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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Donald selected No. 97 overall, professional decision looms”

    Arizona short stop Jason Donald was selected in the 97th overall in the third round of Tuesdays Major League Baseball draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. In his junior year Donald hit .332 batting average, in 54 games with 6 homeruns.
    Arizona short stop Jason Donald was selected in the 97th overall in the third round of Tuesday’s Major League Baseball draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. In his junior year Donald hit .332 batting average, in 54 games with 6 homeruns.

    Same question, different year.

    For Arizona junior shortstop Jason Donald – selected 97th overall yesterday in the third round by the Phillies in the first day of Major League Baseball’s First Year Player Draft – the question now becomes whether he turns pro or returns for his senior season with Arizona.

    Donald faced a similar question out of Buchanan (Calif.) High School in 2003.

    Holding the 23rd overall selection, the Los Angeles Angels wanted Donald to sign a pre-draft agreement, but he eventually refused, sending a letter through MLB to its 30 teams telling them that he wanted to attend college. Donald was also in talks with the Angels’ cross-town counterpart, the Dodgers.

    “”Ultimately, it came down to what I wanted to do and what my heart was telling me,”” Donald said in March, “”And it was telling me I wanted to go to college.””

    So the Angels picked Donald in the 20th round in hopes he’d still sign, and went with Brandon Wood from Scottsdale’s Horizon High School – who is now one of the top prospects in baseball – at No. 23 overall. And Donald stayed true to his word, becoming a Wildcat.

    This past year, he hit .332 in 54 games and clubbed six home runs to go along with his team-leading 19 doubles and 49 RBIs en route to finishing the season on a 26-game hitting streak for the Wildcats, who won six of their past nine games against Washington State, ASU and Southern California, including the last five in a row.

    Now, more than three years after that 2003 draft, Donald must make an all-too-familiar tough decision: Should he stay, or should he go?

    “”He’s been a big part of our success here over the last couple of years and has worked very hard to get where he is,”” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said in a statement. Lopez was unavailable for further comment due to family matters.

    Melancon, Boyer also taken off the board on Day 1

    Another Wildcat with a decision to make is junior closer Mark Melancon.

    Widely considered one of the nation’s top collegiate closers with first-round talent, Melancon injured his throwing elbow and missed the last seven weeks of this season, which hurt his draft status, as he didn’t come off the board until the 9th round (284th overall) to the Yankees.

    “”Initially, I knew that if I wasn’t taken in the first couple of rounds, I figured I’d slip pretty far,”” said Melancon, who was taken in the 30th round in 2003 by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Golden (Colo.) High School. “”As it went on – it kept going on and on – it was kind of disappointing, but I realized what was going on, why I was slipping (because of the injury).””

    The right-hander wasn’t immediately sure in telling where he will call home next year.

    “”It all depends on the offer that they come out with,”” he said.

    A year after being selected in the 14th round by the Mariners but returning to school, senior second baseman Brad Boyer – perhaps best known for his two straight steals of home this season – was taken by the Giants in the 13th round (386th overall).

    Junior lefty Brad Mills, whom scouts have been high on in the recent months, wasn’t selected in the first 18 rounds, but is expected to be taken when the draft concludes this morning at 9 with rounds 19-50.

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