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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball talks 2016 signing day

Baraha Elkhalil

New Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson speaks during a press conference with athletic director Greg Byrne at Hi Corbett Field on Monday, June 8. “I am beyond humbled and grateful to be a part of Arizona baseball,” Johnson said.

The Arizona Wildcats baseball team has wrapped up their fall schedule and now looks ahead to the 2016 regular season.

Wednesday marked the first day high school players around the country were able to sign their National Letters of Intent. The UA baseball program has signed 12 players thus far. Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson spoke about each recruit at length at his press conference on Thursday.

Juan Aguilera

RHP| Cochise College (AZ)

Aguilera recorded a 1.99 ERA with 45 strikeouts in just 40.2 innings last year posting a 3-1 record, while guiding Cochise College to a 2nd place finish in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.

“Arguably the most successful pitcher in Arizona JUCO ranks last year from the results standpoint” Johnson said. “I think he can make an immediate impact.”

Cameron Cannon

INF| Mountain Ridge HS (AZ)

As the No. 6 prospect in the entire state of Arizona, Cannon comes in to Arizona already being a very polished high school player. Coach Johnson had very high praise for Cannon.

“One of the best high school players in Arizona at this point,” Johnson said.

Matt Frazier

OF| Clovis North HS (CA)

Frazier comes to Arizona with “unlimited potential” according to the coaching staff and was recruited for his size and athleticism.

“Looks like a PAC-12 player, big, physical, athletic, left-handed hitter,” Johnson said.

Ryan Gowens

RHP| Phoenix College (AZ)

Gowens went 7-5 for Phoenix College last year, and signed at the last second with the Wildcats.

“Another guy that I know will benefit greatly from being with Coach Lawn [pitching coach] here at Arizona,” Johnson said.

Shane Maritnez

INF| JW North HS (CA)

Martinez has already had an exceptional high school career, and will earn his fourth letter this year as a senior.

Johnson was very excited about Martinez and believes he is one of the best players out of Southern California. “

“I like performers, guys when I go see them they don’t just look like PAC-12 players, they play like it,” Johnson said.

Austin Nichols

RHP| Queen Creek HS (AZ)

Nichols is a shortstop turned pitcher, and Johnson views Nichols as a “pop-up” guy, more commonly referred to as a late bloomer.

“His brother pitched in the major leagues not that long ago, we found an electric arm with this guy,” Johnson said.

Preston Price

RHP| Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)

Price had a 1.38 ERA in the 20 innings he appeared in last year, and is someone who has been on Johnson’s radar for a long time.

“Strong, athletic, really good breaking ball, ton of upside, really untapped arm who only started pitching a year ago,” Johnson said.

Nick Quintana

INF| Arbor View HS (NV)

Quintana comes to the U of A as the No. 17 rated player in the country, and the top overall prospect in the baseball hotbed of Las Vegas.

Quintana is seen as UA’s top high school recruit, and Johnson completely agrees.

“[Quintana] is arguably our most high profile high school player in the class,” Johnson said.

JoJo Romero

LHP| Yavapai College (AZ)

JoJo Romero is a name that will be heard of in the future for the Wildcat baseball program, and he has already played for Johnson at the University of Nevada.

Johnson is very confident in Romero’s ability at the collegiate level.

“[Romero] will be one of the best junior college pitchers in the country this year,” Johnson said.

Cal Stevenson

OF/LHP| Chabot College (CA)

Stevenson is coming off a very successful freshman season, earning Co-Mountain West Freshman of the Year.

Stevenson has a chance to be a two-way player for the Wildcats. Stevenson earned some of the highest praise from Johnson in the entire press conference.

“[Stevenson] is a Wildcat in how he plays,” Johnson said.

Nate Sweeney

RHP| Cherry Creek HS (CO)

Sweeney is another four-time letter winner who looks the part. Sweeney is six foot and four inches and has been clocked as high as 94 mph before.

“Very physical, hard throwing righty, has a terrific arm,” Johnson said.

Cory Voss

C| McLennan College (TX)

Voss earned Co-Mountain West freshman of the year honors along with new teammate Cal Stevenson, during his season at the University of New Mexico.

Johnson struggled when facing Voss in the past, and decided it was time to have him on his team, instead of matching up against him.

“Watching him terrorize my team for seven games last year, I decided he was a guy I’d rather have in my dugout,” Johnson said.

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