MANKATO, Minn. — The Mankato MoonDogs announced their roster plan for the 2021 season, Sunday.
The roster features 14 pitchers, 11 infielders, six outfielders, four catchers and a quad-corps of versatile two-way utility players. The Opening Day projected roster (denoted with an asterisk) includes pitchers Nolan Pender, Dalton Mesaris, Nick Schmidt, Blake Reilly, Jarret Krzyzanowski, Luke Young, John Lundgren, Caleb Heuertz, Thomas Bruss and Owen Boerema as well as position players Spencer Nivens, Preston Clifford, Matt Higgins, Adrian Torres, Cole Andavolgyi, Zach Teijeiro and Mitchell Novak.
*Cole Andavolgyi (C, R-Fr., Gardena, Calif.) – Golden West College
Andavolgyi is a native of Gardena, Calif., and a product of Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif. Andavolgyi just finished his freshman campaign where he competed in 16 games and saw 68 plate appearances for the Rustlers. He’s heading to Mankato to add depth behind the dish following a season in which he’s batted .182 with a .309 on-base percentage and .418 slugging percentage.
Alex Baeza (INF, R-Jr., West Jordan, Utah) – University of Hawaii
Baeza is a first baseman hailing from West Jordan, Utah, who’s played his college ball for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors for three seasons. In his career, Baeza is a .264 hitter with six home runs, 68 RBI and an on-base percentage of .336. This season, Baeza batted .273 with a pair of home runs, 24 RBI and 36 total hits. Standing at 6-foot-5 225 pounds, Baeza will come to Mankato to add some size to the MoonDogs roster at first base.
Luke Beckstein (INF, Fr., Tyngsborough, Mass.) – Kansas State University
Beckstein is a second baseman headed to Mankato this summer. Hailing from Tyngsborough, Mass., Beckstein comes to the MoonDogs from Kansas State University where he took the field making his first collegiate appearances of his career this season as a freshman. In 13 games, Beckstein has six starts and is batting .160 with a .200 slugging percentage and .250 on-base percentage.
Evan Berkey (INF, Sr., La Quinta, Calif.) – California State University, Bakersfield
Berkey was an infielder for the Dogs in 2020 and will be back in town this season for the 20th season of MoonDogs baseball. Berkey just finished a season at Cal State Bakersfield that saw him bat .346 in 37 games played while making 35 starts. After hitting a pair of home runs for the MoonDogs in 31 games last season, Berkey has four under his belt this season with the Roadrunners. He owns a slugging percentage of .543 at CSUB.
*Owen Boerema (UTIL, So., Litchfield, Minn.) – University of Northwestern (St. Paul)
Boerema is headed south this summer. Boerema comes to Mankato from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn. In 11 games this season for the Eagles, Boerema has thrown 74.1 innings, sports a 7-1 record and owns a 2.18 ERA. He is a .289 hitter while swinging the bat with 10 runs and eight RBI this year.
Justin Boyd (INF, Fr., Parker, Colo.) – Oregon State University
Boyd is an infielder from Parker, Colo., headed to Mankato this year. Boyd is a .304 hitter at Oregon State University this season in what marks his first season of collegiate baseball. Boyd has appeared in 21 games and started in 13 others for the Beavers this seasons and owns a slugging percentage of .413. He’s scored eight runs on 14 hits, including a pair of doubles and a triple, and drove in six runs at OSU this season.
*Thomas Bruss (RHP, Jr., Rochester, Minn.) – Augustana University
Standing at 6-foot-8 265 pounds, Bruss will be back in Mankato this year for his third season of MoonDogs baseball. Primarily a reliever, Bruss is a native of Rochester, Minn., and comes from Augustana University where he’s mustered a 6.00 ERA in 12 innings of work this season. In his collegiate career, Bruss owns a 3.93 ERA and an opponent batting average of .188. Last season with the MoonDogs, Bruss made 12 appearances and posted 17 strikeouts in 14.2 innings of work.
Davonté Butler (RHP, Sr., Hollister, Calif.) – California State University, Bakersfield
Butler is a senior from Hollister, Calif., coming to Mankato this summer. A teammate of Evan Berkey, Butler is a right-handed pitcher for the Roadrunners with a 4.97 career ERA. Opponents are batting .279 against Butler in his time at CSUB. He’s thrown 126.1 innings in three seasons with the Roadrunners. He’s coming to Mankato off a 1-0 season where he worked in 17.2 innings for a 4.08 ERA.
