Baseball coach: Future bright with signing of large class

Baseball Coach Danny Heep has high hopes for the team’s future at the University of the Incarnate Word after signing 13 Texas high school seniors who’ll be here next fall.

“This is a very athletic and versatile class that should be ready to compete for a Southland Conference championship in 2018,” Heep said.

The team, which is transitioning to Division I status, will become eligible for postseason play in spring 2018.

The signing class – along with Heep’s comments on the player – includes:

David Anaya, infielder at Veterans Memorial High School in Brownsville, Texas. Anaya bats, right, throws right. Noting Anaya’s ranking by Perfect Game as the No. 13 infielder in the state, Heep added, “David is as good of a baseball player as there is in Texas. He is very skilled on the left side of the infield with a pure swing. Eventually he will be a power threat in the middle of the lineup as his body develops.”

Sean Arnold, catcher at Rudder High School in Bryan, Texas. He throws right and bats right.

“Sean is a very athletic catcher,” Heep said. “He is a plus runner that can play in the outfield too. We look for him to add a level of athleticism to our team that is unprecedented for a catcher. Depending on how he develops offensively, he will be a guy that can fill multiple roles in our lineup.”

Kyle Bergeron, infielder at Bridge City (Texas) High School. He throws right and bats right. Bergeron is ranked by Perfect Game as a Top 500 player in the nation and No. 15 middle infielder. Heep called the 6-foot-3 player “a long, lanky, athletic middle infielder that can play multiple positions. He is a long lever guy that possesses power potential at the plate.  Once his body fills out, he will be a middle-of-the lineup hitter for us. He is a really good baseball player.”

Nico Garza, infielder-pitcher at Coronado High School in Lubbock. He bats right and throws right. Ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 416 middle infielder in the nation and No. 30 in Texas,

“Nico is a truly gifted athlete that can play multiple positions,” Heep said. “He can do more things as a baseball player than anybody we’ve ever had here at UIW. We don’t know where he will play yet, but we do know he will have an impact at multiple positions. He will be a power threat at the plate as he can hit the ball as far to right field as he can to the pull side. He will also be a factor on the mound for us, as he has been clocked up to 91 mph.”

Kyler Genenbacher, outfielder-first base at Frenship High School in Wolforth, Texas. He throws left, bats left, Ranked by Perfect Game among the top 1,000 players in the nation,

“Kyler is exactly what we needed for this class,” Heep said. “We needed a left-handed-hitting, middle-of-the-lineup guy. We will look at him in left field and right field as well as first base. He is a really skilled hitter and already has the power that plays at this level. As he develops, he has a chance to be a really special hitter.”

Anthony Gomez, pitcher at Banquete High School in Robstown, Texas. He throws right, and bats right. Ranked 79th as a pitcher in Texas and among the top 1,000 in the nation by Perfect Game, Gomez “is a smaller guy with a big arm,” Heep said. “He will pitch in the 88- to 92-mph range and has a very quick arm. He comes from a well-coached high school program and will compete for innings as soon as he gets on campus.”

   Garett Gonzales, infielder at Madison High School in San Antonio, TX. He throws right but bats left. Ranked by Perfect Game as a top 1,000 player in the nation and No. 226 middle infielder in the state, Gonzales “is a perfect fit for us as a left-hand-hitting infielder that will be able to play any position,” Heep said. “He is a good hitter and his power will continue to develop as he gets more physically mature in the next couple of years. He will be one of those guys that can do it all at the plate.”

Lukas Polanco, catcher at Richland Hills High School in North Richland Hills, Texas. He throws right, bats right, Ranked by Perfect Game as a top 1,000 player in the nation and No. 28 catcher in Texas, Polanco is a “very skilled catcher that is ready to play at this level right now,” Heep said. “He has great range behind the plate and throws the ball very well. He has some strength and bat speed at the plate. He will develop into a good hitter and will be able to drive in runs hitting somewhere in the middle of our lineup.”

Anthony Ramirez, outfielder at Boswell High School in Fort Worth. He throws right and bats right. Ranked by Perfect Game as a top 1,000 player in the nation and No. 44 outfielder in Texas, Ramirez is an “athlete, athlete, athlete,” Heep said. “He comes from a great baseball family that we have a lot of respect for. He is our future centerfielder if everything pans out like it should. He needs to develop at the plate, but once he does, his upside has no limits.”

Luke Taggart, pitcher at Gregory-Portland High School. He throws right, bats right.

Ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 94 pitcher in Texas, Taggart is a “tall projectable right-handed pitcher that we feel like will develop into a power arm,” Heep said. “He is up to 88-89 mph at times and will be more consistent as he gets stronger and starts pitching full time.”

Lee Thomas, first baseman at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, Texas. He throws left, bats left. “Lee is a big, strong, left-handed-hitting first baseman,” Heep said. “Again, he is a great fit for our program as a potential middle-of-the-lineup hitter. He is a very skilled hitter and has power to all fields. As he makes the adjustments to the speed of the game at this level, he has a chance to be very prolific.”

Tanner White, infielder at Cypress-Fairbanks High School in Cypress, Texas. He throws right but bats left. Ranked by Perfect Game as a top 1,000 player in the nation and No. 32 infielder in Texas, Tanner is “another great fit for us,” Heep said. “As a left-hand-hitting middle infielder, he will give us options. We expect him to come in and compete for a starting job as a freshman. He is a top-of-the-lineup-type hitter and adds depth of our team.”

C.J. Zepada, catcher at Sinton (Texas) High School. He throw right but bats left. Ranked by Perfect Game as a top 1,000 player in the nation and No. 29 catcher in Texas, Zepada is a “left-handed-hitting catcher that will be ready to contribute offensively as a freshman,” Heep said. “Behind the plate he has good hands and good feet. He will bring us balance offensively as a catcher that will allow us to have another left-handed hitter in the lineup when needed.”

Overall, Heep said, “we are very happy with this class. Every one of these guys fits a need in our program. It was our goal to find left-handed hitters in this class with five signing with us. These kids show a lot of character on and off the field. We are anxious to get them on campus and get to work with them.”


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