Despite a quick exit from the Ridgefield Raptors this summer, baseball fans could get a chance to see Jacob Sharp play in the Pacific Northwest again someday.
The scenario at least became a possibility Tuesday when the Seattle Mariners selected Sharp, a catcher from UNLV who played with the Raptors in 2022 and 2023, in the 17th round (517th overall) of the MLB Draft.
Sharp was one of five former Ridgefield players to be selected on the final day of the draft. Mikey Kane (Oregon State), an infielder who played on the Raptors in 2021 and 2022 was also taken in the 17th round by the Chicago White Sox. Three 2021 Raptors players also heard their names called: catcher Cole Urman (Cal State Fullerton) was selected in the 16th round by the Baltimore Orioles; outfielder Coby Morales (Washington) landed with the New York Yankees in the 18th round; outfielder Caden Connor (Cal State Fullerton) went in the 19th round to the White Sox.
Should they choose to sign with the teams who drafted them, they would join a growing list of former West Coast League and Ridgefield players to pursue a professional baseball career in the minor leagues.
Both Sharp and Kane are on a short list of players to appear in multiple seasons with the Raptors.
Sharp burst onto the WCL scene last summer by showcasing elite hitting prowess, which made him a fan favorite in Ridgefield. Sharp was named the league’s c0-MVP at the conclusion of the 2022 season after hitting a league-leading 14 home runs with 55 hits (13 doubles), 40 RBI, a .437 on-base percentage and .688 slugging percentage.
In the 2023 season, his first with UNLV, Sharp hit .335 with a .606 slugging percentage over 46 games.
Sharp was on a short-term deal with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League to start the summer. The Raptors then contacted him to gauge interest in returning to Ridgefield. Sharp said yes.
He ended up appearing in 11 games, the first 10 of which Ridgefield won. Sharp suffered a thumb injury in his final game, July 1 against the Springfield Drifters, when an errant pitch hit him during a plate appearance. After consulting with his draft advisor, Sharp chose to leave the team in order to avoid risking further injury ahead of the draft, according to Ridgefield head coach Chris Cota.
Kane came to Ridgefield by way of College of the Canyons, where Cota is also the head baseball coach. He was a mainstay on Ridgefield’s 2022 team that advanced to the WCL South Division Championship. Midway through the season, Kane received a scholarship offer from Oregon State, and he committed shortly after.
In his first season with the Beavers, Kane slid in as the team’s starting shortstop, appearing in all but two games. He hit .281 with 15 doubles, nine home runs, 38 RBI and ended the season on an 18-game hitting streak.
As Ridgefield continues to become more established in their fourth WCL season, the collection of talent coming through town is growing.
Seven current and former Raptors players were selected in the 2023 MLB Draft, up from three in 2022.
Two of this year’s picks went on day two of the draft Monday. First off the board was shortstop John Peck (Pepperdine), a 2021 Ridgefield player who was taken in the seventh round by the Detroit Tigers. Outfielder Quincy Scott (UC Santa Barbara), who played in 16 games with the Raptors this summer, went to the Texas Rangers in the ninth round.