Wildcats Add Three More Selections on Final Day of 2021 MLB Draft
TUCSON, Ariz. — Three Arizona Wildcats came off the board on day three of the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft that spanned rounds 11-20.
Arizona finished the 2021 MLB Draft with seven players earning selections, tied for fourth most among all Division I programs and tied for fifth-most in a single year in program history.
Right-handed pitcher Chase Silseth was the first Wildcat off the board on Tuesday, going to the Los Angeles Angels in the 11th round. He was followed by second baseman Kobe Kato, who was taken by the Houston Astros in the 13th round. Another right-handed pitcher, Austin Smith, finished up the slate of drafted Wildcats when he was tabbed by the Atlanta Braves in the 18th round.
Arizona MLB Draft Day 3 Selections
- RHP Chase Silseth, 11th round (321st overall), Los Angeles Angels
- 2B Kobe Kato, 13th round (388th overall), Houston Astros
- RHP Austin Smith, 18th round (547th overall), Atlanta Braves
Silseth, who served as the Wildcats game-one starter all season, posted an 8-1 record with a 5.55 ERA across 18 starts in 2021. In 11 home starts at Hi Corbett Field, the dominant righty notched a perfect 7-0 record with a 3.57 ERA. Silseth's 105 strikeouts paced the Wildcats last year and ranked third in the Pac-12 behind a pair of also-drafted arms. He was selected the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week on May 3 and also earned a place on the Pac-12 All-Conference team at the end of the year.
Kato, Arizona's every day starting second baseman, finished his fourth year in the program hitting .350 with 58 runs scored, 16 doubles, four triples, one home run, 34 RBI, and more walks (43) than strikeouts (34). The 2021 campaign was the first taste of extended playing time for Kato, who ultimately started every single game for the Wildcats up the middle. He logged a .9941 fielding percentage at second base and was part of 32 of Arizona's 41 double plays turned. The Hawai'i native picked up 19 multi-hit games, nine multi-RBI performances, and went 6-for-7 stealing. Kato's efforts earned him a spot on the Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention squad and a place on the Tucson NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team. He wrapped up the season ranked among the Top 10 players in the conference in games, at-bats, runs, hits, triples, walks, batting average, and on-base percentage.
Smith, a power arm and crucial member of the Wildcats bullpen, made 18 appearances (six starts) in 2021 and posted a 5.14 ERA. The towering right-hander held opponents scoreless in 8-of-18 outings and limited opposing hitters to a .259 batting average.
The Wildcats will now turn their eyes to the 2022 season under the direction of first-year head coach Chip Hale.