Hamilton third baseman Mitch Nay sat at his house on Monday night, intently watching the Major League Baseball draft unfold with family and close friends.
Only the first and supplemental rounds were scheduled, and as the selections wound down, his chance of being a first-day selection dwindled with them.
But then, with only three picks remaining, Nay heard his name called. He was picked No. 58 overall by the Toronto Blue Jays, becoming the first high school player from Arizona selected in the draft.
“The round was going by and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get picked that day,” Nay said. “Once I did I was super excited.”
Nay was the Gatorade Player of the Year after hitting .380 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs on the season. He had an on-base percentage of .520 and a slugging percentage of .837.
Nay has committed to Arizona State, but getting chosen early increases his chances of signing with Toronto.
“We’re probably going to work something out,” Nay said. “We’ll see what happens. ASU or signing, they’re both good options.”
Chaparral outfielder Dylan Cozens was selected by the Phillies with the No. 77 overall pick on Wednesday.
Cozens has a scholarship offer to play football and baseball next year at Arizona, but told clubs he would sign if chosen within the first 100 picks of the draft.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end had 49 tackles and eight and a half sacks on the gridiron this past year for the state champion Firebirds. It was his first year playing football, but Cozens showed enough natural ability to garner several scholarship offers, and eventually chose Arizona over Boise State and Washington.
He has always been a big-time baseball prospect, and he batted .520 with a state-best 19 home runs and 52 RBIs during the spring, hitting a walk-off home run to give Chaparral the Division I baseball title. He had an on-base percentage of .591 and a slugging percentage of 1.240.
Cozens’ signing bonus will still need to be negotiated, but he knows the Phillies are serious about signing him and he’s ready to give up football for a professional baseball career.
“I’ve always wanted to play baseball,” he said.
The other East Valley high schooler selected Wednesday afternoon was Mountain Pointe slugger Joey Curletta, who went to the Dodgers in the sixth round. Curletta agreed to a deal before he was chosen and he will forgo a scholarship from Arizona to turn professional. Former Skyline pitcher Trey Lang went in the sixth round to the Chicago Cubs.
On Thursday, former Gilbert pitcher Erick Gonzalez was taken by Houston in the 15th round. Willie Ethington (Mtn. View) was taken in the 17th round by Boston. Former Hamilton shortstop Jorge Flores (currently at Central Arizona College) was taken in the 19th round by Toronto and former Brophy shortstop Beau Maggi (Arizona State) went in the 24th round to Kansas City.
Former Mountain Pointe standout Jordan Kipper was taken in the 30th round by Philadelphia, and Brophy's David Graybill went in the 31st round to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rustin Sveum (Desert Mountain) was chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the 39th round, and former Desert Ridge player Taylor Kaczmarek (South Mountain CC) was taken by Kansas City in the 40th round.