Depending on how the third day of the 2022 MLB Draft goes, Arizona could be getting back some key veteran bats for next season. That includes a player whose Wildcat career had already appeared to have ended.
Third baseman Tony Bullard confirmed to AZ Desert Swarm on Monday night that he’d withdrawn from the NCAA transfer portal, setting the stage for his return to the UA for his senior season.
All that stands between him and the hot corner at Hi Corbett Field in 2023 are the final 10 rounds of the draft, which are on tap for Tuesday.
Bullard, as well as outfielders Mac Bingham and Tanner O’Tremba and incoming junior college pitcher Aiden May, are among the players likely to be taken. Signing bonuses for picks in rounds 11 and beyond are capped at $125,000 unless a team is willing to use bonus pool money normally reserved for earlier picks.
The Los Angeles Angels signed UA righty Chase Silseth for $485,000 as an 11th-round pick last year, and by May he was in the big leagues.
Bullard has not appeared on any lists of top draft prospects, but a professional team might look at his 6-foot-4 frame and solid defensive skills and take a shot.
If Bullard returns to Arizona he’d have a chance to distance himself from a disappointing 2022 season, one that saw him sidelined with a shoulder injury for the first few weeks. He was also mourning the death of his father, who passed away in January.
Bullard ended up hitting .247 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 44 starts. In 2021 he hit .298 with seven homers and 30 RBI, catching fire late in the regular season and into the postseason.