The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team has added 14 players to its 2010-11 recruiting class with nine coming from the junior college ranks and five from the preps. Combined with three signees from last fall and the eligibility of Sean Hoelscher and Justin Meza, 19 new players will don the Islander blue in 2010-11.
"I think this will be the most talented group of individuals we've brought in since I have been here," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "Coach (Chris) Ramirez and Coach (Marty) Smith have done an excellent job of putting together our roster for the fall of 2010. We have a great mix of some veteran players from the junior college ranks as well as some talented freshmen that can come in and help us get better right away."
The latest group is pitching and catching dominant as the Islanders look to shore up areas that were concerns a season ago. Nine newcomers are pitchers with six righties and three lefties. Three newcomers will work into the mix behind the plate, while two other players will see action in the infield.
A pair of former All-South Texas players are in the new class. Dan Sciantarelli played at Ray High School before heading to North Central Texas College, while Arnold Alaniz just finished his career at Hebbronville High School.
The 14 join Logan Nottebrok, Sean Washington, and Rolando Botello, who inked in the fall. Also set to join the team in 2011 will be Sean Hoelscher, who sat out last spring after transferring back to the Coastal Bend from TCU. Meza joins the active roster after sitting out the past season.
Islander recruiting coordinator Chris Ramirez commented on each of the signees.
Jon-Pierre Garcia (Catcher) Jr., 6-3, 215/ Brooklyn, N.Y./Southeastern CC
Garcia played at Southeastern Community College a season ago and had a stellar campaign. Garica tied for the NJCAA the Division II lead in home runs with 20 and was second with 91 runs batted in. He finished with a .436 average, 15 doubles and 62 runs scored. As a freshman, Garcia hit .381 at Connors State in Oklahoma with nine home runs, 44 RBI and 13 doubles. In 25 games this summer Garcia belted six home runs and drove in 20 for the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods Collegiate Baseball League.
Ramirez on Garcia: "Jumpy is coming off of a huge 2010 season at Southeastern Community College where he earned All-America honors. Garcia is a very talented offensive player that should fit into the middle of our lineup and give us another guy who can drive the ball with power to all fields."
Santiago Ruiz (Catcher) Jr., 5-11, 190/ San Antonio/Blinn CC
Ruiz spent the past two seasons at Blinn Community College batting over .300 each season. As a sophomore, Ruiz was second on the team with a .371 average at the plate. He drove in 16 runs, scored 17 and had five doubles. The Reagan High School graduate hit .309 as a rookie with 22 RBI, six doubles and a pair of home runs. In seven games this summer with the Vermont Mountaineers in the New England Collegiate Baseball, Ruiz hit .400 with a pair of homers in 25 at bats.
Ramirez on Ruiz: "Santiago is a guy who has been on our radar since playing at Reagan High School. He has put together two very strong season's at one of the better junior college programs in the state. Santiago has the ability to be one of the top defensive catchers in our league and will help solidify us behind the plate."
Michael Valdez (Catcher) Jr., 5-11, 185/Fort Worth/Texas Wesleyan Univ.
Valdez spent two seasons at Texas Wesleyan before sitting out in 2010. In 2009, Valdez averaged .306 with 19 runs batted in. As a freshman, Valdez hit .250. In high school, Valdez was named to the Puma/Under Armour preseason All-America team and helped his team to the 4A state finals.
Ramirez on Valdez: "Michael is another talented defensive catcher transferring from Texas Wesleyan after sitting out for a season. We first saw Michael at one of our showcase camps this past summer where he stood out as a guy who has the ability to play at the Division I level."
Drew Vest (Shortstop) Jr., 5-10, 160/Missouri City/Alvin CC
Speedster hit .364 as a sophomore at Alvin Community College scoring 24 runs and was perfect with 11 steals in 11 attempts. Vest upped his average to a team-best .529 in the regionals as a senior. Prior to spending a season at Grayson Community College, Vest helped lead Elkins to three district crowns.
Ramirez on Vest: "Drew just finished a very strong sophomore campaign where he was the every day shortstop at Alvin Community College. Drew will immediately help to meet one of our biggest needs which is to increase our team speed and athleticism. His ability to drag bunt, push bunt and steal a base will give our offense another needed weapon."
Dan Sciantarelli (Third Base) Jr., 6-0, 195/Corpus Christi/North Central Texas CC
Sciantarelli played two seasons at North Central Texas Community College. He averaged .360 as a sophomore with 15 doubles, four home runs and a pair of triples earning a selection to the Texas Community College All-Star Game. He was a .352 hitter as a freshman. At Ray High School, Sciantarelli was the district MVP as a senior, second-team all-state and All-South Texas.
Ramirez on Sciantarelli: "Dan is a former standout athlete from Corpus Christi Ray High School who just finished his sophomore year at North Central Texas Community College. It's important for us to continue to recruit and sign the top players from this area whether it is directly out of high school or two years down the road out of junior college. Dan has been a very consistent offensive player at North Central the past two seasons hitting over .350 each year and we look forward to watching Dan continue that success as an Islander.
