clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona baseball: Wildcats miss out on top three pitching recruits

Not exactly an encouraging sign so far

The MLB Draft will forever be the strangest of the four major sports, and the most unpredictable. It's also the only one that has a direct impact on whether or not college coaches will actually ever coach the players they recruit.

The Arizona Wildcats had four 2015 signees taken in the 2015 draft, with two of them going in the third round. All four of those signees are pitchers, which was somewhat troubling considering the pitching depth is, well, not good right now. Also troubling is that Jay Johnson is known more as an offensive guy than a pitching guy.

After Thursday afternoon, Arizona officially missed out on both of the players that were drafted in the third round (Max Wotell and Javier Medina) as well as 14th round pick Jio Orozco. 27th round pick Austin Rubick still remains out there. Another highly-touted pitching recruit, Sati Santa Cruz, will not go to Arizona after not being drafted and instead go to Central Arizona College.

When Jay Johnson took over as Arizona's new head coach the day before the draft, his primary goal was to get these guys on campus.

"We gotta get in a couple of these guys' homes that will get drafted," Johnson said the day he was introduced. "I've kind of assessed where we can make an impact, and that's where we're going to start."

It seems he did not make the impact he needed to.

Max Wotell is understandable as a guy who didn't come, because the Mets signed him for more than the pick value was worth. But Javier Medina signed for under the slot value, and Orozco's a 14th round guy. Under normal circumstances, it would be a no-brainer for a 27th round guy like Rubick to come to Arizona, but with the coaching change, nothing's official until it's official.

Coach Johnson's a person who prided last year's Nevada recruiting class as not having a single signee, so maybe his ways aren't working at Arizona, or it's just a matter of these guys committing to Andy Lopez, and not sure about what the future holds with Johnson at the helm.

"My strategy is to find out what that player wants," Johnson continued. "And then I try to give them a message that they can achieve that at the University of Arizona, and I'm very confident that we have a lot of things that young players are going to want."

Either way, missing out on the top three pitching recruits in this class will certainly hurt the Wildcats in the 2016 season. In addition, Cody Hamlin has signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent, and Bobby Dalbec has made it clear that he would prefer to not be "the guy" in the rotation. Johnson has brought in a guy to catch, junior college catcher Ryan Haug, with the losses of Riley Moore and Handsome Monica. But who's going to throw to him?

Just a bit concerning that Johnson went down 1-2-3 in the MLB Draft, and that they were all pitching prospects. But at least he went down swinging.