Tuesday, March 10, 2015

HarbourCats sign seven; outfield beefed up

Kevin Collard
The HarbourCats announced today that they have signed seven more players for the 2015 season, including four outfielders, two pitchers and a catcher. Three of the signees are freshmen, two are high school seniors, one is a sophomore and the other is a junior.

Kevin Collard is a speedy centre fielder from Vista, California who is generating a significant amount of buzz for the upcoming MLB draft. The left-handed hitting slugger is a senior at Rancho Buena Vista High School, the same school that former HarbourCat Wyler Smith attended. Assuming Collard doesn’t sign with an MLB club this summer, he’ll be suiting up for the University of San Diego in the fall. Although his numbers as a high school junior aren't available, Collard put up an excellent .417 / .430 / .527 slash line in his sophomore year. He’s a potential impact player in the West Coast League despite his tender age.
Kacy Smith

Kacy Smith is a 5-10, 190 lb. outfielder from the University of San Diego (USD) who played the previous two seasons at Grossmont College in El Cajon, California. Smith is only two-for-seven in limited playing time with the Toreros this season, but he was named to the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) Baseball Team in both of his years at Grossmont. He has shown outstanding strike-zone judgment -- not only did he lead the league with 23 walks last season, but he only struck out 10 times in 145 at-bats. Smith also hit .324 with one homer and 24 RBI and was 10-for-14 in stolen base attempts. The left-handed hitter has a reputation for playing baseball with a hard-nosed attitude, but that isn’t really a surprise considering that he was a star linebacker at Helix High School in La Mesa, California. I mean no disrespect to other HarbourCats, but any West Coast League team with playoff aspirations needs to have guys like this on its roster.
Reno Rankin

Kevin Collard isn't the only speedy centre fielder in the group of newcomers. The HarbourCats have also signed Mareno Rankin aka Reno Rankin Jr., a freshman from Los Angeles Mission College with a smooth swing. Rankin is hitting .273 with a team-leading .467 on-base percentage in 33 at-bats this season. He has yet to hit a homer or drive in a run, but he has scored five times and is three-for-three in stolen base attempts. The 6-0, 180 lb. switch-hitter is a graduate of Cleveland High School, a public school in Reseda, California that produced former MLB great Bret Saberhagen. Rankin is a dynamic player who will be a lot of fun to watch at Royal Athletic Park this summer. Incidentally, Rankin's father is a big-time manager in the music industry and an actor. Oh, and his uncle is some guy named Jamie Foxx. Seriously.
Austin Dondanville

Austin Dondanville is a right-handed pitcher from California Polytechnic State University ("Cal Poly") in San Luis Obispo. The 6-0, 195 lb. freshman has yet to make his college debut, but we can expect him to feature excellent control on the mound based on past performance. Dondanville put up very good numbers in his senior year at De La Salle High School in Concord, California: a 1.53 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 23 innings pitched with 25 strikeouts and only five walks. He is also a former high school teammate of ex-HarbourCat Hunter Mercado-Hood.

Seve Romo
Nicholas Severiano Romo is named after both Jack Nicklaus and Severiano Ballesteros, but his friends just call him Seve Romo. The right-handed reliever is a sophomore at the University of San Diego and a native of Fullerton, California. Romo, who has battled control issues from time to time, has only made two appearances for the Toreros so far this season, giving up a hit and two walks in two scoreless innings on the hill. In his freshman season at USD, Romo posted a 2.30 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 10 appearances. Although he held opponents to a .224 batting average, he issued a generous 5.7 walks per nine innings. Romo played for the Matsu Miners in the Alaska Baseball League last summer and recorded a 5.85 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in 27 ⅔ innings pitched.

Ben Polshuk
Like Austin Dondanville, Ben Polshuk is making the jump from De La Salle High School to the Cal Poly Mustangs this season. Polshuk is a right fielder and a right-handed contact hitter with gap power. He has seen limited action so far in his freshman year, going one-for-nine at the dish. In his senior year of high school, Polshuk hit .333 with zero homers and 16 RBI in 81 at-bats. The 6-4, 195 lb. native of Clayton, California has the physical tools that make scouts drool.

Catcher Nick Meyer is a senior at Santa Margarita High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, and he’ll join Dondanville and Polshuk at Cal Poly in the fall. Meyer hit .330 with no homers and 12 RBI in 88 at-bats in his junior year of high school and he showed good strike-zone judgement, walking more often than he struck out (11 walks versus eight strikeouts). Meyer helped lead Santa Margarita to their first-ever CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship at Dodger Stadium in 2014.

The team also announced that Evan Cassolato will not be playing with the HarbourCats this summer due to other commitments. The current roster, which can be found here, now contains a total of 36 players.

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