How deep was Arizona’s 2021 team, which made the College World Series? It had three first-round picks on the roster, including one who could hardly get on the field that year.
Outfielder Chase Davis was taken in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft on Sunday, going 21st overall to the St. Louis Cardinals. He is the third player from the 2021 UA squad to be a first-round pick, joining Jacob Berry (who was drafted out of LSU) and Daniel Susac last year.
The No. 21 pick comes with a bonus “slot value” of $3,618,200, though teams are allowed to go above or below that as long as they stick within their total signing bonus pool. For the Cardinals that’s $6.375 million.
Davis and Susac are the first UA players to go in the first round in back-to-back years since 1989-90, when catcher Alan Zinter went 24th to the New York Mets a year before pitcher Lance Dickson was picked 23rd by the Chicago Cubs. Arizona had two first-round selections in 2008 in pitchers Ryan Perry (21st, Detroit Tigers) and Daniel Schlereth (26th, Arizona Diamondbacks).
In three seasons with the Wildcats, Davis hit .319 with 39 home runs (third-most in school history) and 132 RBI in 147 games. In 2023 he led the UA with a .362 average, while his 21 homers were tied for Kiko Romero for the team lead.
Davis appeared in 27 games as a freshman, starting once, and hit .233. He was stuck behind a trio of outfielders who would go drafted that year or the next, but then-UA coach Jay Johnson was well aware of the talent he had on the bench.
“When he came to school three years ago, you knew this is where he’d end up,” Johnson, now head coach at LSU, said on MLB Network. “Chase is special.”
With St. Louis, Davis will be joining an organization that has won 11 World Series, most recently in 2011. This season the Cardinals are 37-52 at the All-Star break, last in the National League Central Division.
Davis is the first UA player drafted by the Cardinals since outfielder Ryan Holgate in the second round in 2021. The last Wildcat they took in the first round was pitcher Joe Magrane in 1985, though in 2018 they drafted Arizona signee Nolan Gorman in the first round.