SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team welcomed 10 new Hornets who officially joined the program on Wednesday as announced by head coach Reggie Christiansen. Eight of the 10 newcomers are local to the Sacramento Area.
"Our area is a hotbed for baseball and it has been our goal to keep the best players right here at Sacramento State," Christiansen said. "In the 2015 season 21 of the 35 players on our roster will be local players."
Six pitchers and four position players make up the signing class, and many of the newcomers will have a shot to earn starting jobs in 2015.
"I believe all 4 position players could be everyday players as freshman," Christiansen said. "The six pitchers will all be in a great spot to compete right away for quality innings as well. Steve Holm and Jake Mckinley both did an outstanding job in their efforts targeting an outstanding group of student-athletes."
Christiansen spoke highly of the incoming class both in terms of their athletic ability and the qualities that will make them outstanding student-athletes. As a group the signees come to Sacramento State with a cumulative 3.69 grade point average.
"What excites me most about this group is their character and academic preparedness, which I believe will translate over onto the field," he said. "The best players we have had over the past 5 years have been the players that excelled in the classroom and took pride in conducting themselves as Hornets away from the field. They all chose Sacramento State because they believe they can earn an outstanding degree here and help our program take another step closer to becoming a Top-25 program."
Meet the Newcomers:
Anthony Casteneda - Woodland Christian HS – Woodland, Calif. - 6'5" – 225 - RHP
Christiansen: "A three-sport star, Anthony is a projectable right handed pitcher. He possesses a mid-80's fastball and his best pitch is his changeup. He is a strike thrower who competes and will be an important part of our staff. "
Dan Deely - Sonoma Valley HS – Sonoma, Calif. - 6'1" – 190 - Shortstop
Christiansen: "We fell in love with Dan because of his old school approach to the game. He is a HS Quarterback, hard-nosed, tough kid, exactly what we are looking for."
Vinny Esposito - Granite Bay HS – Granite Bay, Calif. - 6'0" - 185 - Shortstop
Christiansen: "Vinny is a coaches' son with a high baseball IQ and is a winner. He will make an impact in our lineup from the day he steps on our campus. He is what we call a "Friday Night Hitter."
Brandon Hunley - Christian Brothers HS – Sacramento, Calif. - 6'0 -185 - Shortstop
Christiansen: "One of the hardest recruiting battles I have ever been a part of, Brandon was highly recruited by many prestigious institutions. We are excited that Brandon chose Sacramento State, he has a very bright future ahead of him as a Hornet."
Grant Kukuk - College of Southern Idaho/Reno HS – Reno, Nev. - 6'0" – 185 - RHP
Christiansen: "We recruited Grant out of high school and I am excited that we were able to add him to our roster in this year's class. Grant will be a big part of our staff next year. He is a strike thrower, a tough kid and can pitch in multiple roles."
Devin Lehman - Granite Bay HS – Granite Bay, Calif. - 5'10" – 180 - Utility
Christiansen: "Devin plays the game hard, makes very few mistakes, and needs to win. He squares up the ball consistently and can play multiple positions. He reminds me of (Hornet senior) Will Soto coming out of high school."
Sam Long - Del Campo HS – Fair Oaks, Calif. - 6'0" – 160 - LHP
Christiansen: "I believe that Sam is the best left handed pitcher in all of Northern California in the 2014 class. Every program needs a signature player to make that next step as a program, I believe Sam is that kind of talent."
Jeremiah Moore - Valley Christian Academy – Roseville, Calif. - 6'3" – 220 - RHP
Christiansen: "Impact arm with an advanced feel for pitching. He has an upper 80's fastball with above an average feel for his breaking ball and changeup. Jeremiah has "it" on the mound."
Austin Root - Oakridge HS – El Dorado Hills, Calif. - 6'2" – 180 - RHP
Christiansen: "Has a mid-80's fastball with a sharp, swing and miss slider. Austin reminds of us Brennan Leitao, the stuff and the angle, which we believe plays very well at this level. "
Ryan Smith - Rocklin HS – Rocklin, Calif. - 6'5" – 200 - RHP
Christiansen: "Ryan has a very high ceiling, with a low 90's fastball with great angle due to his 6'5" frame. The more we watched Ryan the better he got, and his competitive spirit on the mound will be contagious."