SIGNAL PEAK – At least nine players with Central Arizona College ties are expected to be among the 612 selections in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft.
The three-day affair in Denver begins Sunday with Round 1 and concludes Tuesday with Rounds 11-20. Five current CAC players likely will hear their names called, along with four former Vaqueros who are now at four-year schools.
A total of 166 players have been drafted directly out of CAC, according to its baseball website (the one-year record was 12 in 1977 according to baseball-reference.com). Nineteen of those with CAC ties have reached the majors, including MLB All-Stars Doug Jones (five times), Ian Kinsler (four) and Tom Pagnozzi (one).
As always with the draft, nothing is set in stone. But CAC coach Anthony Gilich had plenty of conversations with MLB scouts during the course of the 2021 season and has a pretty good idea of those who are on their radars.
“We’ll have to see how it shakes out,” Gilich said. “You never know.”
Right-handed pitcher Mat Olsen and second baseman Dayton Dooney are projected to be second-day picks (Rounds 2-10). Third-day draftees from the 2021 CAC team that went 51-9 and finished second in the NJCAA World Series should include outfielder JD McLaughlin, right-hander Hunter Omlid and right-hander DJ Carpenter.
Olsen, a Florence High School graduate, was an NJCAA first-team All-America selection and NJCAA Gold Glove winner in 2021. He went 13-0 in 18 appearances (16 starts) with a 2.13 ERA. Olsen (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) struck out 133 and walked 30 in 88 2/3 innings pitched.
Dooney (6-0, 190) batted .376 with 57 RBIs and 34 extra-base hits (21 doubles, four triples, nine home runs) for the Vaqueros.
McLaughlin (6-3, 195) was named to the All-America second team. He batted .338 and led the team in RBIs (62), home runs (13) and triples (10).
Omlid (6-2, 205) went 13-1 in 16 appearances (15 starts) with a 3.31 ERA. The NJCAA All-America honorable mention pick struck out 97 and walked 23 in 89 2/3 innings.
Carpenter (6-8, 240) was used strictly as a reliever in 2021. An injury limited him to 10 1/3 innings in 11 appearances. The 2018 Philadelphia Phillies draftee struck out 17 and walked eight.
First baseman Kiko Romero (.322, 60 RBIs, 10 home runs), right-handed starter Tyler Woessner (8-1, 81 strikeouts and 33 walks in 70 1/3 innings) and right-handed reliever Cristian Sanchez (36 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings) are outside possibilities to be selected in the draft.
The vast majority of those who are drafted have indicated they will agree to a professional contract in their designated monetary “slot.”
“Along with talent, signability is always a big thing,” Gilich said.
St. Mary’s left-hander Ky Bush (6-6, 240), who pitched for CAC in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, is a high-round Day 2 prospect, Gilich said. He went 7-5 with a 2.99 ERA with 112 strikeouts and 19 walks in 78 1/3 innings for the Gaels in 2021.
Infielder Liam Spence (6-1, 190) helped Tennessee reach the 2021 NCAA World Series and played for CAC in 2018-2019. He also is projected to be drafted in the first 10 rounds.
Outfielder Zach Hogueisson (6-3, 215) played for Central in 2019, when the Vaqueros won the NJCAA World Series. At Tennessee Wesleyan in 2021, his 92 RBIs ranked second in the NAIA. Hogueisson also belted 22 homers while batting .354.
Gilich also listed Arizona State outfielder Hunter Jump (5-11, 188), who was named MVP in the 2019 NJCAA World Series, as a likely draftee.
Thirteen of this year’s CAC players signed letters of intent to attend four-year schools, including Olsen (Arizona State), Dooney (Tennessee) and Carpenter (Oregon State).
The others are: Sanchez (Tulane), Matt Aribal (Hawaii), Seth Beckstead (Tulane); Woessner (Hope International), Ryan Grabosch (New Mexico State), Preston Godfrey (New Mexico State), Zack Stewart (New Mexico), Dusty Garcia (Washington State) and Jake Jarvis (Purdue).
CAC had five players named to the NJCAA All-Academic team (GPA 4.0-3.6): Hayden Seldomridge, Vinnie LaGatta, Grabosch, Evan Harmon and Tyler Griggs.