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Stingers add 3 for 2014

WILLMAR — The Willmar Stingers have added three California prep standouts, pushing their 2014 roster to eight, the team announced Wednesday.

Two come by way of Pepperdine, freshman outfielder Jack Ross and freshman pitcher AJ Puckett, and one from Cal Poly, redshirt freshman catcher Brett Barbier.

Puckett, a 6-foot-4 righthander, was a 35th-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in the 2013 MLB draft out of De La Salle High School (Concord, Calif.).

In the press release announcing Puckett’s commitment, Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez said “A.J. has the ability to be something very special because he can control his fastball and the curveball is a big time pitch. He is still maturing physically and I am expecting big things from A.J. in the future.”

Puckett struck out 59 batters in 54.2 innings with a 2.56 ERA his senior season at De La Salle.

His new teammate at Pepperdine, Ross, hit .369 with a .514 on-base percentage and .607 slugging percentage last spring at Palma High School (Salinas, Calif.).

Barbier, a 2012 graduate of San Ramon Valley High School (Danville, Calif.), hit .370 as a senior and slugged .506 while getting on base at a .474 clip.

Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

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