Several Arizona Wildcats await baseball draftby Anthony Gimino on Jun. 04, 2012, under Sports
Major league baseball will begin its three-day draft on Monday night, but a flurry of Arizona Wildcats will be more focused on the second day.
Arizona has several draft-eligible, draft-worthy players, led by five juniors — outfielder Robert Refsnyder, pitcher Kurt Heyer, shortstop Alex Mejia, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean and outfielder Joey Rickard.
“Refsnyder is the one guy everybody loves, but, boy, they really like Alex,” coach Andy Lopez said of the pro scouts.
Refsnyder, the Cats’ cleanup hitter, is batting .353 with team highs of six home runs and 61 RBIs.
“Just the aptitude to hit,” Lopez said on what scouts like about Refsnyder. “He has good bat speed; he’s just a good hitter.”
And a pro team will find some place to play him if not the outfield.
“They are thinking of making him a second baseman, which he can do,” Lopez said. “He played 10 games as a freshman at second. He has worked out at second for some scouts in the past couple of weeks.”
Mejia, who is hitting .367, earned Pac-12 Player of the Year honors, improving his stats and athleticism in each of his three years at Arizona.
“For the scouts that have seen him since his freshman year … everybody says the difference in what he looks like today and what he looked like as a freshman is unbelievable,” Lopez said.
“And his intangibles are off the charts.”
Mejia is another player who could be looking at a position switch in the pros.
“I think they see a lot of options with him — second, third, catcher maybe,” Lopez said.
“If he can’t cover the ground at short at the next level, they will find a spot for him,” Lopez said.
Heyer is having a superb year, earning second-team All-America honors. He is a four-pitch pitcher who is 12-2 with a 2.03 ERA, averaging just more than eight innings per start … but a lack of a blazing fastball is a negative in the eyes of many scouts.
“He’s not a real hard thrower,” Lopez said. “But as I’ve told five or six clubs, he chews up innings like a mad man. He’s going to be great.”
The first round of the draft, and the supplemental picks before the second round, will be held Monday, starting at 4 p.m. Tucson time on the MLB Network.
The draft continues Tuesday with rounds two through 15, starting at 9 a.m. on MLB.com. The final 25 rounds will be held Wednesday.
None of Arizona’s prospects is ranked in the top 100 by MLB.com.