Major League Baseball teams continue to view UT Arlington as fertile ground for top prospects.
Junior pitcher Zach Thompson was the first Sun Belt Conference player and the first of a record six Mavericks selected in the 2014 draft in June. The Chicago White Sox chose him in the fifth round.
“I’ve worked my entire life to play professionally,” Thompson says. “To see my name up there is the greatest feeling. I’m absolutely pumped.”
Senior catcher Greg McCall went in the ninth round to the Milwaukee Brewers, and senior designated hitter Matt Shortall was a 10th-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies. It marked the first time three UTA players were selected in the top 10 rounds.
Junior outfielders Ryan Bottger and Derek Miller joined junior pitcher Jess Amedee as Mavericks taken on the draft’s final day. The Houston Astros selected Bottger in the 12th round, the Boston Red Sox chose Miller in the 23rd round, and the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Amedee in the 27th round.
The six selections are two more than the previous single-draft high and bring UTA’s all-time total to 48.
Shortall and Bottger were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference first team. Shortall batted .344 with 10 home runs and a team-high 57 RBIs in 2014. His 26 doubles set a single-season UTA record. Bottger hit a team-best .368 with seven homers and 42 RBIs.
The Mavericks won 17 of their final 20 games to finish 33-26 overall and 22-12 in their first Sun Belt season. UTA was second in the regular season and runner-up in the conference tournament to nationally ranked Louisiana-Lafayette.