By Mark Carlisle
Two Class of 2016 Mountain Ridge High School baseball players entered the professional ranks last week after being selected in the MLB Draft.
Shortstop Cameron Cannon from the University of Arizona was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the second round as the 43rd overall pick in the draft. Right-handed pitcher Alex Roth from Western Oregon University was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 21st round as the 634th overall pick. Both played three years in college after graduating from Mountain Ridge.
This season, Cannon, who played both second base and shortstop in college, led the Wildcats in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), hits, doubles and total bases. He was named to the All Pac-12 Team and to Collegiate Baseball’s All-American Second-Team squad.
Cannon’s 92 base hits and 29 doubles led the Pac-12 and he ranked among the top 10 players in the conference in batting average (2nd), runs scored (2nd), total bases (3rd), slugging percentage (5th), on-base percentage (5th), and RBI (T-7th).
Cannon’s 43rd overall pick comes with a $1.73 million signing bonus.
Roth led the Western Oregon Wolves with a 7-0 record and 87 strikeouts this season. The Wolves won all 11 of his starts. Roth transitioned from a reliever his freshman year to a starter his sophomore and junior seasons. After ERAs of 3.18 and 3.77 his first two years, he posted a 2.35 ERA his junior year to lead the Great Northwest Athletic Conference by a 1.61 margin over every other qualified pitcher.
In his junior season, Roth was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Year, First-Team All-GNAC, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Division II Collegiate Director of Athletics All-West Region First Team, named to the All-West Region Team by the America Baseball Coaches Assosciation and Rawlings, and was an honorable mention on the NCBWA All-American team. He was named NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week and GNAC Pitcher of the Week after striking out 15 in seven innings, a school record.
Neither will start their pro careers in Arizona because neither Boston nor Pittsburgh have a team in the Arizona League, a rookie-level minor league played in the Valley’s spring training stadiums.