After adjusting to the role of head coach of Arizona Baseball, Chip Hale and the Wildcats begin recruiting more local talent.
It’s been an eventful month or so for Arizona Baseball as the Wildcats have fully transitioned from the Jay Johnson era to Chip Hale era here in Tucson.
While we were under Johnson, we got used to the Wildcats being quite competitive at the conference and nationally. And their recruitment knowledge was always top notch too!
But over the years, even among the Wildcats’ wild success, one of my biggest criticisms of Johnson and Arizona Baseball was that even though he and the Wildcats recruited well, and sometimes it was detrimental.
What I mean by that is sometimes that Johnson would get the kids to commit who would never end up on campus as they would be pulled out of high school and signed pro contracts.
Beyond that, Johnson never seemed to place much emphasis on recruiting local talent. This is not to say that he did not recruit Phoenix or Arizona at all for example, but overall it just seemed to be missed at times.
While Tucson may not be known for having the most dominant baseball players in the Southwest, there are many homemade talents here who have done great things, and sometimes it was players who were overlooked!
Players like Nick Gonzales, No. 7 in 2020 who participated in New Mexico State, Tristan Peterson who was close to the top of the NCAA in hits a few years ago, also participated in New Mexico State, or Alex Robles, a standout from Tucson High who was drafted from Austin Peay.
For me, there are players who could and should have been at home!
Fortunately for us, it seems that Arizona Baseball and Chip Hale are following that trend by recruiting more local talent.
A good start on the recruiting trail, Hale and Arizona Baseball came with news when they received a commitment from Central Arizona Community College, Kiko Romero.
Dorados, a former star of Canyon Del Oro High School here in Tucson, has one of the best baseball programs in the state and has produced many Major League talents.
Kiko is a midfielder / catcher with a big bat and a great way of playing. He wants to help strengthen the Wildcats’ roster, and for Tucson kids, being able to play for Arizona is a pride.
Whether the recruitment strategy will work is yet to be seen, but I’m excited to potentially see more local kids infused into the Arizona Baseball program.