Blaine Knight - 3rd Round, Baltimore Orioles: Knight slipped a little further than expected but when asked about it, it made little difference to him. MLB Teams will draft for potential and projections down the road, not current production, which is why other SEC pitchers went before Knight. Still going in the third round means that Baltimore is high on Knight and he could be in the show relatively soon.
Eric Cole - 4th Round, Kansas City Royals: A good offensive season has put Cole in a great position this year in the draft. Going in the 4th round puts his slot value at $451K, which will be very hard to pass up. He could quickly move back to the area though, playing for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in AA soon.
Grant Koch - 5th Round, Pittsburgh Pirates: This year wasn’t the deepest class of catchers, which is why Koch was the 10th catcher taken despite a dip in his offensive numbers. His defensive play is what put him up as one of the prospects in the country and why he was able to go so high.
Jax Biggers - 8th Round, Texas Rangers: Again, a team is taking a player due to his potential rather than this season’s results. Texas looked at the defensive ability and last season’s .331 average as reasons to take him.
Carson Shaddy - 10th Round, Washington Nationals: Definitely the best story of the draft as far as Arkansas is concerned. After going undrafted last year, Shaddy was on a mission in 2018 and it paid off in a huge way. Although he likely won’t have the leverage to get all of the $136K slot value, he won’t care, going as high as he did was it’s own reward.
Kacey Murphy - 11th Round, Detroit Tigers: Murphy was the first pick of day 3, making the likelihood of returning not as high. Going in the 11th round, there isn’t a slot value assigned to him but his recent play has to have the Tigers excited to get him.
Evan Lee - 15th Round, Washington Nationals: This pick is the ultimate in drafting for potential. Despite not being a critical part of the Hogs this year, Lee’s left arm and hitting ability put him in the 15th round. While the first six are almost certainly gone, Lee is the first pick that really could return. Likely slotting in the DH position in 2019.
Barrett Loseke - 17th Round, New York Yankees: All of the remaining picks could go either way at this point. Loseke’s emergence in the second half of the season was a huge part of him going in round 17.
Jake Reindl - 17th Round, Chicago Cubs: Reindl was taken in the spot directly after Loseke. Mostly coming out of the bullpen, but has shown the ability to go for long stretches, like his seven inning appearance against Dallas Baptist to help clinch the regional title. That versatility will go a long way in the eyes of scouts.
Isaiah Campbell - 24th Round, Los Angeles Angels: Dave Van Horn said in his recent press conference that he expects Campbell to return unless the Angels give him a huge offer. With them taking high school prospects in the first two rounds, that offer is unlikely.
Zack Plunkett - 37th Round, Arizona Diamondbacks: Even though he’s had just nine at bats this year, his arm and power was enough for Arizona to take a flyer in the 37th. Plunkett could come back next year, but will likely be behind Casey Opitz on the depth chart. So it’s possible he makes the jump as an option to clear up space for someone coming in.
What About the Recruiting Class?
For the second year in a row, the draft class wen’t largely undrafted. JUCO Commit Josh Breaux went in the second round. Van Horn said he didn’t expect him to make it to campus anyways. Right handed pitcher Wade Beasley also went in the 24th round and likely won’t make campus.
Outside of that, everyone else was undrafted. And while this class won’t be as highly rated as this season’s class, there are still some key pieces. Don’t expect another duo like Casey Martin and Heston Kjerstad, but the Hogs are bringing in five left handed pitchers and several infielders. They might not start from day one, but likely could have an impact in the near future.