You have to do it all, or so it seems, in modern baseball.
Pitcher-slugger Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels and World Baseball Classic champion Japanese national team is an outrageous example of that. But multi-tool players are common now in the game.
Ryan Magdic brings that sort of versatility to the Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League. He manned first base in the season openers at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park with two hits and two RBIs in the 13-3 victory over the Kamloops NorthPaws on Friday night and a two-run homer in the 6-4 HarbourCats win on Saturday night before 3,014 fans on Fireworks Night. Magdic provided fireworks of his own as he is batting .500 over the first two games.
Fans, however, are just as likely to see Magdic coming out of the bullpen and to the mound this season because the native of Beamsville, Ont., was actually recruited by the H-Cats as a pitcher.
Magdic laughed when asked if he can be described, on a relative basis of course, as the Ohtani of the WCL. “There’s nobody like him,” he responded.
Maybe the six-foot-five, 240 pounder might just be content with being labelled the Magdic Man of the HarbourCats. Because he can certainly conjure up many attributes on the diamond.
“You’ve got to do what you can to make it to the next level,” said Magdic, who plays for Florida Southern University.
Some have done that before him. Four former HarbourCats have gone on to play in Major League Baseball. Nick Pivetta is with the Boston Red Sox, Andrew Vaughan with the Chicago White Sox and Nathan Lukes with the Blue Jays. Alex De Goti has played with the Houston Astros. There are 40 WCL alumni in the MLB this season and 20 who played in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
“That’s the goal but you have to put in the work,” said Magdic.
He is majoring in accounting as the fallback plan.
“Hopefully, I don’t have to sit at a desk immediately,” he said.
He plans on having many more diamonds to patrol and balls to pitch and hit before that.
Magdic played last season for the Edmonton Riverhawks of the WCL, which is among several summer collegiate leagues across North America in which NCAA and NAIA players can extend their seasons into the summer after their university and college seasons end in the spring.
“This has been a great league to play in and to get things done [in terms of development],” said Magdic.
Third-baseman Jack Johnson, from the Baylor Bears of the NCAA Big 12 Conference, had two hits for Victoria on Saturday and outfielder Nick Dumesnil, from NCAA Cal-Baptist, a hit, walk and two runs scored.
HarbourCats starter Cam Caley, from Baylor, pitched a near gem through five complete innings with just one hit allowed with nine strikeouts, three walks and two runs scored. Closer Jake Finkelstein, from Richmond, who plays for Montana State, took the win.
The HarbourCats and NorthPaws meet again today in a matinee at RAP before the HarbourCats open a three-game homestand Monday evening against the Walla Walla Sweets, which concludes with the School Spirit morning start on Wednesday.
The Nanaimo NightOwls opened the WCL season Friday night with a 14-4 romp over the Sweets before 1,364 fans at Serauxmen Stadium. Nanaimo was leading Walla Walla 6-5 in the eighth inning at press time Saturday night.