The 2018 freshman and transfers will bring a plethora of talent to the field for the Arizona baseball team this coming season. The group brings strong arms to the hill, along with speed in the infield. During the fall, Arizona head coach Jay Johnson had seen growth and talent from the young players, and if they come to the field with what Johnson needs, they might get some play time.
“The best guy is going to play, and we are trying to create a highly competitive environment. So by all means if we have freshman ready to go then they are going to play,” Johnson said. “I would love to play freshman, but it’s the University of Arizona; we are going to play the best players who give us the best chance on that day. And if there are opportunities to get guys in and develop them, we will.”
Blas will be the freshman to watch going into the season due to his quickness at shortstop. The two-time league MVP and three-year captain of San Marcos High School finished his senior year with a .402 batting average with 43 hits, 28 stolen bases and three home runs. Blas didn’t just post numbers on the field but also academically, graduating with a 4.0 GPA.
“He is a really good player that you’re going to hear a lot about, our freshman shortstop that we like. He will have opportunities,” Johnson said.
Luna is from Casa Grande, Arizona and attended Casa Grande Union High School. Luna brings a powerful arm and could have the potential to get some innings in as a freshman. During his junior year of high school, Luna had 138 strikeouts with a fastball of 94 mph. As a senior, Luna injured his forearm and only pitched 21 innings, but is now healthy going into the season.
“He is a lefty that has a good arm,” Johnson said.
The left-handed pitcher from Lakewood, California comes to Arizona with a strong arm. Haley attended Gahr High School and posted a 1.01 ERA in 30 innings during his senior year striking out 28 players and only walking two. Haley was awarded San Gabriel Valley Pitcher of the Year along with All-CIF first team, Dream Team Selection first-team and second-team All-State.
Guardado is a right-handed pitcher that comes from Nogales High School, posting 14-0 with a 0.33 ERA along with 135 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings during his senior year. Guardado was a second-team USA Today All-America and honored with San Gabriel Valley Tribune 2017 Player of the Year. Guardado also found himself behind the plate as catcher and was able to hit a .488 batting average with 36 RBI and 13 doubles.
Weems comes to Arizona with experience from Yavapai College where he played for two seasons. The left-handed pitcher from Flagstaff, Ariz. pitched 57 2/3 innings during his freshman year struck out 61 batters and walked 24. Weems continued to progress going into his sophomore year as he pitched 65 1/3 innings striking out 87 batters. Johnson has high hopes for Avery and fans are expected to see him on the mound during the season.
“It’s great that he [Weems] is finally here,” Johnson said. “His stuff is what you want. I am excited. Over the past two weeks he has made some strides and making that usable. You’ll see him in a lot of games and important innings probably.”
The infielder from Palm Desert, California is another experienced player who has played at Orange Coast Junior College and at Oregon.
In 2015, Moniot was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 34th round in the 2015 MLB Draft, but decided to go to college at Oregon for the 2016 season. At Oregon, Moniot hit five home runs to tie an Oregon freshman record, and registered 25 runs scored, six doubles and 18 RBIs.
Moniot then transferred to Orange Coast Junior College where he earned first-team All-American and All-Region, and set the record at Orange Coast for walks. Moniot will be able to contribute to the Wildcats this season with his Pac-12 experience and strong athletic ability.
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