*Preston Clifford (INF, Fr., Tucson, Ariz.) – Washington State University
Clifford will come to the MoonDogs as a middle infielder this summer. Clifford hails from Tucson, Ariz., and plays college baseball for the Washington State Cougars of the Pac-12 Conference. With the Cougars this season, Clifford sports a .222 batting average with a .231 slugging percentage and .330 on-base percentage. He owns 10 runs and 10 hits, including a double, in 20 games with 14 starts for 78 at bats.
Jack Costello (UTIL, Fr., Simi Valley, Calif.) – University of San Diego
Costello is a utility guy who calls Simi Valley, Calif., home and comes to Mankato following his first collegiate season at the University of San Diego. While competing with the Toreros this season, Costello has posted a .343 batting average with 36 starts in 37 games appeared in during his inaugural season. The Toreros first baseman owns a .500 slugging percentage with 11 doubles, a pair of triples and two home runs in his first season. He sports a .405 on-base percentage.
Dustin Demeter (INF, R-Jr., Goleta, Calif.) – University of Hawaii
Demeter is an infielder from Goleta, Calif., who is wrapping up his junior season with the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors baseball team. Demeter is a career .282 hitter with 13 home runs, 88 RBI and a .365 on-base plus slugging percentage. He is batting .326 this season with six home runs and 30 RBI. He was named Big West Field Player of the Week by the Big West Conference and National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball News and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association after hitting 11-19 with three home runs and 14 RBI in a series at Cal State Fullerton, May 3.
Ben Elder (LHP, Jr., Chico, Calif.) – Angelo State University
Elder will add arm diversity to the MoonDogs’ pitching staff this season. Elder is a southpaw out of Chico, Calif., who owns a 2.59 ERA in 73 innings of work. He owns an 8-1 record with one save for the Rams this season. Prior to playing at Angelo State, Elder transferred from Butte College where he was twice named the Golden Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Adam Fogel (OF, R-Jr., Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) – University of Hawaii
A teammate of Demeter, Fogel will also be in Mankato this summer following his season with the Warriors. At Hawaii this season, Fogel posted a .312 batting average with three home runs, 27 RBI and 53 hits. In his career, he sports a .280 average with 17 home runs, 106 RBI and a .364 on-base plus slugging percentage. He’ll be making his MoonDogs debut out of a season that has seen him record three multi-hit and two multi-RBI games and up his batting average 122 points in one two-series stretch all after not picking up the bat until after the 2020 Winter Break.
Austin Garrett (C, Jr., Tuttle, Okla.) – Kansas State University
Garrett will represent the MoonDogs behind the plate during the 2021 season. A native of Tuttle, Okla., Austin comes to Mankato from Kansas State where he’s competed in his second season with the Wildcats after transferring from Cowley College (2018) and Murray State College (2019). Austin has five starts under his belt this season and seen action in 18 games during this campaign. Behind the dish for the Wildcats, Austin sports a perfect fielding percentage in 92 chances this season where he’s recorded six assists and 86 putouts.
Garrett Gilbert (C, Jr., Trevor, Wis.) – Creighton University
Gilbert will be a returning catcher for the MoonDogs in 2021. This will mark Gilbert’s second stint backstopping the Dogs after coming to Mankato to see action in 27 games during the 2019 campaign. Gilbert owns a career slugging percentage of .375 with the Blue Jays. He had 10 runs and 10 RBI in 83 at bats with the Dogs in 2019.
Carson Hamro (RHP, Fr., Vista, Calif.) – University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Hamro will come to Mankato this summer as one of two freshmen out of UCLA this season. Hamro is a native of Vista, Calif., who is a right-handed pitcher. Last summer, Hamro made five starts in the San Diego League and posted a 2.84 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched. He played in the San Diego League All-Star Game on Team Sea with former MoonDogs middle infielder Mikey Perez (2019). Hamro has yet to make an appearance for the Bruins this season.
Will Hanafan (OF, Jr., Council Bluffs, Iowa) – Creighton University
Hanafan is a teammate of Gilbert tagging along to Mankato for the MoonDogs 20th season. The Blue Jay outfielder has seen action in 54 career games at Creighton. This season, Hanafan is a career .279 hitter with a slugging percentage of .312. In 2019 at Creighton, Hanafan appeared in 49 games while making 42 starts in his first year with the Blue Jays.
*Caleb Heuertz (UTIL, Fr., San Angelo, Texas) – Midland College (Texas)
Heuertz is a two-way threat from Midland College in Texas who calls San Angelo, Texas, home. In 38 games this season, Heuertz is batting .347 with nine home runs, 44 RBI, 41 runs and three stolen bases. On the mound as a right-handed pitcher, the freshman owns a 15.43 ERA in five appearances. In 4.2 innings of relief work this season, Heuertz has struck out and walked six and has one save.
