SEATTLE – Washington Coach Lindsay Meggs inked six players to national letters of intent for the 2014-15 baseball season, he announced on Monday. Two players hail from in-state, three from California and one from Nevada.
“While this class is small in number, I like the balance and the makeup and I love the upside,” said Meggs. “All six of our recruits have just scratched the surface when it comes to their long term development, yet they’re talented enough to help us the minute they arrive on campus.
“And that’s the exciting part about this group,” Meggs continued. “They will compete immediately for front line innings and AB’s the minute they get here, and long term they have a chance to make a serious impact on the future of our program. This is a solid group and we can’t wait to get them on campus.”
The two players that hail from the state of Washington are Kevin (KJ) Brady, Jr. from Everett and Isaac Benard from Richland. Brady is an left-handed hitting outfielder/pitcher for Cascade High School who has been first team All-Wesco in each of the past two seasons. He is also a standout football and basketball player for Cascade.
“KJ Brady is a gamer,” said Meggs of Brady, who helped Cascade to a fifth-place finish at state in 2013. “Whether he’s helping his team win games on the mound or when he’s leading off and playing center field, KJ makes you a better team. KJ is the guy who puts pressure on everyone. Opponents feel the pressure because he can get on base and he can run, and teammates feel the pressure because you have to elevate your game and your attitude to keep up. This guy will hit the ground running as soon as he gets here and I can’t wait to watch him go.”
Benard is the son of former Major Leaguer, Marvin, who played with the San Francisco Giants from 1995-2003. The younger Benard is a left-handed hitting outfielder that was Co-Mid-Columbia Conference Player of the Year last year as a junior at Hanford High School after winning the conference triple crown with a .500 batting average, 9 home runs and 41 runs batted in.
“Isaac brings balance to this class as a legitimate power hitting corner outfielder who we believe will drive in runs,” said Meggs. “Isaac has that easy left-handed swing that you can’t teach and yet the ball comes off the bat in a very violent way. Isaac turned some heads at area codes and as the son of an ex-big leaguer there will be pro interest. However, Isaac’s best days are ahead of him and we believe that if we can get him on campus he will leave here as a big league prospect.”
Nyles Nygaard from West Torrance High School in Torrance, Calif. is the other player in the class that projects as a position player. He manned several infield positions and batted .337 with 3 home runs and 26 RBI as a junior. He played travel ball for Garciaparra Baseball Group Marucci and coach Michael Garciaparra.
“Nyles is that rare defender who can play all three infield spots if need be (3B, SS, 2B), and yet is also offensive,” said Meggs. “While he profiles for us as a third baseman or a second baseman, wherever he settles in he will contribute immediately with the bat. Nyles has good feel at the plate for a young hitter, and as he continues to get stronger we think he has a chance to be an RBI machine. All that being said, the best thing about Nyles is that he’s a grinder, and those types of kids fit in well around here.”
Meggs reeled in three players that he expects to contribute down the road on the mound for him. They are right-handed pitcher Noah Bremer, left-hander Channing Nesbitt and righty Spencer Jones.
Bremer was first team West Alameda Foothills and honorable mention All-Alameda Contra Costa in 2013 after posting a 4-4 record with a 1.05 ERA for Berkeley High School in Berkeley, Calif. Bremer comes from an athletic-based family as his father, Matt, is his high school coach, his older brother, Tyler, pitches professionally, and his mother, Shelly Neufeld, played college basketball at the University of California.
“Noah is the potential weekend guy we are all looking for in the Pac 12,” said Meggs. “He is already 87-90 with good fastball command and much more in the tank. And while the velocity is only going to improve with Noah’s long and loose frame, it’s really his command of both the curve ball and changeup that sets him apart.
“Plus, his makeup’s off the charts. His older brother Tyler pitches in the Cubs organization so Noah has been around it for a long time. This guy is going to be special.”
Nesbitt was a summer-league teammate of Bremer. Both played for Norcal Baseball. Nesbitt was first team All-Hayward Area as a sophomore and All-West Alameda Foothills as a junior and the WACC MVP pitcher in 2013. He has helped lead Bishop O’Dowd High School to the top-seed in the playoffs each year.
“Channing is someone we were drawn to from the beginning. Not only is he a good student and a great competitor, but he’s a winner. Channing makes everyone around him a better player and a better person,” Meggs said.
“When he takes the mound, you’re excited to play behind him because you expect to win. Channing throws a fastball in the mid to upper eighties with a true power breaking ball and a good change. Channing knows how to win and he’s such a competitor that I expect him to come in here and pitch himself into a front line role the minute he shows up.”
Meggs hit the junior college ranks to find and sign his final pitcher in the class, Spencer Jones. Jones is a righty for Mendocino CC in Mendocino, Calif. He attended high school at Reed HS in Sparks, Nevada.
“Spencer Jones may be the wild card in this whole deal,” said Meggs. “While he was a mid to upper 80’s guy last year who consistently pitched into the seventh inning, he now sits 88-93 mph and has become a legitimate prospect. Spencer also has great feel for the change up and is now starting to develop a slider that will be another plus pitch before it’s all over. This is a guy who is just beginning to come into his own and because he is a good student, we think he will put off professional baseball for at least one more year.”
The current Husky baseball team kicks off the 2014 season on Feb. 14 in San Marcos, Texas at the Texas State Tournament against Air Force. They open newly-built Husky Ballpark on Friday, March 21 against 2012 NCAA Champion Arizona.
For the first time in Husky Baseball history, reserved season tickets are available. For more information contact the Husky Ticket office at 206.543.2200.