Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fagalde, Rogers and Andreychuk to return in 2015

One of the great aspects of baseball is that fans can follow their favourite players on a daily basis and get to know their personalities, tendencies and even some of their idiosyncrasies. The familiarity that we have with the players on the home team adds to the enjoyment of ballgames, so it’s important that there be some sort of continuity from year to year on a baseball roster -- especially in college wood-bat leagues that may be prone to high turnover.

The HarbourCats took a big step forward today in ensuring that roster continuity by announcing that three key players from this year's team will be returning to Victoria for the 2015 West Coast League season. Pitchers Alex Fagalde and Alex Rogers, along with second baseman Griffin Andreychuk, will be back next summer in a HarbourCats uniform. Additional returning players may be announced in the coming weeks, so Victoria may feature more returnees than it did in 2014, when only Alex DeGoti, Logan Lombana and Ryan Keller came back for a second season.

Alex Fagalde
Fagalde was one of the most effective pitchers on the HarbourCats staff in 2014, compiling an impressive 1.85 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 34 innings on the hill. His underlying numbers prove that his season was no fluke -- his strikeout to walk ratio was greater than 3:1 and he struck out 9.3 batters per nine innings pitched. Although he finished fifth in team MVP voting conducted by the bloggers at the Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Blog, he would have surely finished higher had he been given a more prominent role in the first half of the year. Fagalde earned the win in his last three appearances of the summer -- his only three starts of the season.

Fagalde was injured this past spring and did not get into any games for the Cuesta College Cougars, but his accomplishments this summer weren't that much of a surprise based on his past performance at the collegiate level. In his dominant freshman campaign in 2013, he put up eerily similar numbers to those with Victoria: a 1.86 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He is a potential staff ace for the ‘Cats next year.

Rogers was a huge surprise for the HarbourCats in 2014. The freshman from Trinidad State Junior College was only signed initially to a 10-day contract, but the former Nanaimo Pirate made the most of his opportunities and earned a full-season role with the club. Rogers posted a solid 3.09 ERA in 10 appearances (9 starts) and he tied Fagalde for the second-best WHIP on the staff -- a tidy 1.18 mark. Rogers should be even better next summer with another year of experience at Trinidad State under his belt.

As expected, Andreychuk had a solid season with the HarbourCats, notching a .271 batting average with one homer and 14 RBI in 140 at-bats. His .407 on base-percentage was fifth-best on the team and he was one of only three HarbourCats who walked more than he struck out (Nathan Lukes and Aaron Barnett were the others). The Nanaimo native will be returning for his sophomore season at Seattle U this fall.

Stay tuned for further roster announcements as coaches Graig Merritt and Alec Adame continue their recruiting efforts.

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