*Matt Higgins (OF, Jr., Louisville, Ky.) – Bellarmine University
Higgins is an outfielder from Bellarmine University hailing from Louisville, Ky., who has potential to bring power and pop to the MoonDogs lineup following his junior campaign at BU. Higgins is a career .378 hitter with a .614 slugging percentage elevated by 23 home runs. In 32 games this season, Higgins has 120 at bats which consist of seven doubles, a triple, nine home runs for 33 RBI. He’s walked 12 time and been retired on strikes 11 others.
Kole Kaler (INF, Jr., Queen Creek, Ariz.) – University of Hawaii
Kaler is another member of the Rainbow Warriors headed to Mankato in 2021. Kaler is an infielder from Queen Creek, Ariz., and a product of Queen Creek High School. Kaler was named the final Big West Player of the Week (4/5-11) when he hit for the cycle at UC Riverside (4/10) for the time in Rainbow Warrior history since the 1996 season. Kaler is a career .352 hitter with 21 doubles, six triples and a pair of home runs in 63 games and 250 at bats. He owns a career slugging percentage of .508 and an on-base percentage of .419.
*Jarret Krzyzanowski (RHP, Jr., Cedar Park, Texas) – Nova Southeastern University
Krzyzanowski will be a returning arm from last season for the MoonDogs in the 2021 season. In his time with the Sharks this season, Krzyzanowski has pitched a 4.42 ERA in nine appearances for 18.1 innings of work. Opponents are batting .254 vs. the right-hander this season who has 21 strikeouts vs. 83 batters faced. Last season with the Dogs, Krzyzanowski had a 5.25 ERA in two starts with 11 appearances that saw him pitch 24 innings last summer. Northwoods League opponents batted .308 vs. Krzyzanowski last season.
*John Lundgren (LHP, Jr., Buffalo Grove, Ill.) – University of North Alabama
Lundgren is a pitcher out of the University of North Alabama that will bring a southpaw presence to the MoonDogs pitching staff this season. The left-handed pitcher from Buffalo Grove, Ill., has seen action in 16 games this season and thrown 28 innings. Lundgren owns an 11.25 ERA this season.
*Dalton Mesaris (RHP, Fr., Montgomery, Ala.) – Western Kentucky University
Mesaris is another right-handed pitcher that is set to service the MoonDogs this season. He is a freshman that hails from Montgomery, Ala., and says his biggest thrill in sports is striking people out. Mesaris owns a career ERA of 3.60 with an opponent batting average of .280. Mesaris has worked in five innings over 10 appearances where he’s walked one and struck out three.
*Spencer Nivens (INF, Fr., Columbia, Mo.) – Missouri State University
Nivens is an infielder coming to Mankato from Missouri State University where he is competing in his first season of baseball at the college level. While no stats have been documented for Nivens in his first season, he was ranked No. 3 on Missouri’s prep shortstop list for the high school class of 2020 according to Prep Baseball Report.
Bryce Novak (UTIL, Fr., Cleveland, Minn.) – Gustavus Adolphus College
Novak will come to the MoonDogs from Cleveland, Minn., and Gustavus in St. Peter this season. At Gustavus, Novak has seen action in one game this season where he posted a 3-for-5 showing with two RBI and two runs scored. As a result, Novak was named MIAC Baseball Player of the Week.
*Mitchell Novak (INF, So., Stillwater, Minn.) – College of St. Scholastica
Novak is the brother of former MoonDogs’ infielder Nick Novak (2018-19). He has two seasons of college ball with the Saints of St. Scholastica under his belt (2020-21). With the Saints, Novak is a career .373 batter in 38 career games and starts for 134 at bats. Novak owns a slugging percentage of .493 and an on-base percentage of .434. A Menace of an infielder similar to his brother, Nick, Mitchell only has three errors on 144 chances in the field for a .979 fielding percentage this season.
*Nolan Pender (RHP, R-Fr., Louisville, Ky.) – Bellarmine University
Pender will be a MoonDogs returning arm this summer. Now has one full season of college ball under his belt at Bellarmine. Pender has posted a 2-5 record in 14 appearances and eight starts this season. In 37.1 career innings of work with the Knights Pender owns a 6.51 ERA. Last season with the Dogs, Pender bolstered a 3.60 ERA and .194 opponent batting average that was second best on the MoonDogs’ 2020 roster.
Ben Polack (LHP, Jr., Modesto, Calif.) – San Jose State University
Polack will be another southpaw head to Mankato in 2021. In two seasons with the Spartans of San Jose State University, Polack has made 25 appearances and 10 starts. He owns an ERA of 7.63 with an opponent batting average of .314 in 61.1 innings pitched. He owns a 2-4 career record.
