Wednesday, December 10, 2014

'Cats sign UNM slugger and a pair of outfielders

The Victoria HarbourCats announced today that they have signed three more NCAA Division I athletes for the 2015 season, bringing their confirmed roster up to a total of 18 players.

Carl Stajduhar
Perhaps the biggest signing of the three was freshman third baseman Carl Stajduhar from the University of New Mexico. Stajduhar is the third UNM Lobo to be inked for next season, joining returning HarbourCat pitchers Carson Schneider and Preston Ryan. The 6-1, 210 lb. right-handed slugger was drafted by the Atlanta Braves as a first baseman in the 27th round of the 2014 draft, but he chose to join the Lobos instead of signing professionally.

Stajduhar, who can also fill in at catcher, graduated in the spring from Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado, which has one of the top high school baseball programs in the United States. In addition to being a First Team High School All-American, he also led his team to the Class 5A state title last season. Stajduhar hit .489 with 13 homers and 51 RBI in only 88 at-bats in his senior year, and the thirteen home runs set a new school record. His power is something to behold -- Stajduhar posted a stunning 1.590 OPS (on-base plus slugging) in his final year of high school. To put that in perspective, Barry Bonds set the single-season MLB record for OPS in 2004 with a 1.422 mark. I’m expecting Pembroke Street to be littered with balls off the bat of Mr. Stajduhar next summer.

A.J. Alcantara
The HarbourCats also signed Adam (A.J.) Alcantara and Evan Cassolato, a pair of outfielders from the UC Irvine Anteaters and a couple of former Wenatchee AppleSox. Not only have these guys already made the adjustment to WCL baseball, but they also picked up a wealth of experience in the 2014 College World Series. UC Irvine squeaked into the NCAA tournament in May but then proceeded to knock off No. 1 national seed Oregon State (featuring our own Gabe Clark) and sweep a Super Regional at Oklahoma State to qualify for the College World Series. Unfortunately, the Cinderella story came to an end after three games in the double-elimination CWS tournament.

Alcantara is a sophomore outfielder from Alta Loma, California. He hit .323 (all singles) with no homers and 9 RBI in 62 at-bats with the Anteaters in his debut season, and he posted a solid .408 on-base percentage. Alcantara played in left field for all three UCI games in the College World Series, going 3-for-8 with two runs scored and an RBI (squeeze bunt) -- quite an accomplishment for a freshman. He continued that success in the summer of 2014 with the AppleSox, hitting an impressive .360 with no homers and 11 RBI in 86 at-bats. His seven doubles with Wenatchee boosted his slugging percentage to a healthy .442 mark. Alcantara graduated from Bishop Amat High School, the same school attended by ex-HarbourCat Alex Garcia.

Evan Cassolato
Cassolato is a redshirt sophomore with the Anteaters who hits from the left side of the plate. The 6-0, 190 lb. outfielder from Encinitas, California hit .238 with no homers and eight RBI in 105 at-bats in his freshman year. The AppleSox used him primarily as an outfielder last summer, but he also played eight games at second base. Cassolato posted a tidy .300 batting average with no homers and eight RBI in 90 at-bats with Wenatchee, and he notched a .375 on-base percentage. Although he is reported to have good speed, he was only 5-for-9 in stolen base attempts with the AppleSox.

Of the 18 players currently under contract with the HarbourCats, a whopping 72% are upperclassmen (sophomores and juniors in the context of most summer collegiate leagues). This is starting to look like a team with significantly more experience than last year's group, which only had 36% upperclassmen. I have written about this before, but one of the most important aspects in building a winning West Coast League team is the number of veteran players that are recruited, so the 2015 version of the HarbourCats is likely going to be the best squad in franchise history.

The HarbourCats have commitments from approximately 41 players for next summer, so you can expect further announcements in the next few weeks as the signed contracts arrive in the team’s front office.

1 comment:

  1. HA HA! love that high school OPS stat for Stajduhar! 1.590 !?!?!?!