June 11, 2009
ARLINGTON, Texas - Rett Varner (Trophy Club, Texas) was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 34th round (#1,040 overall pick) on the third and final day of the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Thursday. Varner was the second UT Arlington pitcher selected in the 2009 draft after Nathan Long was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 26th round on Wednesday. UT Arlington has had seven pitchers taken in the draft since 2003.
Varner is the second Maverick to ever be drafted by the Cubs, following in the footsteps of current Kansas City Royals third base coach Dave Owen, who became the first UT Arlington player to reach the Major Leagues as a player with the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 6, 1983. Owen was a 10th round pick of the Cubs in the 1979 draft.
Varner, a 6-foot-4, 220 pound redshirt-sophomore, made 16 appearances (10 starts) with a 2-3 record in 57 innings pitched this past season. His 3.95 ERA ranked ninth in the Southland Conference and he tied for the team lead by combining on two shutouts. Varner struck out 44 batters while issuing 24 walks.
Varner was among league leaders in the summer of 2008 pitching for the Coppell Copperheads in the Texas Collegiate League. Varner led his team with four wins, 47 innings pitched and 42 strikeouts. He tallied a 3.26 ERA in eight starts while allowing opponents a .203 batting average.
After redshirting at BYU during the 2006-07 school year, Varner made his collegiate debut as a Maverick in 2008 going 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA in 30.1 innings pitched. Varner made 15 appearances, including one start, collecting 24 strikeouts and allowing 11 walks.
As a prep at Northwest High School, Varner had a standout senior season with a 6-3 record and 1.87 ERA in 75 innings pitched. Varner struck out a school-record 106 batters while allowing only 18 walks. He was a first team All-District 5-5A selection.
The UT Arlington baseball program has now had 85 players who have been drafted or who have signed a free agent contract with a Major League Baseball organization, including 42 drafted players.
UT ARLINGTON MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DRAFT SELECTIONS (since 2001)
2009: Nathan Long, RHP, Oakland Athletics - 26th Round
2009: Rett Varner, RHP, Chicago Cubs - 34th Round
2007: Dillon Gee, RHP, New York Mets - 21st Round
2006: Adam Moore, C, Seattle Mariners - 6th Round
2005: Jake Baxter, RHP, Detroit Tigers - 25th Round
2005: Grant Varnell, RHP, San Diego Padres - 25th Round
2005: Nathan Warrick, OF, Houston Astros - 34th Round
2004: * Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros - 2nd Round
2004: Mark Lowe, RHP, Seattle Mariners - 5th Round
2003: Ryan Roberts, INF, Toronto Blue Jays - 18th Round
2003: Ricky Stover, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers - 29th Round
2003: Robby Deevers, OF, Milwaukee Brewers - 30th Round
2002: Daniel Ortmeier, OF, San Francisco Giants - 3rd Round
2002: K.J. Hendricks, SS, Colorado Rockies - 26th Round
2001: Joel Alvarado, C, Milwaukee Brewers - 19th Round
* Highest MLB draft pick in UT Arlington history (64th overall selection)
- - - 12 UT Arlington players have signed free agent contracts with MLB organizations since 2001