MLB Draft: Arizona Wildcats' Brandon Dixon a top local prospect

Next 3 days will bring good news for about a dozen with local ties
2013-06-06T00:00:00Z MLB Draft: Arizona Wildcats' Brandon Dixon a top local prospectDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Before he leaves the house Friday to celebrate his older sister Courtney's birthday, Brandon Dixon will make sure his phone is fully charged and on him at all times.

He'll only be waiting for the call of a lifetime.

The Arizona Wildcats third baseman is expected to be the first UA player selected in this year's MLB draft, which opens today with the first two rounds.

Dixon will likely be taken Friday, sometime between Rounds 3 and 10.

"I've always had that goal and dream to go out and play professional baseball," Dixon said Wednesday. "I'm excited to see what happens."

Dixon is a junior and has the option of returning to play for Andy Lopez for one more season. But barring a major fall in the draft, Dixon will embark on his professional baseball journey at some point this month. Baseball America ranks Dixon as the 154th-best prospect heading into the draft.

"I'd like to go play pro ball," Dixon said. "If all goes as planned, it should be good. If not, I obviously have a great situation to come back to here."

The Murrieta, Calif., native led the Pac-12 in hitting this season with a .369 average. He stole 30 bases and added 57 runs, 51 RBIs and six home runs.

He's an intriguing prospect because of his mix of speed and power.

"Individually, I met most of my goals this past season," Dixon said. "Obviously, as a team, missing out on the playoffs, we didn't achieve what we planned on. But, individually, it was cool to have that success you're looking for."

Dixon won't be the only UA player taken over the three-day draft or the only player with Southern Arizona ties.

Outside of the UA, former Salpointe Catholic pitcher and Notre Dame closer Dan Slania should be selected Friday.

Others with Southern Arizona ties who could be selected at some point include: Ironwood Ridge High School players Jake Matthews and Devin Harrison, Salpointe Lancer Michael Hoard, former Catalina product and Central Arizona pitcher Nicco Blank, Sabino's Ty Pennington, Tucson High's Alex Robles and Pima Community College pitcher Hyrum Formo.

There are others who have a chance to be picked in the later rounds on Saturday as well.

Outside of Dixon, here are the UA's top four prospects:

1. RHP Konner Wade

2013 stats: 5-6, 4.30 ERA, 104 2/3 IP, 120 hits, 64 Ks, 24 BBs

Baseball America ranking: No. 403 overall and No. 9 in Arizona

The lowdown: Professional scouts are more interested in Wade's potential than they are his junior-year stats at the UA. At 6 feet 3 inches and 190 pounds, Wade is still growing into a large frame that's ideal for a pitcher. He throws his fastball in the low 90s, and when he was on, he was one of the best in the Pac-12. He fell out of ESPN draft analyst Keith Law's top 100 last month but should still be a single-digit-round selection.

2. OF Johnny Field

2013 stats: .347 average, 58 runs, 39 RBIs, seven triples, 16 stolen bases, five home runs

Baseball America ranking: No. 422 overall and No. 10 in Arizona

The lowdown: Listed at 5-10, 195, Field projects more as an infielder than an outfielder, where he played the last three seasons for Arizona. Second base seems to be the ideal spot for Field. Like Dixon, Field has a good combination of power and speed and is a do-it-all type of player. He should be a Friday selection and will likely sign with the team that drafts him rather than return for his senior season.

3. RHP James Farris

2013 stats: 5-5, 4.18 ERA, 99 IP, 89 hits, 73 Ks, 23 BBs

Baseball America ranking: Unranked in top 500, No. 15 in Arizona

The lowdown: Faris had a better statistical season than Wade but doesn't throw as hard as his teammate. The junior could benefit from another season under UA pitching coach Shaun Cole next season, but it doesn't seem likely. If Farris isn't picked in the first 10 rounds by the end of Friday, he should be an early selection Saturday when the draft closes out.

4. LHP Augey Bill

2013 stats: 4-1, 1.98 ERA, 27 1/3 IP, 20 hits, 12 Ks, two saves

Baseball America ranking: Unranked

The lowdown: The fourth spot could have gone to Bill or right-handed reliever Nick Cunningham, but we went with Bill. The 6-9 lefty is intriguing because of how dangerous he is against lefty hitters and how hard it is to pick up the ball when he delivers it. He had a breakout senior season and certainly put himself in a spot to be picked.

Inside pitch

• Freshman shortstop Kevin Newman was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper on Wednesday. The Poway, Calif., native started all 55 games for the Wildcats and batted .336. He's the first UA player to be named to the team since Field in 2011.

Wildcats in the draft

A look at recent Arizona Wildcats taken in the MLB draft.

Player Year Team Rd.

Alex Mejia 2012 St. Louis 4

Robert Refsnyder 2012 New York 5

Kurt Heyer 2012 St. Louis 6

Seth Mejias-Brean 2012 Cincinnati 8

Joey Rickard 2012 Tampa Bay 9

Kyle Simon 2011 Baltimore 4

Bryce Bandilla 2011 S. Francisco 4

Cole Frenzel 2011 N.Y. Mets 7

Andy Burns 2011 Toronto 11

Matt Chaffee 2011 Atlanta 12

Jett Bandy 2011 L.A. Angels 31

Steve Selsky 2011 Cincinnati 33

Bryce Ortega 2011 Washington 41

Steve Selsky 2010 Colorado 34

Jason Stoffel 2009 S. Francisco 4

Cory Burns 2009 Cleveland 8

Preston Guilmet 2009 Cleveland 9

Dillon Baird 2009 L.A. Angels 11

Dwight Childs 2009 Cleveland 18

Brad Glenn 2009 Toronto 23

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