*Blake Reilly (RHP, So., Moorpark, Calif.) – Grand Canyon University
Reilly will be joined by his brother, Vince, as they head to Mankato to both pitch for the Dogs this upcoming season. At Grand Canyon this season, Blake has one appearance on the mound at Arizona where he pitched one scoreless inning with a strikeout (May 4).
Vince Reilly (RHP, So., Moorpark, Calif.) – Grand Canyon University
Reilly will be joined by his brother, Blake, as they head to Mankato to both pitch for the Dogs this upcoming season. At Grand Canyon this season, Vince has made three appearances for 5.1 innings of work on the hill. Vince owns a career ERA of 3.38.
Ivran Romero (RHP, Fr., San Diego, Calif.) – University of San Diego
Romero is headed to Mankato this summer from San Diego, his hometown and place of study as well as where he plays his college baseball. In Romero’s first season this year, he owns a 3-1 record with a 3.22 ERA in 18 appearances over 36.1 innings on the hill. Romero has an opponent batting average of .243 this season with three saves in his first season as a member of the Torero baseball program.
*Nick Schmidt (RHP, Jr., Wentzville, Mo.) – Missouri State University
Schmidt is a junior hailing from Wentzville, Mo., where he competes for the Missouri State Bears. Schmidt is one of several returners for the MoonDogs. He will be back in Mankato and provide depth for the MoonDogs pitching staff. Schmidt owns a career ERA of 7.06 in his time at MSU with a career .253 batting average against. During his last stint with the MoonDogs in 2019, Schmidt finished with a 3-4 record, a 5.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched over eight starts.
James Shimashita (OF, Jr., San Diego, Calif.) – San Jose State University
Shimashita is an outfielder from San Jose State coming to Mankato to be a MoonDog this summer. Shimashita is a career .268 hitter in 94 games, 80 starts and 321 at bats. With a career slugging percentage of .343, Shimashita has 11 doubles, two triples and three home runs for 43 RBI in his three-season time with the Spartans.
*Zach Teijeiro (C, Fr., Foster City, Calif.) – College of San Mateo
Teijeiro is from Foster City, Calif., and attends the College of San Mateo. He will serve as catcher for the MoonDogs in 2021 and is a product of St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif.
*Adrian Torres (OF, R-So., El Paso, Texas.) – Grand Canyon University
Torres led New Mexico Junior College’s qualifying hitters with a .333 average in 21 games last year, coming on the heels of a .361 campaign with 12 home runs as a freshman. He helped lead the Thunderbirds to the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series as a freshman, and his tournament home run is his top sports memory. A first-team all-state selection at Americas High School in El Paso, Torres was a 33rd-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2018.
Josh Urps (INF, Jr.., Peoria, Ariz.) – California State University, Fullerton
Urps is an infielder from Peoria, Ariz., who is headed to Mankato this summer to compete with the MoonDogs following his junior season at Cal State Fullerton. Urps is a career .242 hitter in 64 games with the Titans. He also owns a .378 on-base percentage and .382 slugging percentage. Urps has five home runs in his career, including four this past season, in 178 career at bats.
Jacob Wilson (INF, Fr., Thousand Oaks, Calif.) – Grand Canyon University
Wilson is the son of MoonDogs’ hitting coach, and former Major Leaguer Jack Wilson, for the 2021 season. Wilson comes to the MoonDogs from Grand Canyon University where he’s just joined the Lopes for the 2021 season. Although Wilson has yet to garner college baseball experience, he hails from Thousand Oaks, Calif., where his dad coached him at Thousand Oaks High School to be the hitter he is today.
Carson Yates (OF, Fr., San Jose, Calif.) – University of California, Los Angeles
Yates is another freshman making his way to Mankato this summer. He is an outfielder from San Jose, Calif., who was ranked No. 39 player in California by Perfect Game. Yates has seen action in 13 games this season and made seven starts along the way. In 27 at bats at UCLA this season, Yates has accumulated three runs and three hits including a triple.
*Luke Young (RHP, Fr., Wall, Texas) – Midland College (Texas)
Young is a right-handed pitcher wrapping up his first season of college baseball at Midland College in Texas. The Wall, Texas, native sports a 7.80 ERA in 12 appearances the has led him to pitch 47.1 innings pitched. Young owns a 6-1 career record as a relief arm for the Chaps.
The 20th season of MoonDogs baseball gets underway Memorial Day when the La Crosse Loggers make their way to ISG Field for a Northwoods League Opening Day matchup at 6:35 p.m., Monday
*The Mankato MoonDogs Official Roster is subject to change*
The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.mankatomoondogs.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.