with the incoming class and the draft?
Josh Breaux will not come to school and there is a chance that Wade Beasley will not.
As for the rest of the class, it becomes a numbers game. There are going to be a lot of outgoing players that will open up spots for the newcomers, but I still would not be surprised to see two or three players who have committed end up going elsewhere, most likely a junior college.
Is this a highly rated class? Even if the two drafted recruits sign, are there a quite a few recruits in this class that could come in and provide a lot of help to the good nucleus of players we have returning?
What about the LHP from California?
It is not as highly rated as last year’s class, but there are some good players in it. Of course the high school projections are sometimes meaningless; certain players are pumped up by one publication because they have attended its showcase events. I’ve seen a lot of highly rated high school players go by the wayside in college and a lot of unheralded ones flourish. Some of the best prospects Arkansas has recruited either never played here or transferred after one year. I might be able to put together an entire roster of names that come to mind.
I think there are some pitchers in the 2018 class that are going to contribute next season. Steven Sanchez and Patrick Wicklander should add a presence on the left side that Arkansas is going to need with the subtraction of Kacey Murphy and Evan Lee.
As far as position players, I think most of the ones who will play next season - at least early - might already be on campus. There might be a spot for someone like a Matt Goodheart or Bryson Lierle to take because they have JUCO experience and have shown they can hit, but this class is heavy on pitching.
The 2019 class has a lot of big names. They will be freshmen when the current group of freshmen are juniors in 2020 and that could be a really fun team to watch.
Thanks Matt for the all the info you provide about baseball and baseball recruiting!! Could the LHP Evan Taylor, 6-4, 220, Florence, Ala. be another pitcher that could make a difference next year?
we will have to have some step up offensively because we are losing a lot of our offense.Like Matt said the class is heavy on Pitching and unless we get some guys come in and help out we could be down on offense,especially from what we have been used to.
I don’t know as much about Taylor as I do Sanchez and Wicklander, which is why I excluded him from the earlier comment. I’ll try to find out a little more about him.
I actually think this team could be in pretty good shape offensively next year. I’ve heard really good things about Matt Goodheart, who could replace Eric Cole in the outfield. Dominic Fletcher, Casey Martin and Heston Kjerstad all will be back.
I’m waiting on Jordan McFarland to have his breakout season; he reminds me some of Spanberger. Cole Turney will be in the lineup somewhere. Zack Plunkett can hit and has a chance to start behind the plate.
There are a lot of options. I think the team will be more advanced offensively than on the mound next year.
Matt, I’ve heard McFarland puts on a laser show in BP. Comments? What position do you think he’ll play?
Is Plunkett, for sure, returning?
Like I said, McFarland reminds me of Spanberger. There is a lot of power in that bat. They grew up in the same area in Illinois. There is an old saying that those Midwest batters take a little longer to develop because they don’t see the quality of pitching as players do in the South or on the coasts. I think he can play first or one of the corner outfield positions. He could be a DH. I just think it’s all going to come together for him at some point like it did for Spanberger and it’s going to be something to see when it does.
I’m not sure if Plunkett is staying, but if he does he should have as good of a chance as Casey Opitz to win the starting catcher job. I think Opitz is a better receiver, but Plunkett is the better hitter and has a good arm.
I’m going to make a prediction. If we win it all, this year McFarland will have a key hit somewhere along the line. Just a gut feel I’ve had for a while now.
McFarland will be needed next year too! He did to work on his defense. I hope every player gets some big hits going forward. It would be nice to see Casey O get some reps and see some sucess as well.
No one can argue how much Gates has done these last 2 weeks with big hits and awesome defense. Mr June as Shaddy would put it.
I have a gut feeling Campbell will also come through with a stellar performance on the mound.
I would like McFarland at 1B if he could get over the yips that he seems to have about catching popups. At this point I have to wonder if he is overthinking them.
McFarland never got comfortable at 1B. That’s the problem in my opinion. It takes reps and there just wasn’t enough mid week games for him to get over his issues.
One thing for sure he won’t be in the outfield with the problem on pop ups.
I don’t remember him having trouble with popups when he played in RF, just at 1B.