Arizona Wildcats junior third baseman Brandon Dixon was selected in the third round of the major-league draft, going No. 92 overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dixon hit a Pac-12-best .369 for the Wildcats last season in his only year as a full-time player. He also led the conference in stolen bases (30 in 37 attempts) and led the team in home runs (six), RBIs (51) and stolen bases (30 in 37 attempts).
“He’s athletic. He has power. He can play second; he can play third; he can play left,” coach Andy Lopez said near the end of the season. “He’s very versatile. That’s the word. And he has great make-up with his character. We won’t see Brandon here next year.”
Dixon is the highest-drafted Arizona player since the program produced a pair of first-round pitchers in 2008 — Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth.
Dixon was mostly a defensive replacement at first base for the Wildcats during their national championship 2012 season, although he did deliver a game-winning double in the ninth inning in the final game of the College World Series.
Here is part of his scouting report on MLB.com:
“Dixon underwent Lasik eye surgery in the offseason and broke out at the plate. He took over as the Wildcats starting third baseman and became just the fourth player in program history to score 40 runs, drive in 40 runs and steal 30 bases in one season. Dixon has a good approach at the plate and a compact swing that allows him to spray line drives from gap-to-gap. He is a steady defender with an average arm. The biggest question mark in Dixon’s game is his power. He will need to add more loft to his swing to add power, but, if he does, Dixon could be an everyday third baseman.”
Later in the draft, the Tampa Bay Rays selected Arizona junior Johnny Field in the fifth round, No. 158 overall. Field was the Pac-12 batting champ in 2012, hitting .370, and he finished his junior season at .357. His career average in 172 games — 166 starts — was .343.
Although he was an outfielder for the Cats, he doesn’t necessarily have the potential power for a typical major-league corner outfielder, and Field is listed as a second baseman in MLB.com’s draft tracker.
Arizona’s Friday starter, junior right-hander Konner Wade, was the next to go from the Wildcats. The Rockies took him with the third pick of the seventh round, No. 199 overall.
Wade had a disappointing junior season after an amazing postseason run in 2012. He was 5-6 with a 4.30 ERA this season in 15 starts, but scouts know he still has the stuff that made him nearly unhittable late in his sophomore campaign.
Even though he had a down season, Wade is still considered a very good pitcher, mostly because of his stuff and his solid pitcher’s frame. His fastball sits in the high 80s but has heavy sink to it and induces tons of groundballs. His changeup is his best secondary pitch as it is very deceptive and has good late sink. His slider is inconsistent at this point, but could be average in the future. Wade goes right after hitters and has a very good feel for pitching. If he can return to his 2012 season form, he could be a great value in the Draft.