Arizona Wildcats coaches spent the last two years recruiting a high school star who they hoped would fly under the radar.
But as catcher Riley Moore grew up and filled out, showed he could hit from both sides of the plate and flashed a rocket arm, they stressed.
See, major-league rosters are full of players who look just like him.
"You don't find too many 6-3, 200-pound, switch-hitting catchers in college baseball. They're all (drafted)," UA coach Andy Lopez said. "When we went out and took a look, we though, 'Goddangit, we hope we can keep him.'"
Luckily, they did.
Moore will start behind the plate when Arizona opens its season Friday against North Dakota State. The game will be the Wildcats' first at Hi Corbett Field, their new home stadium.
Arizona returns six regulars and two starting pitchers from a team that advanced to last year's NCAA Regionals.
Moore, a freshman who chose the UA over a 21st-round selection by the Philadelphia Phillies, is one of the team's few question marks.
Here are three things you need to know about the freshman catcher:
• The job is his. Moore was initially expected to share time behind the plate with David Schuknecht, another highly touted freshman. That changed last fall, when Schuknecht - a freshman who turned down the Colorado Rockies - underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. He will redshirt.
Scouts love Moore's "projectable" body type; since enrolling in August, he has added another 10 pounds of muscle to his 190-pound frame. Lopez would like to see him grow to 220 pounds over the next two years.
The 18-year-old Moore said he's excited to play every day and finally contribute offensively. He was pitched to "about three times" as a senior on San Marcos High School's baseball team. With nobody to drive him in, Moore's team lost its final 17 games.
That will change at Arizona, which has been projected anywhere from fifth to 20th nationally in preseason polls.
• He'll be brought along slowly. Though coaches love Moore's defensive instincts and strong throwing arm - "Sometimes, he throws it back to me harder than I throw it to him," ace Kurt Heyer said - they're still going to treat him like a freshman.
Lopez will call pitches for at least the first half of the season, or until Moore gets a feel for each pitcher's tendencies. The catcher will hit eighth, ahead of shortstop Alex Mejia.
The steady development plan should have Moore peaking by the start of the NCAA playoffs.
"I think as the season goes on, people will see him and they'll say, 'that's a good player,'" Lopez said.
• He's no stranger to a packed house. Moore spent most of his childhood batting fifth in his own family order: Older sister Clare and brothers Payton, Shane and Keric, now 19, are quadruplets.
The catcher said he was "blessed" to grow up in such a busy household; the family ate dinners together nearly every night.
"Buffet-line on the counter, fight to get your plate and fight to get your food," he said. "You never wanted to be last, because you'll never know what you'll get."
Moore's family background fostered an attitude that, he says, serves him well.
"I don't want to be one who says, 'Go ahead,'" he said. "People have to get theirs, but when it comes down to crunch time, we were always taught: 'Get yours.'"
• The Wildcats were ranked second in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, released Tuesday. Stanford was the near unanimous favorite with 10 of 11 possible first-place votes. Arizona received 85 points, trailing the Cardinal by 15 points. Arizona State was third with 84 points, including one first-place vote.
• What: North Dakota State at Arizona, season opener
• When: 6 p.m. Friday
• Where: Hi Corbett Field
Arizona's projected opening-day lineup
1. Joey Rickard (CF)
2. Trent Gilbert (2B)
3. Robert Refsnyder (RF)
4. Johnny Field (LF)
5. Seth Mejias-Brean (3B)
6. Bobby Brown (DH)
7. Brandon Dixon (1B)
8. Riley Moore (C)
9. Alex Mejia (SS)