The 2021 MLB Draft began on Sunday, July 11, and concluded on Tuesday, July 13. The Arizona baseball team saw seven players drafted, which was tied for the fourth most players selected from an individual college.
Here is a look at the seven Wildcats drafted and where they went.
Ryan Holgate, St. Louis Cardinals — Competitive Balance Round B:
Holgate was selected between round two and three. After posting a strong .377 batting average during the first 15 games of the 2020 season before it was cancelled, Holgate picked up where he left off this past year, hitting .351 at the plate with 11 home runs and 56 RBI's across 245 at-bats. He also started all eight of Arizona's postseason games, hitting .400 at the plate with six runs and eight RBI's. Holgate hit a two-run home run off this year's No. 10 overall selection, Kumar Rocker, in game one of the 2021 College World Series.
Branden Boissiere, Washington Nationals — Round three (82 overall):
After two solid seasons to begin his career in Tucson, Boissiere posted a career year this past season with a .369 batting average at the plate to go along with 63 RBIs. He continued to show up in the College World Series, hitting .405 at the plate with seven runs and eight RBIs.
Donta' Williams, Baltimore Orioles — Round four (106 overall):
Williams was a true all-around player and leader during his last four years in Tucson. He was one of the best defensive outfielders in the country, posting a .982 career fielding percentage with eight outfield assists. Williams posted a .348 batting average in the 2020 shortened season, continuing that momentum into this past year, hitting .342 at the plate with eight home runs, 17 doubles, 49 RBI's and a .481 on-base percentage that included 50 walks drawn. He also scored 81 runs this past season, which led the Wildcats and the Pac-12 and ranked second in the nation. During this past College World Series, Williams hit .378 at the plate with 10 runs, four doubles and eight RBIs.
Gil Luna, Chicago White Sox — Round nine (275 overall):
After struggling his first three years in Tucson, Luna broke out in a significant manner this past season as he posted a 1.69 ERA with 31 strikeouts to 11 walks over 21.1 innings pitched. He went 10 straight appearances with no runs allowed across 19.2 innings.
Chase Silseth, Los Angeles Innings — Round eleven (321 overall):
In his first year in Tucson this past season, Silseth earned the nod as the Wildcats Friday night starter all year. He went 8-1 on the season, posting a 5.55 ERA with 105 strikeouts to 29 walks over 97.1 innings pitched. He went 7-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 11 starts at Hi Corbett Field and earned Pac-12 All-Conference team honors.
Kobe Kato, Houston Astros — Round thirteen (388 overall):
After a few years in the program, Kato finally got the opportunity this past year to earn a full-time starting role as the Wildcats second baseman. He took full advantage of it, hitting .350 at the plate with 58 runs, 16 doubles and a .460 on-base percentage. Kato also logged a .941 fielding percentage at second base and was part of 32 of the Wildcats 41 double plays turned. In his first season as a full-time starter, Kato finished the year in the top-10 in the conference in games, at-bats, runs, hits, triples, walks, batting average and on-base percentage.
Austin Smith, Atlanta Braves — Round eighteen (547 overall):
In his first season in Tucson, Smith posted a 5.14 ERA over 18 appearances (six starts) and tossed 28.0 innings. He also held opposing hitters to a .259 batting average.
It is still possible that we may see some of these players return to school for another year, but these are the seven players drafted who have the opportunity to continue to the next level if they so choose.
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