But Lees also said the expectation for the high school signees are that they too will be ready to play early.
From Washington State SID on the five new signees, followed by Lees' comments Thursday on each of them:
Andres Alvarez (5-10, 160) is a shortstop out of Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado. Through 46 games this spring, the San Diego native owns a .381 batting average with 18 doubles, six homers, 45 RBI, 11 stolen bases, 54 runs scored and is slugging .639. The right-handed hitting Alvarez played at San Ysidro High in San Diego where he was a two-time first-team All-South Bay League selection. He also played for the Mexico Junior National Team from 2012-14. Alvarez will be a second-year sophomore for the Cougars next season.
Lees: “Andres is as good an infielder as I have seen this year. I project him to compete for a starting job immediately! He is a Pac-12 infielder. You must be able to field the routine ball and Andres can do that and more. He also shows the ability to make an impact in our lineup hitting, is very athletic and gives us stability that we need to compete in this conference.”
Nate Easley (5-10, 170) is an outfielder from Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz. Easley was named first-team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and DI All-Region first team this season after playing 56 games this season and leading the team with a .389 batting average with 17 doubles, eight home runs, 44 RBI, 68 runs scored, 25 stolen bases and a .471 on-base percentage. Easley’s dad, Damien played 17 seasons in the big leagues including seven with the Detroit Tigers and five with the California Angels. Easley will be a junior next season for the Cougars.
Lees: “Nate is a great pick up for our program! He comes from a baseball family and knows what it takes to be a champion. Nate will gives us immediate help in the outfield, his speed alone will allow him to play at an elite level. He has proven he can hit, run, and play defense at a level that you need to win in the Pac-12! Nate’s character and the way he leads his life is second to none. He will be an inspiration to whomever he is around. His energy is catching to everyone.”
Jake Polancic (6-3, 200) is a right-hander pitcher from Langley Secondary in British Columbia. So far this season, Polancic owns a 2-1 record with two complete games including one shutout, a 2.01 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. Last season, with the U18 Langley Blaze in the British Columbia Premier League, he went 3-3 in 9 starts with a 2.77 ERA and struck out 49 in 48 innings. He also helped the Blaze win gold at the Canada Cup and was later selected to play in the prestigious Tournament 12, an invite only event at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
Lees: “Jake is a pitcher that has improved all year! Jake is a strike thrower with the ability to throw 3-4 pitches for strikes and a very clean and smooth delivery. He will throw his fastball in the low 90’s and all of Jake’s coaches rave about his work ethic and ability to compete at a high level. We felt like we needed another right-handed pitcher in this class and we found a good one!”
Ryan Ramsower (6-0, 190) is a third baseman from Pima Community College in Arizona. In 55 games, he earned DII All-Region second team honors after posting a .360 batting average with 15 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 39 RBI, nine stolen bases and a .429 on-base percentage. The right-handed hitting Ramsower hit .305 last season before breaking out this year. Ramsower, a Tucson, Ariz. native, was a second-team All-State selection for Salpointe Catholic High School and will be a third-year junior for the Cougars next season.
Lees: “We are very excited for Ryan to be a Cougar! He is very athletic and shows the ability to play third base at a high level. He has proven that he can hit and we believe he can add immediate help to us in all phases of the game. Ryan plays with an unbelievable amount of passion and energy. He is a winner and will give our program and injection of toughness and an attitude that can, and will be contagious.”
Cal Waterman (6-2, 205) is a catcher out of Summit High School in Bend, Ore. Waterman is a two-time 5A All-State catcher, earning first-team honors as a junior last season after hitting .407 and slugging .626. As a sophomore, the right-handed hitting Waterman earned second-team All-State accolades after hitting .410 with a .551 slugging percentage. Waterman is a four-year letterwinner at SHS for head coach and former major league pitcher Alan Embree and former major leaguer Richie Sexson. He also played for the Seattle Mariners Fall Scout Team in 2015 and was named to the Perfect Game World Series All-Tournament Team. Waterman also lettered twice in basketball.
Lees: “We are very fortunate that Cal has chosen Washington State to play baseball! Cal is good catcher with the ability to receive, block, and throw at an elite level. Has also shown the ability to hit for both average and power. He has not reached his full potential yet, and that’s exciting to our coaching staff. Cal will be able to compete and contribute immediately for the Cougars.”
For Lees' press conference: CLICK HERE