One of Arizona’s most highly regarded incoming freshman isn’t likely to make it to campus.
Tyler Whitaker, a left-handed hitting outfielder from Las Vegas, was picked by the Houston Astros in the 3rd round of the 2021 MLB Draft on Monday. Per MLB.com, that pick has a draft “slot value” of $689,300.
Here’s what Baseball America had to say about Whitaker, whom it ranked as the No. 60 draft-eligible prospect in the country:
“Whitaker’s stock continued to climb during his senior season at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, making it less likely that he will fulfill his commitment to Arizona. He stands out for his frame and athleticism with at least three plus tools in his kit. Primarily a two-way shortstop and pitcher during his prep career, Whitaker spent more time this year in right field, with center field likely being his home at the next level. He’s a plus-plus runner but yielded the center field position to other speedy outfielders on his high school squad. A plus arm and power bat will allow him to fit into any outfield position in the future. He has plus power, but the hit tool is a question mark as there’s plenty of swing and miss with a grooved swing. Whitaker is a max-effort type of player with good makeup. He’s a known commodity to amateur scouts, having been a regular in tournaments and the showcase circuit for the entirety of his prep career, often playing up in age levels.”
Whitaker, who committed to Arizona back in 2017, is the latest UA signee to get drafted high. Infielder Nick Yorke went 17th overall to the Boston Red Sox in 2020, while in 2019 a trio of incoming freshmen signed including right-handed pitcher Andrew Dalquist with the Chicago White Sox as a third-round pick. The 2018 draft saw Arizona have two players (righty Matthew Liberatore to the Tampa Bay Rays and infielder Nolan Gorman to the St. Louis Cardinals) go in the first round.