A lot here from Van Horn’s 40-minute meeting with us this morning:
Matt Cronin and Dominic Fletcher could have gone to the Cape Cod League, but the coaches thought the chance of getting hurt outweighed how much they could improve their game. Zebulon is having a really good summer.
Jordan McFarland is playing out in a California league. Van Horn said he needs to make a jump to get in the lineup and that “It’s time for him to play." He added that 8-9 guys are playing summer ball. Jack Kenley stayed in Fayetteville and went to school; Kenley got better in the time he played this year and is probably hardest worker in terms of pregame and practice.
Trevor Ezell is a grad transfer coming from SE Missouri State. He plays second base. Van Horn said he was their top hitter every year he played pretty much. Ezell got hurt, redshirted there and has another year left. He’s had surgery on his throwing shoulder, which has popped in and out. He won’t throw this fall and probably won’t get to hit until late fall. Van Horn said he is experienced.
On Keaton McKinney: Van Horn tried to be positive with him. Keaton’s been here five years and had hip surgery and elbow surgery a couple of times. He was back home watching the postseason run and felt he’d done what he can do. Dave added that Keaton probably wouldn’t have been ready for the 2019 season.
Isaiah Campbell needs to take a step this fall. He is resting up this summer and here taking a class or two and working with strength coach. Starting rotation is the biggest unknown for the 2019 season. Kevin Kopps is working hard and should be able to pitch some this fall. Van Horn said Kopps is in incredible shape. Staff had planned on him being big part of '18 team. He has a chance to get in the rotation. Kole Ramage could also get in there. Cronin wants to start, but he needs another pitch.
Bryce Bonnin wants to start, but the staff sees him as a reliever. There’s a lot to him transferring out of the program. He needs to go to JUCO, Van Horn said. Bonnin has a lot of talent with arm strength, but he’s got to take it in a game consistently.
Taylor Smart will be Arkansas’ new volunteer assistant. There was a lot of interest in the job, Dave said. Smart is a young and up-and-coming guy. Getting to Arkansas wasn’t an obstacle for him. He worked as a GA at Arizona last season, and was with the team doing what he could by what is permitted. Van Horn is looking forward to getting Smart on board. He is coaching in a league in California and plans to get here in August.
Van Horn said he’s got a couple of high school kids coming in that can play shortstop, and the plan is to let Casey Martin have the opportunity all fall to play the middle of the infield.
On Hunter Milligan: Van Horn was told a couple days ago he’s going to have to have surgery. He’s had shoulder troubles. Plan is for him to do rehab back home and go to school close to home. We’ll see if we want to bring him back, Van Horn said.
On Jackson Rutledge leaving: Van Horn said he probably was not happy he didn’t make travel squad. He also wants to be a starter. Like Bonnin, there’s a lot to it and more than he can tell us. He was very inconsistent.
Van Horn said the plan is to move Heston Kjerstad to right field.
Scheduling: Traveling to Texas, Charlotte comes to Baum, at USC, Stony Brook, at Missouri State, and Memphis is in there somewhere, Van Horn said. SEC-wise from the East: Tennessee, Missouri at home; at Kentucky’s new $45M park and at Vanderbilt.