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Six players with New Mexico ties taken in MLB Draft

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Three New Mexico Lobos and three other players from the state were selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft between Friday and Saturday. Right-hander Brent Jones (Albuquerque Academy) of Cornell was taken in the fourth round Friday, the rest were picked Saturday.

While Jones went to the Diamondbacks as the 120th overall selection — the highest ever from Cornell — the other players went much later. UNM senior outfielder Chase Harris was the next player taken in the 14th round, in his case by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Joining Harris from the Lobos were senior right-hander Josh Walker (Orioles, 22nd round) and junior catcher Alex Real (Twins, 24th round). It seems unlikely that Real will sign after being drafted so late.

New Mexico Junior College catcher Kholeton Sanchez (Angels, 32nd round) and former Piedra Vista High School right-hander Dominic Mareno (Cardinals, 33rd round) of Texas Tech were the other two players who were selected. Both were taken so late that they seem likely to return to school rather than turn pro, though Sanchez's post-junior college commitment is unknown.

Harris was UNM's top hitter (.377/.432/.559, 8 HR, 63 RBI) in his final season, while Walker (7-5, 3.87 ERA) was the Lobos' best starter. Senior outfielder John Pustay (.324/.371/.436, 2 HR, 37 RBI) was not drafted and will have to hope for a free agent contract.

Real (.320/.391/.465, 25 doubles, 2 HR, 47 RBI) was rated as the best draft prospect in New Mexico to enter the season, but he failed to crack Baseball America's top 500 draft prospects list at the end of the year. Junior lefty Colton Thomson (6-6, 3.68) was not selected and should return to the UNM rotation in 2015.

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