|Photo and graphic by Brian Hayes|
Mercado-Hood came within 9 percentage points of winning the WCL batting title, trailing only Klamath Falls’ Steven Packard (.394), who is about to enter his senior year at the University of Oregon. HMH also finished second in the league in runs batted in, behind only Vince Fernandez of the Yakima Valley Pippins, who knocked in 51 runs. Mercado-Hood’s achievements are even more impressive when you consider that he just completed his freshman season at the University of San Diego and only received 75 at-bats this spring with the Toreros.
In a more informal poll, the bloggers also named Mercado-Hood the player on the HarbourCats' 2014 roster that is most likely to reach the big leagues. The Oakland A's know a thing or two about scouting and player development, so it's no surprise that they drafted him in 2013. Maybe we'll get lucky and Seattle will select Mercado-Hood when he re-enters the draft, giving us the opportunity to watch him climb through the Mariners' system in Everett and Tacoma before reaching the Emerald City. Ah, to dream...
Nathan Lukes finished second in voting on the basis of an outstanding season that saw him hit .343 and tie Gabe Clark for the team lead in runs scored with 35 -- the new single-season team record. He was also the team’s best defensive outfielder, leading the HarbourCats with six outfield assists.
Gabe Clark came third in team MVP voting. He finished in a tie for second in the WCL in homers with eight, alongside Kevin Kline of the Corvallis Knights. Vince Fernandez of the Pippins set a new league record this summer with 10 round-trippers.
The full voting results are as follows:
- Hunter Mercado-Hood - 21 points
- Nathan Lukes - 16 points
- Gabe Clark - 13 points
- Mikey Wright - 9 points
- Alex Fagalde - 7 points
- Sean Watkins - 6 points
- Alex Rogers - 5 points
- Griffin Andreychuk - 5 points
- Mr. HarbourCat, Alex DeGoti - 2 points
- It has been a pretty good week for HMH, since he was also named the WCL Player of the Week earlier today.
- The HarbourCats finished the season with an average attendance of 1,576 fans, the most in the WCL and 159 fans per game more than the second-place Bend Elks. Victoria's attendance was 9.7% higher than in 2013.
- The first round of the WCL playoffs begin on Tuesday night with Corvallis (35-19) facing Bend (31-23) and Bellingham (37-17) going up against Yakima Valley (35-19). All matchups are a best-of-three series.