Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HarbourCats sign seven more

It’s not a sentence we like to hear: “I have good news and I have bad news.” Personally, I like to get the bad news out of the way as quickly as possible in these situations, so let’s deal with the negative stuff first.

Three more players who were previously signed won’t be suiting up for the HarbourCats this summer. Alex Fagalde, Curtis Bafus and John Naff have all pulled out over the last few days, each with a different reason. Fagalde has exceeded his innings limit for the year with Cuesta College, Washington State University has asked Bafus to attend a summer program in Pullman, Washington, and Naff is unable to play for Victoria due to academic requirements. The loss of Fagalde really stings, since he may have been the staff ace this season. The three cancellations bring the total number of players who have backed out during this offseason to 13, a new high-water mark for the team.
Austin Guibor

But here’s the good news: The HarbourCats have signed seven more players to make up for all of the departures, and the new crop is heavy on both talent and experience.

Austin Guibor is an outfielder from the San Francisco Bay Area who is completing his sophomore season with the Fresno State Bulldogs. Guibor has compiled an impressive .331 / .435 / .484 slash line (BA / OBP / SLG) so far this season. Not only can the 5-9, 185 lb. left-handed hitter get on base, but he also has some pop in his bat and has swatted four homers in 157 at-bats.
George Alamillo

The ace of HarbourCats pitching coach Alec Adame’s starting rotation at East LA College, righty George Alamillo, has also been signed. The redshirt freshman posted a fantastic 1.87 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 57 ⅔ innings pitched this spring, although he only struck out 3.8 batters per nine innings. I would expect those strikeout numbers to climb, because Alamillo struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings in his senior year at Marshall High School in Los Angeles. Alamillo had a baseball scholarship at Pepperdine University, but he was redshirted by the Waves in 2014.

Henry Omaña
Hardcore HarbourCats fans may recognize Henry Omaña, a hard-throwing reliever from Cal State Fullerton (CSF). Omaña was a workhorse for the Cowlitz Black Bears over the last two summers, as the 6-4, 225 lb. right-hander appeared in 22 (of 54) games each year. Last summer, the junior from Walnut, California had a 3.69 ERA with one save in 46 ⅓ innings. In 2013, Omaña registered a 3.99 ERA with five saves in 38 ⅓ innings pitched with the Black Bears. He has been used sparingly this spring by CSF, giving up seven earned runs in only 5 ⅓ innings on the hill, so Omaña should be fired up this summer. Don’t be surprised if he nails down the closer’s job with the HarbourCats.

Shawn Kennedy II is a right-handed pitcher with Georgetown (Ky.) College, an NAIA Division I school. The 5-11, 180 lb. junior had a 5.40 ERA and 1.76 WHIP with 36 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched this spring. Kennedy had a stellar 1.98 ERA when he pitched for Adame at East LA College in 2014. He hails from San Dimas, California, a city of 33,000 people in the San Gabriel Valley.

Dominic Topoozian
Dominic Topoozian is a junior at Fresno State. The right-handed pitcher has been used in relief by the Bulldogs after mainly starting in his two previous seasons at Fresno City College. Topoozian posted ERAs of 2.03 and 2.64 in the first two years of his collegiate career, but his ERA has ballooned to 6.00 this spring after making the jump to NCAA Division I baseball. He’s obviously capable of handling a heavy workload, because he logged a combined 190 ⅔ innings pitched in his freshman and sophomore years.

The youngest signing in the group is Josh Walker, a freshman pitcher from Grand Canyon University. The right-handed reliever, who is built like a young Pedro Martinez, has only pitched 5 ⅓ innings so far this season and he has allowed eight earned runs on five hits and three walks. Walker had an impressive senior year at Chino Hills (Ca.) High School, as he recorded a 1.05 ERA and 0.98 WHIP and struck out a Craig Kimbrel-like 14.2 batters per nine innings.

Brendan Somers
And last but not least, Victoria native Brendan Somers was signed to a 10-day contract. The former Victoria Mariner is currently a designated hitter and right fielder with Southwestern Oregon Community College, where he has notched a .214 batting average with no homers and 10 RBI in 103 at-bats so far in his sophomore season. Somers put up a solid .290 / .405 / .355 slash line (BA / OBP / SLG) with El Paso Community College in 2014.

There are now 36 players on the current roster: 15 pitchers, 4 catchers, 8 infielders and 9 outfielders.

  • The team also added a pair of coaches to help out Craig Merritt and Alec Adame. Jerry Pena of East LA College was named the team’s first-ever hitting coach. Joe Meggs, son of renowned University of Washington head coach Lindsay Meggs, was named as a third assistant coach. For more information on the new coaches, check out the HarbourCats’ press release.
  • That same press release also contained information on the HarbourCats Junior Cats Camp.

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