in 54 at-bats. He did not make any appearances on the hill for the Beavers.