TCU Baseball’s speedy centerfielder is off the board Tuesday afternoon, as senior Johnny Rizer heard his name called with the first pick of the seventh round of the 2019 MLB Draft.
Rizer was only in Fort Worth for two seasons, and spent much of his first year dealing with injuries. But the sweet-swinging lefty made a name for himself in 2019, endearing fans with home run power (a team leading 11 on the year) and home run robberies - including this SportsCenter Top Ten Play against Texas:
That catch, and an equally impressive one this past weekend in the Fayetteville Regional - when he managed to hang on to a ball in the gap despite running full speed into left fielder Josh Watson - were the highlights, but Rizer became known for consistently being one of the best defenders the Horned Frogs have had in the outfield, making the tough catches look routine. He did all of that while hitting .315 on the year with 39 RBIs and drawing 27 walks. He was also 8-13 in stolen bases on the year.
A native of Cypress, TX, Rizer started his collegiate career at Louisiana-Lafayette after starring for powerhouse Cy-Fair High School. After one season with the Ragin’ Cajuns, he matriculated to Blinn College, where he was named to both the All-Region and All-Conference teams. In his first season in Fort Worth, Rizer dealt with injuries that limited him to 34 starts and 41 appearances, while hitting just .231 with three home runs. His senior season was much more indicative of the player he can be both offensively and defensively, where he became a crucial cog in the heart of the order for the Horned Frogs, playing and starting all 62 games.
Rizer had at least two hits in 25 of the games he played, and had a two double game against Texas Tech as a well as a two home run game against West Virginia. He scored 47 runs on the year while totaling 29 extra base hits.
Rizer could be a quick riser through the minor leagues, as he has the type of tools that major league teams value. He also benefits from being drafted by a team with as many needs as any in baseball.
The third TCU player to be drafted, Johnny joins #7 overall pick Nick Lodolo and pick #59 Brandon Williamson - he is the first position player to hear his name called. Congrats to Johnny and good luck in Baltimore!