YUMA, Ariz. – Former Arizona Western baseball star Irving Lopez took another step in his baseball journey earlier this week when he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 19th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. According to the Yuma Sun
“It’s great for Irving and the community of Yuma,” said AWC head coach Drew Keehn. “Everyone loves Irv. He’s earned his college degree from Florida International and has the opportunity to play professional baseball in the Cardinals’ organization. Irving has always put others first, and now we all get to support him and cheer from Yuma.”
Lopez was drafted after two seasons as a middle infielder at Florida International University. During his two seasons at FIU, he hit for a .327 average with a .412 career slugging percentage. His .426 on-base percentage this season led the team. Plus, Lopez hit six home runs this year for a .482 slugging percentage while driving in 43 runs. He was also hit by 18 pitches and led FIU with four triples.
He signed with the Panthers after a pair of outstanding seasons at AWC. He earned a spot on the All-ACCAC First Team both his freshman and sophomore seasons, and he led the team in batting average both years. As a sophomore, he helped the team reach the Region I Semifinals by posting a .423 batting average, .511 on-base percentage and .665 slugging percentage. He knocked in 44 runs while smacking eight homers, three triples and 17 doubles. Plus, Lopez only struck out 11 times in 194 at bats.
The Cardinals currently sit in the middle of the pack in the NL Central. According to the Yuma Sun, Lopez will start his pro career with the Johnson City Cardinals in Johnson City, Tenn. in the Appalachian League.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.