Dave Van Horn post-fall ball press conference

– Good thing about fall is we got to evaluate a lot of our new guys, and there are a lot of them. We figured out who we think can help us this year and some younger guys who will possibly be redshirted. Jordan McFarland needs to have a big year for us so we can be deeper in our lineup. He had a good fall for the most part.

– Plunkett and Opitz – who could play anywhere in the outfield, too – both had good falls as well. Jack Kenley, I think, will be an every-day player this year whether at third or short. Jacob Nesbit had a good fall with the bat. Trevor Ezell “will be in the middle of it” this season. He just has to get his arm healthy. … Van Horn said it’ll probably be a two-man system at catcher. Plunkett has been around and is older and stronger but he doesn’t have a lot of playing experience. Both guys have great attitudes and want to play.

– Pitching: Isaiah Campbell we know will be a weekend guy. Kole Ramage is a guy, Kevin Kopps has been throwing extremely well. Cody Scroggins would like to start, too. Patrick Wicklander had a good fall. He has good stuff and has a live arm. The strength of this team getting out of the fall is the bullpen. We just need to figure out our starting pitching.

– Casey Martin and Jack Kenley are the two shortstops, but Kenley is a great third baseman. Casey, I would say, right now is our shortstop.

– On Matt Goodheart, first base: I think he was one of the guys who came in and was a bit nervous and banged up at first, but I like him at first. McFarland got mono, and for about 4-5 days he wasn’t feeling well at all. He had a good summer with the wood bat and hit over. 300. There’s some frustration and he’s hoping his offense carries into the fall. McFarland, if he hits, will probably play first base. If not, then it’ll be Goodheart probably.

– We feel like Kjerstad is a right-field guy. I think he adapted well to right field and throws well from over there. I think this will give him a chance to throw some guys out at third base, too. … He hit over .400, hit seven home runs and eight doubles, Van Horn said.

– We have a lot more speed, and we put a big emphasis on baserunning. We worked on dirt-ball reads and taking extra bases. In Little Rock we ran the bases very well and took some chances on balls in the dirt.

– On Wicklander: We knew he was going to be one of our best freshmen. We thought he’d have a chance to come right out and play. His fastball has gotten better and he’s added 10 pounds. He’s good.

– On the bullpen: Angus Denton is a guy who could come in and get guys out, and he was very valuable over the summer. We feel good about all of those guys in the bullpen. He also mentioned Vermillion and Jacob Kostyshock.

– Our roster right now, I think, is sitting at 38 guys.

– On Nesbit: He played fine. He’s just got to get acclimated to turning the double play on that side of the field. He went out and played summer ball in the Northwoods League and got after it. He played almost every day and did OK, came here and got some confidence. He hit the ball well, and he’s getting better as a defender.

– Van Horn said there will be a professional player locker room in the new facility specifically for former players who want to come back to Baum and workout.

This team will be more aggressive on the base paths. The last two seasons, the long ball was the thing. It might not be quite the rage this season. Yes, there are still some big boppers like Fletcher, Kjerstad and Martin. I figure those three will be the heart of the lineup. McFarland has more power than he’s shown, and will hit some homers.

But what I saw in the fall is that this team will be stealing more bases, taking more chances in balls in the dirt and basically trying to manufacture more runs.

I talked to a college baseball head coach last week who said Arkansas will pitch like the team a few years back that went to the CWS without much offense. And, there may be more offense than what that team had. He said this will be like the Stanek/Astin team. They are going to be good and have better offense. You can pitch around a few guys, but he said he didn’t know if many teams could pitch around that big three of Fletcher-Kjerstad-Martin.

Thanks for putting a name to all the mumbles and unintelligible q&a’s. It’s so frustrating rewinding over and over to try to figure out who they asked about. And when you can’t hear the question, you have to try and figure out who “he” is.

On a less serious note, if Bob Holt didn’t ask 75% of the questions, I think the press conferences would last about 5 minutes.

That’s not altogether true about what would happen if Bob Holt didn’t ask so many questions. Often there are questions that I want to ask, but don’t need to because Bob is so aggressive. He often asks three-part questions and I whack about two off my list. I don’t really have to ask questions if someone else beats me to it.