It’s too early to know what is going to happen this spring as far as the roster, the schedule and the NCAA tournament. It’s like everything else for the last nine months, don’t look too far past the next month and you are doing yourself a favor.
But for some who have kept up with the Arkansas baseball team this fall – and maybe they saw some practices or maybe they just talked to some who were there – it’s clear that this is an extremely talented team.
I was told today that either one of the teams from the fall world series would win a regional in most seasons. The Arkansas roster is loaded both with pitching and hitting. That might be the case across the SEC this year after teams loaded up with both returnees and a high school class that was left intact because of a five-round draft.
What the baseball people I know say is that when Dave Van Horn gets talent like this, he usually knows what to do with it.
Like I wrote, it’s early and who knows what is going to happen over the next few months, but this is a talented group that Van Horn had at Baum-Walker this fall.
Clay: There are so many good players on the team that the pipeline seems almost clogged. Do you anticipate there being any players who bail out to JUCO at semester break? Talk about a difficult decision - Washington, Jr. made that type of decision before school started.
There are always some players who transfer out at the end of the fall semester. I don’t think this year will be any different, although JUCO baseball got a lot better with the shortened draft, too.
There will be a mass departure of Razorback players after the season, maybe in the range of 15-20 to pro baseball, depending on the length of the draft. There may be some who don’t see a lot of playing time in the upcoming season, but are in line for playing time the year after.
And this was a fall where some players started great, had to sit two weeks for Covid and then came back and had a tough week when they returned. They will need all the young position players in future because this team will lose 6-7 of them. And we need to hope for a full season with midweek games so those young guys get 30-40 AB’s. With the new one time transfer rule coming, some of these kids could get poached if they feel there isn’t enough AB’s or innings. The roster crunch is great for competition but it’s causing all kinds of issues on future logjams.
Hopeful that college baseball this Spring does happen with minimal interruption, other than the likelihood of reduced attendance - which for UofA is a big disadvantage due to our strong home field fan support.
From a COVID standpoint, baseball should be easier than football & basketball due to being a much smaller roster than football, less player contact, & being outdoors. That assumes coaches can keep the players somewhat isolated.