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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Trio of ‘Cats hear names in MLB Draft

Bill Mason, Cat Tran Driver (Brown hair) Dennis Cady, Cat Tran Driver (black and white striped shirt) AJ Dowgiert, Cat Tran Driver (Plaid/Checkered Shirt)

University of Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne announced Jay Johnson as the next Arizona baseball head coach, replacing Andy Lopez last Monday. Monday was also the start day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, held in Secaucus, N.J. The MLB Draft included a pair of Wildcats to hear from teams on the first day.

“[The MLB Draft] has a large impact on programs across the United States and will have a major impact on Arizona baseball,” Johnson said.

Going into draft day, it was a toss up of where infielders Kevin Newman and Scott Kingery would land, but there was confidence that it would either be in the first or second round.

Newman was selected in the first round at pick No. 19 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Newman was in a round that was a hot bed for shortstops, considering he was the fifth shortstop selected.

Newman would be the first Wildcat selected in the first round since right-handed pitcher Ryan Perry was selected at No. 21 overall. Newman would also be the fifth Andy Lopez product to be selected in the first round.

Newman has a high ceiling and has been productive ever since succeeding Alex Mejia his freshman season and was the only freshman named to the All-Pac-12 Conference team.

Newman spent two seasons in Tucson and was already added to the Golden Spikes Award watch list. In 2013 and 2014, Baseball expert Peter Gammons witnessed Newman become the first-ever player to become the back-to-back Cape Cod League batting champion.

“He’s just a ballplayer,” Gammons said in a Pac-12 release statement. “It will be fun to see where he goes.”

In his three-year stint at Arizona, Newman batted .337 while collecting 227 hits. He also gathered 132 runs as well as 112 RBI. Newman even flaunted speed in his career going 46-for-58 in stolen base tries, while twice being named to the All-Pac-12 Defensive team.

Newman has raised the eyebrows of many scouts throughout his career, and he’s only getting better. Of course the process of making it to the big leagues is much easier said than done, but the Pirates knew what they were doing when selecting Newman.

The current shortstop for the Pirates is Jordy Mercer, and he’s batting .222 this season, so Newman adds the offensive power that can compliment Andrew McCutchen.

Kingery would be the next Wildcat selected at No. 48 overall in the second round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kingery played second base this season for the Wildcats, but also has the ability to shift over to shortstop.

The 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year also adds offensive power to a Philadelphia team that gave up all-star shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kingery batted .392 and was named to the third All-American team.

The only other Wildcat selected in the draft didn’t come until the final day of the draft when the Baltimore Orioles selected left-handed pitcher Xavier Borde at No. 1093 overall in the 36th round.

That was all she wrote for the final Andy Lopez draft class. As for Jay Johnson, he will have his hands on Bobby Dalbec. Dalbec will look to stack his statistics in 2016 before becoming a potential first-round pick next season.


Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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