Arizona is in desperate need of pitching help after its staff struggled through this past season, posting some of the worst numbers in years. The Wildcats have added a pair of veteran arms through the NCAA transfer portal, and also signed several pitchers in last fall’s recruiting class, but the crown jewel of that class isn’t likely to ever play in a UA uniform.
Right-hander Blake Wolters, an Mahomet, Ill., was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of the 2023 MLB Draft on Sunday night. As the No. 44 pick, he could be in line for a signing bonus of $1,951,600 to forego his college career and turn pro.
With the 44th pick, the @Royals select Mahomet-Seymour (IL) right-handed pitcher Blake Wolters, No. 41 on the Top 250 Draft Prospects list.— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) July 10, 2023
Watch live: https://t.co/1s1j9XMnG5 pic.twitter.com/3j1g815jF4
he 6-foot-4 Wolters committed to the UA last July, but since then his stock has soared as his velocity has improved and more MLB scouts got a look at him. In an interview with AZ Desert Swarm last month he said he was committed to the Wildcats, but that was before seeing where he got picked and what kind of money he was looking at.
High school pitchers drafted in the first few rounds almost always turn pro, and no prep arm taken in the first 10 rounds has ended up at his 4-year college since 2019.
If Wolters doesn’t come to the UA it would mark the third signee it has lost to the pros since Chip Hale took over the program. Last July the Wildcats saw Nogales infielder Demetrio Crisantes sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks after getting picked in the seventh round, while Central Arizona College pitcher Drew Sommers went in the 11th round to the Tampa Bay Rays and turned pro.
Another prep signee, Minnesota outfielder Easton Breyfogle, could get taken on Monday when the third through 10th rounds are taken or end up being picked Tuesday when the 11th-20th rounds are held.