All-MWC pitcher goes to Rangers, catcher to Twins
A stressful Friday had a blissful ending for Mitch Garver and Sam Wolff.
The University of New Mexico baseball teammates had to sweat through several anxious rounds of the Major League Baseball 2013 draft before their names were finally called.
Wolff, a right-handed pitcher, was selected by the Texas Rangers in Round 6. Garver, a catcher, went to the Minnesota Twins in Round 9.
“I am pretty ecstatic right now,” Garver said a few minutes after being drafted. “Oh, my gosh, this was a nerve-racking day, but everything worked out great in the end.”
Garver, an Albuquerque native and La Cueva High graduate, monitored the draft from home. All was unpleasantly quiet until the New York Mets called him early Friday afternoon. Then things got crazy.
“The Mets called with an offer that was much too low,” Garver said, “so my agent and I turned it down. They called back later with a much better offer, and we came to an agreement that they’d take me with their ninth-round pick.
“Then the (Chicago) Cubs called and said they would take me before the Mets, then the Twins called and took me before either of those teams. The last few minutes were pretty wild, but finally seeing my name was a big-time relief.”
Garver earned All-America honors for the Lobos this season and is one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, presented to the nation’s top major-college catcher. Oddly, the Twins drafted two of the three finalists. They selected Mississippi’s Stuart Turner in Round 3.
Friday’s proceedings were more familiar to Wolff, who was a late-round draft pick in 2009 and 2011 but chose not to sign. Even so, the All-Mountain West Conference pitcher was delighted to see his name come up in Round 6.
“It was a ‘holy cow’ moment,” Wolff said with a laugh. “It’s a dream come true, and thanks to (UNM pitching coach Dan Spencer), I feel like I’m ready for it now.”
A former Lobo and a potential Lobo also were drafted Friday. Eldorado High grad Sam Wilson, a pitcher/outfielder who transferred from UNM to Lamar (Colo.) Community College this year, went to the Cubs in Round 8.
New Mexico Junior College’s Nick Pivetta was taken by the Washington Nationals with the final pick of Round 4. A right-handed pitcher, Pivetta has committed to play at UNM next season if he does not sign a professional contract.
Rounds 11 through 40 of the draft will be today.