Former WNC star Conor Harber signs with Brewers
Given two prior opportunities to sign with a Major League Baseball team, former Western Nevada College two-way player Conor Harber couldn’t pass up a third.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Harber came to terms on Thursday, July 16, just a day before the deadline to sign amateur players from the MLB Draft in June.
“He was very deliberate,” said WNC Baseball Coach D.J. Whittemore. “He’s had opportunities to sign in the past and has shown a lot of maturity, paying his dues and working to perform well at the level he’s at before jumping to the next level.
“The money is best when you sign after your junior year.”
After his freshman season with the Wildcats in 2013, Harber was chosen by the Baltimore Orioles in the 38th round. The 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher was taken in the 40th round by the Tampa Bay Rays following his unbeaten sophomore season at WNC.
The Brewers selected Harber in the 16th round last month after he completed his junior season with the Oregon Ducks. Harber split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation in 2015, winning four games and striking out 59 hitters in 55 2/3 innings.
Milwaukee assigned the 21-year-old Harber to the club’s Single-A rookie ball affiliate in Helena, Mont.
Harber led the Wildcats in hitting for two seasons and developed into the team’s ace on the mound by his sophomore season. The two-way player was voted co-Region 18 Pitcher of the Year in 2014 after registering an 8-0 record and 2.49 earned run average. He led the Wildcats with a .331 batting average and 13 stolen bases and was selected as a National Junior College Athletic Association third-team All-American.
During his freshman season at WNC, Harber hit .395 with 11 triples and 12 doubles. Whittemore also used Harber in a relief role. Harber had 17 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings and a 0.96 ERA. At season’s end, Harber earned NJCAA honorable mention All-American.
“He was certainly very good when he pitched for us and earned All-American honors,” Whittemore said. “Conor’s probably the best all-around athlete we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Harber became the third former Wildcat to sign a professional contract in the past month. Earlier, former WNC relief pitcher Evan Parker also came to terms with the Brewers and 2013 Region 18 Pitcher of the Year Cody Hamlin signed with the New York Yankees.
“We have an opportunity to recruit some good players and have an opportunity to help some guys develop, then we get them into some great four-year programs where they continue to develop and are now living their dreams,” Whittemore said. “That’s what any mentor or teacher strives for, helping their pupils reach their dreams.”
WNC Outfielder D.J. Peters, who hit .340 with 23 extra-base hits during his freshman season at WNC, didn’t sign with the Texas Rangers. Texas selected Peters in the 36th round in June.