Looking to build for the future, Hawaii baseball head coach Mike Trapasso announced the signing of 12 players for the 2021 season.
Trapasso stayed in the islands for the majority of the recruiting class and continued to build on his pipeline with Kamehameha and Waiakea high schools with the addition of some of the top talent in the state.
“We’re excited about this group of players,” Trapasso said. “Coach Mike Brown and coach Carl Fraticelli did an excellent job bringing in players that are athletic and versatile. As always, the MLB draft will have something to say about the players we sign, but hopefully the bulk of this group will be here next fall.”
The incoming Rainbow Warriors are catcher/utility Nainoa Cardinez, right-handed pitcher D.J. Carpenter, left-handed pitcher Ryan Gil, right-handed pitcher Cameron Hagan, left-handed pitcher/outfielder Michael Hughes, outfielder Kalani Marquez, catcher/infielder Konnor Palmeira, right-handed pitcher Dalton Renne, right-handed pitcher/catcher Jacob Sharp, shortstop Kenji Suzuki, left-handed pitcher/outfielder Austin Teixeira and first baseman Safea Villaruz-Mauai.
The newcomers for 2021 include four junior college transfers, including a national champion, and eight high school signees. The list is made up of seven pitchers, three of which also play field positions, three that are left-handed and four that are right-handed, two true infielders, a true outfielder and two catchers that can play multiple positions or pitch.
All 12 will play one more season for their respective schools before enrolling at Hawai’i in August of 2020 and playing in the 2021 season.
|THE 2020 CLASS|
Catcher / Utility – Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i – Kapa‘a HS
THE PLAYER: The 6-2, 190 pound right handed bat is a three-time Scoring Live All-State second team selection, Cardinez has been weapon for Kapa’a HS earning Rawlings Perfect Game Underclassmen All-American honorable mention.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Nainoa is a strong, physical, athletic player whose best baseball is ahead of him. We excited about his tools.” – Trapasso
Right-handed pitcher – Moreno Valley, Calif. – Central Arizona College
THE PLAYER: A 2018 15th round selection in the MLB Draft, Carpenter decided to attend Central Arizona and produced a high strikeout rate and a NJCAA National Title with the Vaqueros. The right-hander saw his strikeouts per nine innings rate skyrocket to 13.08 K/9 as a freshman. The 6-7 pitcher is one of three 6-7 pitchers that Trapasso has signed and threw 21.1 innings in 15 appearances, striking out 31 opposing batters in 2019.
SCOUTING REPORT: “D.J. is a tremendous talent. An 18th round draft choice out of High School, D.J. throws in the low to mid 90’s with command. He’s a front line pitcher.” – Trapasso
Left-handed pitcher – Fair Oaks, Calif. – Sierra College
THE PLAYER: A 6-1 junior college transfer, Gil is coming off a freshman campaign where he pitched 69.1 innings in 14 games for the Wolverines with 80 strikeouts and a 3.50 ERA. The Fair Oaks-native polished off his year with seven wins and a season-high 11 strikeouts in a win against Folsom Lake. Gil and Sierra finished third in the Big-8 conference of the CCCBCA.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Ryan has the potential to be a front line starter. A lefty that combines plus-stuff with pitchability.” – Trapasso
Right-handed pitcher – Salem, Ore. – Chemeketa CC
THE PLAYER: One of two Chemeketa commits in the 2020 class, both right handed pitchers, and two of three 6-7 recruits signing for Hawai’i. Hagan threw in 51.2 innings and accumulated 39 strikeouts in 13 appearances. Hagan threw a 7.0 inning complete game for one of his five wins on the year. A West Salem HS graduate, Hagan helped guide the Titans to the semi-finals of the Oregon 6A state tournament in 2018.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Cameron is a physical, athletic right-handed pitcher that with great potential. He has a 3-pitch command with a high velocity fastball. He has the opportunity to pitch meaningful innings for us.” – Trapasso
Left-handed pitcher / Outfielder – Kamuela, Hawai‘i. – Hawai‘i Prep Academy
THE PLAYER: From the baseball-rich Big Island, Hughes attended school on the opposite side of the island from the baseball powers of Waiakea and Kamehameha-Hawai’i, but the lefty guided Ka Makani to a run in the D-II state tournament as a junior.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Michael is an exceptional athlete that hasn’t touched his baseball potential yet. A left-handed pitcher with great feel, and a plus runner and outfielder. His tools are very exciting..” – Trapasso