Alex Jack (LHP) Jr., 6-4, 220/Arroyo, Calif./Chabot CC
Jack spent two seasons at Chabot Community College posting a combined 11-2 record. Jack earned first-team all-league honors as a sophomore after posting a 5-1 mark with a 3.44 ERA. He had 39 strikeouts in 55 innings while holding opponents to a .211 average. As a freshman in 2009, Jack was 6-1 with a 3.24 ERA. He averaged nearly a strikeout per inning with 58Ks in 58-1/3 innings, while holding hitters to a .220 average at the plate.
This summer he pitched 17 innings for the Edenton Steamers in the Coastal Plains Collegiate League striking out 13.
Ramirez on Jack: "Alex is a tall, lanky left-handed pitcher from Chabot Community College in California. Alex is a proven winner at the college level posting an 11-2 record as a starter in his two season at the junior college. We expect Alex to be a leader on and off the field."
Arnold Alaniz (LHP) Jr., 5-10, 180/Hebbronville/Hebbronville HS
Alaniz had a stellar senior campaign for Hebbronville. He finished 10-1 on the season with a 0.22 ERA after allowing just two hits in district play. Alaniz was named district MVP and second-team All-South Texas after striking out 135 hitters. Alaniz was solid at the plate hitting .450. He is also strong academically graduating eighth in his class.
Ramirez on Alaniz: "Arnold is another very talented left-handed pitcher from our surrounding area that will compete for significant innings right away. Arnold brings a very strong and live arm to our program with tons of potential."
Todd Simko (LHP) Jr., 6-4, 225/Arroyo Grande, Calif./Cuesta CC
Powerful lefty pitched two seasons at Cuesta College in California. Simko helped lead team to first place in the league and earned all-league honors as a sophomore in 2009. Simko was 5-5 with a 3.73 ERA and 65 Ks in 99 innings. In high school, Simko was first-team all-league and second-team all-county as a senior. He teamed this summer with Marc Damon and Bobby Buckner.
Ramirez on Simko:
"Todd comes to us from Cuesta Community College in California and adds another power arm to our staff, with his fastball being his most dominant pitch. He is yet another physically-gifted athlete that has a chance to be one of the most talented left-handed pitchers in our league."
Chance Bragg (RHP) Jr., 6-1, 185/Abilene/Vernon CC
Bragg was a two-year member of the starting rotation at Vernon. In his second season he tied for the team lead with three wins as he went 3-7 and was second in strikeouts with 37 and in innings pitched with 62. He was the team's top pitcher in 2009. He earned all-district honors as a junior and senior at Wylie High School.
Ramirez on Bragg: "Chance has been in the starting rotation the past two seasons at Vernon Community College. Chance has a live fastball and very quick arm speed. Chance has a ton of upside and we are excited about having him as a part of our program."
Michael Boyle (RHP) Jr., 6-2, 185/Houston/Alvin CC
Boyle tossed 24 innings as a sophomore at Alvin fanning 18. He recorded a won-loss record of 1-1. The righty was a two-time all-district performer at Tomball High School.
Ramirez on Boyle: "With a fastball in the low to mid 90's, Michael is going to have one of the strongest arms on our team and in our league. Our expectations as a coaching staff are extremely high for Michael to play a major role on our pitching staff."
Bryce Zak (RHP) Fr., 6-3, 175/Angelo/Central HS
Zak finished his high school career posting a 3-1 record at Central High School. He received first-team all-district honors for his performance. A two-way player, Zak hit .314 as a senior.
Ramirez on Zak: "Bryce fits the mold for the type of young, talented pitchers we want to surround ourselves with in our program. He has a lean and projectable frame with a live arm that will only continue to develop."
Garrett Guys (RHP) Fr., 6-3, 220/La Vernia/La Vernia HS
A two-way player in high school, Guys will focus on pitching in college. He was 7-1 as a senior with a 1.79 ERA to earn district MVP accolades. He struck out 102 hitters in 58 innings. Offensively, he hit .474 with 35 RBI, 12 doubles, four home runs and 10 steals as a senior.
Ramirez on Guys: "Garrett is a very strong, athletic right handed pitcher out of La Vernia High School. Garrett is another guy who stood out at one of our showcase camps with a fastball in the mid to upper 80's and imposing frame on the mound."
Jake McNeil (RHP) Fr., 6-5, 200/League City/Clear Creek HS
McNeil was an all-district performer as a reliever following his senior campaign. He finished his senior season with seven saves.
Ramirez on McNeil: "With the addition of Jacob to our roster we are continuing to follow our commitment to bring in very talented and projectable pitchers from the high school level. Jacob's fastball is straight downhill and he shows a plus slider that should lead to success at any level."
Tanner Green (RHP) Fr., 6-1, 180/Georgetown/Georgetown HS
Greene posted a 2-1 record with five saves as a senior. In 35 innings pitched, Greene had a 2.80 earned-run average and 29 strikeouts. He earned all-district honors as a senior.
Ramirez on Green: "Tanner comes from one of the top high school programs in the state of Texas. Tanner will bring deception to our pitching staff by pitching out of the submarine arm slot. His ability to throw multiple above average pitches for strikes from down under adds another weapon to our bullpen."