Story By Zachary Larsen
As the 2021 MLB Draft approaches, Desert Mountain’s Wes Kath and Hamilton’s Brock Selvidge find themselves on the brink of realizing their professional baseball dreams.
Kath is ranked No. 34 on MLB.com’s 2021 top prospects list. He was also named Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year for baseball after a stellar season batting .486 with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs.
The Scottsdale-native is also committed to play at Arizona State, but is projected to be a first-round pick, which may alter his plan to attend college.
⚡️Arizona- Class of 2021 player rankings have been updated.
▪️ New No. 1, @wesxkath
▪️ Still @Brock5Selvidge
▪️ @RyanSchiefer1’s “Stuff”
▪️ @tanner_smith29’s bat
▪️ Say, “Hello” to @chazclemons6 @prepbaseball @PBR_Uncommitted
➡️ https://t.co/et9Q2xQyQI pic.twitter.com/viNPoqucSx
— PBR Arizona (@PBRArizona) April 9, 2021
Desert Mountain head Coach Ryan Dyer believes it’s Kath’s mental attitude and makeup that sets him apart from other players.
“Wes is the definition of a team player and that’s what makes him stand out,” Dyer said. “So, I think when a team drafts him this year, they know the five tools that he already has the physically ones, but it’s really that sixth intangible tool that makes him such a special player, which is his mental makeup.”
Kath drew plenty of attention from various MLB teams and scouts during the year. That made this season all that more fun to watch for both the coaching staff and fans.
“Everybody would come up to the field and see there’s such an exciting atmosphere of people watching Wes,” Dyer said. “As a coach I most definitely took it in and enjoyed the process of having such attention on one of our elite athletes in the program.
“In my 27 years of coaching in high school baseball [it’s] the most attention I’ve seen a player on one of my teams have and I certainly was proud of him and enjoyed watching the process and I think there was a lot of people in the stands that echo that sentiment.”
Huge Congratulations Wes!!! 2021 AZ Gatorade Player of the Year Award!! @wesxkath pic.twitter.com/bDfgCvzO08
— DMWolvesBaseball (@DMWolvesBball) June 29, 2021
In Selvidge’s case, his rise in the draft comes from his 6-3, 205-pound athletic build, which makes him stand out from other pitchers.
“He’s got the body, he’s got the arm,” Hamilton baseball head coach Mike Woods said. “God’s given him the physical attributes everyone needs to even be consider to be a professional baseball player.”
2021 LHP Brock Selvidge (@hhsbaseball98)- strong athletic frame. Turn & go delivery, short arm. Allowed 1 ER on 1H & 7BB, striking out 9 batters in 4 innings of work.
FB: 90-92, T93
SL: 79-80@PBR_DraftHQ @NathanRode @ShooterHunt @Brock5Selvidge pic.twitter.com/YXZhSZS0mh
— PBR Arizona (@PBRArizona) April 22, 2021
As a senior, the 18-year-old bolstered a 2.41 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 52.1 innings pitched. His fastball ranges from 92-95 MPH, while his slider is used as his main secondary pitch.
Ranked by MLB.com as the No. 131 prospect in the draft, Selvidge will have to decide to either attend college or head straight to the minor leagues.
“Whether he goes to college or not, I think it will depend on how close they are to his number and how high he goes,” Woods said. “If he goes off to college in three years he’ll be drafted again, trust me.”
Selvidge is committed to play at LSU, and the school’s recent hire of former Arizona head coach Jay Johnson may also have an impact on his decision to play collegiately or not.
Nonetheless, Hamilton has become a powerhouse for baseball talent in Arizona. Former National League MVP Cody Bellinger is one of the most notable players to come from the program, which has also produced 14 other draft picks since 2010.
For Woods, seeing another one of his players go to the next level is something him and his staff are proud of.
“We feel proud we have a small part in it,” he said. “We think we’ve done a nice job helping him get on the right path, but it’s really about Brock it’s about his work that’s it in and his performances. It just makes you feel good, you want to see your kids succeed.”
The first round of the MLB Draft begins Sunday, July 11th and will continue through July 13th.