Outfielder – Honoka‘a, Hawai‘i. – Kamehameha-Hawai‘i
THE PLAYER: Marquez is one of two Kamehameha commits in 2020, with Konnor Palmeira hailing from the Maui campus. Marquez continues the pipeline Trapasso has created from KS-Hawai’i with redshirt junior Daylen Calicdan, sophomore Dallas Duarte and freshman Tai Atkins on the 2020 roster.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Kalani is an athletic player with a nice RH swing. We think he has a chance to develop into a quality player.” – Trapasso
Catcher / Infielder – Kahului, Maui – Kamehameha-Maui
THE PLAYER: Coaches and media on the islands took notice of Palmeira’s bat and defense, naming the catcher a Star Advertiser All-State honorable mention selection. The catcher was also named a Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American high honorable mention in 2019 and earned all-tournament honors at the 17U Perfect Game World Series with Team California.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Konnor is a strong, physical player. We feel his has the capability to be a true run producer at the plate.” – Trapasso
Right-handed pitcher – Banks, Ore. – Chemeketa CC
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THE PLAYER: The second of the two Chemeketa Storm 6-foot-7 right handed arms inking their NLI’s to O’ahu, Renne is a two-sport athlete who also plays for the Storm’s men’s basketball team. Renne pitched in 11 games, with 3 starts, for the Storm and struck out 16 in those 11 games. Finishing with a 3.47 ERA and just five walks in 23.1 innings pitched, Renne showed command of the zone as a freshman and will look to add to his workload in 2020.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Another tall athletic pitcher we’re excited about. Dalton also plays basketball at Chemeketa. We’re very excited about his future when all his focus is on baseball. He is a high velocity 3/4 angle pitcher with a plus slider.” – Trapasso
Right-handed pitcher / Catcher – La Mirada, Calif. – La Mirada HS
THE PLAYER: From a California high school power, Sharp hit .324 with 16 RBIs and a .400 on-base percentage. The catcher only struck out eight times in 32 games and helped La Mirada to the Final Four of the CIF Division I state finals. Sharp is surrounded by talent at La Mirada and looks to have another strong run in 2020.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Jacob has a good arm, pitches 88-92, and is an athletic catcher. We’re excited about his tools and potential.” – Trapasso
Shortstop – Seattle, Wash. – Eastside Catholic HS
112:39 PM – Nov 25, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Hawaii Baseball’s other TweetsTHE PLAYER: Suzuki has racked up the awards in his high school career, touting two Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen high honorable mention honors while leading Eastside Catholic to the eighth-best winning percentage in the 3A classification in Washington.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Kenji is a high profile recruit that had the option to go anywhere in the country. He’s a front line player that will make an immediate impact at the plate and in the field.” – Trapasso
Left-handed pitcher / Outfielder – Waimanalo, O‘ahu – Saint Louis HS
THE PLAYER: Named a 2019 All-State third team selection, Teixeira was a pivotal arm in the rotation for the Crusaders as a junior in 2019. Teixeira struck out 14 batters in 15.1 innings as a junior, tossing a season-high 5.0 innings in his first appearance of the season.
SCOUTING REPORT: “We’re very excited about Austin. He’s athletic and versatile. He has a chance to be a front line lefty and has the tools to be a two way player.” – Trapasso
First baseman / Outfielder – Hilo, Hawai‘i – Waiakea HS
THE PLAYER: Ranked the top first baseman in the state of Hawaii by Perfect Game, Villaruz-Mauai has all the tools to be a power bat. A 2019 All-State first team selection by Star Advertiser and an All-State second team selection by Scoring Live as a junior are just the tip of the iceberg for Villaruz-Mauai. The Waiakea senior was high school teammates with Hawai’i freshman infielder Stone Miyao.
SCOUTING REPORT: “Safea has a chance to be a middle of the order run producer as a freshman. He has tremendous offensive potential.” – Trapasso