Eighteen-year-old Jose Dicochea says he is living a dream. On Tuesday, he became the Oakland A’s eighth-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft.
“It has been so emotional the last few days, so exciting. It has just been crazy,” he said.
With a baseball scholarship to the University of Arizona in hand, the 2019 Sahuarita High School graduate said the choice between the UA and the major leagues was tough, but the dream won out.
“This is a dream come true," he said. "All my life I have thought about playing in the major leagues.”
Dicochea will start his career with the A’s playing rookie ball in Phoenix.
“That is OK by me. I will get to stay at home for a little longer,” he said.
Standing 6-foot-3, he has a lot of frame to put behind his 96 mph fast ball. Dicochea doesn’t just rely on blowing past batters, he also tosses a breaking ball. During his final season with the Mustangs, he pitched 54 innings, had 86 strike outs and a 1.30 ERA. He was one of the many arms SHS used in their run up to finishing as runner up in state Class 3A.
Dicochea said there were early signs something like this was in the making.
“There were scouts in the stands during my second start this year, it was pretty crazy," he said. "They were there off and on all season long.”
While Dicochea didn’t have prior workouts with the A’s, he did have workouts for the Chicago Cubs and the L.A. Dodgers.
As proud as Dicochea is to be a major league pick, he said he is also proud to be a part of the line of Mustangs who have gone on to be drafted by MLB teams.
“We have a past of players getting careers started here. It really puts our little town on the map,” he said.
Other Mustangs taken in the draft include Manny Barreda, 2007 New York Yankees; Ramon “Chapo” Delgado, 2007 St. Louis Cardinals; Sati Santa Cruz, 2017, Philadelphia Phillies; and Ian Mejia, 2018 New York Mets.
“I am so happy and proud for Jose,” SHS head coach Sam Gelardi said. “It is an honor to play at the next level, be that college or pro. It says a lot about Jose that he was drafted as high as he was and to such a great organization."
Gelardi called Oakland a perfect fit for Dicochea because the organization is "known for taking chances with young players, they don’t leave young players in the minor leagues for a long time."
Dicochea was well known for getting ready early.
“Jose had been playing basketball and didn’t get a lot of pitches going into the season,” Gelardi said. “With only a limited amount of bullpen work, his first game was against the two-time defending 4A state champion Nogales Apaches. We lost, but Jose was ready to go.”
“In this year’s state title game, Jose gutted it out. Our offense couldn’t help him any, but he pitched good and gave us everything he had. Jose will do well wherever he decides to go, he was always a competitor for us," Gelardi said.