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Arizona baseball notebook: All-American nods, transfer portal departures, MLB Draft projections

arizona-wildcats-baseball-notebook-kiko-romero-mason-white-all-american-transfer-portal-mlb-draft Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The college baseball season doesn’t officially end for another few weeks, after the College World Series is completed, but one national publication has put out its All-American teams and a pair of Arizona players made the cut.

First baseman Kiko Romero has been named a 2nd Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, which also tabbed infielder Mason White as a Freshman All-American.

Romero set a school record with 89 RBI this season, breaking Ron Hassey’s mark of 86 from 1974. The junior college transfer from Central Arizona (who grew up in Tucson) hit .345 with 21 home runs, tied with teammate Chase Davis for third-most in school history.

White, also a Tucson native, hit .313 with 10 homers, 35 RBI and 35 extra-base hits in his first college season. He batted .356 in Pac-12 play, his 12 doubles tying Daniel Susac’s freshman school record from 2021.

White, who started at both second and third base in 2023, is expected to move over to shortstop in 2024 to fill the void left by Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Nik McClaughry.

NCAA transfer portal update

UA coach Chip Hale said in his post-elimination loss press conference that Arizona had already been active in the transfer portal that opened on May 30. The Wildcats have yet to land a commitment, though, but has seen a few more players go into the portal.

Infielder Jack Grant and right-handed pitcher Josh Randall have put their names into the portal, per D1Baseball. That ups the total to eight Wildcats from the 2022-23 squad, including three who went in back in the fall.

Grant started 18 games as a freshman in 2022 but this past season was limited to nine at-bats, failing to get a hit. Randall was limited nearly all spring by a back injury but made one appearance in the regular-season finale against USC, walking two and striking out one in an inning.

Randall appeared in 14 games as a freshman, posting an 8.62 ERA.

Mock draft scenarios

Baseball America has updated its 2023 MLB mock draft, and the latest version has Davis going 25th overall to the San Diego Padres.

Here’s what BA had to say about Davis:

Davis is coming off a career year where he’s hit .362/.489/.742 with 21 home runs and more walks than strikeouts. He significantly improved his contact rate, which was the biggest question in his profile entering the year, and pairs production with excellent underlying batted ball data and impressive traditional tools. The Padres had a ton of heat in to see him at the Pac-12 tournament, where he went 6-for-17 (.353) with a pair of home runs and was named tournament MVP.

If he goes in the first round, Davis would give Arizona 1st-round picks in three of the last four drafts (catchers Susac in 2022 and Austin Wells in 2020) and in back-to-back years for the first time since 1989-90. The Wildcats did have two first-rounders in 2008 in pitchers Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth.

No UA player has been drafted by the Padres since catcher Nick Hundley in the second round in 2005.

Baseball America’s ranking of the top 400 draft prospects has Davis at No. 28 overall. He’s one of seven current or future Wildcats on the list.

The others:

  • HS RHP Blake Wolters (49)
  • RHP TJ Nichols (149)
  • HS OF Easton Breyfogle (157)
  • OF Mac Bingham (352)
  • 1B Kiko Romero (429)
  • RHP Chris Barraza (435)

Not ranked are McClaughry and third baseman Tony Bullard, both of whom could get drafted or sign an undrafted rookie free agent deal like lefty Garrett Irvin did last summer. Irvin is pitching in relief for the Stockton Ports, the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, in the same league with former UA outfielder Tanner O’Tremba (San Jose Giants).