Draft | State Preview | 4/30/2013

MLB Draft Preview: Arizona

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game
In the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as well as providing scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.

Arizona State-by-State List

With storied Division I college programs like Arizona and Arizona State, which have won nine College World Series titles between them, churning out more then their share of draftable talent through the years, Arizona’s surprisingly-productive prep ranks have been consistently overshadowed. But not this year.

With the Wildcats re-tooling from last year’s national-championship run and Sun Devils re-grouping from spending a year on NCAA probation, the spotlight in Arizona this spring has been on a bountiful high-school crop, which could produce as many as four players in the top five rounds, including the state’s first two selections.

High-school infielders
WEAKNESS: College talent
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3

University of Arizona
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Desert Mountain HS, Scottsdale

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Riley Unroe, ss, Desert Ridge HS, Mesa.
Unroe was generally viewed as a fifth- to seventh-round talent as recently as last fall, but a significant upturn in his power production this spring has sent his stock skyrocketing to such a degree that he will be a consideration in this year’s draft as early as late in the first round, sandwich round at worst.

WILD CARD: Patrick Murphy, rhp, Hamilton HS, Chandler.
Had Murphy not undergone Tommy John surgery last summer, which cost him his senior season at Hamilton High, he would in all probability have been in the mix to go as early as the second round. If, as anticipated, he has a chance to work out for scouts prior to the draft and shows signs of his former low-90s velocity, it’s possible a team could take a flier on him and pop him with an early-round pick.

D.J. Peterson, 3b, University of New Mexico (attended high school in Gilbert)
Top 2014 Prospect: Riley Moore, c, University of Arizona
Top 2015 Prospect: Ryan Kellogg, lhp, Arizona State University


Draft History:
Rick Monday, of, Arizona State University (1965, Athletics/1st round, 1st pick); Floyd Bannister, lhp, Arizona State University (1976, Astros/1st round, 1st pick); Bob Horner, 3b, Arizona State University (1978, Braves/1st round, 1st pick)
2008 Draft: Brett Wallace, 3b, Arizona State University (Cardinals/1st round, 13th pick)
2009 Draft: Mike Leake, rhp, Arizona State University (Reds/1st round, 8th pick)
2010 Draft: Taylor Lindsey, ss, Desert Mountain HS, Scottsdale (Angels/1st round, 37th pick)
2011 Draft: Keenan Walker, of, Central Arizona JC (White Sox/1st round, 47th pick)
2012 Draft: Deven Marrero, ss, Arizona State University (Red Sox/1st round, 24th pick)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 10/8
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 7/4


Best Athlete:
Riley Unroe, ss, Desert Ridge HS, Mesa; Brandon Dixon, 3b, University of Arizona
Best Hitter: Riley Unroe, ss, Desert Ridge HS, Mesa; Dustin Peterson, ss, Gilbert HS
Best Power: Dustin Peterson, ss, Gilbert HS; Tim Unroe, ss, Desert Ridge HS, Mesa
Best Speed: Jamie Westbrook, ss, Basha HS, Gilbert
Best Defender: Cody Bellinger, 1b, Hamilton HS, Chandler
Best Velocity: Calvin Drummond, rhp, Arizona Christian College
Best Breaking Stuff: Stephen Tarpley, lhp, Scottsdale CC
Best Pitchability: Trevor Williams, rhp, Arizona State University


(rounds 1-3)

1. RILEY UNROE, ss, Desert Ridge HS, Mesa
Unroe’s father, Tim, was a 28th-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1992 out of Lewis (Ill.) University, and went on to spend parts of five seasons in the big leagues, though accumulated just 95 at-bats along the way, mostly as a third baseman, while batting .221-3-11. The younger Unroe doesn’t share his father’s 6-foot-3, 200-pound physique, but should easily trump his draft appeal, if not his modest accomplishments as a big leaguer—especially after rising from a fifth- to seventh-round consideration at the outset of the 2013 season, to a potential late first-rounder or sandwich pick. The 6-foot, 180-pound Unroe has exponentially improved his draft worth in a matter of 2-3 months by not just improving his power production by leaps and bounds, but possibly becoming the top power threat in the Arizona high-school ranks by launching numerous tape-measure blasts. Entering the final week of April, Unroe was hitting a robust .565-10-59 for Desert Ridge High and was on a pace to set a state 5-A record for RBI in a season. Unroe, a Southern California signee, was a solid prospect anyway with his polished approach from both sides of the plate, 6.5-second speed in the 60, steady glove work and above-average arm strength at a premium position, and confident, aggressive approach, and his new-found power surge should enable him to pursue options in the field beyond shortstop, if necessary. His actions at that position are regarded as adequate by pro standards, but Unroe’s versatility might end up making him a better fit in center field, or even at second base in the long run.  Read more about Unroe in his detailed Draft Focus profile.

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