Cardinals' Ninth-Round Pick Luna Signs

Cardinals' Ninth-Round Pick Luna Signs

According to reports, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed their ninth-round draft pick, outfielder Aaron Luna from Rice University.

Aaron Luna is now a former Rice University Owls outfielder and a new professional baseball player, first reported by the Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram. The 21-year-old, taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth round of the June First-Year Player Draft, agreed to terms with the organization on Tuesday night.

The cleanup hitter for Rice, Luna batted .314 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI in his junior season. His coach, Wayne Graham said, "Aaron is probably one of the premier power hitters in the country".

In each of his three collegiate seasons, Luna was named second-team All Conference USA. In 2007, he was a third-team All-American (National Collegiate Baseball Writers) and was named the Conference USA Tournament Most Valuable Player.

His 39 career home runs are tied for fifth in school history, his 169 RBI is tied for eighth-most and his .570 slugging mark is in Rice's all-time top ten. Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman is the leader in all three categories. Interestingly, Luna was hit by 52 pitches at Rice, which only trails fellow Cardinals minor leaguer Tyler Henley's 63.

The left fielder played in the College World Series all three years with the Houston, Texas school. This year, the sixth-seeded Owls were ousted by Cardinals' 18th-round pick Jared Bradford's LSU Tigers in Omaha.

In his first professional assignment, the 5-foot-11, 200 pound Luna has been assigned to join Bradford with the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Class A Midwest League. Luna is expected to arrive on Thursday.

When another of his new Quad Cities teammates, first-rounder Brett Wallace, signed earlier in the week, Luna became the only draft pick of the Cardinals' first 13 selections to have not come to terms. He didn't hold that distinction very long, however.

With Luna now included, the Cardinals have 42 of their 51 2008 draftees in house.

The nine unsigned picks include three left-handed pitchers and three high schoolers. Several of the latter have declared their intention to attend college, but could still sign a professional contract anytime prior to August 15.

13. Mitch Harris, RHP, Navy – may fulfill service obligation
30. Brett Bruening, RHP, Grayson County College (TX)
31. Justin Leith, LHP, High School, Naples, FL
35. Shane Boras, 2B, High School, Newport Coast, CA
37. Daniel Jimenez, LHP, High School, St. Charles, IL
45. Christopher Taylor, C, UNC Charlotte
46. Brandon Sizemore, 2B, College of Charleston
47. Tony Asaro, OF, UC Irvine
50. Daniel Miranda, LHP, High School, Miami, FL



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net

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