Infielder Jackson Willeford will enroll at the UA next month after turning down the Kansas City Royals’ contract offer.
The Royals selected Willeford with their 12th-round (373rd overall) pick in last month’s draft, but were unable to sign him by today's deadline. Willeford hit .398 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs as a senior at Ramona (Calif.) High School, outside San Diego. He’ll compete for playing time at second base, shortstop or third base as a true freshman next spring.
The 5-foot-9-inch, 185-pound Willeford was rated the 162nd-best prospect in the draft by Baseball America. He was one of two UA prospects to choose between the pros and college. Pitcher Brady Lail signed with the New York Yankees for $225,000 in late-June; the club included an extra $135,000 for Lail, an 18th-round pick, to pursue his degree after baseball.
The UA lost five juniors to the draft: shortstop Alex Mejia, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean, pitcher Kurt Heyer and outfielders Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickard.