Jett Bandy (C)
Drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- 31st round, 945th overall pick
While struggling a little bit offensively in 2011, possibly due to the new bats and admittedly feeling the pressure of his draft year, Bandy is still a guy with loads of potential. Just a year ago he hit .354 with 23 doubles, six homers, and 42 RBIs, and even this year was still one of the better defensive catchers in the Pac-10 as far as throwing out would be base stealers (ranked fourth). He'll probably have to redefine his swing to get used to wooden bats if he wants to get back to hitting balls for extra bases, but for a 31st round pick, Bandy has tremendous upside.
The Situation: The Angels organization hasn't been shy about their love for catchers over the years. The Angels are one of the few teams that actually carry three catchers on their major league roster, probably partly due to the fact their manager Mike Scioscia was a major league catcher himself during his playing days. Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis, and Bobby Wilson are all young catchers and for the most part call pretty good games defensively, but none of the three have shown the ability to hit the baseball at all.
The three of them have combined to hit just .215 this season and have never hit higher than seventh in the lineup. While the Angels are still optimistic about Conger's offensive potential, patience is quickly being lost with Mathis, who just three years ago was one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball. So ironically if Bandy wants to make the big league roster, it will have to be his offense that comes to life once again.
The Comparison: Ramon Hernandez of the Cincinnati Reds. Here's a guy that can throw out runners, call a good game, hit for average, and doesn't strike out a lot. If Bandy can get anything close to 2010 form, this is a guy you'll always be able to count on to put the bat on the ball, occasionally showing power toward the allies as well. People sometimes seem to forget that he led the Pac-10 in doubles (21) his freshman year. Then teammate Dillon Baird also had 21 doubles. He was also drafted by the Angels in the 2009 draft and is still with the organization in AA ball.
The Prediction: Bandy is as good as gone, he's publicly admitted so, but still no formal contract has been signed, so as he said "anything can still happen."
Steve Selsky (OF)
Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds- 33rd round, 1,015th overall pick
This is the second straight year Selsky has been drafted. Despite the fact he was injured for most of this season, he was still picked one round higher than he was last season, being drafted in the 34th round last year by the Colorado Rockies. Similar to Bandy, his best year came in 2010 when he basically led Arizona in every offensive category with his .370 average, nine homers, and 52 RBI. Despite the guy hitting just .215 this year in 15 starts, there's a reason why he was still drafted. The guy has serious power potential as well as above average speed in the field. If he can figure out his swing, like Bandy, he has probably the most offensive potential of any Wildcat drafted.
The Situation: The Reds' outfield is led by one of the very best in the game in right fielder Jay Bruce, who's offensive potential has no ceiling. Johnny Gomes (LF) and Drew Stubbs (CF) are both young guys who have shown brilliance at times, but still struggle to deliver offensively on a consistent level. Chris Heisey is a guy the Reds also like a lot due to his defensive versatility and Fred Lewis is a nice guy to have come in off the bench for speed and defensive purposes.
Really, as of now Selsky has a shot to eclipse all four of these guys. He might not quite possess the home run power Bruce does, but Selsky can get a ball out to the wall in a hurry. If he stays healthy and continues to get better has he did his first two years at Arizona, this is a guy that will more than likely get his shot in the majors.
The Comparison: Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds. Why not compare him to his possible future teammate? Both are just great all around hitters who can hit for power and average. Bruce may have a little more homerun pop, but Selsky makes up for that with his above average speed.
The Prediction: While Selsky has the potential to be great, he also could use another year to boost his college resume after 2011 was pretty much a disaster for him. He's said he wants fifth to fourth round money, but it's hard to make a case for that when you're picked as late as he was. All early indications are he'll come back to school and give it another shot, and more than likely he'll earn his fourth round money when he becomes a very high pick in next year's draft.
Bryce Ortega (2B)
Drafted by the Washington Nationals- 41st round, 1,237th overall pick
Here's a guy that was really the heart and soul of Arizona baseball for four years. The senior was a starter since day one and appeared in over 200 games during his Arizona career while batting .326, scoring 176 runs, while driving in 94 career RBIs. There's no doubt that his absence last year after his back injury was a key reason why the Wildcats faltered down the stretch.
He's defense and leadership were key in Arizona's run to the regional final this season, as the team's overall win total increased by five in 2011. While his numbers were solid, it was the little things he did on and off the field that made him so valuable over the years.
The Situation: The Nationals are still looking for that franchise guy at second base and shortstop. Ortega has the ability to play both of those positions and with his work ethic and gritty attitude, there's no reason why he can earn a spot in the majors someday.
The Comparison: Adam Kennedy of the Seattle Mariners. Thirteen years in the big leagues now and Kennedy is still a starter, and a pretty solid one at that. He has above average speed and would steal 20 plus bases a year during his prime, while also having the knack to make fantastic effort plays defensively.
His motor never stops going and his preparation is one of the best in the game. Kennedy is an example of what hard work can do for a person, even if he doesn't have the most talent in the world. Ortega has Kennedy's work ethic, with even a slight advantage in the overall skills department.
The Prediction: Ortega is a senior, so there's no doubt he's going to try and sign with the Nationals.
2011 Wildcat Commits that were drafted
Drafted by the Chicago Cubs- 5th round, 159th overall pick
He finished his senior year with a 2.87 ERA in just over 46 innings pitched and is ranked the 39th best pitcher in Arizona by maxpreps.com. He helped lead Notre Dame to an overall mark of 17-12 and a 12-2 league record. He's expected to sign with the Cubs instead of going to school.
LHP Austin Malinowski, Centennial High School (Lino Lakes, Minn.)
Drafted by the Minnesota Twins- 16th round, 508th overall pick
The lefty competed his senior season for Centennial with a 6-2 record, and with an ERA of 0.52 including three shutouts. He also batted .350 in 40 plate appearances. The guy has the potential to be drafted much higher with some success in college, but the fact that his hometown team drafted him might have an influence on his decision. My guess is that it's 50/50 right now.
RHP Matt Troupe, Chaminade Prep. (Northridge, Calif.)
Drafted by the New York Yankees- 17th round, 539th overall pick
He finished his senior season with an ERA of 1.14 in 49 innings pitched, while holding opponents to a .169 batting average. According to maxpreps.com he's the 49th ranked pitching prospect in California, as he led Chaminade to a 19-8 regular season mark and a 9-3 league record. The guy is the leader of one of the best high school pitching staffs in southern California and has already been clocked throwing as hard as 94 MPH. As of now Troupe is still committed to Arizona, but he says he "still has to discuss things with his family."