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Arizona baseball: Cody Ramer inspired by new coaching staff to become volunteer assistant

It'll be a choice between pro ball and staying at Arizona now

Jason Bartel

Heading into this senior season, there was very little reason to think that Cody Ramer would be a 2016 MLB Draft pick. In his first three years with the Arizona Wildcats, he was just 50-of-229 at the plate (.218 average), and had just eight extra-base hits. He only started 12 games in his junior season.

Now, with the Draft approaching, all of that has changed. Ramer has started every game, and has been hitting above .350 for basically the entire season in Arizona's leadoff spot.

This late development may put a kink into what his future plans were.

Back in the fall, as the culture at Hi Corbett took a sudden turn under the new coaching staff, Ramer was inspired by Jay Johnson and his assistants to keep in the college game as a volunteer undergrad assistant for Arizona after the 2016 season when his eligibility had expired.

"We had a little scenario at the beginning of the fall," Ramer explained. "And then I think in the winter I asked him if I could volunteer assistant because I'm going to be here and I've got no friends other than the baseball guys so I might as well be around the field and coach and he was all about it."

"Right when I first met Coach Johnson, we went over a bunch of scenarios about what he had to deal with coming in and scholarship-wise," Ramer continued about his desire to join the coaching staff. "And when he approached that to me, I kind of had the backup plan and he loved it so we kind of rolled with it."

"I was fired up," said Johnson of the moment Ramer first came to him with the idea. "My thought at that point was this is a really good sign that we have a guy that we think can be a good player at that point and that is adapting well enough to our coaching staff and style that he wants to be a part of it."

"And I thought that would be a big benefit for our team since he's a player this year, and in nine months he would get the experiences he's had under his belt, that would be really beneficial for the players to come after him."

Now, after a spectacular senior season, maybe Ramer will be around baseball, just with an organization that decides to pick him in the draft.

"I was one hundred percent all for it, but I think his play is not going to allow him to be around to do that," Johnson said. "He'll be a good pro player, and eventually if he wants to coach, he'll be a great coach as well."

"Obviously because I've had a pretty good year, I've started getting people's attention," Ramer added. "But I don't ever think about that during the games or during practice. I don't want to go down the wrong direction."

If Ramer were to stay with the school next year, what exactly would he be doing for Johnson and the rest of the staff?

"Kind of be the right-hand to both Coach (Sergio) Brown and I and Coach (Marc) Wanaka with the hitting and the infielders and baserunning," Johnson explained. "That's a guy that has modeled all of the stuff that we have implemented perfectly and to a T, so he'd be a great example as an undergraduate assistant."

It's not only Ramer. Zach Gibbons may also be a part of this if he doesn't go in the pro ball direction.

"He's on the docket too," Johnson joked about Gibbons. "I think they're both gonna be swinging the bat for somebody, so I might have to find an alternate plan, which I'm totally okay with."

Why does Gibbons want to be a part of it?

"Just how this whole year's gone," he explained. "I love every single coach from the bottom of my heart. I just think it'd be awesome to come back and do that."

We will find out over the weekend if one or both of these guys get drafted and have the opportunity to continue their baseball careers, or if they'll be back in Tucson next year, just in a slightly different role.