More bang for the offence is the focus with the three latest signings by the Victoria HarbourCats.
Outfielders A.J. Alcantara and Evan Cassolato, both from UC-Irvine, and University of New Mexico infielder Carl Stajduhar, who can also go behind the plate, have been added to Head Coach Graig Merritt’s roster. That brings the number of players announced for 2015 to 18 – two catchers, five infielders, two outfielders, and nine pitchers.
“These are key offensive pieces with the plans Graig’s and the coaching staff’s plans for having a successful 2015 season,” said General Manager Jim Swanson.
“A.J. and Evan have West Coast League experience, and Carl was drafted by the Atlanta Braves out of high school and gives us yet another great player from the New Mexico program. It’s always exciting for us to be able to announce more players.”
Alcantara (left), a right-handed hitting outfielder currently in his sophomore season at UC-Irvine, is 6-0/205 and played for the WCL’s Wenatchee AppleSox last season, with a .360 average, 11 RBIs and four stolen bases for Wenatchee. He is from Alta Loma, California, and batted .378 for the UCI Anteaters (love that nickname) as a freshman. A product of Bishop Amat High School, where he also played football. Alcantara played in numerous high-profile showcase tournaments as a high school player and was a top college recruit.
Cassolato (right), who bats left and is a sophomore, is 6-0/190 and is slated to be the starting centre fielder at UCI. The product of Encinitas, California, hit .300 with five stolen bases in just 29 games for the AppleSox. He played high school at Cathedral Catholic High School and was a key player in championship teams at the DIII level, where he was named defensive player of the year – can really go and get it in the outfield. He also lettered in football in high school, and is a business major at UC-Irvine.
Stajduhar is a right-hitting infielder from Fort Collins, Colorado, and measures 6-1/210. He is in his freshman season with the New Mexico Lobos, teammates with HarbourCats pitchers Preston Ryan and Carson Schneider. Stajduhar was drafted in the 27th round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Braves, after being named a First Team High School All-American and Colorado 5A Player of the Year. He was also a three-time member of the All-Academic Team. He hit an impressive .489 with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs in 26 games as a senior, and hit 26 high school home runs overall – he is a powerful addition to the lineup.
The 2015 roster, as of December 8, with 18 players signed is:
C (2) – Zach Bonneau, Washington; Dane Fujinaka, Sacramento State
IF (5) – Gabe Clark, Oregon State; Griffin Andreychuk, Seattle U; Michael Gretler, Oregon State; PJ Floyd, Sacramento State; Carl Stajduhar, New Mexico
OF (2) – A.J. Alcantara, UC-Irvine; Evan Cassolato, UC-Irvine
LHP (3) – Henry Baker, Washington; Josh Mitchell, Pittsburgh; Carson Schneider, New Mexico
RHP (6) – Preston Ryan, New Mexico; Alex Rogers, Trinidad State; Alex FaGalde, Cuesta; Mikey Wright, San Jose State; Chris Fougner, Salt Lake Community College; Zander Clouse, Bellevue Community College