There are few pitchers on whose influence now-former Arizona pitcher coach Nate Yeskie had more than Gil Luna. Before he arrived, Luna was a promising young left-hander who couldn’t throw strikes, and by the time he left for another job he’d turned him into a Major League draft pick.
Luna was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 9th round of the 2021 MLB Draft on Monday, completing a whirlwind 2021 season that saw him go from bullpen afterthought to one of Arizona’s top relief arms. Per MLB.com, the “slot value” for Luna’s pick is worth $152,000.
A fourth-year junior, Luna went 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 14 games this past season. He struck out 31 batters in 21.1 innings, going 10 consecutive outings at one point with allowing an earned run.
Luna, from nearby Casa Grande, had only made one appearance through the first 28 games of the season before coming on against Cal on April 11 and throwing 3.1 IP of scoreless relief. He didn’t allow an earned run until May 28, becoming a key bullpen weapon for Yeskie (now at Texas A&M) and then-UA coach Jay Johnson (now at LSU) to use on the way to the College World Series.
Unfortunately, Luna wasn’t part of the CWS roster, as he and fellow lefty reliever Randy Abshier were placed on interim suspension prior to the Super Regionals for an off-campus incident involving other students.