WNC’s Harber has good shot in draft

Who will become Western Nevada College’s 28th baseball athlete to be drafted?

The Wildcats figure to have several current players and a few more from the past who could be taken during the 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, which began Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Possible draftees include 2013 Wildcats Conor Harber, Cody Hamlin and Brandon Show, according to head coach D.J. Whittemore.

“At this point, I would think that Harber would be the only player with a better than 50-50 shot of being drafted,” Whittemore said. “Hamlin and Show have turned in the requested information from Major League teams, but so have (Cole) Ferguson, (Mike) Umscheid and (Donald) Glover (Jr.). Nobody knows how things will turn out. It’s a 100 percent crapshoot.”

Harber did his best Ted Williams impersonation this spring, becoming the first Wildcat to hit .400 or better. In 58 games, the outfielder batted .411, and his 56 hits included 14 doubles, a school-record 11 triples and four homers. He led the Wildcats with a .636 slugging average, and his 42 RBI were second on the team.

“Harber definitely has the skills to be drafted, and he’s the best position prospect we’ve coached at Western Nevada,” Whittemore said. “But he might place himself out of the draft because he knows down the road he’s likely to be a top-10-round pick.”

Harber’s also was successful on the mound. In five appearances, Harber’s 0.96 earned-run average was the lowest among Wildcat pitchers.

As dominant as Harber was in the batter’s box, Hamlin did the same on the mound. The Scenic West Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year posted a 10-2 record and 1.45 ERA. He led the Wildcats with 76 strikeouts while walking just 11 hitters. Hamlin was second to teammate Phil Belding with four complete games.

Show was slowed by elbow tightness early in the season but won four of his five decisions and compiled a 4.54 ERA. The sophomore right-hander fanned 34 and walked 14.

Whittemore also listed six former Wildcats, including the University of Nevada’s Brooks Klein, as possible draft choices.

“Klein has a chance to drafted, and (Sean) Potkay had the kind of season where he might be drafted,” Whittemore said. “You never know. There’s no science to it. There are lots of available players. Some won’t get drafted and nobody knows why.”

As a junior at Tulane University, Potkay, a 2011 second-team All-Region 18 player at WNC, delivered three game-winning hits and led the Green Wave with a .458 on-base average, five homers and 377 putouts. In his senior season, Potkay hit .261 with a team-leading three homers and 35 RBI.

Klein, a Mountain West Conference second-team selection, shared the University of Nevada’s top batting average with a .346 mark, and he led the Pack with 75 hits, 36 runs scored, 42 RBI, 118 total bases and four triples. The right fielder also hit seven homers and accumulated a .544 slugging average.

Chris Garrison, 2011 Region 18 reliever of the year at WNC, has been drafted twice before: in 2008 in the 48th round by the Baltimore Orioles and in 2011 in the 28th round by the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander started out at the University of Oregon and later pitched for Kentucky in 2012. He concluded his college career at Concordia University in Los Angeles. One of the workhorses of the Eagles’ pitching staff this spring, Garrison split his 10 decisions and compiled a 2.81 ERA with three complete games and a shutout.

Power-hitting Derrick Pitts, who led the Wildcats in homers during their 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association World Series run, continued his long-ball prowess at Lee University in Cleveland this past season. Pitts hit .304 with nine homers, 12 doubles and 55 RBI.

Taylor Smart, a Region 18 second-team choice for the Wildcats in 2012, started 46 games for the Tennessee Volunteers this spring. He hit .267 with two homers and nine doubles. The infielder made four errors in 203 chances.

Matt Robertson starred for Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Ky. Robertson, a key pitcher for WNC in 2012, helped the Tigers reach the National Christian College Athletic Association World Series semifinals and finish with a 39-20 record.

Robertson was 3-0 with three saves and a 1.79 ERA during the regular season, earning All-Mid-East Region team honors.


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