Cubs grab Wildcats ace in ninth round

Cubs grab Wildcats ace in ninth round

Last year, James Farris was selected in the 15th round of the First-Year Player Draft by the Astros but turned them down.

The right-hander wanted to return to Arizona for his senior season and be the team's No. 1 starter, pitching on Fridays. He also was hoping to increase his Draft status. It worked.

On Friday, the Cubs selected Farris in the ninth round.

The only senior on Arizona's roster, Farris was 6-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with five complete games. He struck out 100 over 113 2/3 innings and walked just 19. He was Arizona's Sunday starter in 2012, posting a 7-3 record and 3.97 ERA, and in 2013, went 5-5 with a 4.18 ERA.

Arizona coach Andy Lopez talked to Farris about his plan.

"There used to be a stigma about being a senior and not getting picked to the 55th round," Lopez told the Tucson Citizen last year. "But a lot of seniors get drafted in the first 10 rounds now [because of the new bonus slotting system]. If he pitches well, he could go in the top 10 rounds easy."

And he did.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, he attended Highland High School in Gilbert, Ariz.

Farris' bio on the team website lists the St. Louis Cardinals as his favorite team. He may need to change that. The website also lists his gameday superstitions, such as wearing the same undershirt for each game and taking the same route to the mound each inning. He was enrolled in the college of social and behavioral sciences with a major in regional development and a minor in environmental studies.

He made 50 career appearances and 47 starts for the Wildcats. The right-hander is not overpowering, but he has the ability to keep hitters off-balance and has good command of his secondary pitches.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at noon CT.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.