Arizona Baseball

Southern Arizona’s Kiko Romero & Chris Barraza of Arizona Wildcats selected in MLB Draft

Arizona first baseman Kiko Romero and right-handed relief pitcher Chris Barraza were selected in the second day of the MLB Draft on Monday with Romero going in the seventh round to the New York Yankees and Barraza in the 10th round to the Los Angeles Angels.

Romero will become the 26th former Dorado to reach professional baseball. Spencer Packard, an outfielder in Double-A with the Seattle Mariners, was the previous draftee from CDO in 2021 going in the ninth round after playing at Central Arizona College.

Barraza will be the seventh Sahuarita alum to reach pro ball. The most recent Mustang to be drafted was Ian Mejia, a former Arizona pitcher who completed his college career at New Mexico State and was drafted in the 11th round last year by the Atlanta Braves.

“It means everything to get drafted,” Barraza mentioned in a text message. “Only a select few are this fortunate. Going to Arizona and getting drafted have been two dreams of mine since I started playing baseball.

“To accomplish both and see all my hard work pay off is definitely gratifying. I know this is the first step but I will do whatever it takes to get to the show.”

Five players from Arizona were drafted in the first 10 rounds. The final 10 rounds will take place Tuesday.

Arizona’s draftees:

First Round (21st pick): OF Chase Davis, St. Louis Cardinals

Sixth Round (183): RHP TJ Nichols, Tampa Bay Rays

Seventh Round (222): 1B Kiko Romero, New York Yankees

10th Round (294): RHP Chris Barraza, Los Angeles Angels

10th Round (311): SS Nik McClaughry, San Diego Padres

Barraza concluded his career at Arizona after transferring from New Mexico State, where he played from 2019 to 2021.

He posted a 5-2 record and a save with a 6.52 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 29 innings this season.

In three postseason outings, Barraza was particularly impressive, going 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA with six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Barraza is a product of the successful Baseball’s Next Level club directed by former Sahuarita coach Bryan Huie. Cienega grad Nick Gonzales played with BNL before excelling at New Mexico State. Barraza is a former teammate of Gonzales’ with the Aggies.

Barraza is the seventh pitcher from Sahuarita High School to be drafted. The list:

LHP Tony Komadina, 1974, seventh round, Chicago White Sox

RHP Manny Barreda, 2007, 12th round, New York Yankees

RHP Ramon Delgado, 2007, 41st round, St. Louis Cardinals

RHP Sati Santa Cruz, 2017, 32nd round, Philadelphia Phillies

RHP Jose Dicochea, 2019, eighth round, Oakland A’s

RHP Ian Mejia, 2022, 11th round, Atlanta Braves

RHP Chris Barraza, 2023, 10th round, Los Angeles Angels

“It’s a great feeling to be a part of that club now,” Barraza mentioned about Sahuarita’s success producing professional pitchers. “I played with a lot of them and know how good they all are so to include myself in that group is definitely rewarding.”

In his lone season with Arizona after playing two years at Central Arizona College, Romero broke Ron Hassey’s 49-year RBI record. The left-handed hitter drove in 89 runs, eclipsing Hassey’s mark of 86.

He also tied Davis for the Pac-12 lead in home runs with 21 while batting .345.

Romero’s mom Ana Romero posted this comment on Facebook: “Yankees!! Super proud of this kid and all he has accomplished. Starting playing club ball at 7 years old and hasn’t stopped since! All the long road trips, baseball bats bought, hemming his long pants into knickers. … wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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. He became an educator seven years ago and is presently a special education teacher at his alma mater Sunnyside High School.

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