The MLB Draft has come and gone, with five members of Arizona’s 2023 roster getting picked. That didn’t include Tony Bullard, who despite a torrid finish to his redshirt senior season was not among the 600-plus selections.
But the third baseman will still get a shot at a pro career, signing a rookie free agent deal with the Miami Marlins.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Bullard hit .328 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in the spring, looking like a completely different player after returning from a concussion midway through the season. Over the final 33 games he was 52 of 129 (.402) with 11 homers, 13 doubles, 38 RBI and only struck out 10 times against 15 walks.
A shoulder injury suffered just before the 2022 season opener may have scared off teams from drafting Bullard, who over five seasons hit .286 with 26 homers and 119 RBI in 129 games.
May enters portal, recent transfer opts for pros
The NCAA transfer portal officially closes Thursday, 45 days after opening in the wake of the NCAA Baseball Tournament field announcement on May 29. A slew of players have jumped in this week, including UA right-handed pitcher Aiden May, according to D1Baseball.com.
May’s entry is surprising considering his performance down the stretch this season, starting twice in the Pac-12 Tournament including the title game against Oregon. A transfer from Pima College, he went 5-3 with a 6.16 ERA in 16 starts and was expected to contend for the No. 1 starting spot in 2024.
Another starting candidate, Pepperdine transfer Shane Telfer, has changed his mind about playing for the Wildcats. The left-hander has signed a free agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, passing up his final season of eligibility.
The loss of May and Telfer leaves Arizona with 18 pitchers for the 2024 season, eight of which are newcomers. This assumes May and others who have entered the portal don’t return to Tucson and that prep righty Blake Wolters, who went 44th overall to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, signs his pro deal that could be worth around $1.92 million.
The Wildcats’ team ERA this past season was 5.97, their worst since 2019, and they allowed the most hits since 1996. Arizona has a new pitching coach, Kevin Vance, replacing Dave Lawn after eight years with the program.