Wildcat Baseball Signs 10 To National Letters-of-Intent

Nov. 14, 2000

TUCSON, Ariz.- Arizona head coach Jerry Stitt announced on Tuesday that the Wildcat baseball team has received 10 National Letters-of-Intent in the early signing period for the 2001-2002 school year. The class includes four infielders, three pitchers, a catcher, an outfielder and a dominating infielder/pitcher.

'This is as good a recruiting class as we've had in the last five years,' said Stitt. 'Coupled with last year's outstanding class, we have the makings for a great squad in 2002.'

Headlining the class is Tucson's J.J. Hardy (6'1', 175, R/R, Tucson, Ariz./Sabino H.S.). Rated as the 15th-best high school prospect in Baseball America's Top 100, Hardy is a two-way player that can play shortstop, as well as pitch.

'J.J. has a great arm and hands, plus terrific bat and foot speed,' said Stitt. 'He will definitely have an opportunity to play in the field, as well as pitch. He's a tremendous asset to our team.'

Rated 48th overall by Baseball America, right-handed pitcher Jason Snyder (6'5', 190, R/R, Sandy, Utah/Alta H.S.), has also been tabbed as a top five pitching prospect by the publication in the Mountain West region.

'He has limitless potential, scouts have indicated to me that there is no ceiling for Jason's ability,' said Stitt.'He's a hard thrower that is going to make an impact on the mound for the Wildcats right away.'

The two other right-handers to sign with Arizona also come highly regarded. Junior college transfer Chris Saenz (6'3', 190, R/R, Tucson, Ariz/Pima C.C.) and high school prospect Will Miller (6'3', 220, R/R, Poway, Calif./Poway H.S.) bring experience and potential to the UA pitching staff.

'Chris will bring a 90+ mph fastball, plus the two years of experience at Pima. He should contend for a starting spot in the 2002 rotation,' said Stitt. 'Will, coming out of high school, is a dominating type with excellent control of his off speed pitches.'

Among the four infielders are two first basemen, a middle infielder and a utility type that can play three positions. Junior college transfer Jesus Cota (6' 4', 180, L/L, Tucson, Ariz./Pima C.C.), an Arizona Diamondback 14th round selection after his freshman year at Pima, will bring a powerful left handed bat to the Wildcat lineup. Missoula, Mont., native Will Thompson (6' 2', 185, L/L, Missoula, Mont./Loyola Sacred Heart H.S.) has been listed by Baseball America as one of the top 10 high school players in the Pacific Northwest.

'Jesus and Will both bring outstanding hitting to the team,' said Stitt. 'Cota, who went in the 14th round last year, should be drafted even higher this season, while Will has excellent hands for a first baseman and the bat to go with them.'

John Hardy (6', 160, R/R, Boise, Idaho/Centennial H.S.) and Jason St. Clair (5' 10', 165, R/R, Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista H.S.) round out the infield portion of the class. Hardy is listed by Baseball America as a top 10 infield prospect in the Pacific Northwest, while St. Clair has been named as one of the top five prospects in the state of Arizona.

'John has great hands, brings outstanding speed to the class and can play three positions in the infield,' said Stitt. 'And Jason has great fielding instincts and good power. Both players are valuable members of this class.'

Rich Mercado (6', 185, R/R, Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.), a talented defensive backstop with power, was the catcher for the 2000 Connie Mack World Champion Encinitas Reds.

'Rich is outstanding defensively and has a major league arm. At the plate he has power to all fields.'

Chris Marini (6', 170, L/L, Glendale, Ariz./Ironwood H.S.), the last but not the least player in the class, is an outfield prospect with speed on the bases and in the field.

'Chris is a very physical player,' said Stitt. 'Along with his speed, he also has a lot of power in his swing. He will help us out both defensively and on the base paths.'

			2001-2002 Arizona Baseball Recruiting Class

Jesus Cota 1B Tucson, Ariz./Pima C.C. J.J Hardy SS/P Tucson, Ariz./Sabino H.S. John Hardy Inf. Boise, Idaho/Centennial H.S. Chris Marini OF Glendale, Ariz./Ironwood H.S. Will Miller RHP Poway, Calif./Poway H.S. Rich Mercado C Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei H.S. Chris Saenz RHP Tucson, Ariz./Pima C.C. Jason Snyder RHP Sandy, Utah/Alta H.S. Jason St. Clair SS Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista H.S. Will Thompson 1B Missoula, Mont./Loyola Sacred Heart H.S.

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