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Arizona C Cesar Salazar selected by Houston Astros in 7th round of MLB Draft

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Jay Johnson’s favorite player is expected to turn pro

Rachel Huston

Arizona Wildcats catcher Cesar Salazar was selected by the Houston Astros in the 7th round of the MLB Draft on Tuesday.

The junior was selected with the No. 222 pick. The signing bonus slot value for that selection is $187,000, per MLB.com.

The left-handed-hitting Salazar batted .339/.432/.471 with four homers, 11 doubles, and 42 RBI in 2018.

“He’s my favorite player I’ve ever coached,” said UA head coach Jay Johnson. “I mean it’s almost hard to talk about. There’s not a better human being on the planet than him. ... The playing thing is great. He’s one of the best catchers in the country and I can’t say enough.”

Here is what Baseball America had to say about Salazar, who it ranked as its No. 277 prospect:

He has made big strides at the plate this year by adding strength, but he is still regarded as a defense-first catcher. He blocks and receives well and knows how to manage a pitching staff. His fringe-average arm plays up because his quick hands and feet allow him to get rid of the ball quickly. Salazar’s intangibles allow all of his tools to play up. He’ll be drafted in the top 10 rounds, primarily because of his leadership and skills behind the plate.

While Salazar still has a year of eligibility, he is expected to turn pro.

“That was one of my goals — play three years of college baseball and then move on,” he said after the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament. “Right now it’s pretty tough because of the special bonds I’ve made throughout my three years, but I think it’s time to move on, and hopefully I’m going to get a chance to continue my baseball career in pro baseball.”

Fellow Wildcat Cody Deason was selected by the Astros in the 5th round.