Fresh faces give Wildcats new sense of optimism
Photos courtesy Arizona Athletics
Arizona baseball freshmen Nick Quintana, Matt Frazier, Cameron Cannon and Shane Martinez will most likely make a debut in the starting line-up and show significant action for the Wildcats during their first game of the season on Feb. 17.
The four players were picked out of high school into the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, but every player turned down the professional offers to attend the UA.
#35 Cameron Cannon:
Arizona is expecting Cannon to contribute to the infield at second this season as being the No. 5 prospect in Arizona, according to Perfectgame.org, having batted .412 with 26 RBI.
The Arizona Diamondbacks picked cannon in the 21st round the 2016 MLB Draft but turned to Arizona to further his baseball career under the coaching of Johnson.
#13 Nick Quintana:
The infielder out of Las Vegas is expected to make a huge impact in the infield for Arizona. The Boston Red Sox, who had previously selected former Arizona third baseman Bobby Dalbec, selected Quintana in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, but Quintana decided to take the path of college.
“Coming here [the UA] has molded me into a more mature person and player,” Quintana said.
Since being at the UA, Quintana has had to transition from his high school position of short stop to becoming a third baseman.
“Third base is where I want to be as a player,” Quintana said. “My best tool is defense, my arm and my bat, so projecting out into the future I think third base is the best for me.”
Quintana is most likely going to make an appearance in the infield due to the departures of former second baseman Cody Ramer and Dalbec.
#10 Shane Martinez:
Martinez is expected to see some play time at second base this season for the Wildcats. Martinez was selected in the 39th round by the Oakland Athletics in the 2016 MLB Draft but chose Arizona instead to grow as a player.
Martinez is ranked as the No. 22 prospect in California, according to Perfectgame.org, as he came out of high school batting .404 with six doubles, 25 RBI and post a .993 fielding percentage as a senior.
#22 Matt Frazier:
Frazier comes from Fresno, Calif. with high potential to be in the starting line-up to play in the outfield for the Cats. Frazier batted .392 as a senior in high school with six doubles, four triples, seven stolen bases and 12 RBI’s.
Frazier was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 38th round of the 2016 MLB draft but always knew he wanted to go to college.
“I had planned that I wanted to go to college,” Frazier said. “My family and I felt like I needed to mature a little more before going out and playing pro ball.”
Being under the wing of coach Johnson has mentally helped Frazier adjust and grow before starting the season.
“All around as a player you know you’re going to struggle,” Frazier said, “but having him [Johnson], I know I can come back the next day and have a positive attitude and flush everything from the day before.”