We continue the list today with number 63 in our countdown with New Mexico junior catcher Rafael Neda. He is from Obregon, Sonora, Mexico and attended Amphitheater (Ariz.) High School. He has an outstanding high school career winning several awards including being named Kino Conference Player of the Year, All-American and All-State honors in 2007.
Neda made an immediate impact in the New Mexico lineup as a freshman in 2008. He ended up appearing in 50 games with 49 starts as he split time between being a catcher and a DH. He accumulated a .323 average with six homers and 45 RBI for the season. The Mountain West Conference honored him as the Freshman of the Year and was a second team All-MWC honoree. He also picked up several national awards as he was named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, Pro-Line Athletic/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division I Freshman All-America First Team, Baseball America freshman All-America second team, and Ping!Baseball All-Freshman Second Team. He played for Hays Larks of the Jayhawk League in the summer of 2008 where he was rehabbing from finger surgery. He ended up playing 15 games, collecting nine RBI, two home runs and three doubles.
Neda continued his outstanding collegiate career in 2009 as he appeared in 55 games including 54 starts. He ended up leading the Mountain West Conference in hitting at .415 which was good enough for 32nd in the nation. He also hit seven homers and 49 RBI while walking 29 times and getting hit by ten pitches for an on-base percentage of .504. He ended up picking up All-Mountain West Conference First Team honors for his strong season. He struggled last season with his defense as he threw out 19.6 percent of the runners and had nine passed balls while committing six errors. He will have to work on his defense to move up the draft boards.
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