The MLB Draft usually signals a time of significant change for a college baseball program such as Arizona.
This year holds true to that, but the Wildcats and coach Jay Johnson are getting a tremendous image boost with six players chosen in the first 10 rounds for the first time in the program’s illustrious history. Arizona tied Kentucky and Oregon State for the most with that total.
If this was football, it would be the equivalent of Alabama placing that many that high.
And that does not include two recruits going in the first round Monday.
Most 2018 @MLB draft picks by school in rounds 1-10:
Arizona – 6
Kentucky – 6
Oregon State – 6
Arkansas – 5
Florida – 5
Florida State – 5
Oklahoma – 5
Virginia – 5
Wichita State – 5
Clemson – 4
NC State – 4
NC Wilmington – 4
South Carolina – 4
Texas Tech – 4
In terms of change, not only will the Wildcats most likely lose prized recruits Matthew Liberatore and Nick Gorman, the first-round selections from the Phoenix area, but juniors Cesar Salazar, Alfonso Rivas, Cody Deason and Michael Flynn are also potentially gone after getting drafted in the first seven rounds today.
Slot signing bonus values for Arizona picks:
Alfonso Rivas, A's, 113th: $493K
Cody Deason, Astros, 162nd:306K
Michael Flynn, Pirates, 174th: 276K
Cesar Salazar, Astros, 222nd: $187K
Tylor Megill, Mets, 230th: $177K
Senior right-hander Tylor Megill and senior outfielder Cal Stevenson were also selected. Megill went in the eighth round to the New York Mets and Stevenson in the 10th to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Megill and Stevenson are two of 10 seniors Johnson must replace next season. Also likely losing Liberatore, Gorman, Salazar, Rivas, Deason and Flynn, that’s 16 spots that will likely have different faces on the Arizona roster next season.
Here are Twitter reactions of the Arizona players and recruits chosen thus far in the MLB Draft:
Alfonso Rivas, 1B
Oakland Athletics, fourth round
#Athletics select OF Alfonso Rivas with their 4th round selection of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arizona.
Live Draft Updates on A's Selections: https://t.co/lg3EdwyGHt
The #Athletics take Alfonso Rivas of @ArizonaBaseball in the fourth round. One of the sweetest lefthanded swings in the draft — he’s gonna be a doubles machine, but I’ve seen him put a charge into balls too. Think the power is coming. I think he’s athletic enough to play OF too.
Off the board!
With the 38th pick in the draft the Padres draft Alfonso Rivas out of Arizona. Rivas doesn't have elite length, or flow but there are some good makings here for good projections. Rivas has some quality flow for his length and has decent upside for the Padres here. I rate him a 45 pic.twitter.com/DuVaBeXMgl
Cody Deason, RHP
Houston Astros, fifth round
Say hello to the newest member of the @astros.
#Astros fifth-round pick Cody Deason: "I was a Dodgers fan and, as of about three hours ago, I am an Astros fan. That was heartbreaking to see last year. But now I look back on it and say 'Wow, this is the greatest thing that's ever happened.'"
I’ll show them whatever they want to see!!!
Arizona catcher Cesar Salazar was roommate to JJ Matijevic last season and Cody Deason this season.
Soon, all three will be in the #Astros organization.
Deason and Salazar will sign with the club, they both tell me.
Cody Deason: "I loved watching Verlander and Gerrit Cole. I'm not just saying that because I'm with the Astros now. I loved watching Cole when he was with the Pirates. Loved watching Verlander growing up. I like the way he competes on the mound, he's just a bulldog."
Michael Flynn, RHP
Pittsburgh Pirates, sixth round
Flynn's flyin' to his new crew.
Cesar Salazar, C
Houston Astros, seventh round
Cesar Salazar is headed to Houston!
He's coming for you Houston.
Couldn’t be happier! @astros
The #Astros chose Arizona catcher Cesar Salazar with their seventh round selection at No. 222 overall.
Slot value is $187,000
Five straight college players today. Catcher was a position of need, too.
Hey @astros fans!
Learn more about Cesar Salazar and his lifelong dream of baseball. ⤵️https://t.co/osEXsxFVKH
Tylor Megill, RHP
New York Mets, eighth round
Heading to NYC!
Megill the Met!
Congratulations to @ArizonaBaseball RHP Tylor Megill, who began his career with @LMLionsBaseball, on being selected in the eighth round, No. 230 overall (slot value: $176,700), by the @Mets: pic.twitter.com/SwH1szZ8WN
Mets 8th rounder Tylor Megill has a huge frame, 91-93, avg slider
Cal Stevenson, OF
Toronto Blue Jays, 10th round
Only player with a local tie drafted today was Cal Stevenson (10th round, 296th overall, Blue Jays). He was the MW freshman of the year at Nevada in 2015 before transferring to a JC in 2016 and playing at Arizona from 2017-18.
Like Cal Stevenson for the Blue Jays there. Really good approach with bat to ball skills. Very high quality senior sign.
Matthew Liberatore, LHP
Tampa Bay Rays, first round
Congratulations to signee Matthew Liberatore, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 1st round of tonight's MLB Draft!
.@TheMayorsOffice recently sat down with 2018 #MLBDraft prospects Matthew Liberatore and Nolan Gorman to discuss their journey from childhood friends to potential first round picks. pic.twitter.com/WN5TQyzM8W
Nolan Gorman, 3B
St. Louis Cardinals, first round
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.